I am not sure exactly where my sobriety started. The day I went back to treatment, the day I got out, or maybe the day I got a job. The clean date is exactly 22 months ago, however the “sober thinking” if you will, came so much longer.
If you stay clean and sober long enough, your life automatically gets better.
And if you hang on a little longer, you learn how to deal with what other normal people have dealt with their entire lives, good or bad, which is “life!”
Hold on to that sobriety and you start to figure out little things about yourself. “Oh, I’m a greedy, smartass, compulsive shopaholic, even sober! So it wasn’t the drugs and alcohol, well then maybe there is some things I need to work on.
Gain a few more weeks living clean, and then you catch yourself smiling. Maybe even a chuckle.
Manage to put together a length of time living sober, and your priorities, family and financial start to sort themselves out. Hobbies become hobbies and not some out of reach fairy tale you blow everything off for in search of, and you realize, yeah its probably a good idea to get a job and work around that.
If you keep sober, you start to remember your life in the past, before you started using and drinking, then you realize the reflection of your innocent past, is really who you are today, and not that person in addiction you thought you were.
And if you stay sober a little bit longer, your hit 22 months, and counting.
I start my day in sobriety, everything else comes second. Everything.
So sometimes I have no idea what I am going to blog about. Like today, no clue. I have not been to a meeting in about ten days. I am going to try to go to one at noon. I also have been working on a manuscript for the better part of 3 years. A memoir about the challenges of getting out prison and basically changing your entire life, then comes along a twist of addiction along the journey. I am not sure what readers are looking for in the memoir genre, however I can tell you my story is about challenge, a journey, a story of real change, for the better good. So, not much else going on, still sober and still moving forward.
“This Too Shall Pass”
AAAHHHHH! Today is one of those days that I don’t need an excuse to drink or use. Today is one of those days when I don’t feel like calling my sponsor or going to a meeting. Today is one of those days that I could easily throw over nine months of sobriety away along with my family, job, finances and pretty much my life.
So what do I do when the reality of sobriety is not that everything is perfect every single day just because I decided not to use or drink. And for no reason whatsoever I feel like drinking and using. Well, yeah, your right for one thing I blog. (there’s nothing getting past you!) And to put it simple and boring, and hold on. I call it a day. The only thing I have to do today is not use and drink, and pick my daughter…and cook dinner….and pick up my meds…and..and…and…!
OKay, breath, (see how easy it is for me to lose control). Let me think this out, what was Day 1 like?
I was a fucking mess. Wife had left months ago, rented out my house, was about to lose the house I was renting, and staying at my parents house because I thought the house I was renting had cameras and audio surveillance. I was currently had a few home remodel job sites going, a paper route and a bag full of dope. I was easily going on a month without sleep, just cat naps here and there, or, like a cat! So it was two in the morning and I was stuck between my laptop and looking out my bedroom window. I pulled up my Facebook, my vision was blurry and I could not remember the last time I ate, however I swore I saw someone had posted a picture of me, in the bedroom on Facebook getting high. I never found that picture again, however I did find a picture of her. Posted fifteen minutes ago. She look stunning, of course she did, she was divorcing me! Why dress up while were married right, I know, I know. Anyway, she was wearing a red sweater over a blue jean skirt and she was drunk and dancing at her sisters party. With guys in the background checking her out, my stomach dropped. I couldn’t drive and I could not talk. I wanted to go over there so bad. I had never felt so helpless and hopeless in my entire life. That picture and that night still haunts me. My wife, happy without me.
So the next day I checked into a treatment center and lived happily ever after…JUST KIDDING….It was really hard work, and still hard work but I got my family back, and our house and my career. At least today I do. So yeah, I guess I’m going to go with “no” on drinking and using today, and I have never gone back to Facebook since then!
So, today is seven months sober. It has been a huge transition from my life back in July 2011, when I started this recovery journey. It has been a complete life change, that at times was not easy. It certainly did not happen over night, however I am starting to smile a little bit more at my current life, thus where “holding on” is huge. It is a process, recovery that is, different phases of sobriety that I am going through and will continue to go through. Today, and it actually started yesterday, I looked forward to my day, to responsibilities, and to my life, sober. I have never woke up or gone to sleep with such content on the upcoming day unless I was in self.
