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Old 05-01-2014, 05:29 PM   #26
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

I agree with your movie rating fwiw.

Your alcohol stories are great because they are very well written, and I also identify.
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:11 AM   #27
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

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I agree with your movie rating fwiw.

Your alcohol stories are great because they are very well written, and I also identify.
Thanks, I remember posting in a thread awhile back about alcoholism, when I finish my story I'll either put a link in that thread or just copy it over. If you've shared any of your experiences please post a link or feel free to discuss here, I'm always interested in reading about others that have gone through similar struggles.

Thur - normal breakfast, normal lunch + veggie chips, normal snack, chicken salad w/ light ranch & kettle chips for dinner, normal snack, 2 mile walk
2830 Eaten - 2848 Burned = (18) Deficit

Friday weigh in - 209 (+1 from last week, -1 overall)
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:27 AM   #28
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

Was happy with last weekend through Tue, but Wed pizza night and too many calories last night kinda ruined the week. This weeked is going to be tough, we're having a Derby Party Sat. night, but I'm going to try and get some extra excercise in to at least offset it a little bit.

I sure don't feel old enough to be having a party where there's as many kids as adults, but apparently that's the reality, as we're going to have something like 12 adults/9 kids this weekend, which seems really high considering we're childless. I don't mind the youngsters though, and they naturally decrease the % of drinking attendees. As recent as 4 years ago our get-togethers featured an 80%+ intoxication rate.

Quick TV tangent - what an amazing stretch of shows airing right now with Fargo, The Americans, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men. We're also starting season 7 of The Shield, can't imagine ever watching 5 shows of this caliber at the same time again.

I'm only 1 episode into season 2 of Orphan Black so I can't lump it with the rest yet, but if it comes close to the 1st season I'd at least put it up there with The Americans.

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Old 05-02-2014, 05:36 PM   #29
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

June 4th, 2009
“What kind of person downs an entire pint of vodka on a random weeknight, let alone in secret? An alcoholic? Someone deeply depressed? Someone whose wife won’t let him drink so he has to resort to extreme measures? Yep, that’s definitely it, it’s her fault. I just want to get a little buzz going every now and again like everybody else, I just have to go about it a different way. I won’t do it often, only after tough work days and the occasional Saturday, it’s no different than people that go to bars once or twice a week.”


And so it began. For a few months I only journeyed to my secret place once or twice per week. Then every Saturday and Sunday plus one weekday, then I threw Fridays in the mix, “It’s the weekend, everybody drinks on the weekend,” I rationalized to myself. I continued to succumb to the ever-pulling force of my favorite place until I had settled into a routine.

I would give myself a pep talk on the way to work, “Last night was fun, but you know you have to slow down, let’s take today off, and you can have another private party this weekend.” By early afternoon I would be lost in the doldrums of another seemingly endless day, desperate for something to look forward to.

“Maybe just one more night, you’ve been working your butt off, let’s enjoy tonight, then take a break tomorrow.” Outwardly I sat stone-face, but on the inside my lips formed a villainous smile as I imagined the extraordinary excursion I would be taking in a few hours.

After work I’d play some basketball (gotta burn those vodka calories!), then hit the drive-thru. Pulling up to the window no longer elicited a quickened pulse and heavy heart-beat, I just felt dirty as I continued the practice of monitoring the area ready to duck behind my steering wheel at the sight of any familiar faces, while the clerk handed me the pint without a word spoken by either of us.

That dirtiness drifted away the moment the sweet nectar hit my lips, I was immediately transported to my hideaway, the only place I enjoyed being, the only place I could look myself in the mirror. Every night was an adventure, physically it might have been exactly the same as the last, but mentally I conquered the world.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:42 PM   #30
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

September 5, 2010
My stomach feels like there’s a giant balloon inside it that’s continually expanding despite having no more room to grow. This pain ebbs and flows for several hours and my wife notices a yellow tint to my skin while I realize my urine strongly resembles apple juice. Googling these symptoms brings a plethora of unpleasant results and we head to the Emergency Room.

“Do you drink alcohol?” A young doctor with the unenviable task of working the night shift on Labor Day Weekend systematically asks me.

“Occasionally I have a beer or two,” I say meekly while simultaneously looking to my wife for approval.

