So the first week of 2017 went well. I set some work and play boundaries and life is flowing along great. I’m staying under 40 hours a week, I hit the gym three times for a little 15 minute work out and I wrote every night this week even if it was just one sentence. I took the Facebook, Amazon and Ebay apps of my iphone and kept my budget. I think the real test will come tonight and tomorrow. Those are the days that I plan to do “nothing!” Sounds easy right? Well, if you could see the ideas running through my head right now. I should finish that book, paint the garage, record a podcast, or write a book and a podcast about painting the garage! Maybe I should sell all the technology devices we don’t use anymore on Ebay, maybe I should bid on something, or maybe I should bid on my own auctions! To sit and do nothing is a huge challenge for me. And I don’t know what would make me crazy more, the challenge of doing nothing, or the million little tasks I schedule myself between now and Saturday morning. Maybe I need some type of direction all the time. And structure, maybe people like me can’t be alone with myself. I know on thing, once I hit publish on this blog…
I was walking Colt around the block this morning and I think my “fixation on cars following me” kicked in because I started to notice every car that drove around me. Even parked cars blocks away caught my attention. It’s funny now, but back then it was pretty scary. I know today I can shake it off and change my thoughts to something positive pretty quick. Or something can happen that gets my attention like locking myself out of my house.
Real slick Jaime, real slick!
So Colt and I hopped over the fence to search for an open window or unlocked door and NOPE! With Colt looking at my all crazy, I noticed my kid’s bathroom window was open, but to get in I had to cut the screen. Years ago this would have set me off, but today my thinking is:
I can fix a screen, but I can’t fix a relapse.
So I wedge myself though the window and when I get in I receive a phone call. It was a friend from back in the day
when I was using. They ask if I know a plumber. Of course I don’t. But I go on to ask about the guys. Now at the end of my using the guys I hung with were like brothers to me. Ride-or-die partners in crime. It was us against the world and heavy into drugs. They are people I still think about and wish them well. So I ask about them…and well, they’re all the same but worse. One guy has new charges and facing prison time again. Another has a CPS case pending on them. Another married his daughters best friend who had a in prison. They all moved into my friends mom’s house. Which forces the daughter to have to move out because she went to prison for child abuse. Yup, one big happy family, and they are all still using. Oh and by the way all my friends hate each other now and don’t even hang out.
So I told my friend two things:
I’m so lucky I went to treatment when I did and…
You need to get the fuck away from everyone.
And to be honest, I feel good that everyone is doing bad. I know that sucks, but I made the right choice thus once and for all SMASHING ALL RESERVATIONS!
So finally a day off, (huge exhale!). I guess my plan going into the hot summer days of the South Texas heat had always been to “grind-it-out.” However working 12 hours days, five in a week, gave new meaning to my phrase “the grinding summer.” I am not sure if it’s my addiction why I am working so much. You know, the whole, “take everything to the extreme” because I am a true addict or maybe I feel all the wasted summers of me not working needs to be somehow “made-up” in three months. Whatever the case, I do feel spiritually connected not only to the bright clear night sky that host the stars that shine upon the Texas Hill Country treatment center, but God’s creatures that run the drug and alcohol rehab, when the sun sets.
As the classes are done for the day, and groups are all out. I can count on Jim and Terry to be sitting by the pond, which sits next to the main entrance. I try to sneak up on them, driving my little golf cart off-road and barley touching the peddle to slowly creep up. The tires snapping every inch of dry grass and twigs, Jim spots me, “a mile away, he says with a smirk. Jim told me about the Coy fish that lives in the nearly dried out pond. I didn’t believe him at first. I mean the pond looks perfectly placed on the treatment center website, however up close, we probably could be sued for false adverting. (That’s Sarcasm!) I was sure nothing but minnows and the turtle I found about 3 weeks ago wobbling across the parking lot, were the only creatures that could survive the water. As Jim throws cat food into the pond to attract the Coy, Terry sits in a smoke-shack chair right next to Jim, staring aimlessly into the algae that sits atop. Terry, about 20 years older than Jim, comes to the pond every night. Just to stare. Into what, I have no idea.
