Alcoholism, recovery, sobriety, Uncategorized

Day 14 – A Cautionary Tale of Unrequited Love

It’s late in the evening here on Day 14, all the lights are off and I’ve been listening to some beautiful music.  It’s the type of music that when you’re listening, it begins to move you in a way that you feel like it’s undressing your soul with warm hands.  You start  cycling through the beautiful images in your mind, the scenes are like movie scenes as they begin to feel so real.  The type of music that almost stops time for you. With my eyes closed as that music played, I began to feel like I was missing a lover,  and that lover was bottomless glass of red wine.

When I closed my eyes I could see myself in a dimly lit hipster cafe, with high ceilings, and rustic looking plank board floors, flickering candles on tables for two a handful of other patrons and a couple of earthy looking Barista’s supplementing their college fund.  I was there listening to the music alone with my faceless and heartless lover.  It was always you alcohol, looking back at me, warming me, filling me with beautiful reflection and a sense of fufillment.  The folk style string music background, and the accompanying raw but emotional vocals, amazing.

That’s what I saw when I closed my eyes, that’s what I heard, and felt.  It took me back and I missed it.

What exactly did I miss?  The scene felt so good, but it made me miss drinking.  Of everything that felt right about that late night day dream, I missed drinking.  I loved it, drinking that is, but it’s starting to make some more sense now.  Laying here in the dark, sober and clear, I’ve realized alcohol, that you were my unrequited love.  I loved you, but why?  You never really loved me back.  I would do anything for you.  You would never do anything for me.  I made excuses for you all the time.  You never once came to my defence.  I missed things that were important to my family for you.  I got in trouble by being with you.  You made me sick.  I made choices I never would have made if I wasn’t with you and for what?  I loved you.

Yes, I loved you.  All those times I thought you were there for me, you were just there.  All those time I thought that you made me feel so much better about myself, it was only because you made me feel so awful before.  All those times I thought you were there for me when I felt lonely, I never felt lonelier.

I loved you, but you never loved me back.  Our relationship wasn’t healthy.  I let you hurt me, and I hurt the people that really care about me.  You never got hurt, and I know for certain that you don’t miss me.  Our tale of unrequited love is not unique, but you are not for everyone and I can accept that.  I can accept it because I know you are not for me.

Without you, the music in the dimly lit room will still play, the candles will still flicker, and the company I choose to keep, will be company that knows how to love.  One might say that its unfortunate you’ll always be a part of my life.  I can’t change that, and not that you care, but know this,

I don’t love you anymore……

Alcoholism, recovery, sobriety, Uncategorized

Day 12 & 13 – Seeing the Fog Lifting

It’s a little early to try and sum up my 13th day being alcohol free, but I’m feeling pretty good about it.  Last week ended really well and maybe it’s strange, but I’m feeling positive all around.

There’s going to be a lot going in the week ahead, beginning today really, and I suspect it will likely get stressful.  Knowing that it will and approaching it with clarity, and openess, and having worked to employ a variety of strategies to help manage it is making me feel quite comfortable.  At work, I know my employer wants me to be well, and they are going ot support me in every way they can.  At home I know my wife has taken a “wait and see” approach, one that offers no guarentees, but I’m comfortable with that too.  It used to be, I would look at things and plan for how to handle situations like I was preparing for an election campaign.

Prepping for elections you’d learn about the other candidates, determine what the most important issues were on the minds of the electorate, figure out how best to connect with the electorates emotions and earn they’re support along the way.  It is a lot of work.  The details can fill themselves in every day, like your “campaign” is on auto-pilot and the people around you are picking up for you, but I would always be focused on the bigger things, the goals that were well done the line.

I’ve missed a lot by not living in the moment.  Enjoying what every day has to give you.  That is an adjustment, and certainly after a couple of weeks I don’t expect to everything figured out.  In fact, figuring out, that I simply cannot figure everything out all the time, is one of the things I have figured out.

Day by day, I can see the fog lifting off, and being able to take in whats around me is pretty nice.

Alcoholism, recovery, sobriety, Uncategorized

Day 11 – Sure boss, I can come and meet with you…

bossSo this was an interesting day. Over the last 11 days I’ve had lots of time to think about things, and how I should deal with my issues when it comes to work. My boss who has been very supportive and has spoken to me about my drinking habits in the past had really been on my mind.

I wanted to be able to share where I was, what I was doing, how I was doing, and that I felt like I would benefit from some additional accountability. It has been hard not talking about it, but I haven’t been sure how to introduce the subject.

