Six Years Sober: The By-Product of working a Program is Happiness

Upon the New Year, I am not one to reflect on the past 365 days. Reflection for me, comes 13 days after. Six years ago, I was at my parents house, on the couch, slamming beers so I could come down off meth. I had $82 in my pocket,  but nobody would answer their phone. Three beers were left, and I was coming in and out of consciousness. To put it bluntly, I fucked up again. With the seconds it took to hit a pipe, my life went straight back to were it had lived for the past two decades. My wife left me, again. The little job I had only worked one day at, I lost. And the insanity in my mind once again, woke.

I didn’t want to go back to treatment. But no one would take my call. Even drug dealers wanted nothing to do with me.

“You need help,” one said.

I even had to lie, to buy drugs. I had to convince one,  that the drugs were for someone else. My options were this: 1) Die, 2) Go back to treatment. By the way, nobody should be in a place in their life where those are your only two options. That’s not normal. And yes, I actually showed up to treatment with $82 in my pocket, and three beers left in the fridge. (that’s the real tragedy!)

I hated treatment. I hated sober living. It was not fun going back. I was miserable. Again I had two options: 1) Die, 2) Work a program. So I gave it a shot.

I want to make something clear. I just didn’t wake up six years later, and have a family, career, education, sports broadcasting opportunities and most of all a life. Today my family and the people I have in my life along with the success Ive had at a career and education, are by-products of hard work in sobriety. Some days, I am so excited to go sleep, because I am so excited for the next day. Or, some days I want to stab my eye with a pencil. However, whatever kind of day it is, drinking and using are not an option. I woke up six years sober today, and I’m fucking proud of it! #stillSober

 

 

Ending Sunday Night

I’m watching the game and I’m watching my son. I had to run outside really quick to shut off the pump to the pool and when I got back my kid had plastic chair over him. I..don’t know what happen, other than I wasn’t there. Colt keeps jumping the fence. I don’t know from where, but he consistently jumps at least three times a day. He’s chipped and has tags, plus our address is written on his red collar. So at least one time a day my wife gets a call from a stranger telling her they have Colt in their car, if she can meet them to pick him up. I’m grateful for such nice people, personally I wouldn’t stop and put a dog in my car. But some people will, and that’s great. I wondering what I will walk into at work tomorrow. Coming off the weekend, our 9am staff meeting will have enough weekend staff reports that will take two hours to go over every client. I have a game tomorrow night, Friday career day and a game, and some time during the week I have to get a new drivers license since I lost mine. I’m making progress on my manuscript which is a good feeling. And now my wife is yelling, “go with daddy,” to Jaxson.

I’m tired of working hard for others.

Finally a second to breathe! I turned in my “final paper” last night and am done with class for this semester. There was a time, early in recovery where I was working hard as an employee and a student. Always feeling like I had to prove myself. Saying “yes” to everything even if that meant saying “no” to my family. Yeah there was a sense of, I am working hard for my family, but when does that end and turn into just not being around. It’s hard being mindful of that today, however I have learned to say “no,” I don’t want to do that extra thing at work or school. I don’t want to be away from my family when I don’t have too. Today, I don’t have to validate my self-worth, I am worthy today, no matter how the day unfolds.

Maybe it’s just life

This is how I feel today.

I can’t tell the difference sometimes. I feel like when I have a lot going on, all of my choosing, I not only feel like it’s too much, I feel like I’m failing at life. It’s like I have work, school, other work, family and personal hobbies and they all come at me at once and I fail at all of them. I had the thought of quitting everything this week, other than my job. Then it gets dark. Internal. It gets so dark I can physically feel the weight on my upper chest and arm. It’s like I am sore, however I haven’t worked out in over a week. I feel like yelling or crying. I use to get this feeling in addiction. However, with it, a tornado of horrible choices and reaction. Today I just sit with the feeling, knowing I have to hold it together. Maybe it’s just life. Maybe this is what every other person who is doing the right thing goes through. It’s almost like nothing brings me joy, with the exception of walking into my house full of family, that always perks me up. But I don’t see the reason for the in-between depression of life and going back home. I’m literally at work, wearing a storm jacket, and it’s 90 degrees out.

Maybe it’s time for a gratitude list.

Walk Towards the Cheers: The Battle with Social Anxiety

Season Opener vs UNM, Sept. 1st, Dreamstyle Stadium

 

Dreamstyle Stadium

I had no idea what to except. I had not been to a practice all summer. And If I’m being honest, I didn’t want to broadcast this season. I wanted to spend my Saturday’s with Jax. However, the trade for broadcasting college football in exchange for free grad school I still could not pass up.
The charter flight left Friday. I bought my own ticket to fly out Saturday morning due to a work conflict. My new job doesn’t allow the luxury of making my own schedule like last season. After I switched planes, I arrived at my destination. I used my phone to order a Lyft. The driver had a welcoming setup in the backseat. A tray of mints sat in the middle of the backseat, (I took advantage of the butterscotch). Hand sanitizer and tissue were a arm lengths away. The little trash can kept the floorboard clean of wrappers. The driver worked at Car Wash and was let off early due to the weather. He had been driving Lyft for 3 weeks. Instead of taking the clouds that covered the surrounding mountain view, I contemplated leaving a tip.
Brian was sitting in the lobby. He was surrounded by his wife and probably parents of the players would be my guess. It was good to see him. It was even better that he asked,
“Hey, you’re flying back with us, right?”
That told me Cari, who is the knew Zach, was on it, as far as communicating information.