Jim grabs a handful of cat food from the nurses station cat bowl. Which, lately a doe comes up all the way to the side walk every night. Right about the time the Coy fish waves his white tale so just the tip clips the water surface to prove me wrong, the doe comes and eats the cat food out the of the bowl. The white cat with the Chinese eyes, always politely sits a waits for the doe to finish. By the time the doe finishes, I make my way to the cat food bag and refill the bowl for Chinese eyes.
At first I thought the doe might have been “Daisy,” which was the detox deer that would come up and eat right out of our hands. Daisy was lost from her mother, and with a scar on her stout. Maybe from getting caught on barbed wire would be my guess. But like clock work, Daisy would be at the detox fence line every morning to eat an apple or cereal, whatever I could find really, and ate it right out of my hand.
As the night sets in, and the animals are all fed, the two “twin” foxes come out and play in the field. With my flash light I catch their eyes only. I spot one, then about 20 feet away I catch the other. Then they play this game of stop-in-go, or freeze tag all through the open field between detox and residential.
At last, I go and find the newest person on campus. They’re easy to find. They’re usually the ones that are walking around were they are not suppose to be walking around. Always by themselves. Always with a heavy mind. How did I end up here? After I instruct them where not to walk, I tell them one more things:
I’ve got a brutal work schedule the last week or so. Working 6 out of 7 twelve hour days has got my mind in shock! So our kid is home after graduating from the Marines. It was an awesome experience to be a part of, and I am so proud of her. We have had our battles, (me and her) and she has definitely and literally seen the worst in me and my addiction. I would say out of the 3 girls, she got the worst of it. Not that the other 2 didn’t suffer any neglect. My youngest I lost at a carnival when she was like 4, she will probably be scarred for life, and even though she is just 11, she is like her mother, doesn’t forget anything, especially if it’s of my decision making. The middle kid, well I was just flat out was never there for her. No excuses, I was never there. I’m still not there for her. My goal is to stay sober and be ready if she ever needs me for anything. But the truth is, there are a lot of people she can call if she needs something, before she calls me. And that’s something I’ve accepted.
In recovery I’ve realized that for somethings I can never make up. In some people’s eyes, I may never be a good father, son, brother, husband or friend. I may have done to much or to little. But I have also learned that even though I have accepted that, I don’t have to dwell or live in it. I can only move forward, make amends when I can and most of all stay and live sober to be ready for when someone I’ve hurt while in my addiction, may need a hand.
So my schedule is a little bit spun around now that I’ve moved to days. I constantly check my phone to remind myself which days we are on! However now that I have more time to do stuff on my days off, I do have less time to blog if that makes sense. So here’s a quick reminder of why we do the things we do!
About a week ago I was sitting at Starbucks with the one person who showed up to my once a month, “How to create a podcast” group, ( I know, my life is so freakin exciting that your literally foaming at the mouth word by word), when the “Love Song” by the Cure, cover song came on. No, I’m sorry it was a Chris Isaak, “Wicked Game” cover song that came on, (I know, I can’t believe you’re following me either) and it immediately triggered my mind to find the girl who was singing it. I was like OMG, that sounds so good! So while I was ignoring the only member of the group babble on, a familiar hot flash came over me as I was searching the gallows of Itunes. The obsession of desiring and seeking a song that would somehow make my life perfect merged with the obsession to drink and use just one more time. The taste of that “dark freedom” took my current reality back to a time where the only responsibility was no responsibility. The innocent moment of searching for a pretty cool song, quickly vaporized into a feeling of extreme urgency to watch the movie “Spun”, which for the 3 days prior to my last relapse in 2012, I obsessionally watched over and over. And over. This all happened in a period less than about 3 minutes, however it felt as if I took a trip for years.
Back in Starbucks I realized where my mind was, and where my feet actually were. Then I weighed my options. 1. I could ride the wave of old memories being that well, all they really are is thoughts. 2. I could blow off the entire ordeal and act as if nothing happened. 3. I could take action.
