So much to be thankful for, however fist rigorous honesty. The mix cocktail of winter, the holidays and working late nights, literally leaves the taste of my addiction on the tip of my tongue. I guess it does not matter how much sobriety I have, or think I have. The reality is I only have today, and even some days I only have seconds. Only a true addict who has everything and more in life on Thanksgiving eve, would somehow think picking up and using would make their entire life better. That’s just how we think.
So I have not been to a meeting in weeks due to my new night shift that I am working. So some of this is a result of not being involved in my daily sobriety with sober friends. I realize that even though I am physically in a good place, my mind is drifting to what I think might be a better one. “Only if,” hits me hard as I package random items at the warehouse each night. “Only if,” I were single, “only if” I moved to the east coast, “only if” I had a boat for me and my dog Colt to be left alone unbothered. This crazy thinking grows a little stronger each night as I depart on my 45 minute drive home at 5am after work. My sponsor whom I have not talk to in weeks, would tell me to quickly get to a meeting. He would tell to take a look at myself, what am I doing wrong and whats really going on?
Well, I think the truth is simple. I’m an addict.
So as the tornado of random thoughts chase me away from sobriety, I hold tight to what I know for sure, which is my goal for today, the hour and minutes, is to stay sober no matter what.
And sometimes, that’s what I have to do.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving my fellow addicts, I know its hard, especially during the holidays. I understand and feel your addiction. I get you. However I want you to get this, using and drinking will end our lives. Keep it minute by minute if you have to, but stay sober no matter what.
J-Keeping it Real
I heard a guy in a meeting once say, “If you stay sober long enough, you will relive your life over, sober, I guarantee it.”
It’s been my experience so far, 21 months sober, that the statement rings true, if you stay sober long enough.
Feeling and experiencing emotions that I had not felt since a kid, good or bad, is a pretty cool deal. Not drinking or using over it is even better.
I am convinced that mentally, that we get to a point in our sobriety that we do go back to the point when we started using and drinking to cover up feelings that we didn’t want or know how to deal with. So in a sense, at 39, I’m mentally growing up again.
I think with given time in sobriety, one can look back and figure out somethings. Maybe what the true root of our addiction without even trying. And the exciting, cool part of it is that it just comes to us, again, if we stay sober long enough.
I can be driving, and a thought, a flash, a memory comes to me from my childhood, maybe a missing part of my past that makes a lot things suddenly make sense, or a story that I remembered one way, but it really happened anther way. Its like our brains clear up and for the first time, well for me two decades, it functions without toxins.
I dont know, its some new and weird stuff for me. And what I do know, the key is to keep doing what ever kind of recovery your doing, on a daily basis, no matter what. Spirituality, sobriety, balance, meditation, exercise, taking action and applying sobriety and recovery to all our daily affairs, on good or bad days however you define them, will get you there. That, I guarantee!
Im grateful to be here, and grateful to share!
So the fall breeze settles in like a jump shooter finding his rhythm on the court. Well, not really. Its still pretty hot and humid outside. The cool days will be in and out however the memories are still with me as if my last drunk and drug were yesterday. October is my favorite month as well as probably the highest risk of relapse. It is something to be concerned over but meetings and sponsor are still apart of my daily recovery so I don’t give much value to my cravings as the cool breeze hits the back of my neck making my little hairs stick out. But I am mindful.
I am finally starting to settle down. My life has been out of sync for the past two weeks with the show, the press box and high school broadcasting. My major stress is money, however I have put everything in front of my sobriety and I am trying now to get my life aligned back with my recovery. Its easy to get distracted from your daily sobriety goals when life starts to speed up, especially if its going good. So I have to literally break my day down into little small goals, even at over 21 months sober. This second I need to brush my teeth, then wash my face, next decide on a shirt to wear. That how detailed I have to break my life down sometimes. Its also easy to forget the small yet priceless joys of life, like my daughter clinging onto my neck, my wife starting a simple conversation about whatever, Kenny, one of three dogs, jumping up on my lap, and feeding Colt from under the dining room table at dinner time. Typing my blog, in the morning after my paper route, while working on my third cup of coffee. So when my life gets crazy, with the good or bad, I break it down to the simple things and I realize once again I am truly grateful and blessed to start my day, sober.