I am not sure what I can offer. My story is the same than everyone else’s. My recovery is the same as well. So what sets me apart? I have no idea. I am not sure how I got sober either. When Manuel asked me, I answered quick with the AA fellowship and the steps. However I have not worked all the steps yet and I have not talked to my sponsor in months. In fact I do not even have a San Antonio sponsor yet. I do know the entire deal was a process that started sixteen months ago. I was talking to Rudy. I knew where my life was headed, and I knew the decisions I would be making over the next few weeks would effect my life for the next fifteen to twenty years. So I made the decision to rent my house out to my sister-n-law. The sole reason being, the party had to stop. I did not want it too, but I did know it had to stop, and it started with this house. My plan was too rent out the house, and go live at the Haven For Hope, a homeless shelter in downtown San Antonio. This is right about the time I bought a pair of hair clippers and started giving myself fades. I wanted to save twenty bucks a month on hair cuts, so I could do more drugs, because in a year that was over two hundred dollars I would be wasting on things other than drugs and alcohol. I wanted to live free at the Haven For Hope and save the incoming rent money. I also wanted to talk to people living at the center, get their stories. The stories CNN dosen’t have time for. No one has time for in fact. Most the people are going to die addicts. Like Manuel. I give him no chance. Southsider, Mexican mafia, addicted to heroin. We had to finally tell him and his girlfriend they had to move out of the metal shed in the backyard of our rental house on the south side San Antonio, that they were living in. I remember a few weeks ago, when I first met Manuel. I told my Dad someone was living in the shed, my Dad blew me off as to say no way, no one could ever live in their especially with this over one hundred degree heat. My father is a very smart and intelligent man, however when comes to addiction and poverty, is has not the slightest clue. Not that he was born into old money, he has worked hard his entire life and gave my sisters and I everything we wanted and needed. But he just does not know the disease of addiction. So Manuel popped up at our rental after the people moved out, and said he gave the renters two hundred dollars a month to stay in the shed. My Dad could not believe it. I asked him what his deal was, he said heroin, and asked me how I could tell? I told because I was an addict also. Then he asked, then why aren’t you high? Because I am six months sober, I replied.
Then that’s when he asked me how?
I was in the metal shed today looking around at the little property that Manuel and his girlfriend had collected over the year of them staying there. I glass jar filled with lighters, I candle with a picture of Jesus Christ laid on the floor. A dingy full size mattress covered most of the cement slab. A loaf a bread on the make shift shelf that is the top of the tube television. Cigarette buds everywhere, dice, shoe string and a sticker that said SUPPORT YOU LOCAL SOUTHSIDE MC. Empty little boxes of anything and everything littered the entire floor. What caught my attention was a certificate, hanging on a nail above the TV and make shift shelf, partially hidden by another piece of paper that had the word JESUS written in pencil. The certificate said MANUEL DIAZ successfully completed DETOX 2012. I have no idea where he and his girl moved too. I heard maybe across the street to someone else’s backyard, yet I have not seen them around.
So, to catch you up…
Shelly is a white girl crack head from Austin that I met at treatment in Wimberlee, Texas. After our discharge I went on to a sober home in San Marcos, Texas and she went on to relapse. I ended up running into her at an AA meeting in San Marcos and persuaded her to live at the sober home I was now managing when she gets out. And she did….however first how I even became a manager with only two months of sobriety…
Jack is a little man. A snake in the grass kind of little man, the sober-home grass. He’s got me by fifteen years in age maybe. He leases the thirteen acres the sober homes are set on, he is the reason why I am sober today. He has his own unique twelve step program that has kept him sober from drinking and crack for nearly twenty years. He is constantly moving, praying and doing service work around the property. But lately he has been acting sketching.
I woke up one morning and noticed Jacks van was no where on the block. That stuck me as odd, however as much as he moves around, I did not let the curiosity get to me. But, the thing that did concern me was the night before. Jack came in my room and we started reading the big book together. He said he was confused about his wife and his girlfriend Trudy. He was shaky. Then he left on a whim.
So, I did not see Jack all morning, and I started to think the worse. I was still trying to stay positive, however when Trudy asked me if I had talk to Jack today, I knew he went out. He was not answer her call, or anyone elses.
The next day, John, the other house manager, a crack-head that has a year of sobriety, said Jack called him, and said he had spun off on a crack binge and he was now in detox. Jack also said to tell me, I was in charge of the top floor, which is all women.
That night three other people used and drank and got kicked out. I had to escort them off the property in the middle of the night…..I almost drank and used myself, but that’s next weeks story.