Making Connections

I shared my story for the first time as the speaker at a meeting last night.  I was nervous at first.  Who wouldn’t be?  When you share your story, you’re bearing your soul — to a room full of people that you don’t know.

But there’s magic in those rooms.  The people who fill them understand each other in ways that those on the outside simply do not.  Once I got started, I fell into an easy cadence and was able to speak with clarity and confidence. Continue reading

The Greatest Gift

Of all the gifts I gave or received this year for Christmas, the greatest gift is my sobriety.  I did a calculation yesterday and figured that this was the first Christmas I’d been sober in 27 years.

That is not completely accurate, my wife was expecting in 2007 and I know that I didn’t drink on Christmas day that year because we didn’t know when the baby would get here. If Mr. Grey hadn’t been on the way, I certainly would have been drinking.

In those 27 years, I there were many when I drank in moderation, perhaps even normally, but in the past 7 there was nothing moderate or normal about my drinking.  And my recollections of those Christmases are somewhat foggy.

But not this year.  This year, I was sober and it was the greatest gift I could have given — to myself, and to my family. Continue reading

Three Months: It doesn’t ever have to be like that again.

Today marks three months since I traded in my drinking shoes for a pair of sober boots.

“It’s taken me a long time to get here.”

That’s what I said when I introduced myself at the first meeting.  In fact, it’s all I said.  Defeated, I was surrendering.

My healing began that day, though I didn’t know or recognize it.  I have been fortunate in my recovery, I’ve undergone trans-formative healing in a short period of time.  Others have told me that it took years for them to see the progress I’ve made in a few short months. Continue reading

Adams County Roads

Single car accidents happen —
testosterone, horsepower, and
speed limits ignored,
roads winding and rolling
over the land, more dangerous
than sex, cigarettes, or booze;
ingredients to disasters
at sixteen and a half —
on icy cold winter nights.

— D.E.D 2015
© @soberboots


surrender |səˈrendər|
verb [ no obj. ]
cease resistance to an enemy or opponent

In the United States, we live in a culture of winners and losers.  Our heroes are sports personalities, celebrities, the military, and super-heroes.  Our culture teaches us to be self-reliant and to “never give up,” to “fight the good fight,” and to “win.”  Surrender is antithetical to our national identity and is not part of our national lexicon.

Only the weak surrender.  Surrender is never part of the plan.

On the day that I decided to quit drinking I wrote in my journal that I needed to fight like a warrior against this foe that would ultimately kill me.  That sounded good at the time.

That’s what I knew.

I’d been fighting alcoholism for a very long time.  In retrospect, possibly for over 20 years.  I haven’t decided when I crossed the line of drinking socially to drinking alcoholically.  Maybe I went back and forth across it a few times.

I thought that I needed to fight this addiction; that somehow I could win, even though I couldn’t imagine what winning looked like.

I realize now that I was fighting not against the addiction but rather against the idea of sobriety. I couldn’t win a war with alcohol. The true war was within myself.

I was afraid of what a sober life would look like.  I was afraid of giving up something that felt like it was a part of me, of missing my drinks, of missing out on fun.

And so I battled against the idea of giving up the drink entirely for years.  And it only got worse.  I tried to moderate and it only got worse.  I went from being a weekly drinker, to being a daily drinker.  I went from a few beers, to a half a bottle of bourbon and a few beers, daily.  I started to have blackouts.

I’d found a hell from which there seemed to be no way to escape.
There was no way I was going to conquer the booze.  The booze had conquered me.

And ultimately, it was going to ruin everything I had in my life.  If I continued to drink, I was on a path that would destroy my life; my relationships with my wife and my son, and ultimately me.

So, I surrendered.

I surrendered to the fact that I’m addicted to alcohol, to the fact that my drinking was not normal, and to the fact that if I want to live, I have to do it without the booze. I gave up the fight and acknowledged that I couldn’t drink alcohol.

Addiction never ends well.  Death and destruction are universal truths in the story of addiction.

The only way to win the war is to surrender and start living a sober life.