I tell him about the stomach issues I’ve had off and on, while admitting to over-indulging in heavy meals this weekend and generally poor eating habits.

They draw blood and do an ultrasound, but we spend most of the 6 hours in relative silence as I drift in an out of consciousness from the pain medication.

“This could be related to stomach problems such as gallbladder disease, but you’re jaundiced and your liver enzymes are very high, you’re showing signs of potential problems such as hepatitis, you need to have your blood drawn every few days to see if your liver functions return to normal, we’ll set you up with a Gastro-Intestinal Doctor that specializes in liver disease.”

I take a private gulp while covertly weighing the options of keeping silent vs admitting to my excessive vodka consumption. Silence wins the internal debate and I match my wife’s befuddlement at our current predicament.

We drive home discussing how I need to change my eating habits, I nod in agreement while realizing this is it, I’ve hit rock bottom, I have to stop drinking right now, I just hope it’s not too late. Despite being a non-believer I pray that this wasn’t anything serious, that I hadn’t done permanent damage, and that most importantly, I could get through it without my wife finding out the truth.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:36 AM   #31
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

Fri - normal breakfast, lunch, snacks, Jimmy John's turkey sandwich and kettle chips for dinner, mowed & sprayed weeds: 2600 Eaten - 2999 Burner = (399) Deficit
Sat - brown rice cereal w/ almond milk for lunch, pizza and various fattening sides for dinner, 2 cupcakes for dessert, cleaned house & 3 mile treadmill "hike" (varying levels of incline): 3400 Eaten - 3531 Burned = (131) Deficit
Sun - veggies & dip for Lunch, chicken wings & potato wedges for dinner, Graeter's cookie dough ice cream for dessert, 3 mile treadmill "hike", 1 mile walk: 4600 Eaten - 3250 Burned = 1350 Surplus

Not a great weekend, but it was expected, and could've been worse, time for a good week.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:54 PM   #32
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

We dropped Buddy off Saturday, he's spending 2 weeks with the trainer, then he'll have 3 sessions with us going over everything. My wife made it a day and a half before calling to check on him, I didn't think she'd make it through the 1st night. On the flip side, our older Doxie is in heaven having the whole house to himself and our undivided attention.

Buddy before going out in the snow a few months back:



A makeshift napping spot:



Simon:


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Old 05-06-2014, 04:20 PM   #33
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

June 6th, 1998 (Names changed to protect the guilty)

After calling the 3 seedy liquor stores we were confident would sell to our thirsty group of 18 year olds, we came to the stark realization that you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays. Undeterred, we put our collective heads together and devised a plan.

Ryan would be the key, he’d been working at the local Grocery since he turned 16. He knew every nook of the store and the habits of the 2 “adult” employees on duty that night. If we were to pull off the heist he had to choreograph our movements.

After calling the store using my best “Ryan’s dad’s voice” to ask for him, we were delighted that he not only agreed to take part, but was excited to do so. He advised us to show up at 8:00 PM when we’d only have to worry about the assistant manager, and follow his lead.

Walking through those front doors with Jason while two other friends sat in Jason’s parent’s van with the engine running, I felt like a baddaxx while simultaneously hoping I didn’t pxss my pants. We grabbed a cart and upon seeing the assistant manager every instinct in my body told to me to bolt out of there and find another way to spend the night. I fought the urge and tried to mirror Jason’s confident demeanor as we proceeded to the drink aisle. He stood lookout and upon giving me the signal I quickly stuck three 12 packs into the cart and hid them under multiple bags of chips. We crept towards the front of the store, our heads on a swivel making sure no meandering adult foiled our plans. Ryan gave us the all-clear, meaning the assistant manager had gone into his office, and we sprinted to the car, threw everything in the back, and peeled out into the night.

My heart raced like it never had before, I felt incredibly alive as we howled in celebration while each cracking open a Coors Light. We drove to our favorite secluded spot, popped the tailgate, and regaled ourselves in glory for the magnificent stunt. We relived the moment via each of our play-by-play retellings and toasted each other in delight as we chugged the beer we had worked so hard for.


