Day 300

To be honest, i’m a bit proud of making it to day 300 because during my first 90 days I would have never thought i’d make it this far.  In my first 90 days, as I walked by liquor stores, I would stop for a moment and think:  “should I just get a beer?”  After that thought I would shake my head, close my eyes and just keep walking with my hands dug in my pockets.  I went from going into a liquor store once a day to purchase alcohol–to maybe twice a month to purchase random items, or ice-cream for Lila.  The burden is really put on the liquor store owners because they LOVED me–made a few hundred bucks a month off of my alcohol addiction.

I remember one time, after the gym, I went into a liquor store located in downtown San Jose.  I told the teller, who I also think was the owner:  “bro i’m getting fat–I have to slow down on my drinking.”  His reply was: “drink liquor.”  At the time, as an active alcoholic, that did seem logical to me, and was part of the reason I started drinking more wine (less liquid to drink, less pounds to gain).  However, I knew if I started buying bottles of vodka, gin or whiskey I could no longer deny that I am an alcoholic.

Drinking straight from the liquor bottle as an alcoholic is comparable to main-lining heroin as a drug addict.  It’s the fastest way to die–it’s the pinnacle of alcoholism–the most efficient way to destroy your life and liver.  I didn’t want to progress from a pint to a fifth then to a liter of liquor per day…I didn’t want to completely step off of the edge.

I knew stepping off the edge could happen so easily–and it was my destiny if I didn’t quit when I did.  And, the burden wouldn’t be on the liquor store owner, or me–no, it would be on Lila.  She would’ve watched her father slowly kill himself with booze.  Temper tantrums, depression, liver disease, instability, diabetes, black-outs, etc.  My sadness and addiction would’ve polluted her life–it would’ve disabled her ability to function normally, and a little girl with so much potential and happiness would, by witnessing her father slowly kill himself, not have the best chance to live a normal, healthy life.  In fact, it would increase her chances of developing emotional and psychological challenges.  The burden wouldn’t just be on Lila–it would be on my mother, father and sisters too.  When an addict steps back and really reflects, they realize just how selfish they became.  The addict isn’t the only one suffering while using–and not the only one recovering when getting sober.  We drag a lot of people into the mud with us.  We should never ignore that fact–and we should hug those, a lot, that are still by our side after hitting bottom.

After Katie walked away, I had Lila by my side and a bunch of strangers I met in AA. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of support–but it was more than enough, considering the fact that I neglected so many friendships when I was an active drunk.  Good people in a platonic or romantic sense, start to fade away with each day you choose the bottle over relationships.

Lila was my motivation, and the guys in AA provided a shoulder to cry and lean on.  They gave me hope that I could get better.  They taught me the serenity prayer, which I say to myself often–because it is one of the most profound verses of literature I have ever read.  It brings peace to my soul in times of hardship–and I’d bet my bottom dollar that when i’m saying it, thousands of people across the world are saying it at the same time.  We are in this together.

On day 300–I continue to ask for strength, guidance and the will power to remain sober.  I’d like to express my gratitude for the many blessings I have in life.  The blessings I lost sight of–the blessings that I will never again take for granted.  I’d like to, again, express the highest level of gratitude for the health of my daughter, and her continued progression in all of her pursuits in life.  I ask for the courage to continue guiding her, through good and bad, with integrity and grace.  Well, as much grace that a knuckle-head like me can muster.

Bless you and yours.

-Leif

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