So, here’s what happens, it’s Friday afternoon, we’re on the eve of a major agency overhaul that begins Monday and likely will require my dedicated efforts for at least the next 6 months and I get called into my boss’s office.

Now, I suspected it was to talk about our project but I suspected wrong. My boss brought me in to talk about my drinking? What?? She told me that she had been to HR and wanted to address my issue with me?? What??!! Now, I was beside myself, I literally could not believe that this was happening, it was surreal.

As the conversation proceeded, she laid out for me her concerns, another Sr Manager was present as well, and it was like an intervention. I can only imagine how stunned I must have looked. She told me that she believed I had a problem, and that she wanted to help me, and that HR was going to pay for me to get treatment if I would accept it??

Just thinking about it leaves me feeling a little bit stunned. So here I wasn’t sure how to introduce the subject, and she just went for it. Once that was out there, I got a little emotional, which has been a real rarity for me. I don’t often feel exposed or vulnerable, but she hit me right between the eyes, hard, and fast.

Now, there was no easier way for me to share where I am, and what I’m doing than what I had in front of me today. I was able to share how I had already arrived at the conclusion and accepted the reality that I am an alcoholic. How I cannot drink, and that I have had to make a decison to be alcohol free. I shared that I have not had a drink in 11 days and that strangely enough, she had done me a favor by coming to me, since it meant I didn’t have to go to her.

What was most amazing to me about today, was how good I felt after letting that go. Just putting out there for my boss that I am an alcoholic. I don’t think you often find yourself more vulnerable than sitting in your boss’ office on Friday afternoon admitting that you’re an alcoholic. Don’t get me wrong, it was scary, but so relieving. I can see things alot clear now, and one thing is obvious, I wasn’t fooling her anymore.

Life has such a strange way of leveling itself out. What if she talked to me 3 weeks ago? I wouldn’t have accepted it. I’d have talked myself blue and she would have left the conversation knowing I was in denial. Unbelievable. I can’t believe that all happened today. I’m glad, and relieved, but it all just blows my mind.

Another thing, I think I might just have the World’s Greatest Boss

Alcoholism, recovery, sobriety, Uncategorized

Day 10 – Double Digits

So I think the last time I made it this far was about 3 years ago. I had put myself though an exercise to “prove” I wasn’t an alcoholic. Well, I am, so that never actually proved anything other than it helped my rationalize away my drinking and made me feel like I had permission to drink whenever I wanted or as much as I wanted because I didn’t have a problem.

Three years later I find myself in an altogether different place. I haven’t had a drink in 10 days, I’m working hard to examine myself, forgive myself and plan to get through each day without drinking.

I’m being careful not to look to far ahead, but I feel excited. Double digits is kind of a big deal for me. A week ago it seemed like a long way away, 3 days felt like forever already and getting to 10 was like waiting for Christmas in May. I would have shared these thoughts last night had I not fallen asleep, which I must say was incredibly restful.

I’m looking forward now to a nice weekend, some quiet time, to read peoples stories and see how we’re all doing on this journey. I am inspired by so many of you on here. It does take incredible strength to accept where we are, but we’re not alone.

Alcoholism, recovery, sobriety, Uncategorized

Day 9 – And Sleep Was A Sweet Relief

It has been sometime since I slep so well. Plenty of times I’ve slept a long time, but I’ve not felt like I’ve slept so well. Of course having not had anything to drink in 9 days now has likely made a difference. I don’t know that my insomnia is cured, but stringing together of couple of stretches of what seemed like quality sleep last night has made me feel rejuvinated.

I don’t feel like I have a lot on my mind tonight though, the rest feels like it has given me a bit of a break from the constant thinking. While I’m not entirely sure that’s the case, I’m not going to chance it by sitting in front of my computer thinking.

Good night everyone 🙂

Alcoholism, Insomnia, recovery, sobriety, Uncategorized

Day 8 – Somebody Wake Me Up Before I Fall Asleep

OK.  The past two nights have been the worst so far in terms of my inability to sleep.  I’ve been up for 22+ hours each of the past two days and nothing about my days is sharp.  What little sleep I am managing to find is filled with wild lucid dreaming.  Eg.  I was dreaming that I was on a plane, sitting next to Wayne Gretzky, who was speaking to me in French and inviting me to attend a wedding with him and his wife in Quebec City?  Naturally I agreed to go, thinking how awesome would this be if it actually turns out to be real?  I knew I was dreaming, and at one point I woke up, only to fall asleep again right back into that dream.  I never made it to that wedding, I did however make to my office.