16 years have passed and that night is still as fresh in my mind as if it had been yesterday. I used to often wonder what would’ve happened if we’d gotten caught. Would it just have been a slap on the wrist? Would I have lost my baseball scholarship? Would it have changed my life forever? Would it have changed my outlook on drinking? Thinking back on it today my biggest question is how in the world did we not get caught? This wasn’t a tiny store, it was a full size grocery in a fairly large shopping center. The only reasonable conclusion I can come to is that somebody decided to give us a break, or that pursuing it would’ve been more trouble than it’s worth.


I’m not sure exactly why I wanted to share this story, I don’t think it played an incredibly pivotal role in my blooming alcoholism, I’m sure I would have found my way there no matter what. I guess I just wanted to share a story from when drinking was fun, or maybe I just wanted to brag about some adolescent hijinks. Anyway, the next installment will chronicle the days following my trip to the ER.
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:15 PM   #34
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

September 8th, 2010
I sit at my desk in silence, grinding my teeth in a futile attempt to abstain from clawing myself. It’s been 3 days since my last drink and I’m having one distinct withdrawal symptom. My skin itches feverishly, it feels like thousands of tiny insects are crawling over my body. The pain shoots between my back, shoulders, arms, and legs, seemingly never subsiding. I do my best to scratch only when I’m alone, knowing someone could put two and two together between the jaundice and itching and stumble upon the hidden truth.

This proves much easier in the privacy provided by my cubicle than at home. My wife’s concerned, but thankfully buys my explanation that itching is a symptom of jaundice, and it should subside when the jaundice dissipates.

We spent the next couple nights researching stomach conditions and discussing future doctor visits, but at work (between itching fits and my required job duties) I spend hours googling liver disease, alcoholism recovery, and the like. I try my best to remain optimistic, but part of me is convinced I’ve done irreparable damage. I shutter in disgust as I imagine telling my friends and family that I ruined my liver by secretly chugging vodka. What an embarrassing and pathetic way to die. And I can’t even begin to ponder the inevitable disclosure to my wife.


Fortunately the days go on and a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders as my liver enzymes regress back to normal levels. After a couple weeks my skin regains its regular paleness and my urine is no longer disgustingly dark. Publicly the incident is written off as an anomaly related to my undiagnosed stomach ailment, privately I’m elated that my alcoholism hasn’t completely ruined my life. I maintain my sobriety and let my wife know I’ve decided to quit drinking, citing various reasons without giving up the real one. I can tell she’s skeptical of my motivations, but she’s spent years hoping I’d utter those words, so she gladly accepts my declaration.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:15 PM   #35
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

Did you ever have any more tests run on your liver, or is that the end of the alcohol chapter?
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:31 PM   #36
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Did you ever have any more tests run on your liver, or is that the end of the alcohol chapter?
I did, will discuss further in an upcoming chapter
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:50 PM   #37
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Did you ever have any more tests run on your liver, or is that the end of the alcohol chapter?
When I was in the hospital after they removed my gallbladder, I had a liver biopsy and it came back all clear. I'm just lucky it worked out the way it did, without the jaundice scare I might never have stopped drinking until it was too late.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:36 AM   #38
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

“Truth, the only thing I ever used in Moderation.” – Macklemore (Vipassana)



April 22, 2013
“So you just lied, do you lie all the time? How do I ever know what to believe?”

I read the latest text from my wife after she caught me in a seemingly harmless lie. The specifics aren’t important, but essentially I had put off making a payment to her dentist so they cancelled her next appointment due to the outstanding balance and when I called to make the payment and try to get her appointment back they said they’d do their best to fit her in. I didn’t mention a word of this to her and just hoped it would all work out. They called that morning and notified me she could come in at 4:00 (she was previously scheduled for 2:00), so I texted her that something came up and they had to move her appointment back. She had plans later that afternoon so she pushed the issue and after stating she was calling them to try and get it changed back I was forced to come clean.

It could’ve ended there, my impulse was to explain that I had mistakenly neglected the payment, was embarrassed by my error, and covered it up because I didn’t want her to think I wasn’t paying bills. She would be angry that I lied, but she'd get over it and we’d move on like we always have.

That would be the easy thing to do, and taking the easy way out was my forte. However, I was sick and tired of lying. For years I’d carried countless falsehoods on my shoulders, the weight of the deceit was crushing me, I couldn’t take it anymore, it was time to come clean. Considering the enormity of some of my deceptions, it’s quite comical that a dentist appointment ended it all, but it only takes a tiny gust of wind to collapse a house of cards.

