Celebrating small victories three weeks later

27 Oct

This dispatch from the Better Late Than Never Department. It’s been 3 weeks since I started my medical leave from work, and predictably, there’s good news and bad. 

The good news (aka celebrating small victories) is that I’ve gone:

  • 3 separate days without drinking, spread out over 3 weeks but still more than I’ve racked up in the past 3 months (maybe years?)
  • 2 weeks without any hard drugs – not my main concern but it was a decade ago so, yeah…small victories
  • to 2 AA meetings so far, and actually looking forward to two coming up this week
  • written – handwritten, not posted here – 3 more journal entries than what I’ve posted here
  • Made dinner for the family 4 times this week – yes one was delivery, one leftovers, but hey…small victories 

I was going to get into all my mistakes since my last post but I’m already too good at that. I’m ending this dispatch on another celebration…of those beautiful small victories. 

A new start…day 2

13 Oct


In the spirit of celebrating small victories on the road to recovery, kiss my ass because it’s party time! Yes, I’ve made it another 36 hours and I’m still committed to my latest new start.

Have I been sober? No.

Did I just get back from grabbing one last 1/2 gram of blow? Maybe.

But is tomorrow another day? Yes.

Tomorrow’s not just another day; it’s the day I’ve marked on my calendar with a big, circled red X. It’s the most recent day I’ve decided is my first day of a new life of sobriety. It’s the day before what in theory is going to be my first AA meeting.

48 hours from now it’ll be Monday nearing midnight and, if I’ve succeeded I’ll have accomplished at least 2 out of the 3 following things:

  1. Drank my last drink and snorted my last line of blow
  2. Gone 36 hours with neither narcotic nor alcohol passing into my body
  3. Going to my first AA meeting ever

Will I make it? Will this time be different?

Stay tuned, not just for a progress report but also my love/hate relationship with AA and why I make such a big deal about it. Meanwhile, wish me luck and I hope to back in touch soon.

Thanks for reading.


A new start…again

11 Oct

New Life Chapter One Typewriter

Here I go again, repeating a now-familiar pattern:

  1. Melt down mentally and financially, avoiding work, bills, friends, etc.
  2. Finally quit whatever substance I’m using to self-medicate (and/or numb)
  3. Days/weeks of bed-ridden depression, anxiety and absence of self-esteem
  4. Slowly get back into basic personal routine – sleep, moderately healthy eating, etc.
  5. Revisit long-neglected doctors – mental and phsysical
  6. Start some form of group therapy – finally trying AA this time*
  7. Build on healthy routine – including household chores, writing and exercise
  8. Reach critical mass of healthy routine, lifestyle and mental state
  9. Begin new job hunt – and/or in this case – return to full time role
  10. Secure quick, early wins and build from there…but not f–king it up this time

I’ll give you one guess where I am now. Hint: if you’re at 3, you’ve gone too far, again.

If all goes well, you’ll learn more, and I’ll have progress to report, the next time you check in, including thoughts and progress on AA. This may be the key to not screwing it up again; I can barely afford to do it this time, let alone another. Too many loved ones, kids and dollars at stake, and not being the dad, husband or man I want to be.

Thanks for reading…

Fuck “Succesful People”

20 Sep

Every few weeks I come across the same infographic – the one that shows the difference between successful and unsuccessful people:

I don’t know if it’s because the graphic is baselessly false – or precisely because it’s true – but I hate it. It makes me pay little attention to the things I’m doing right, and feel like shit for the things I’m so obviously doing wrong.  

Give Credit Where Credit’s Due

To be fair, I think much of what bugs me about this graphic is how it fits with my own self-criticism:

  • I drink a lot
  • I watch TV every day
  • I don’t know what I want to be
  • Say I keep a journal (this blog) but I don’t 
  • I fly by the seat of my pants…and more. 

But Let’s be Real

This is a highly over simplified graphic. Yes I fit many of the criteria for an unsuccessful person, but at the same time:

  • I do eventually journal (this post a case in point)
  • What I watch on TV is news or news related
  • When I do drink (current post a case in point) I’m almost always reading articles or responding to emails
  • I fly by the seat of my pants because I work for a high growth tech firm
  • I do keep a to-do list…but I’m used to having only a handful checked off by the end of the day (workday or weekend, work or family)

What’s the Lesson (Hint: Booze)

Most of this categorization is subjective bullshit, in my humble opinion, but one thing stands out from the rest. 

I’m an alcoholic, and I still can’t admit it. 

From my “let’s be real” comments, I think almost anyone – successful too! – can relate to 4/5 of my situation. Among successful people I know, almost all have to fly by the seat of their pants to a degree, and they all leave work with tasks undone. 

What they don’t do is drink…or at least not like I do. Consider that, on an average work day, I do at least 2-3 of the following:

  • Fighting a daily hangover to get to work some time between 9:30 and 11:00 each day
  • If I stretch my work arrival to noon, trying to get 2-3 drinks in me to get my workday started 
  • If not, taking the first opportunity to get 3-5 drinks in me so I can “work at 100%”
  • Take at least one break in the afternoon to “go for a walk” when in fact I’m back at the bar keeping my buzz on
  • End up getting home to my family anywhere from 8:00 to 11:30 because I had to catch up on what I didn’t do for the day 

All told, I estimate I spend 3-5 hours (don’t ask how much money I spend) at a bar of some kind every day of the week. That’s:

  • 3-5 hours a day
  • 21-35 hours a week
  • 82-150 hours a month

If that’s not enough reason to give up drinking, I don’t know what is. If that’s not enough, I’ve given up alcohol for months and years at a time. 

All which begs the question…what will it finally take for me to give up a habit I know is so self-destructive?

I’ve pulled myself out of this before; I just  can’t find the way out now. Life’s too busy – or just busy enough a to do it. 

Booze or My Kids: What do I love more?

18 Aug

Simple question. Should be a simple, easy answer. 

But it’s not. It’s complicated, and I’m in denial. 

For many of you out there, I don’t need to say more. I know I’m not alone. I hope I’m not alone. 

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