I don’t care what recovery program you use, or if you use one at all, recovery is a million small steps, barefoot and naked, over jagged rocks and burning embers, while life throws shit at you chanting “shame, shame, shame.”
Hyperbole perhaps, but it was this for me before realizing I had a sober superpower.
Resiliency, I discovered, was something alcoholism didn’t steal. In fact, my resiliency increased in power, and I’ve wielded it in the face of countless recovery challenges.
If you’re engaged in active recovery, keep trying after every relapse, string clean days together by whatever means necessary…
By accident, lost in a YouTube rabbit hole, I found a Sara Bareilles live cover of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and it was exactly what I needed. It became a soothing daily anthem for my recovery.
I’m a lifelong fan of Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin, but I never thought about Yellow Brick Road’s words until hearing her version. The beautiful combination of her powerful, clear voice, single keyboard, intimate setting, and my station in life moved me.
To me, it’s the magical mystery of art, and how the interpretation of music, words, or even a photograph…
Whenever I write about love, my knuckles grow sarcastic eyes and roll them at me. Nobody wants to read about a cynical old man’s love quandaries, including me.
Yet, intimacy and human connection are worth exploring, as I can’t be the only aging, jaded single grappling with conflicting love ideas.
And I’m not that old.
Much like a lazy old cat batting a pretend mouse between worn paws, I bounce between wanting intimacy and recoiling from it. Wisdom, I was told, comes with age, but age seems a poor teacher. …
Writing has saved me from myself more times than I like to admit. Sharing it, most often a positive experience, often seems my lone connection to the outside world.
I’m not oblivious to the inherent unhealthiness of this, and I’m working to change it. However, my re-entry into the world, after a complete life-imploding experience, happens at the pace my safe recovery allows.
Time seems to control the departure of mental barriers and willing participation in life outside these walls. Writing about my journey back from the depths often pushes me along, connecting me with others with similar experiences.
I’m Canadian, but US politics are just too damned interesting not to follow. I’ve become a devoted voyeur, peeking over the border, watching with perverse pleasure. For a while there, House of Cards couldn’t deliver the fictional drama your real politics did.
I love it, but I don’t enjoy watching a human, any human, melt into a pitiful puddle in public.
When Jeb Bush’s ill-fated run at the 2016 Republican nomination culminated in a bullied man, standing in front of a silent crowd, begging them to “please clap,” I kind of died with him.
I could feel the vicarious wedgie…
I thought I quit life, but made an inadvertent choice and discovered optimism instead.
When push came to shove, despite conviction my life was pointless, I chose life. After some medical intervention, I spent several days alone with my demons, a hospital bed, and important decisions to make.
I verbalized my genuine conflict to an attending psychiatrist.
“I want to live, but I can’t this way.”
It seems long ago, but as my fingers depress keyboard letters, the sounds, smells, and morbid feelings fill my present. I can still taste the bland Christmas dinner served on the pale green, divided…
Steam rose in spirals, crossing his chest before disappearing into the cool breeze. Warmth, permeating the ceramic cup, passed through his twisted hands, soothing the constant ache.
The hummingbird, red cheeks puffed in pleasure at the fresh feeder, drafted sweet water in repeated head bobs. Colder than normal, she felt the air’s biting chill too, wings vibrating with elevated urgency.
Eyes closed, head tilted back, and feet planted, he counted his inhale. Lungs, filled with fresh Island air, held, then released a slow expulsion of angst. Troubled and sitting alone with his thoughts, he prayed for calm. …
Poised to have an excellent writing month, with dozens of ideas and partial stories filling my draft folder, I was ahead of the game. Pressure to produce quality content seemed eliminated as I invested hours in advanced creativity.
Then, as it has done so many times, mental illness crushed me and ruined it all.
I’m proud to call myself a writer, but I’m a writer living with managed mental illness. I loathe admitting it. …
Throughout most of my adult life, I slept with the enemy. I just couldn’t quit me. It was a wicked love, dancing between angry hate and indulgent fantasy, bringing out the worst in us.
In sobriety, I’ve become my best friend, and developing a healthy, honest, and dependable relationship with myself, ensures I’m never alone — even when I am. Ridiculous arguments over silly things exist, but I’ve got my back when needed most.
This relationship required self-intervention.
When life bottomed out, and I had chased everyone away, being stuck with myself forced a deep dive inside. Others could leave…
I am a writer in recovery, exploring my growing world, gaining self-awareness, making mistakes, and embracing curiosity to experience long-suppressed feelings. No longer drinking at my emotions, I feel them without the numbing effect of alcohol.
This also makes me a man fighting back against generational male stigmas. Our army, a small but growing brotherhood, challenges persisting beliefs regarding mental toughness and tired definitions of masculinity.
I should have enlisted to fight long ago.
The life that led me to chronic alcoholism was a deadly dance between emotional suppression and unhealthy release. …
Essayist often engaged in curious self-exploration. Mental health and addiction advocate. Editor of Found in my Journal.