“You’re right, I am a liar, I lie all the time, you have no idea how bad it is.” I stare at the screen motionless for several minutes, my finger hovering over “send.” I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and tap the screen.

“Holly shxt, what have I done?” I whisper to myself as nervous energy stiffens my entire body while I wait for her response.
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:59 AM   #39
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

Mon - no breakfast, normal everything else, 2 mile walk, 1850 calories
Tue - normal everything, spinning class, 20 min core workout, 1 mile walk, 2130 calories
Wed - normal breakfast-snack, kettle chips w/ dinner, 3 ice cream bar things for dessert, 2 mile walk, 2860 calories
Thur - normal breakfast-snack, Jet's pizza and breadsticks, 2 mile walk, 3770 calories

Friday weigh-in 210 (+1 from last week, even since initital weigh-in)

2nd week in a row of having Jet's on a random night, excuse this time was wife getting a job offer so we celebrated, obviously not a good reason to eat pizza.

Random list because I'm putting off working this morning - 10 underrated movies (no idea if my concept of underrated is accurate):

10) Confidence (2003)
9) 13 Assassins (2010)
8) Green Street Hooligans (2005)
7) Identity (2003)
6) Suicide Kings (1997)
5) The War (1994)
4) Clue (1985)
3) Knockaround Guys (1999)
2) The Legend of the Drunken Master (1994)
1) Judgment Night (1993)



Nostalgia definitely plays a role with some of that list, especially Clue, but Judgment Night is my all-time favorite movie.


Hope to post the next installment today, I've starting writing it, but it's slow-going as I'm definitely not enjoying reliving that day/week.
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:40 PM   #40
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

April 22, 2013 (part 2)
My phone vibrates and I read, “Wow Scott, that’s F-ing great, so what have you lied about?”

“A lot, I’ll tell you everything after work, it’s a conversation we should have face to face.”

“No, tell me everything, right now.” I knew that was coming, I couldn't drop a bomb like that and expect her to wait several hours to talk about it. My wife’s work has a zero tolerance policy against cell phones calls, and technically it’s against the rules to text, but they’re more lenient on that front and it’s easier to conceal.

So this is how it’s going down, we’re about to have the most important conversation in our 9.5 years of marriage, and it's taking place via text message. What a perfect (and saddening) depiction of the 21st century.

“I lie all the time, mostly about little things, anytime I think the truth will make things difficult or force a confrontation I make up something that sounds better. But there’s 2 big lies/secrets. 1st, our financial situation is terrible, I’ve been paying our mortgage payments a month late for years now, and at the moment we’re 2 months behind, over the past 5 years I’ve taken 2 loans against my 401K and 1 hardship withdrawal when we fell behind 3 months on our mortgage. We’re barely making our minimum credit card payments and overall I’ve managed our money horribly. To avoid talking with you about it I just always act like we can afford whatever we want and then scheme behind the scenes to keep it hidden.”

“The 2nd big one is that leading up to my Jaundiced ER visit back in September 2010, I had been secretly drinking a pint of vodka every night. I honestly haven’t had a sip of alcohol since then but I had been sneaking it in increasing frequency for 2 years leading up to that point.”

I quickly step outside my building to a relatively private area, waiting for my phone to ring and bracing for the sobbing, profanity-laced tirade that’s sure to ensue.

Instead I get a surprisingly calm response, “I can’t talk anymore about this right now, I have to get back to work.” I picture her face reddening as she fights back the combination of rage and tears, then forcing a blank expression to hide the flood of emotions she’s sure to be feeling as she resumes her regular job duties.

I spend the rest of the afternoon pretending to work while my mind races around the myriad of possibilities that await me upon arriving home. I picture all of my stuff sprawled across our front yard, an empty house with a note telling me to pack up and get out, her charging at me with a baseball bat screaming “You basterd, how could you do this to me,” and plenty of other scenes I’ve stockpiled from too much time spend in front of the TV.

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Old 05-09-2014, 08:45 PM   #41
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

Hell, when she puts it like that it almost makes the near-death accidental secret drinking adventure seem like not a big deal.