I picked 3, and I texted a few members in my recovery program. At over 3 years sober, I actually had to tell someone I was in a bad place emotionally as if I was back on day 1. And for that I stayed sober another day. The morale of the story, which should really be, “Don’t go to Starbucks and listen to cover songs from Chris Isaak,” is no matter how far along you are sober, picking up the phone and calling or texting someone when your life feels a little weird can save your sobriety. And your life.
I am huge on morning routines, however I am a little embarrassed to say my own personal routine has swayed a bit. And I can tell because when I am all pissed-off and it is only 7:16am I realize something has to change. First, I give myself a little credit to recognize I am in a state of “pissiness” (not sure if that’s a word), and that I need to change something. In the past, I would have teased the morning until I put some type of mind altering substance in my body. And well, that is my recovery program working in my life today. So thumbs up to that.
And to be honest, I am not 100% sure how I am going to replace the little bad habits of the morning with good little habits but I am sure of one thing, and that is Four Ways How Not to Start Your Morning ritual.
Facebook: I literally roll over, grab my “mini-ipad” and check out my social media. And I can guarantee you, there is going to be a post, picture, comment or a “campaign ad” that I do not like thus starting my day upset.
Email: Now this one takes a little effort. I actually have to get up and walk. And before my first cup, I stumble to my desktop and check my email as if I am someone of importance. In prison this would be called “pain-freaking.” As in, I love to torture myself. When I check my inbox, nothing but spam, social media notifications and bills. And I know they are there before I even open my mail. “Pain-freaking.”
Skipping Meditation: This one has just got way out of control. There is prayer and there is mediation. And even though I can always whip out a 30 second prayer anytime-anyplace, that is not the same as a “reading” and ponder in a place of serenity. In other words, skipping a few sentence in the morning to whatever book I choose and neither reflecting on it, sets the stage for a really bad morning.
Coffee, or lack-there-of: For some reason I’ve been skipping my morning cups. To my defense I am trying to cut back on the contest of how many cups of black coffee can I drink in a day, but the mistake I am making is I’m not replacing the cups with anything good. I have some research to do this week.
So that is it, how not to start your morning. And for the next step, well that’s going to take a little work and effort. Finding the solution to morning woes. However, I’m on it!
Pain-Freak: When you know your team is going to lose, but you sit there until the last second of the clock ticks-off anyway. Pain-Freak.
So my little dog Kenny Boy had to get stitches this week. I worked Saturday night and so Sunday I planned to sleep all day, because I had to go right back to work in the evening. However, my wife woke me with that “wife voice” that something is truly wrong. I love the way she is assertive I might add. She said, “You need to get up,” oppose to asking. I can respect that though, it meant something is very, very wrong.
Well it turns out Kenny Boy was bitten on the back by Manu, our lab mix. They were playing outside and Manu went up to the fence to bark at our neighbor and Kenny Boy came up from behind and Manu snapped at him causing two punctures. So I got up and took Kenny Boy to vet with my daughter. My wife was actually working at the time (she works from home) and could not take Kenny Boy herself.
So I took her bank card. We both were not sure how much it would be, but both loving our pets we were prepared to pay what it took. I felt bad though, not having a savings for this type of thing. But I knew this was or should be my responsibility. I remembered the time when I was in addiction and our dog Colt got injured, my wife had to come over to the vet and pay the $300 bill because I could not.
However with Kenny Boy, they did offer a credit line if I was approved. So I gave it a shot, so maybe my wife would not have to pay, and I was approved. So it made me feel better that even though I could not pay the $500 bill for Kenny Boy’s stitches, at least I got the credit and can pay it off monthly. And that’s something my recovery and sobriety has given me. Credit.
So I am dreading this dental appointment I have in about half and hour. Not the actual cleaning, however just appointment itself. The office I go to always tries to get me scheduled in for this or that, and I like my Fridays free of appointments of any kind. I guess it’s still hard for me to say no, maybe a sign of codependency, or always worried that random people who I have absolutely no connection with will not like me.
I always think as well, can they tell I was an addict when they look at my teeth, or when my doctor looks up my nose on my regular check-up’s. There is always that bit of silence, during the examine when I wonder, “Can they tell, and if they can, what are they thinking?”
Remember everyone, our addiction, disease, vice or whatever you call it does not take a break for the weekend, keep doing what your doing no matter what!!