Today marks 100 days without alcohol. I’m sure if I opened up more to friends and family about my past experience with alcohol abuse, they may say something like: “you should be proud of yourself.” I would have to disagree. I refuse to be proud of myself for doing the right thing and choosing a life of clarity and sobriety, as opposed to living in an alcohol induced fog. I try to stray from a sense of pride–but embrace the fact that I know I can turn 100 days into 200 days, and then a life-time…I am not proud, I am empowered.
I was told, when I started this journey that there was little faith I could change and live a life free from the constraints of alcohol. My only comment to those in doubt was brief and to the point–“i’m on week one, i’ll call you at week 52.”
I try my best not to look too far into the future–but by nature and profession, I am a planner–therefore setting goals and looking ahead is entrenched in my thought process.
I woke up on day 100 feeling fresh, excited and renewed. It has been nine years since I left the Philadelphia area and I realized, despite negative feedback about me as a person, that I have a job, an apartment and a healthy five year old daughter. I have everything that I need–and no one can take that away from Lila and I.
Last night, I was reminded of the joy of the summer season. I picked up my daughter and as we were pulling into the drive-way–Lila noticed that her friends were outside playing. It was about 5:00pm. We played outside (a four and two six year old girls live next door) until 9:30pm. At about 9:00pm, as I was trying to get Lila into the apartment to prepare for bed, the neighbors came out with ice-cream cones and said “is it ok if Lila has one?” Typically, even during my darkest days with the bottle, I am a very routine person–things have to happen on a schedule. Ice-cream at 9:00pm isn’t part of the plan. Then, I looked at all of the kids playing and thought to myself: “remember how much fun you used to have playing on the street with your friends when you were a kid? These are moments your daughter will remember forever.” I gave in–and the kids all enjoyed a vanilla ice-cream cone as I bonded with the other parents in the neighborhood. It felt so good to not get anxious about a schedule–or if something wasn’t “as planned.” The laughter of the children, their smiles and general optimism about life filled me with a feeling of what I can only describe as goodness…pure happiness.
As Lila and I were brushing our teeth–I stopped and gave her a high five. It was a celebratory high-five as I was on the verge of crossing the 100 day mark–I knew, despite the lack of faith in me by others, that I could change my behavior for myself and Lila.
One of the parents looked at me and said “you are a good father. How do you do it by yourself?” I replied, “i’m just doing what any good parent does.”