That's amazing that conversation went down via text message.

I guess from her point of view, when someone starts a convo bomb like you did, the results vary from "I'm a cannibal axe murderer and I can't be satiated" (which is a 10) to "I steal staplers from work and I can't be satiated" (which is a 1). Also, "I'm ****ing Tracey the hot accountant (and I can't be satiated ldo) is a solid 6.5 on that scale and accounts for 85% of the data points.

So maybe, just maybe, doing it via text was the best idea ever because her expectation are already that you have done something absolutely horrid, and that in the grand scheme of life, almost drinking yourself to death 3 years prior is relatively....ok.

Also a thinly veiled brag that you have been sober for nearly 3 years.

If I have learned anything from Breaking Bad, it's that if you are going to tell your wife a bombshell truth eventually, sooner is better than later.

I hope this post doesn't come off as glib and douche-y scott. This is a great blog and I appreciate you sharing these details. You are a great writer as well. I hope you are getting some theraputic (sp?) value out of posting here.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:23 PM   #42
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

I also wanted to thank you for sharing, I know much of this must be very difficult to write. It's fantastic that you're sober, I stopped drinking many years ago for similar reasons, so I know how hard that can be. You are a great writer and I certainly appreciate hearing about your life.
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:05 AM   #43
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Hell, when she puts it like that it almost makes the near-death accidental secret drinking adventure seem like not a big deal.

That's amazing that conversation went down via text message.

I guess from her point of view, when someone starts a convo bomb like you did, the results vary from "I'm a cannibal axe murderer and I can't be satiated" (which is a 10) to "I steal staplers from work and I can't be satiated" (which is a 1). Also, "I'm ****ing Tracey the hot accountant (and I can't be satiated ldo) is a solid 6.5 on that scale and accounts for 85% of the data points.

So maybe, just maybe, doing it via text was the best idea ever because her expectation are already that you have done something absolutely horrid, and that in the grand scheme of life, almost drinking yourself to death 3 years prior is relatively....ok.

Also a thinly veiled brag that you have been sober for nearly 3 years.

If I have learned anything from Breaking Bad, it's that if you are going to tell your wife a bombshell truth eventually, sooner is better than later.

I hope this post doesn't come off as glib and douche-y scott. This is a great blog and I appreciate you sharing these details. You are a great writer as well. I hope you are getting some theraputic (sp?) value out of posting here.
She did tell me later that the 1st thing she thought was I cheated on her, guess that's just the 1st place a mind goes.

Didn't come off as glib (slightly ashamed to admit I had to google that word) or douchy (familiar w that 1).

Thanks, I think I am getting something out of writing it.
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:08 AM   #44
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I also wanted to thank you for sharing, I know much of this must be very difficult to write. It's fantastic that you're sober, I stopped drinking many years ago for similar reasons, so I know how hard that can be. You are a great writer and I certainly appreciate hearing about your life.
Thanks for the kind words, and congrats on your continued sobriety as well
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:10 PM   #45
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

April 22, 2013 (part 3)
Walking up the driveway I can’t help allowing myself a tiny smirk as I imagine “The Imperial March” playing in the background. That moment of levity disappears in an instant, replaced by an overwhelming sense of dread as I walk through the front door.

“Honey?” I whisper like a young boy scared to face his punishment after a bad report card. I’ve seen my wife angry plenty of times, but I’ll never forget that look. After patting our dogs I timidly sit down on the couch opposite her. I endure the silence as long as I can bear before breaking it with “Where should I begin?”

“Your drinking, when did it start, how much, how long, did you ever tell your doctors?”

I had opened the floodgates, no reason to hold back now, for the first time in our 9 ½ years of marriage I tell my wife the whole truth.

As I explain my private drinking exploits in thorough detail she remains outwardly calm, but behind the blank expression I know her emotions are running the gamut. She asks follow-up questions and I oblige with honest answers. She’s in complete shock that all of this happened right under her nose. How could this possibly continue for so long without her ever catching on?

At this moment a wave of reality washes over me. I had been so wrapped up in myself and juggling the countless lies I had never taking the time to consider what I was doing to her. I can’t imagine how insignificant and overlooked she’s feeling at this moment.

