Gratitude and Experience, 28 October 2016

Gratitude

  1. Today I’m grateful that I seem to have turned the corner on my head cold and I’m feeling better.
  2. I’m grateful that I made it to a meeting last night after a 2 week hiatus.  It was good to be back in the rooms and to feel the warmth of the fellowship.
  3. I’m grateful that the sun is shining and the temperatures are cool.  I particularly love autumn weather.

Positive Experience

Yesterday morning, on the way to school Mr. Grey asked, “Dad, have you ever considered moving to where my cousins live?”

“I don’t know buddy, perhaps.  Do you think we should move there?” I asked.

“Yes!”

“Live in the same house as them?”

“Yes!”

“Don’t you think that would be a few to many people in one house?”

“Well, maybe, but we could live in a house near them.”

It makes me smile that the little man loves his cousins so much.  It’s also a pleasure to take him to school in the mornings.  Some days there is a little conversation like this one and others it’s a quiet ride — it doesn’t matter which one I get on any given day, I just enjoy having a few minutes with him in the morning.

2016-10-27 Gratitude and Experience

I’m starting a new series, based on the guidance from this article on Inc. I also must give credit where credit is due, my good friend HD started this recently, and his post today, was the kick in the ass that I needed to get started.

Gratitude

  1. I’m grateful to be alive today. Every day sober is a gift.
  2. I’m grateful that I have a good job that gives me flexibility as well as a good pay check.
  3. I’m grateful to be making positive changes in my life.

Positive Experience

Yesterday afternoon, as I was laying down to go to take a much needed afternoon nap, Mrs. TKD texted me asking if I could pickup Mr. Grey from school. Of course, I could and I did, but I would have rather taken a nap. When we got home, I gave Mr. Grey about an hour to blow off steam and then we got to getting his homework done. It want better than expected and we finished by about 4:45. He then went out on his bike and played with his friend up the street.

Mrs. TKD had a few things on her agenda last night, and so Mr. Grey and I had a boys night. While it wasn’t anything grand, we had a great night together. I took him to Chick-Fil-A as requested and he got to hang with some other kids as well as get a chainsaw made of balloons. Interesting choice, but it made him happy. Earlier this week, as a consequence he was forbidden to watch TV or play with electronics. I was a bit worried about what we’d do when we got home, but I found a stack of his books on my bed and we laid on the bed and took turns reading 20 pages at a time to each other. It was wonderful.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMDZP9ZgQBN/

Dry Drunk: A Hot Coal to be Dropped

“As rain falls equally on the just and the unjust do not burden your heart with judgment but rain your kindness equally on all.”

When I first came into the rooms, I was emotionally shattered, unsure of myself, unsure if I was in the right place, and frankly scared out of my wits. Like many people, I found that I was warmly welcomed by a group of strangers who had been exactly where I was each in their own way. After asking for help, I was given a list of names and numbers on the back of a piece of paper printed with the prayer of Saint Francis. “Welcome Home” was written at the top and I was told, “we’ll love you until you love yourself, keep coming back.” I felt absolutely no judgement from the group and for that I was thankful.

I’d read much of the Big Book prior to coming into the rooms and understood a lot about the program. I was uncomfortable with what I saw as overtly evangelical religious language in the steps but chose to ignore this and to “take what I like and leave the rest.” There were other things that I was uncomfortable with in the rooms, mostly the trite little sayings…

one day at a time

keep coming back

you’re only as sick as your secrets

let go and let god

just for today

I know it’s the first drink that gets me drunk

Over time, I became more comfortable with these little catch phrases, and I’ve been adopted some of them myself, because I now have a better understanding of just what they mean, even if I may think that they are overly simplistic in nature. I mean, lets face it, telling myself that I’m not going to drink just for today when I know damn well that I need to make sure I don’t drink for the rest of my life is a little mind game that I play with myself. And I’m okay with that. But there’s one turn of phrase that I hear in the rooms that really sticks in my crawl.

