Sparkling Water By The Bed

I have noticed that I have developed a habit of bringing and keeping a sparkling or mineral water by my bedside when I go to sleep. It started happening not too long after moving into the sober house while dealing with the arthritic flare that kept me in pain most of the day. I would bring it with me so that I would have something to drink when I awoke throughout the day (I work night shift). 

Now that I have moved to a new home and my pain is under control I have noticed that I still do this. Every day when I go to sleep I keep a sparkling water by my bed. I didn’t think anything of it until my roommate called it out. “Taking your *Brand Name* with you?” He said as it was a continuous ritual. Then I thought about it. “Why do I do this?” Not a water, not even a soda. I take a mineral water with me to bed and so much that it’s noticed. 

At first I thought it was a habit that I had developed back at the sober house but I realize that it started a lot earlier than this. 

THE OLD ROUTINE

Every night, when I was heavily drinking I would, like clockwork, have a routine. Pretty much starting when I got off of work from my second job. I would make my way to the liquor store, grab my 6-10 vodka shooters and 2 tall beers and make my way home.  

Once there, I would make sure the house duties are complete. I would feed the cats, scoop out the litter box, remove hair off of the furniture and vacuum.  Once these tasks were completed, I would fill up the same cup with cold water and head to the bedroom with my shooters and beer in tow. I would turn on the Apple TV, switch on the same show/s and started the drinking part of the ritual 

I would take a shooter and either chase it with the beer that I bought or the water. I would usually wait until the first one hit me before taking the second. The process would continue until I eventually pass out. This would happen throughout the night: waking up, turn the show that I was watching back on and take another shooter, maybe two then pass out again. 

THE NEXT MORNING

When morning came I would wake up either still drunk or horribly hungover. I would maybe have a shooter or two left on my bedside table. I would take the remaining drinks and get ready ready for the day. Luckily I worked from home so I didn’t have anyone around who could smell my breath. I would usually drink the remaining beer or two and when my day was done, I was free to start the process over again. 

I thought this was freedom from my past but it was just a prison of the present. This was no life. 

THE REPLACEMENT 

I realize that the mineral water I would take to my bed was a replacement for what I use to do. A new, healthier habit built from the foundation of the old.  

Same motion, different potion.

– Gus Glaros (Maybe not just me but too lazy to look)

I wonder if people would argue whether this was healthy or not? Living out the same habit but changing what tool I used. I am pretty sure some experts would approve, others would not. Regardless, I am still sober. So something is working.   

LOOKING BACK 

Looking back on it now, I am so grateful to be free from the shooter shackles and the beer bars that held me captive for so long. Now reaching new levels of sobriety, I can’t help but wonder how I got by for so long just coasting on fumes. I was a dead man walking. A rotting corpse chained by the fear of reality. 

Now that I am sober I have a new hope and a new sense of purpose. I changed my life and as a result, my new life changed me. The sparkling water by the bed is a symbol of rebirth. I still have this same life, the same breath in my lungs, the same body. I am still the same person I was before, I just have a new lease on life. I replaced bad habits with good. I have made myself a better person.  

So, I am happy now. I will keep that drink by my bed so long as I need to and that’s ok. It keeps me hydrated and keeps me sober. No expert can tell me different. 

Inner Peace in Outer War

This life that we live is uncertain. Anything can happen in a moment and we none are prepared for it. A death in the family, an unexpected bill, I don’t know, maybe a global pandemic? We are none prepared for something we can’t predict.  

Nothing rings more true than the discord between Ukraine and Russia that led to full out war. The chaos and what it has brought to the countries are traumatic for all involved. War is never good and never solves anything but brings bloodshed and turmoil to humanity *End of political spiel*. 

With everything going on with the war and the lingering effects of COVID 19, it’s so easy to let ourselves get stressed out. With that, comes so many secondary emotions like anger, sadness and anxiety. It disturbs our inner peace because all we see are negativity happening. When we let those outer circumstances affect how we feel, we become overwhelmed. I sometimes feel these emotions as well and it gets me to a dark place quickly if I don’t check it. 

So, how do we handle our inner thoughts and emotions when the outer world seems to be out of control? I know that I don’t have the answers to your circumstances as each person is different, but I do know what has helped me. So I am hoping these things will help you and maybe you can adapt these same thoughts and practices in your own life. 