I feel awful, there should be no forgiving what I’ve put her through, I’m a selfish, dirty, lying, conniving, piece of shxt and she deserves much better. I tell her as much, but she sits motionless, still trying to digest everything. Another icy minute passes before she abruptly walks into the bedroom and quietly closes the door behind her.

I sit in stunned silence at everything that just came out of my mouth, what kind of person does this, what’s wrong with me? It’s one thing to be an alcoholic, but to be so deceitful and give so little thought to the feelings of the person that cares for me more than anyone else in the entire world, how could I do that? I’m a monster, no better than the father I consider to be the lowest form of human scum.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, but as I lean back on the couch and ponder the possibilities I know one thing for certain, I deserve whatever consequences await me.
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:06 PM   #46
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

April 23 – 26, 2013
We spend the rest of the week like one of those married couples that stay together despite living completely separate lives. I worked late and found things to keep me busy and away from the house as much as possible. At home we silently went through the motions of fixing dinner, taking care of the dogs, watching TV, etc. Everyday I'd spend hours alone in my head wondering if this would be the night she’d tell me it’s over. I had said I was truly sorry when I initially told her everything, but I didn’t waste my breath begging forgiveness now. Continually apologizing for what I’d done felt like it would belittle the situation. What I’d put her through couldn’t be fixed with an apology, and why would she believe me anyway, I’d just proven she can’t trust a single world that escapes my mouth. So I gave her space and awaited my fate.

April 27
After our normal Saturday morning routine my wife says the words I’ve been dreading all week, “We’ve put it off long enough, let’s talk.”

My entire body feels like it’s caving in on itself as I respond “OK,” with an expression matching my dog's after he's been caught peeing on the carpet. This is it, our lives are about to change forever. After 9 ½ years of marriage I generally had a pretty good read on my wife, but in this moment I have no idea what’s coming next.

“This can never happen again, I can’t handle it and I won’t put up with it. You have to start going to AA immediately. You also need to starting seeing a therapist because alcoholism is not your only issue. You need to figure out how to be honest with me no matter what the situation. I obviously can’t trust you right now, and it’s going to be hard for me ever to do so in the future, but I think it’s possible. You need to address all of your addictive tendencies, accept that you have them, and figure out a way to manage them. I want full access to our bank account, mortgage, everything. I should’ve done this already so the money situation couldn’t have gotten this far without me knowing. We have to sit down with everything in front of us and figure out how to straighten out our finances.”

She paused for a beat to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. “This won’t solve everything, but it has to be done before I can even think about forgiving you. I can’t begin to express how deeply you’ve hurt me, and how small I feel that all this happened right in front of my face.”

I agree to everything, thank her for giving me the chance to turn my life around and be a real husband to her, apologize sincerely, and let her know once again how disgusted I am with my behavior.

After our conversation I wonder what I’ve done to be so lucky, I feel like a convicted murderer given 2 years of probation instead of the death penalty. I’m genuinely excited about everything set forth in her ultimatum. AA should be a great release from all the pressure that’s built up after keeping my alcoholism a secret for so long. Having a therapist will allow me to spill all of my addictive thoughts and feelings openly and hopefully figure out a remedy. My wife being a part of our finances will take the burden off my shoulders alone and we can start making better choices, I’m confident our situation is redeemable, it’ll just take some work and some lifestyle adjustments. Wow, this is amazing, we should’ve had this conversation years ago.

That last sentence resonates with me as I think about what might have been. If only. I push those thoughts out of my mind and instead think about how lucky I am. My Wakeup Call ER trip could’ve been too late. We could have lost our house as we were always behind on payments. But most importantly, my wife could have told me it was over, she was under no obligation to give me another chance, she’d always been patient with me, and I’d been betraying her trust over our entire marriage. I’m not sure I deserve it, but I’m incredibly thankful for the 2nd chance, and I make a legitimate promise that I will not screw it up.

Last edited by scottp4braves; 05-14-2014 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:12 PM   #47
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

Macklemore – Starting Over



April 29, 2013
My GPS guides me downtown to an unassuming building nestled in with a small park. Unsure of the parking situation I arrive early and after some minor hiccups navigating the one-way streets I nab a decent spot. As I approach the building I notice a historical landmark sign out front and no lights on inside. “Crap, am I in the wrong place?” I walk around the back and find an older man sporting an expression that matches the confusion I’m feeling.

