Schalk Neethling
3 min readMar 21, 2022


Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

Today I am 31 days sober. So I should be pretty happy with myself, and, to be honest, I am. But, for the last week or so, I have had this constant feeling. No, wait, that is not quite right. It is the lack of any emotion that has been surprising. I feel numb.

It almost feels like all of the joy and optimism has been sucked from me by some joy vampire. I cannot pinpoint anything specific that might have caused this, but here I am. Perhaps it is the new medication I am taking. It could, of course, also be all the turmoil that surrounds us.

War, an existential threat of biochemical or atomic warfare, so much needless suffering. The health of our beautiful mother earth. Then there are the last two years of living through a pandemic. Maybe it is a combination of all of this, I do not know. But again, here I am.

I am honestly struggling to find joy in anything. I get up in the morning and exist throughout my day, but it sometimes feels like I am not present. Like I am just going through the motions. And struggling to go through those motions.

Sometimes it just feels like groundhog day, like every day is just more of the same. I am grateful for so much, though, which makes me feel guilty for feeling this way.

Sometimes I think that guilt is eroding me from the inside. Shame about all the time I wasted looking for solace or answers at the bottom of a bottle. I feel like I am not good enough in life and my professional career.

This quote from the book Radical Compassion by Tara Brach comes to mind:

“What was the message you absorbed? For many of us, it was “This is what I have to do to be lovable and good, and I can’t slip up.” And along with that belief came a chronic fear of falling short, of making a mistake, of not being the best, of risking something new.”

I need to find something to reignite my spirit, which gives meaning to my life and work. While I have faith that I will find it again, I wanted to share this experience so others may know that recovery is not all sunshine and unicorns.

🙃 ~ 😁

There will be days or sometimes weeks where you will question your choices. When these times come around, do not give in, do not give up. Stay the course. We all deserve to live life on our terms. Try to find joy in the little things. I often need to remind myself of the following quote attributed to Richard Feynman.

“Do not use your energy to worry. Instead, use your energy to believe, to create, to learn, to think, and to grow.”

When you are feeling down and want to give, pull up this quote from Ryan Holiday’s book Courage is Calling:

“No, Peter replied, parroting what he himself had been told so many times, it just isn’t possible. That’s when he was hit with the words that each of us needs to hear: “What would the world look like if everyone thought that way?””

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, and living your best life. If you find value in my writing, consider buying me a coffee ☕️



Schalk Neethling

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, living your best life through an active lifestyle and a whole food plant-based diet. Psychedelic curios :)