New York City 058 225x300 POSITIVE PARENTING   I WAS INSANEOn November 1, 2013 I celebrated 22 years of being sober. It was not the kind of celebration that included balloons falling from the ceiling in a room full of supporters patting me on the back and congratulating me on my accomplishment.

On the contrary since I’ve become comfortable in my own skin, the only one at this celebration was me. I am very comfortable staying within myself.

The main reason why I take such a laid back approach is because I take no credit for the past 22 years. All the credit goes to God.

During that last 5 years of my active drinking, I tried everything under the sun to change what happened each time I picked up a glass of that magic fluid. No matter what I did or said I ended up at the same place. After each occasion I got drunk.

Each and every time I did that same thing I expected something different to happen. It wasn’t until I had been sober a few years that I learned that I was practicing insanity. Some say that it is insane to expect something different when you do the same thing over and over again. There is no doubt that I was insane.

I would like to say that I remembered the day before (10/31/1991) like it was yesterday. That however would be far from the truth. Actually I only remember bits and pieces of that day.

On that day I woke up to get ready for work. That had to be around 4 or 4:30 Am. That part is clear to me because that is a practice I still do today.

In those days I could not start my day without a cigarette. I would usually sit on the edge of the bed and smoke. Looking back on those days, it’s hard to imagine how my family, which consisted of my wife and my oldest son, could exist in that small one bedroom apartment being surrounded by nasty cigarette smoke

This month, I also celebrate being smoke-free for 17 years.

October 31 was a Thursday and payday.  I couldn’t wait until that work day ended. My plan was to hang out with some co-workers, have a few drinks and go home early.

By 2AM on Friday, I realized that my perfect plan was not to be. I could not see it then but that scenario played itself out every payday.

On that day, though, there was something very wrong. The drink and drugs that had been my friend for so many years had turned on me.

When I first started 20 or so years before, the “get high” experience was fun. I really enjoyed that euphoric feeling I got. In the few years leading up to that day this experience was turning from one of fun to one I dreaded participating in. Each day it would start out OK but at the end I would scratch my head wondering when things got out of control. It was never my intent to get drunk but each day I wound up exactly that way.

That last day became the day when I just could not take it anymore.

I called the job and informed them that I would not be in. The next thing that came out of my mouth was something that I never thought my ego would allow me to say. I told them I had a problem and that I needed help.

In the modern age most jobs have some sort of employee assistance program. The one at my job started my recovery process by sending me to a 30 day rehab.

That had been the longest time in the past 20 or so years that I did not drink.

While there I learned about some valuable tools that I could use to help sustain my new sober lifestyle. For the past 22 years I have not wavered away from what I learned during that November in South Hampton, New York.

These years have not been perfect. During this time I have lost many things. This is not uncommon for most who spent their lives drinking as I did.

On the other side of the coin there have been many things that I have gained. There is no greater experience for a person like me than to know that I can live life each day without having to be a slave to what is in the alcohol bottle.

One of the benefits of being sober is that I have been able repair some of the damage that existed in my relationships with my family members.  One thing is clear, there is no way I can practice being a positive parent while under the influence of any mind altering substances.

I thank God for these 22 years and I look forward to ending this day without the need for a drink.

I chose to write this post not because I need approval or pats on the back. Although I will take some if anyone is so inclined.

 My real reason for telling you a little about my story is that I’m sure there is someone reading this that is going through the same turmoil that I was going through.  They are not homeless. They have jobs. They seem to be functioning like a normal human being.

The only difference is that each and every day they lose control once they put that bottle to their lips.

I am your future and I am here to say to you that you can live each day without a drink. Think about it. You no longer have to remember where you left the car last night. You no longer have to worry about whether or not you hit someone or something in that car that you can’t mentally locate.

I was lucky. I was always able to find my car and although my parking was questionable, once I walked around this potential weapon, there were never any major dents or blood on the bumpers. I really thank God for that.

What I am most thankful for is that I no longer wake up with that terrible headache and I exactly remember what went on the night before.

I’m the guy whose glass is always ½ full.



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