Pool Therapy By Patrick Sampey

Saturday, December 18th, 2021 -- (Pool is therapy) Today I have 127 days in recovery from Alcoholism. I've had much longer periods of abstaining from drinking that intoxicating nectar I came to love back in my youth, Army days and nights. I should have over a year of sobriety at this point, but slipped up a few times, few times too many through the years. Hopefully I'm done with all that now, but I've said, "never again" too many times to say that again. Now I agree to the "one day at a time" adage from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). And I believe, though 127 days is nothing more than a start, I feel that my drinking more recently was minimal, though risky, hence the reason I abstain now. In AA they give you a white chip the first day, when you give your will over to a "higher power," which some call "God," but people that focus on the "God" aspect of AA miss the point I think. The point is to give your will over to the universe, advanced space aliens, God, the Sun, Karma, the Tao, Science -- whatever you would consider a "higher power." Why? Because going under our own will, we alcoholics found ourselves "powerless" over alcohol. So when you give it over to a "higher power," that is a powerful thing, empowering -- even if it is the "placebo effect." The AA book references God as a "higher power," which can be anything above and beyond humanity. What's all this have to do with pool? What does billiards have to do with it? Well, a year ago around this time, I was just out of 12 Oaks Recovery center down in Navarre, FL for alcoholism and mental health treatment -- 30 day in patient; and I've swam in the bottom of so many beer cans, but somehow I'm still here to tell the story, and pool has actually helped me not drink, and helped my mentality as well. Pool for me has been therapeutic. In 12 Oaks, we had days with "music therapy," and I was thinking how music is good therapy for mental health -- and how much I enjoyed the music therapy days. But all that said, the music therapy had me thinking "Could pool be therapy for me?" The answer that loomed ahead in the Myst of my mind's eye was a resounding "YES!!! POOL IS GREAT FOR MENTAL HEALTH!" For me personally, pool is therapy. For some perhaps not. Some people I've seen break their cues, lose their rent money, and worse -- but for many like myself, pool is a positive, cathartic mental strengthening practice that builds character, and helps one excel at one aspect of living, namely playing pocket billiards. I've read a little bit about 'Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance,' but for me personally, pool is my zen, my center. I find the most joy (therapy) putting on my Bluetooth headphones and practicing pool by myself, constantly seeking to improve my consistency, and subsequently my overall game. That is where I find my center, and tap that infinite well, that "core" that Tesla said he knew existed but couldn't penetrate the secrets to, but that his brain was just a "receiver" to. I just plug in to Pandora radio with some Mozart, Lil Wayne, Ozzy Osbourne, or any number of other artists I have come to love. And play the game I love, the 'Pleasures Of Small Motions,' (Dr Bob Fancher). For me personally, playing pool tournaments, cheap money sets, and things like that isn't stressful, or bothers me usually. Normally I feel like a kid at Disneyland, and that is just good medicine -- just what the doctor ordered. And I have no desire to drink and pollute my game with alcohol either when I play, so that is to say that playing pool actually helps me to not drink, as well as helping my mental health. PTSD, Bipolar, ADHD, Alcoholism, whatever your mental health concerns are, playing pool can help you find your balance I believe, as it has for me.

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