Day 84 and 85

My daughter is with me five days one week—and only one the next.  I call the week she is with me five days the “on” week and the other is considered the “off” week.  I noticed that during the “off” week when I was deep into my problem with alcohol—I would drink more, and become isolated.  When I was dating—it became clear to my partner that the “off” week took its toll on me.  My daughter is a piece of me—and when that piece is removed from my life for a substantial period of time, even a week, it creates an emptiness within my heart.  In hind-sight, I now understand that I should’ve used the “off” week as an opportunity to build on my relationship with my partner—and not become consumed by the before-mentioned emptiness…especially because it is something that I can’t control.  It is clear that I used the most unproductive method to deal with my emotional challenges—which was alcohol.  Alcohol use only pushed my issues deeper into my heart and soul—and now that I’m sober, these issues are slowly seeping into my life and I have to deal with them in a healthy, more productive way. Day 84 was a bit challenging—but through my group meetings, I continue to realize that with time I will conjure up the strength to truly accept the things I cannot change.  I need to utilize the “off” weeks to focus on myself—and learn to love myself again.  My immediate family lives in the Philadelphia area—so the “off” weeks come with a lot of alone time—which can be used for reflection, and reconnecting with old friends. I woke up this morning, on day 85, excited that I am picking up my daughter today.  I continue to see the health benefits of abstaining from alcohol—I lost 25/lbs, my face has cleared up, anxiety continues to diminish and my overall ability to be a father and productive employee is increasing.  I can look in the mirror each morning and be happy with my progress.  It isn’t about perfection—it’s about progress and hard-work.  I continue to miss my ex with all of my heart—I also miss her family—as my daughter and I, without immediate family in the area, considered her family ours.  I know that with time the sadness will fade—but at this point, thinking of my feelings fading for her is simply terrifying.  I realized that my excessive alcohol consumption suppressed a lot of feelings and emotions—I was almost robotic in how I operated…cold at times.  But, just 85 days after giving up drinking—my feelings and emotions have re-surfaced and it is overwhelming.  Overall, I am much happier than 86 days ago—but I feel a lot of guilt for leaving my ex in a hopeless position.  I believe she knows that I love her—but I also believe that she doesn’t know just how much I do.  I received an email from my daughters school, as she starts Kindergarten in a month—and my ex was listed as her “stepmother.”  It represented, to me, how dedicated my ex was to co-parenting—but in a way, it also represents that our love wasn’t strong enough to conquer the storms that sweep through our lives. Today, on day 85, I am grateful for my health, the health of my daughter and the fact that I am learning to love myself again after years of self-induced suffering.  I keep thinking that “this time next year will be so much better.”  However, I also know that I have to experience the emotional pain to grow and become a better person—I have to take it day by day.

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