Field

I ran into coach going up the elevator. I asked him about his emotions going into his first colligate game as a head coach as if I was doing an assessment on a client. Coach his “Rocky” face on. Something told me coach’s mind was racing.
As I walked into the hotel room I threw my bags on the bed closest to the door. Chris was checking the football scores. I order an overpriced burger (which was worth every penny,) from room service and Chris and I talked about this year’s team. Three o’clock came around and we met the team in the back of the hotel to depart to the stadium.
Down stairs, a hallway leading to the back door led us to three buses. The buzz of opening season danced in harmony throughout the narrow hallway. I gave a nod to the “new Zach,” to let her know I was there and she nodded back as if to communicate to me: I know you’re here, I obviously see you. I saw coach. He poured himself a cup water, from a table that clearly stated break staff only. As I watched everyone buzz with excitement for the game, my feet back peddled inch-by-inch until my backpack leaned against the wall. Brian was talking and smiling with a group of alumni. Cari was walking around with a note pad, as if she had a list of small tasks to do before we departed for Dreamstyle Stadium. The camera guy, who should have been Anthony, (but that’ an entirely different story.) was strolling around like he was back in the hood. But at least he was comfortable. Chris saved me by asking if I wanted to go save our seats on the bus.

Broadcast Ready!

One of the first things I love to do when I get to a stadium is set foot on the field. It’s like a safe space. I take a few steps on the synthetic blades of grass and took a 360 view of the stadium. There is just something about being on the field. It just feels right. Much like the press box, which literally a hamster aquarium. You have your privacy, but the walls are all glass. In every direction you are visible to the other teams’ staff. The IT and SID are always cool. My counterpart asked for name pronunciations for some of our players. I nodded my head a lot. I had no idea if he was pronouncing the names correctly.

Crossing the line

A friend was sharing when he believes he crossed the line in addiction. I thought it was an interesting phrase to use. Crossing the line is not “hitting your bottom,” or realizing that you have a problem. It is more doing something that you thought you would never do.

Here are a few examples that I experienced where I believe I crossed the line.

One time I was so desperate to get money for drugs I gathered my desktop computer, monitor, key boards and mouse in effort to go pawn. The only thing was that every component was a different brand. The computer a HP, the keyboard Del, etc. The pawn shop guy looked at me like I was crazy. To his point, he was correct. I was so upset that he rejected my stuff. Pawning stuff for me was definitely crossing the line. 

Another example is when I needed a few bucks for beer. I felt like I was going to die if I didn’t get some kind of substance in my body. My daughter who was in elementary school at the time, had a piggy bank that I raided for change. Come to think of it, I believe I owe her a few bucks. But stealing from my daughters piggy bank for me, was crossing the line.

Knowing at the time, that I was doing something that I thought I would never do still did not get my to stop using and drinking. It actually gave me shame that fueled my use. But today, I don’t even get anywhere close to that line.

What are some times that you felt you “crossed the line in your addiction? Please share!!

#crossingTheLine

Using your job as a recovery program

I can’t remember the last time I went to a meeting. If I was being nice to myself I would say about a month. And I did text my sponsor last week. But yeah, it’s been awhile. I got caught off guard while doing a process group last week. I don’t announce that I am in recovery, because my journey has nothing to do with someone else’s sobriety unless I’m sharing my story which in that case it would be to give my experience, strength, and hope. As a counselor, my recovery should not be a tool for me to use. It’s unethical and unprofessional. But when clients ask, it’s a quick yes and I change the subject. However you tell one person, and the entire campus will know. My mistake.

In process group, silence and can be a tool, it also can work against you. I like the silence when nobody wants to share. It’s gets the group uncomfortable, and forces the unsettling idea that they have to sit with their feelings without using and drinking over them. It’s just a matter of time, until the emotion is translated into words. However, when the group ends early, and there is an extra ten minutes or so, I hate reaching. For the sake of time, I don’t try to drag something out of someone. If groups over, its over. No need to force something for the sake of time. And that’s when the small talk comes out. And that’s when they asked me,

“Sir, when’s the last time you went to a meeting?”

“uhh”

“I don’t remember,” I mutter. And dam, as soon the “R” left my lips I knew I was toast. The group roared in unison, “what!”

“Hey guys, my recovery’s not perfect, the only thing I need to do perfect is not drink or use today.”

Yeah they saw right through that bullshit and let me have it. It was all good, I probably needed it. But I did start thinking:

What the fuck, people who say you can’t use your job as your recovery program are full of it, so my disease says! I know, I was just trying to justify my lack of meetings. I mean I know my job isn’t my recovery program but dam if I haven’t worked with people like me for the past four years! And the last thing I want to do is go to a meeting when I get home from my 1 hour drive from work! (That’s my disease talking again!) Ugh…I’m just not feeling the meetings this summer I guess.

But honestly, If it weren’t for my job I don’t know if I’d be sober, seriously.

Ok, that was my disease again!

Sigh……