1. Inevitability is Inevitable

Unexpected things will happen and we have two choices when they do. Give up, or keep going. The unexpected is inevitable and the sooner we come to realize this the better. This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. The realization comes with a consistent and sometimes a daily mindset practice to adopt. 

2. Accept what we cannot change

Some would argue that this is the same as step one. Though it may seem similar they actually work in tandem with each other. Realizing that something is inevitable is not the same as accepting. You can realize that the world is in a bad place right now and that can cause you to react in sync with the world. That leads you down the dark road I explained earlier. Accepting that we can’t change the world is hard but to release control of the whole world is a big relief. We are not God, we don’t have the “World in our hands” as the old Sunday school song would say. We can only control how we react to these situation. 

3. What can we change?

If anyone reading this has ever been to an AA or Al-Anon meeting, you probably know the terms I am using. The serenity prayer. However, these practices are things we as humanity should adopt as our own. “Accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can”. 

So what can we change? What can we do when the whole world is on fire and we have no way to put it out or control it? 

We can change how we react to these unexpected and uncontrollable situations. We can reshape our thinking by simply acknowledging that we can’t change the situation. It makes life so much simpler. 

4. You need to breathe.

Back in my church going days there was a song that really stuck out to me. It’s a song by Jonny Diaz called Breathe. The first verse talks about a person going about their day. So many things keep happening at once and this person doesn’t know what to do about it. The person gets so stressed out to the point where they feel like giving up. In the chorus (minus the biblical undertones) just simply says: “Breathe, just breathe”. 

That is a powerful statement because even though we need it to survive, so many people forget to really breathe.  More so rather, we forget to pay attention to our breathing. We forget by just taking deep breaths, it helps provide oxygen to our brain and lungs. In an article by Urban Balance it reads:  

“Simply put- extra oxygen does wonders for the body and mind. It cleanses, opens and soothes different parts of our being and is overall something extremely healthy we can all do” 

It reads on to give a list of all the benefits deep breathing has. So, when you are feeling out of control. Remember: Stop what you’re doing and BREATHE. Take a deep breath in and out. Remember what you can control. The breathing, your mind, your spirit, your life. 

5. Do something that distracts you.

Do you like to draw? Write (like I do)? Do you like to read or maybe even binge a Netflix show? In times of high emotion, it’s best to do something for you. Get a massage, take a walk or maybe go to the gym. So many things are available to us when we feel stressed out to the point where we feeling those secondary emotions like anger, fear, anxious…etc. creep up. It’s never good to “sit in your sh**” as some would say. It causes you to dwell on those negative thoughts and emotions. It may cause you to develop a bad habit or even can cause health issues down the line. So it’s always good to take your mind off of the craziness by doing something that you love. 

6. Tell Someone.

It’s never good to sit in your misery, as not so eloquently stated above, especially alone. It’s in those moments when it’s best to reach out. We sometimes feel like we are alone in our feelings. When, in fact, we are not. More than likely the person you get in contact with is or has felt the way you do now. It’s those times when you call and become truthful about your emotions. 

In Conclusion:

Bad sh** is going to happen, instead of dwelling on “bad sh**” work on becoming a “bad a$$”. Sure, it won’t come over night and things can easily get you down. That is also inevitable. Never push the emotions away, instead: acknowledge it and try to let yourself feel it. Just don’t let it linger and let it float away like a leaf on the river. We all go through hard times. It’s best not to sit in those times forever. We lose years of our lives living in constant worry. We need to take a step back and observe what we are doing. Remember life is inevitable.  Having acceptance to forgiving what we can’t change and changing what we can, we just breathe, promote self-love and tell someone about your issues.

Once you do these, I guarantee that your overall life will feel a lot better. It won’t solve our problems, but it will help you react to those problems. 

9 Months Sober (My Sobriety Journey)

It seems like just yesterday I was barely coherent in my friend’s explorer in the parking lot outside of Recovery Centers of America. I was chugging my last swig of vodka before going in for the long road of detox. If I wasn’t so drunk, I would have ran away. Hell, if I wasn’t that drunk I wouldn’t even need rehab. Yet, there I was, in all my (haven’t showered in a week, don’t know when I changed last) glory.

