I want nothing more than to write an uplifting celebratory post about the journey I’ve taken over the past 12 months. I can’t seem to do it. Since August of last year I’ve struggled with inner demons, circularly argued with myself until I wanted to scream, cried so hard I couldn’t speak and taken solace in the fact that AJ will always be by my side, she’s proven it in spades. Every time I open wordpress or my journal I get about a paragraph in with happy thoughts about my family, positive emotions, confidence in my abilities to keep on the straight and narrow but it feels disingenuous as all fuck. All of those feelings are valid but that asshole voice in my head occasionally informs me that I could still feel all of that with a beer. I’m ecstatic that I’ve come this far but there’s a part of me that so desperately wants to celebrate with a drink. I fucking hate that part of me. What am I taking about? August 1st of last year. I had just gotten back from roughly a month in Louisiana. My emotions were already in turmoil because I felt my life was falling apart due to external factors beyond my control coupled with my affinity for sny drink alcoholic. I was sitting at the dining room table with AJ. We were working on a puzzle when Skyler approached me coyly wanting to ask me a question, hesitated then decided against it. We asked him why he changed his mind about asking, a fairly innocuous question for a parent to ask their child. He looked at me with his head upturned, caution on his…told me he didn’t want to ask because often times my default response was to scream at him… I wanted to write a super happy celebratory blog post about one specific accomplishment this past year. On the outside I am crazy excited about having a dry year. Exactly one year ago today AJ and Skyler ripped my world apart. I felt like they collectively ripped my soul out, shat on it then replaced it. My world was flipped, for the better mind you, but at the time I wanted to simply hear what they had to say, nod in the appropriate places, then go get wrecked. Every time I try to positively journal about my journey I hit a road block. I’ve realized its because this monkey will probably never leave my back.
I wanted to spend some time waxing philosophic about my 17 year or so love affair with alcohol but it’s apparently a little more difficult that I assumed it would be. On this topic I appear to be at a loss for coherent words. Today i’m one year sober. I can’t say for sure whether I was a full blownsies alcoholic (nobody wants to admit that shit though, right) but AJ was constantly worried about my consumption habits which, in retrospect, were definitely out of control. The most insidious threat I’ve ever faced. I spent a lot of time drinking for a multitude of reasons: to mask emotions and escape difficulties…shit I neither wanted to process nor deal with. I neglected my responsibilities as a father and husband in service to the great hops gods. I also drank socially/recreationally. But is recreationally really the right word? Can a nearly all consuming, obsessive habit be considered recreational if it starts to negatively affect your actual life? I think not. AJ told me one year ago today that she was considering taking the kids and going back to Alabama if I didn’t figure myself out… recreational habit my ass!
So here I sit, an emotional wreck, happy to have made it this far yet deeply conflicted by the monkey I’m now assuming will most likely be on my back, to some degree, for the duration of my journey on this planet. I’ve done some shitty things on behalf of booze. Mostly I shat on relationships, shat on my self-respect and had a couple (that I can actually remember) close calls with my life. I’ve got scars to serve as reminders of some of the stupid fuckin decisions I made; yet, I can also look upon them fondly. Let them serve as reminders of the muck I crawled myself out of.
This journey is a process. One that is both physically and emotionally draining at times. I get stuck in patterns of self abuse for ways I acted in the past while drunk, not thinking that those times are behind me now and in order to move on I have to forgive myself. I think forgiving myself comes swiftly on the heels of making amends to those I may have wronged. So here is where I’ll leave this… if you feel I’ve caused you suffering or harm while under the influence, please know I’m both deeply sorry and terribly embarrassed. I feel like I owe direct apologies and, as such, I’m working on that.
“I’m sober now for twelve whole months, it’s one accomplishment that you helped me with.
The one thing that always tore us apart is the one thing I won’t touch again.
In my grateful way I want to thank you for tolerating my bullshit late at night.
While I was busy waging wars with myself you were trying to stop the fight.”
Nothing helps a person through something like this better than a positive… anchoring force. Nobody should have to go at recovery alone and luckily I have a partner who is both insanely understanding and super patient. AJ is an ever present comforting factor in my life and, being one of the catalysts of this great change, I’m not sure I could weather this storm without her.
If anyone reading this knows someone caught in the throes of substance abuse or addiction (or you are personally) , please know there is help out there. I found solace in a Buddhist based 12 step program but there are state and federal funded options as well. Please, please, please help yourself. Whatever your substance of choice is, I can tell you this: that mother fucker doesn’t love you at all, but there are people in your life who do. They’re tired of sitting back and watching you destroy yourself. Also, and I can guarantee you this, you’re not having as much fun as you may think you are.
If those options don’t work for you and you just maybe want to talk to a kindred spirit, I’m here as well. Send me a message on Facebook, drop me an email, comment on WordPress, whatever. It just takes one forward motion to get the ball to recovery rolling.