Lila and I went with family friends up to Shasta this weekend in Northern CA. My friends own a house—and were kind enough to invite us to join them on their Labor Day weekend family getaway. It was much needed time away from the hustle and bustle of San Jose—and since my friend has a son around Lila’s age—it was a good chance for her to form a bond with a new friend. I was a bit worried about the trip from the drinking stand-point, as my buddy Keith, who invited us on the trip, was a drinking buddy. He still loves to put down Budweiser’s in rapid succession. I wondered how I would react to any temptation—especially when the kids went to sleep…it would be so easy to sneak in a few beers. My alcoholic mind did tell me on a few occasions that I could probably have just a couple—and that would be it…I could get back on the wagon after the weekend. However, the rational sector of my mind knew that one would turn into 10—and 10 would turn into me picking up six or twelve packs daily—just like I did before.
Yes, the temptation was there—but no I didn’t drink…not one drop. I did pick up a six-pack of Diet Seven Up at the local market—which is cheaper and healthier than the alcoholic alternative.
It was a relaxing trip on a number of levels. We went to a few local rivers and swam, rode rapids on inner tubes, went fishing and cooked some delicious food. The laughter of the children as they played together was music to our ears—they had such a fun time together.
I notice that the absence of alcohol provides a much higher energy level—I was able to swim with the kids and play football at the house. I was able to talk to them, at all times, without slurring my speech once—and wasn’t walking around with drips of alcohol on the front of my shirt. My mind was clear—and my body was up for sustaining the necessary energy to chase around two five year olds for a long weekend. I gave Lila a thousand hugs and kisses over the weekend.
Her and I had to share a bed—which was quite comical. She had to nestle herself very close to me—so about 85 percent of the bed was unutilized. I definitely think she slept better than I through-out the weekend—but I am just pleased with the fact that I am no longer as selfish, on almost every level, as when I was drinking.
Keith, who is a great father, once he started drinking would primarily sit and watch the kids play together. If I cracked a few beers, I too would be sitting as opposed to running, laughing and spending quality time with the children. Keith’s wife is an extremely patient woman—and assumes the role of entertaining their son when Keith gets in party mode.
I realized this past weekend how I am now more content with my life because I removed alcohol from my existence. I spoke with Keith at length about his challenges at work—and gripes with certain friends in his network. I calmly sat there, listened and reiterated what I have learned in AA. We can choose to complain, and keep ourselves in negative situations—or we can understand that certain aspects of our life will continue to fester until we take action. We often times keep ourselves in situations that cause turmoil in our life because they are familiar—as opposed to accepting things will continue to bother us until we devise a plan to move forward. Work, for me, was one of those stressors. I didn’t feel appreciated by my supervisor, wasn’t paid what I thought I was worth, etc. I kept myself in that situation, and drank to deal with the frustration. Now, with a clear mind, I went back on the job market and found new employment with better compensation and a supervisor that is present and cares about employee growth and development.
The Shasta trip was not only a great experience for Lila and the kids—but it was reinforcement that the absence of alcohol, for me, has created a more productive, logical and rational thought process.
I have decided that Lila and I will take more mini vacations together—go sight-seeing more and just enjoy life as it should be…together.
I feel blessed to have been invited on a trip with family friends. On my end, my family lives so far away that I can’t just go over and hang out with my mom, dad, sisters and nephews. Often times—it is just Lila and I, which in itself, is important.