Another stent of rehab. This would be my 7th stay in the last two years. I like to say tours because it sounds like I was in a cool rock band or maybe a army vet (no disrespect to armed forces I was trying to make myself feel better). Not an alcoholic. Not a problem drinker. It also added a little humor to what may be the lowest point in my life.

From Death to Life

No doubt during my relapse this last time I didn’t want to come back from it. I wanted to drink myself into oblivion. The finale would be epic! Maybe I would get the courage to find my way onto the roof of my apartment complex and jump off. “No” I thought, “my luck I would be a vegetable. I wouldn’t be able to talk and my family would keep me sober and alive thinking I would want it this way”. “NO, BITCH. Put that vodka in my IV and send me off when I am nice and toasty”

I thought about shooting myself, but I didn’t have a gun. “Maybe if I drink enough, I’ll die from alcohol poisoning. THAT’S IT” I thought (I tend to think a lot drunk). “The perfect ending to this fucked up situation”. Obviously, that didn’t happen because I am still alive writing this blog post. Thinking about it now, that would probably be the most disgusting and most painful way to go out of all the options I thought of. So, I am glad I didn’t let drunk me decide my fate.

No, this journey takes a different road. Luckily I had good friends who made sure I got the help that I needed, again. Regardless on if I wanted it or not. They would never take no for an answer and would probably chase me down the street to get me there (true story, that happened before). While in the lobby of this rehab center waiting in agony as my BAL lowers enough that I don’t die in their possession, I still wanted it to end. I didn’t want to face the world to let everyone know that I relapsed, again. I didn’t want to admit that I still had a drinking problem. There was nothing I could do about that now, though. I was here, there was no going back. They told me I should to rehab, and I didn’t say no (I love you Amy. Rest in peace).

When I finally came to (which was probably around 3 days later), after all the shakes were gone and the night terrors subsided, I had a shocking revelation. I didn’t want to die after all. I wanted to live. Now more than I ever have. 

This new desire to be and stay alive rattled every fiber of my being. “WTF is this?” I thought (I think sober too). “Why did I change my mind so drastically”. The reason was simply: I was sober. Not just sober regarding my blood alcohol level. I was sober minded. It’s strange how quick you realize how precious life is when you almost lose it. I was lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to come back from the fatal decision.

New Sense of Purpose

When contemplating what to do with this new sense of purpose I knew one thing was certain: I needed a change. Not just a move to a new apartment change, I needed a full “needing to start a new life” change. So, I made the very scary decision to leave Delaware. Now that my mind was made up it was a question of “where?” that had me stumped. I really wanted to go north, like John Snow in Game Of Thrones. I knew winter was coming and I love snow. Getting there was only half the battle. I had this crazy scenario about a guy moving to Maine and living in an old beat up SUV with his dog. Until he finds the guy that makes his life change for ever. Real, happily ever after Hallmark shit. 

I always try to imagine what life would be like for the characters in those movies after the ending credits. Would it really be happily ever after or would it end in some messy divorce and fighting over custody of their 2 kids. Anyway, I digress. Much like the expectations of everything being sunshine and sparkles, it simply is not a realistic way to live. I wouldn’t be able to live that way.

After talking manically with the therapist a few days in a row at RCA she kind of talked me off the ledge, and I finally saw that clarity. She suggested that it might do some good going to a music bases recovery program. Hello, music man here, she got me hooked. Thus this move changed my whole direction. I linked up with Recovery Unplugged in Austin, TX. Yes, complete opposite from my first thought. Instead of going all the way north I would make like Daenerys Targaryen (reference of the day: Game of Thrones, not sponsored sadly) and go all the way south. I came home, packed up some belongings, got on a plane and flew down.

My new changed life

I realized once I got here that the energy just felt right. I had a bit of a disappointment when I first arrived here and realized the “Music” program wasn’t what I had imagined it would be. To be fair, it was a great program over all and it was my fault for having these anticipating expectations much like a flowery hippie sober music fest of peace and love in my brain. So I pretty much set myself up for that disappointment. Either way, it was just what the doctor ordered. After adapting to their program and realizing I had an eating disorder (that’s a whole other blog post for another time) and loving the vibe I decided to put my resume out and look for a place to live. “If it doesn’t work out then I can just go back home” I said to myself. So, it did work out. I found a job, a sober house and I decided to make the move.