Tonight I managed to fnally get some sleep, mind you it was from about 6:30pm to 1:00am, so that means tomorrow should be another coffee fueled snail race to 4:30pm.  Yay.

I can’t say I bargained for this particular symptom, but I know it could be worse.  The dreaming is strange, really strange.  The dreaming has felt more real than the past few of my days.  That has to be because “dreaming me” isn’t dead tired, “awake me” is and has pretty much been operating exclusively in first gear.

I’m gonna turn this off and see if I can’t find a way to get back on that plane for a least a few more hours.

Alcoholism, recovery, sobriety, Uncategorized

Day 7 – I Am Not The Centre Of The Universe

Well I suppose I always knew this, but here I find myself having to acknowledge it. I am not the centre of the universe. For as long as I can remember I could do no wrong, and if I did, I could always manouvre myself back into a place where I felt in complete control and that everything that happened around me or too me was by complete design. My design.

Back at work today, it was just work. I didn’t need to sit anyone down and make some kind of grand announcement about me having had a personal epiphany and that I’ve now begun a journey to sobriety that is going to make me a better person. No one cared. Glad I was back to work, but that’s all. What? I didn’t need to prepare for how I would share my feelings and deepest secrets? Reveal how I had so cleverly carried on at home and work while basically just coasting from one to the other? I didn’t need to announce that I was in fact manipulating situations at every turn in an effort to have people believe I was awesome? No. I did not.

The reason I didn’t have to do any of those things is because my colleagues at work were probably no happier to see me walk through the door than they were anyone else. Whhhaaatttt? That would mean I don’t have to be special? Just be myself? Flaws and all? Whoa, hold the train. Does that means that I’ve never had to pretend to be anything with my family? or friends either? Oh shit. I’ve really messed up. All this time I was so vain I thought I was doing everyone in my life a favour just by being around. Pretending to be special, and always working to make sure whatever was happening would somehow benefit me.  Trying to control everything, all the time, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

For the first time in a very long time I feel normal, not like I need to present as though I wear a cape all day and change in phone booths. I’m just someones father, someones son, someones neighbour, someones husband. Good, bad, ugly, whatever.

It’s nice. Feeling normal, doesn’t mean I have to happy all the time either. I can be normal and just experience the whole range of human emotion. Wow. I can be sad and be happy about it? Not everything is going “my way” but somehow, that’s feels ok too.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, or next week or month or year, but I have gone canoeing. For anyone else that has gone canoeing hopefully you’ll understand this analogy, for those who haven’t I’m going to try and help you imagine. Imagine being in a canoe with a partner, and as you move down the river, navigating through some deeper faster moving water, the canoe begins to rock back and forth a little. Now, this is a time when it is important that both partners understand that neither one of you can wrestle back control of that rocking canoe by trying to balance it by leaning in the opposite direction of the rocking motion.  Canoe tips left? Ahh! Lean right!! Ahhh!! Now it’s tipping further right!!  Quick lean left!!!! NOO!  That canoe will start to rock so bad that within seconds it will dump you, you partner, your life jackets (because you’re likely not wearing them, I never did) your food, your camping gear, and your fishing gear (which you’ve been accumulating since childhood) into the river. Great. Time to start deciding whats important cause you’re gonna have to swim and try and collect some stuff fast, life? check, food? gone, oars? they float so you can catch up with them, canoe? lets make sure we get that, fishing gear? pfff, goodbye camping gear? too bad, it’s at the bottom of the river. Life jackets? yeah we’ll pick those up somewhere.

Canoeing is a lot like life, if you’re patient, and you do what you need to do together with the people you need to do it with, life will take care of the rest and it will be pleasurable. You don’t make life better by trying to balance out every tip, or tilt. You do not make life better by convincing yourself and subsequently attempting to prove that you control all of lifes ebbs and flows. If you do, you’ll end up in the water, and maybe you take someone with you, maybe you lose something that took you a long time get, maybe you actually lose someone? but, life for the most part is forgiving, so going into the water doesn’t have to be a disaster.

We aren’t the centre of the universe, I know I’m not, we’re just a part of it. Just like the river, and the canoe, and the people and the belongings in the canoe. We’re all a part of something bigger. Yeah we can steer a little, and sometimes its scary, sometimes its fun, sometimes its awful, but what makes canoeing, and life, so special, is that for the most part it’s pretty good. It’s good, but usually it doesn’t start to feel good until we’ve learned that we can’t control it, we can only live it.

I’m going to really enjoy my next canoe trip (but I’m probably gonna pack light….just in case)