I don't believe in being obliged to blog. I do it when I have something I want to say. I also believe that with blogs there seems to be some discussion on how personal one should get with it. I have always insisted that since its my blog I am entitled to the freedom of its content whether its a piece on Autism, someone who inspires me or an issue I want to vent about. If people don't want to read it, they should chose not read it.
I say this because this one is personal. Looking back on the past year I am filled with immense joy at some of the things that have happened to me. I am also filled with great sadness at some of the things that have occurred in my personal life. I do know one thing though and that is I am proud. The main source of my pride is obviously my children and it will forever be that way, my other and most humbling joy comes from sobriety. On December 12th just gone I reached a point I never thought I would, to not drink for a year. I am an alcoholic and make no secret of it, some people who know me directly or indirectly are aware of this and some people are surprised and occasionally shocked when they find out. It does not change who I am in the slightest, it just means that I carry this with me through life throwing caution to the wind everyday. I have to be careful because I have been sober before for up to eight months and relapsed without fanfare or ceremony. It was simple as walking past a shop, stopping and buying a can of beer and plunging myself into that downward spiral of self loathing and misery. So when my son said to me last year "Papa, why are you always drinking" with a sadness no six year old should have to bear, I knew it was time.
You see, being an addict is a double life. It is a life of lies, deceit, selfishness and greed. I went through stages of having bottles hid in cupboards, garden sheds, bathrooms and even once my infant daughters changing bag (and that is just a few in a long list) Am I proud of this? No. But by beating it and continuing to go from strength to strength everyday I am in a position to help others. I have always wanted to do that but first I had to help myself. I had convinced myself it was going to be impossible to sober up. Sobering up was for other people. STRONG PEOPLE. I was weak, I was worthless and I was not going to be missed if I sloped on down the rungs of life to the bottom. But that all changed when I decided to get my shit together. I DECIDED. That was enough, and that's all you need to do. Decide. The rest of it is planning, changing routines and going through a detox that's akin you shedding your skin like a serpent. But all of that is manageable once you know and believe that you can do it. There is a wonderful lyric from a Pearl Jam song called "Life Wasted". It goes "I faced it, a life wasted. I ain't never going back again..." That is my mantra everyday. I get emotional when I think back to the state my mind was in. The self loathing because I was too weak to beat an inanimate bottle filled with amber fluid. It was me depending on it, it didn't depend on me. But when you are sick rationality is fairly low on the pecking order. I also have been supported by some incredible people whose pride and belief in me took me those extra steps to get me there. These people should have a very good idea of who they are and some I only know through the Internet, anyway that's why we have all this technology isn't it :) Surrounding myself with like minded souls has been the key in moving on. But I have to say thank you to Charlie Engle who kicked my ass one time I slipped a few years back and got me on the road again. Also to my best friend over the past twenty years, Trev Reams. My soul brother who has encouraged me and pushed me up the hills when I was to weak to do it under my own steam. I owe you everything brother. My kids remain my most motivating factor and everyday with them is a blessing I can't believe I am privileged to have(except on the days I want to throttle them of course ;) My family back home. I love you.
I have had many comments from people in the last few months all centered around the same subject-writing a book. I have given it consideration many times before but always bailed due to many of the reasons mentioned above. Now though I think its time, I have something to say and over the next year, very gradually I will lay down the foundation of what will be a story of choosing to live and fully embracing the strength that lies within us all. Have a merry and safe Christmas. If there is something in your life you think you can't overcome, you are wrong. You CAN!!