I resigned from my job of 5 years, broke my sketchy lease, with the slumlord millionaires, of the ghetto ass apartment complex, in inner city Wilmington, *takes breath* and made that leap of faith.

Aside from getting Covid on the travel back down in my car, losing my taste buds moving to a food destination and having to change careers within the first 6 months of being here, everything else has been great. Word to the wise: Always expect the unexpected because nothing is certain.

Now that it’s been 9 months since that last vodka chug in the rehab parking lot, I still haven’t taken a drink since. I have not gotten high (aside from caffeine which to anyone who has seen the amount of caffeine I consume, MIND YA BUSINESS. God’s not through with me yet) and you know what? Everything is okay. 

I have not needed a drink of a drug. If I ever get to the point where I “need” to drink, if I ever catch myself saying that I “need” a fix, it will be time to check myself. I will always remember the road it has led me on in the past and how far I have come since. Life is never easy. Whether you decide to drink, use drugs or not, the problems that drove us to it are never going away and chances are, they are probably going to get worse with it. It just delays the inevitable. 

During hard times I know and can see the lure. However, I can’t handle my alcohol and when I feel that sense of escape I will always be chasing that first time feeling that I will never get to. Much like, let’s get real, losing our virginity. I have learned now that facing my problems with a sober mind is way better than letting a drunk and inebriated brain try to handle my tasks because, it has never ended well and I am almost certain never will.

It’s time to stay a grown up and grab life by universes’ balls and manifest my dreams. As I said above, nothing is guaranteed. The future is not promised. I know that I need to continue my streak of sobriety. 

Will I never take a drink again? I am not sure. What I do know is that it serves no purpose in my life and that shit can be expensive. So for now, it is not in my near future. 

My goals however? Well, just wait.

Critical Decision

Ok, so this post is a little different. It’s partially a story about what’s currently going on and the other is simply asking for advise about the current situation. Right now I am at a crossroad and I don’t quite know which path to take. Fear tells me I should turn around and go back, but I know that’s never usually the wise decision. This crossroad is a scary yet exciting one.

Currently

I am currently working as a Loss Prevention Officer with a hotel in downtown Austin. The job is great for the most part and it has taught me to get out of my element. However, I am working overnights, so it can be pretty hard not having the energy to really do anything during the day. Even though, I thought I would have plenty. It’s a pretty easy job. The pay could be better as most jobs. Hotel life has treated me well and the bosses and supervisors like me and want me on the team for as long as I am willing to be here. So it’s definitely a job I don’t take lightly

What I Want

So, I have had this dream of starting my own business. I have this beautiful dream of not working for anyone but the people I am servicing and myself. In whatever capacity that is. So, right now my biggest step I made to doing this was deciding I was going to start a cleaning business. I have the name, the DBA, Business Account, SAM number, DUNS…etc. I have made major steps in accomplishing this. I want to be a successful business owner and have something built that I can be super proud of. There’s an issue that keeps me from doing it right now.

Here’s the issue.

I thought that I would have all the time in the world to make this happen because I was working 3rd shift. I could get off, do everything done that I needed to, come back to sleep for a bit and then head into work. Clean houses in the morning into the early afternoon and sleep enough to ready myself for the next shift. This has not been the case for me. It may have a lot to do with the Prednisone I have been taking (you can read about how I got to this in my previous post The Pain and the Solution) and the side effects they have. It seems lethargy and weight gain is two huge side effects that are kicking my a**. I get home and I immediately want to go to bed and a lot of times I do. My rational thinking tells me that I could sleep for some of the morning and have plenty of time and energy during the afternoon. However, this usually would turn into me sleeping way longer than I wanted to. Then I’d get mad that I slept so long. Then because I feel as though the whole day is gone, I think “why not finish out sleeping the rest of the night. So I usually do.

Can I get advice?

I am looking to hopefully get advice on what to do. Each decision set in front of me all have pros and cons. Should I quit my job and work for myself? Do you think its reasonable to push myself and work both full time and try to run a the business? Can I trust myself to maintain stability and try and only own part time at this job if they offer insurance and try and compensate my income with doing food deliveries?

What would be the best course of action. Please leave a comment below on the WordPress comment tab and/or the Facebook comment tab. I appreciate any suggestions or advice you may have to offer!