If your hearing the phrases “man up” or “come clean” from multiple people in your life, all is not well. I’ll be a happy man if I can go the rest of my life with out hearing either of those two phrases directed at me again. The worst part about those phrases is they’re coming from the people close to you. If you’re hearing those things it’s safe to say the people you care about the most, are not happy with you. Not happy is an understatement, chances are they’re hating your guts at that moment. The good news is in most cases, all is not lost. There is always another day, another chance to make steps in the right direction to getting your life back on track . Thirty seven days ago, I was in a really dark, lonely place and I easily could have let it all slip away. I could have gone deeper into addiction and denial but I didn’t! I’m fighting back. Despite what happens, and despite the fact that my life isn’t the greatest at the moment, I’m very optimistic and hopeful for the future.
I’m posting something I wrote thirty days ago to submit for consideration to be included in a book. I haven’t heard back from them so I’m assuming it wasn’t selected. Oh well, I’ll post it here for you instead.
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Today is day seven. The number seven seems pretty insignificant on most levels. Seven dollars is pretty much the same as having no dollars, you wouldn‘t be able to see a movie or a band play. Most people’s vacations only last for seven days, I’m sure they’d say that’s not long enough. My band has played shows to seven people, as fun as it is to play to anybody there’s definitely something missing when you play to only seven people. The number seven on most levels is insignificant.
Today is day seven and today is very significant to me. Today is my seventh day without a drink. Yes, my name is Keith and I’m an alcoholic. I don’t want to bore you with the stories of how or why my life went down the path of addiction. I don’t want to bore you with the details of a self inflicted, ugly and destructive nose dive into utter hopelessness. I don’t want to tell you about all the stupid things I did and all the bad choices I made. I don’t want to tell you those things because they don’t matter anymore.
Today is day seven and I can say that I’ve learned so much in just one week sober. I’ve learned to open my eyes and see the world around me. I’ve learned that there is hope even when things seem hopeless. I’ve learned that despite my self loathing, people do love and care for me. I’ve learned that I am not alone in this world. Most importantly, I’ve learned that our lives are not set in stone, we can change. I’ve changed.
I know you are probably thinking to yourself “dude it’s only been seven days” and how much can change in seven days? It’s more than just a week of sober living, it’s wasted drunken years. Dreaming, hoping and praying for a life I would see in my sleep. A life that I could see in my dreams but would drown in Miller Lite and Jack Daniels or Coors Gold and Seagram’s Seven. Depends on what was on sale, I was an economical drunk.
I spent years disgusted with myself because I was too scared to pursue the life I really wanted. I let my insecurities destroy me and watched as others around me chased their dreams and achieved them, which just fueled the fire of my self hatred. I secretly despised my friends for being able to do the things I wanted to do. I was a depressed, jealous, anxiety ridden drunk, the grand slam of pathetic.
Today is day seven and I wanted to write this because I am no longer that person. I’m seeing the world again through fresh eyes, things I’ve seen everyday for the last three years seem new to me somehow. The roads I’ve traveled in a hung over daze every morning seem different. All these things that I’ve seen a thousand times seem new to me. I see things I’ve never noticed before, like a house that looks a like the kind of house I’d like to own someday or a store I never knew was there. I look in the mirror and I see someone different. I don’t see the loser or the fuck up anymore. I don’t see the disposable boy I was, I see the man that I’m becoming. For once in my life I am proud of myself.
In just seven days I have more confidence than I’ve ever had in my life. I’m confident that I can be successful as a writer and a musician. I am absolutely positive that I can achieve the life I dream. In just seven days I’m already on my way. This very piece of writing is proof of that.
Again, I know what you’re thinking “dude it’s only been seven days” how different can things really be? Honestly, completely different! I’m not saying things won’t be tough and things won’t go wrong because they will, I know this. I’m not saying things are perfect because they aren’t and probably never will be. I don’t believe that a perfect life is a reality for me or for anybody else and that’s totally OK.
Today and everyday for the rest of my life I will be an alcoholic. I may be addicted to drinking but I don’t think drinking was my problem. My problem was my low self opinion, my self doubt and my anxieties. I’ve learned that we all have problems, whether it’s depression, anxiety, an absent or abusive parent, an unsupportive family or worse. We all have our ways of dealing with our problems, some of it’s constructive, some of it isn’t. A good friend of mine told me recently when I admitted publicly to having an addiction that we all have our vices. Some people drink too much or do drugs, some people are addicted to sex or cutting themselves. The list is endless, but we can all take comfort in the fact that whatever might be wrong with us we are not alone.
Today is day seven and I’m writing this because I hope that someone might read this and see that you can be at the bottom and recover. That there is always hope and the potential for a better tomorrow. I know how cliché that sounds and never believed it until now. It’s true, and I know it’s true because that is my life. I was at the bottom a week ago, I was on my hands and knees praying to a god I don’t believe in for my life to get better. I was sick, addicted and thrown out of my home just seven days ago. I can’t lie to you everything is not better, but everyday the sun does rise and life does get better.
At A.A. meetings they like to say “One day at a time“. I think this is something that could be useful to everyone not just recovering alcoholics. Let’s not worry about next year or even next week. Let’s get through today and make it the best we can. Lets get through the next twenty four hours and take every possible step we can in a positive direction. Lets make our dreams come true one step, one hour one day at a time. Lets be the writers, the musicians and the artists we secretly wish we could be. Let’s be the lawyers, the doctors, the fashion designers that we see in our dreams. Lets not let our lives be about our problems but about how we use our problems to fuel our passions.
I now live my life one step, one hour, one day at a time. Today is day seven.