Fighting the Lizard Brain

I’ve been very proud of myself for how things have been going with my sobriety. Maybe too proud. Sometime around 6 months in, things just seemed to click and it got easier. I no longer longed for a beer. I was quite comfortable to be around others who were enjoying a drink or two – not hanging out at booze fests mind you, just casual beers with dinner and such. It had started to feel easy.

The truth is that it’s not always easy. I genuinely love beer and not just for the alcohol. I love the taste; the malt, the hops, the bubbles, the notes of citrus or chocolate, the complexity of it all. And sometimes I really miss the culture of the craft brew scene. I know this is romanticizing  the drink, but stick with me.

I’ve been running hard for a few weeks. Three weeks of consecutive business travel and lots of demands on me for work outside the sheer number of nights in hotels or hours on the plane. I’ve needed a break. And I’ve had my sights on this weekend for a while.

We are in Lewes, DE – one of my favorite places to be. Lewes is a beach town at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, just before the bay joins the Atlantic. One if the things I like most about Lewes is that it’s a small quiet town that still has old beach cottages on the beach. Yes – relaxing with some sun, salt, and skin would be the perfect way to unwind.

Except that it isn’t.

Lewes is also home to the owner of Dogfish Head Brewing. The locals are proud of Sam; and they should be. He built a business out of nothing but his love of home brewing and a desire to live life to its fullest at the beach.

We are staying at the Dogfish Inn, which used to be a run down place called the Vesuvius Motor Lodge or something equally dreadful. It was restored a year or two ago and, when I was drinking, I was sure that I’d love staying there. And if I was drinking, I bet I would.

But I’m not drinking. And I really don’t want to be drinking.

Still, I’ve been thinking about drinking (and not drinking) since I got here. My lizard brain is fully engaged.

But I am fighting it. Throwing punches at it – reminding myself of the reasons why I quit. Reminding myself of how much better I feel. How much better I sleep. How my wife will be seen in public with me after five. How the reason she was never seen with me after five wasn’t really her but me – I wouldn’t go out because I couldn’t drink like I wanted to. How last summer she got dressed to the nines to go to dinner and I feigned exhaustion so that we didn’t have to go to dinner, and I could drink like I wanted to. What a fucking dick move that was!

Im fighting because life is worth fighting for. Because I don’t ever want to disappoint my family like I did before. Because I don’t want to die a horrible death. Because I don’t ever want to go through the first thirty days of sobriety again. Because the monster will win if I don’t fight back.

Some days it’s like this. Some days it’s a fight to the death. But thankfully most days it’s not.

This, too, shall pass. As I recently saw on Twitter, it may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

Remembering the first 30 days…

When I think about the first 30 days of my sobriety today I have an overwhelming sense of relief.  I don’t ever want to go through that again.  I mean, it was incredibly difficult to simply turn it off and stop drinking daily.  But that’s what I did.  I stopped.

I remember overwhelming fatigue.  Fatigue that hit hard in the middle of the day.  Most days of that first 30, I was down for the count for a solid 1 to 2 hours in the middle of the day.  Thankfully I work form home and so I got away with it.  I don’t know how I’d have dealt with it if I were in an office or on a job site.

I remember not wanting to cook dinner. Continue reading

Find your compassionate heart

When I came into recovery, I did not know how much I lacked compassion for other people. I was full of judgement. I saw others as “less than” and framed the world in nice tidy compartments. Drug addicts were bad people — it never occurred to me that alcohol is a drug. Homeless people must have done something to end up in their situation, and it was probably due to bad choices. People with less education than myself were stupid. I framed the world in terms of “otherness.”

I quickly learned that I wasn’t so different from these “other” people. My addiction to alcohol was just as debilitating as another’s addiction to heroin or cocaine. Continue reading

Fourteen Days — Feeling Liberated

I wrote this three years ago today, fourteen days into a 30 day alcohol fast. The Promises were already starting to come true, but since I was still blind I did not recognize that.

It’s painful to recognize now that I had the answer so much earlier than I had the willingness to accept the facts, but I am grateful that I was able to find my way back to this path.

As I’ve often heard, there are many paths up this mountain. Going back to drinking was a wrong turn on the path. There may be more wrong turns on my part, but I find my way back to my path and I’m moving up the mountain.

s t e a d y

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 11.00.39 AM Two Weeks

Fourteen Days!

It’s been two full weeks since I made the decision to give up alcohol for 30 days. Not only that, but it’s been two full weeks since I had a drink. Yesterday, I noticed that I was not thinking about having a drink at the end of the day. This wasn’t the first time in the past two weeks where I didn’t have a strong desire for a drink after work, but it was the first time that I noticed that I didn’t have that desire. I can only describe that feeling with one word:


I felt free. I feel free. Free to do things that I couldn’t do before.

I never drove after drinking, that was a cardinal rule. Consequently, if something came up after dinner which required getting behind the wheel it usually had to wait. Or, I’d ask Mrs. TKD to run…

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