He’s a Dry Drunk! Continue reading

Sometimes the Thoughts Still Come

I caught myself doing that thing again. The one where I rationalize my past. The mind sometimes races when it should rest. That happened last night.

In truth, I should have been exhausted and fallen quickly into deep slumber but my mind had another agenda. It happens when I know I need to wake early, especially if I have a flight to catch as I did this morning. Rest did not come easy, and when it did, my sleep was marked by fitful dreams, walking in a seeat, and a phone call from the airline alerting me to a delay.

As I lay there this morning the thoughts came:

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a drink again some day. 

It was pretty bad but maybe you could control it now. 

You drank reasonably for a long time, things only got bad on the end. 

If you hadn’t lived across the street from that guy who drank every day maybe you wouldn’t have gotten so bad.  He’s doesn’t live there anymore. 

There it is. The blame game. Failure to accept responsibility. The self pity. When these thoughts come, there is usually something else going on. That’s the case today. Travel.

Stress that comes with changing timezones. We aren’t meant to travel around the world the way we do. Our bodies lose their rhythm and that puts us under enormous stress, even if we don’t want to acknowledge it.

Being half a world away from loved ones, friends, others in the program, and our routine takes a toll as well. As human beings we long for meaningful connection, and sometimes business is just business. Yes, I have strong connections with my colleagues and customers, but these are not the same. There is money involved, and that changes everything.

Thoughts like those above still come up now and then – and I suspect they will for the rest of my life. But I’ve got my life and that’s what matters. I have chosen to have a life. A rich, sober life full of family, friends, and experiences. A life worth living, full of love.

What’s important is that I now recognize them for the falsehoods that they are in the moment, and can usually move through them quickly with relative ease. For that, I am grateful.

Three Life Changing Words

“fear of people…will leave us”

Once I got sober I quickly found that I could drop many the things that I feared. I was no longer trying to hide the facts of my alcoholism. I was making positive changes that had big and immediate impacts on my daily life. I slept better, which meant I felt better. I quickly found that everyday pains and gut issues were subsiding. The physical wellness that arose out of my sobriety is a wonderful gift. And yet, there have been other, more important gifts – loss of shame, less irritation with life, less anger. Perhaps the gift I’m most grateful for is that the fear of people left me.

I recall hosting meetings for my team in my hometown about three weeks after I surrendered. I was nervous for sure. I couldn’t take the guys out to the best bars in Annapolis. I couldn’t drink with my team. I knew that would be difficult, and it was. I remember the team dinner seemed to drag on and on, well after I was ready to call it a night. But I also remember talking with the valet parking attendant at the hotel for about twenty minutes before dinner. I had no room at the hotel because I was going home to my house. I had no business grabbing a drink at the hotel bar and it was nice outside so I’d gone out to catch some fresh air while the team got ready to go to dinner.

I don’t recall the specifics of the conversation but I do remember that I recognized that I was actually connecting with this young man. Continue reading

Find Your “Why”

He who has a why to live, can bear with almost any how. — F. Nietzsche

Twenty-eight years ago, I was attending high school at a small Catholic school in a small town in Pennsylvania and we had daily religion class. Religion class was something I’d always dreaded from the time I started attending Catholic school in the fourth grade up until 1988, when religion class suddenly wasn’t about “religion.”

In the final two years of high school, the religion class curricula focused on real issues rather than ancient biblical text and stories of some rabble-rouser preacher who claimed to be the son of God. In 11th grade the main topic was that of finding meaning in life as related by two Holocaust survivors. In 12th grade, the topics were to social justice and a study of marriage and vocations.

The text for our 11th grade religion class consisted of Night by Elle Wiesel and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Both books detail the experiences of young Jewish men who were taken captive by the Nazi’s and who survived the concentration camps. Night was short and we read it first. To be honest, I don’t recall much of the book because it was over-shadowed by our study of Frankl’s book, which we studied from approximately October to May of the year. Continue reading