We make eye contact and he asks “You here for the meeting?”

“Yeah, but I’m not sure where to go, you?”

“I think it’s down those stairs,” he replies while pointing to a door at the bottom of a series of stone steps I hadn’t yet noticed.

I was already antsy, but while descending the stairs I’m hit with a renewed nervousness. Entering the room I’m surprised it doesn’t resemble any of the meetings I’ve seen depicted in movies. The dingy concrete basement can’t be any bigger than my living room and there’s maybe 6 inches of space between my head and the ceiling. There’s at least 40 chairs packed around a small table that’s littered with AA literature. Plenty of seats are available and I grab a spot in the corner.

As I sit quietly and survey the area further I notice the walls are filled with inspirational quotes, many that have strong religious tones. People filter in over the next several minutes until most of the room is full. I find myself taking stock of the diversity present, all ages, shapes, sizes, and races are represented. I guess the stereotype of alcoholism limiting itself to older men doesn’t hold true.

The meeting opens with the Lord’s Prayer and the atheist in me cringes. The chairperson has different people read “How it Works,” “The 12 Steps,” and “The 12 Traditions.” They each introduce themselves with “Hi my name is Bob and I’m an alcoholic.” Movies at least depict that accurately.

The chair then asks “Is this anyone’s 1st ever AA meeting?” Darnit, I was expecting this, what do I say, do I say I’m an alcoholic, do I mention it’s my 1st meeting but I’ve been sober awhile? Fortunately I’m not the only newcomer as another fresh face beats me to the punch by simply raising his hand and saying his name. I follow suit and the meeting proceeds.

A topic is presented and then “The meeting is open.” Everyone sits motionless for what feels like an eternity, “Wow this is awkward, what if nobody wants to share?” I think to myself as I glance around the room hoping someone breaks the silence. My wish is granted and the rest of the meeting moves along with very few pauses.

Everyone has some similarities and some differences in what they share, but one theme shines through above all, God. “I wouldn’t be here without God,” “It’s only by the grace of God that I’m still alive today,” “I couldn’t get sober on my own, but when I turned my life over to God he guided me to sobriety.”

The meeting closes with us holding hands and reciting the Serenity Prayer. As I gather my things a man approaches and hands me an orange piece of paper. He explains it has the phone number of all the men in the meeting and encourages me to call with any questions. I’ve long groomed my skills in escaping conversations, so I have no trouble politely maneuvering out of this one without giving any information other than my name. I drive home happy to have attended a meeting and witnessing 1st hand others that have struggled with alcohol, but disappointed that religion was the driving theme behind 95% of the words spoken.

I give me wife the play-by-play and let her know I’m going to attend several different meetings over the next few weeks, pick the one that fits me, and make it part of my weekly routine.

Last edited by scottp4braves; 05-15-2014 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 05-15-2014, 04:33 PM   #48
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

That meeting sounds absolutely unbearable as an atheist.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:55 AM   #49
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

Quote:
Originally Posted by wombat4hire View Post
That meeting sounds absolutely unbearable as an atheist.
There were a couple semi-enlightening moments, but yeah I'd guess that was the most eye-rolls I've ever done in an hour.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:03 AM   #50
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Re: Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

Fri - usual, JJ's & kettle chips dinner, extra dessert, 1 mile walk (2640 calories)
Sat - brown rice cereal & banana w/ almond milk, 2 belvetta bars, 2 jumbo pretzels, 3:30 AM Taco Bell trip (went to a UFC fight w/ a buddy), 2 mile walk (5510 calories)
Sun - no breakfast or lunch, usual snack, grilled chicken salad & kettle chips dinner, extra dessert, 3 mile treadmill "hike" (2410 calories)
Mon - usual, chicken salad dinner, 2 mile walk (1880 calories)
Tue - usual, baked halibut and veggies dinner, 45 min spinning class, 15 min core workout (2070 calories)
Wed - usual, baked salmon and veggies dinner, extra dessert, 2 mile walk (2430 calories)
Thur - usual, TGI Friday's - split fried green beans app 4 ways, turkey burger and fries, 1 mile walk (2920 calories)

Weigh-in 210 (no change, no change)
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