Day 266: New Year with Lila, Urges and Addicted to Addiction

New Year with Lila

I’m going to make this a great day!

Lila and I rang in 2015 like a bunch of party animals. We played My Little Pony, Hungry/Hungry Hippo, made bead bracelets, watched a few episodes of the Simpson’s and drank Abuelita’s hot chocolate. Lila passed out by 7:45pm—but to my surprise, I actually made it to midnight. I kept dozing off here and there—but the sound of quarter sticks of dynamite and other assorted fireworks kept me from completely falling asleep. Thanks neighbors!!

Lila spent five nights in a row with me. Usually, the most consecutive nights she will spend at my place is four—but I asked her mom for an exception this one time. It was nice having her over for five nights—I feel like spending that much time with her strengthens our bond, and makes our little apartment feel more like home to her. We had a fun filled vacation together—it’s hard to believe that the holiday season went by so fast.

Thoughts of Drinking

I’ve realized I don’t think about drinking very much when it’s just Lila and I—or just me. However, we went to a family friends’ house this weekend to watch some of the football games, and a major urge to drink surfaced. My buddy has a nice outside patio area, equipped with TV’s, a wine bar, beer on tap and liquor. He has three different areas where he BBQ’s and cooks brick oven pizza.

I don’t go to my buddies to torture myself—I go because he and his wife have been such good friends over the years—and they have a son who is around Lila’s age. They are good friends. They know I am an alcoholic—but I could never tell them that it’s some-times hard being over their house.

I arrived at noon with Lila and they already had the pitchers of beer flowing. I was staring at the bubbles rising in the pitcher—and the foam that would accumulate at the top when someone poured a beer. At one point, I felt an impulse to start drinking right out of the pitcher itself—I had to talk myself out of it. It worries me a bit that the urge to drink can come on that strong at any given moment—but I still find comfort in the fact that I have learned my lesson. I have experienced too much pain and heart-ache already, much of which I’m still healing from, to go back to that life-style. The fact that I even think about guzzling beer directly from the pitcher like some sort of animal is proof that I am and always will be an alcoholic.

My life is vastly different without booze—however, I do find myself, at times, missing the whole process of drinking. The moments where I would sit at my desk at work and ponder what sort of beer/wine I would pick up on the way home—how I would envision the relaxation that would ensue after the first sip. I would think about what I would make for dinner—something that paired nicely with my booze of choice. It was a cycle of love and hate that I just started to hate much more than I loved. I think that is how you can sum up the feeling people had for me during my active alcoholic days—their love for me dwindled as their disdain for me grew and festered.

Addicted to being Addicted

Alcoholics and addicts are simply addicted to being addicted. It doesn’t have to be alcohol or drugs—it can be anything. At AA meetings I see people smoking like chimneys and drinking coffee like caffeinated beverages won’t exist tomorrow. I see former alcoholics and addicts gain massive amounts of weight—a few I know have developed Type 2 Diabetes. I see former addicts cycling in and out of bad, abusive relationships—addicted to the emotional and psychological roller-coaster. I myself have had issues with over-eating, smoking and bad relationships. I told myself that 2015 will be different—I’m tired of being addicted and obsessing over things just to feel the comfort of something to latch onto. Even if it’s unhealthy—I think for some reason, it’s comforting to be addicted to, or controlled by something. However, I am realizing that being free of all addictions is a much better feeling.

In my late 20’s I smoked about a half a pack of cigarettes a day—and also smoked pot on a daily basis. Like alcohol—I needed to always make sure I had a supply of tobacco and pot. Even after Lila was born I was smoking pot when she would fall asleep at night—I was convinced it helped me “relax.” Now, I don’t have anything against reefer—it’s just not for me anymore.

Now, fast forwarding—in early 2014 (early 30’s) I still smoked pot, and was back to smoking 2-3 cigarettes per day. Smoking is something that every girlfriend I had couldn’t stand—they hated it. But I just kept on puffing away—making up excuses or saying “hey, I cut down, that’s good.”

I decided that if I can quit drinking—then I can quit everything else that negatively impacts my health. I stopped drinking, smoking pot and cigarettes, I drink about 80 percent less coffee and even cut down on sweets. I was tired of my lack of self control. I was tired of being addicted to being addicted. It’s not the way I want to live anymore.

I don’t want to give up one bad habit, just to pick up another one—or accelerate an existing bad habit. I saw a guy at AA chewing tobacco and smoking a cigarette at the same time. It’s like “dude your liver might be ok—but your jaw and lungs are suffering.” It’s almost like our bodies don’t know what to do without some sort of substance running through our blood stream. Like anything, it takes time to adjust and heal. It takes time for our bodies to understand what “normal” feels like. It has been 14 days since my last cigarette, and it has been just as hard quitting smoking then it was alcohol—but I know I can do it.

I used to push back dates a lot. Meaning, when I was 28, I’d say “I’ll quit smoking by the time I’m 30.” Then 30 passes and I say well “by the time I’m 32.” The cycle continues. I realize at some point I won’t be able to push back the date anymore—it will be too late. I don’t want to have to look my daughter in the face and admit that by choosing to continue with bad habits I chose to leave her and this world earlier than needed. I can’t reverse whatever damage I already did—but I can prevent any further damage from occurring.

Here’s to 2015 being the healthiest year yet!!

May you and yours have a blessed day, week, month and year!

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