My wife and I were watching 30 Rock reruns on Saturday night. I’m not the least bit embarrassed about our lack of fancy plans because Tina Fey is the bomb, and I have a deep and abiding love for her sense of humor. I’m not even going to blame quarantine or make any other excuse. I was in bed with my wife and laughed until I cried – all of my favorite things.
Tracy Morgan’s character ended a ranting tirade by declaring his intention to, “Treat every week like shark week!” I laughed so long and hard that one of our kids came into our room to make sure everything was OK, which is dangerous, because we want to discourage our kids from busting into our bedroom at night uninvited, for their sakes even more than ours. My cousin has a very traumatic story about looking for a band-aid in his parents’ room in the middle of the night that I’d like my kids to not recreate. We keep the bandages prominently accessible in the hall closet for this very reason. But I digress.
Treat every week like shark week! I love that so much, and I don’t really even know what it means. But I invited alcohol to dominate my life, so I have proven that I’ll never let ignorance stand in my way of charging full speed ahead. A really good friend of mine told me that “shark week” can have a certain unwelcome monthly meaning for women. I had never heard that association, but I didn’t need an explanation either.
So, without further thought or consideration, I’m dedicating the rest of my life to living every week like shark week. While everyone is looking for inspiration from Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert, I’m glomming onto Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan. It might not bring me any closer to figuring life out, but charging full speed ahead with my hair on fire with reckless abandon for my safety or the potential for collateral damage has a certain unbridled attraction for me. I don’t even know if that’s what living every week like shark week means, but that’s the beauty of it. It is an undefined plan without tangible goals or expectations. Count me in!
I don’t know about you, but I spend an insane amount of time blubbering around in my own head. It’s why I drank, actually. The alcohol was the only thing that could quiet the noise of my chaotic mind syndrome. Now, in permanent sobriety, without the option to kill my thoughts with liquid toxin, I am left to try to solve all the problems of the world with the intensity of a thousand suns. It’s as exhausting as it is fruitless. I’m not going to consider my next right move any more. I’m living every week like shark week.
All the thinking and worrying and shame and regret is debilitating, and I’m done with it all. If you are an alcoholic trying to leave the booze behind, I recommend you take Tina’s and Tracy’s advice, too. Living every week like shark week works for the loved ones of alcoholics, too. Anyone who has been directly and massively impacted by this disease can benefit.
Here are the points to successfully executing the shark week plan:
- Get alcohol out of your life.
- Give yourself time to heal. Like, a year sober might be right. Please read my Guide to Early sobriety for help getting there. If you are the loved one of an alcoholic, please read my wife’s Spouse’s Guide to Alcoholism Recovery.
- Blame the disease, not the person. You have to vilify alcohol as the poison that it is in any quantity. Until you believe from your cranium cover to your toenails that booze is bad, you might drink. Until your instincts are pure, don’t proceed to step four.
- Stop the incessant thinking and trust your instincts. Move forward. You can’t make progress if you are stuck in circular decision making. Live like a hungry shark.
I know far too many of you far too well to think I’m the only one who gets stuck in inaction and fear. You do it too – most of you, maybe all of you. Your mind bounces back and forth…should I or shouldn’t I…am I an alcoholic or aren’t I…should I stay or should I go…am I being a jerk or is it not my fault? It is exhausting just to think about. Let’s stop thinking and start living free from shame, doubt, blame and anger. Follow the points above. You aren’t ready for action step four if you haven’t rid your life of alcohol and given yourself time to heal.
Living every week like shark week if you still think alcohol is safe in moderate quantities is a guaranteed relapse. You’ve gotta cleanse the gray matter before kicking your enlightened life into overdrive. But once you stop wishing you can go back, the road ahead is full of promise.
You’ve got a lot to do, and so do I. We’ve wasted enough time mired in sadness and indecision. Let’s go change the world, at least our little corner, with the enthusiasm of a week full of shark action. You don’t have to know what that means to know it’s better than treating every week like barnacle week or sea algae week. Let the big shark eat!
If you want to join a group of really cool people who are dedicated to moving forward together, living every week like shark week, please check out our SHOUT Sobriety program for people in early recovery. We don’t have it all figured out, but we are making progress arm in arm. For more information, to make a donation to our mission or to enroll, please click the link below.
30 Rock haters need not apply (I love you Tina)!