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.
Step six and seven. Truly letting go of my past and defects. Making my road to recovery and connection with my higher power as clear as it has ever been for the first time in my life. Truly moving forward in my life and sobriety. I have held on tight to this point, now its time to let go and completely trust in my higher power to lead me, as if for not, I am wasting valuable drinking and using time.
So at fifteen months in sobriety I finally realize that its not all about me! I’ve always felt that my disease is special. That my addiction is unique. I’ve always felt that my story is this amazing book, filled with exciting antidotes that only I lived to tell about. This amazing product that tells the secret of living sober! And, well, its not. Not even close. For the past twenty-three years it has been all about me and letting go of that mentality takes work.
Accepting that I’m not the only one living in sobriety has opened my mind more to the fellowship of my recovery and translates over to meeting new sober friends and listening to stories in recovery, not just obsessing over mine.
It feels good, not rolling my eyes in a meeting because I think my story is better than the person sharing. I’ve been humbled, and that’s a huge step forward in my sobriety.
Sobriety, no matter how you work your recovery, is so much more than just not drinking and using. Its about living sober, moving forward, and taking you life back, one breath at a time. And it takes a lot of work.
So I ran into one of my best friends from high school who I haven’t seen in over fifteen months. The last time we were together I was high and drunk riding a seven day binge that ended in my second treatment in six months. There he was, of all places at my daughters soccer game last Saturday morning. He was there with his grandson who played on a team that played before my daughters team. I could of kept walking and he would of never saw me, however I screamed his nick-name across the field.
While I ran with a gang in high school, some twenty years ago, I still have the habit of scanning the scene where ever I go and that’s how I spotted Jose.
Now when I started my journey in sobriety back in July of 2012 one of the things that I could not accept was giving up old friends. Eventually I relapsed (a horrible one by the way). So the second time around even though it was hard, I killed all social media as well as my phone number that Ive carried for the past ten years.
When I moved back to my house with my wife, back in the old neighborhood, I had a great concern about running into old friends. However, I realized it was important that I close those relationships properly, even if my last words to them is, “sure, Ill call you later!”
I don’t feel I need to explain to anyone what I went through the last fifteen months, after twenty-three years of using and drinking, however I do feel its very important to close the relationship, either by phone of in person. Yeah, I’m probably not going to call Jose later, and have no intention to do so. But if that’s what I need to say in order to say goodbye to an old friend, well then that’s what I’m going to do.
So one-by-one throughout the last year or so, Ive been saying, “hi” and “bye” to a lot of close friends.
I can not deny having thoughts of my old friends and what it would be like to still hang-out. (I know that will lead me to relapse). That’s why its important to shut that door to move forward in sobriety, to release those thoughts and any reservation that might be still living in my mind.
Every thing in life, no matter how big or small, must come to an end in order for someone or something to begin or move on. And that includes saying goodbye to old friends.
The homeless-old man ask me if I could spare some change.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m going to buy a beer with it,” he said proudly.
In a way, I respected that, and in a way, I was jealous. Drinking first thing in the morning use to be a trait of mine.
I pulled out my “year chip” and handed it to him.
“What’s this?” he asked.
I’ve been sober for over a year after 23 years of using and drinking.
“Well Ive been drinking for over forty years, and Im pretty good at it,” he said.
There was a time when I wasn’t trying to hear it. My higher power himself could of stood right in front of me and explained that I was an addict and how to get help and I would have not listened.
I came in from the chaos, when I was finally tired, miserable and hopeless. It took me twenty-three years to get there. Not everyone has to get to that point, but I did.
He gave me my chip back and I handed him two bucks. This was my first attempt to try to help someone outside my recovery program.