Sober City Redux: Day 35

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35 years ago I decided to start living. I know I was eager to do this because I wasn’t suppose to start living outside of the womb for another month or so. I wanted to get the show started so much I was willing to live in an incubator for weeks and stress out my poor mom and dad night and day for the sole purpose of starting my life at that exact moment. This was selfish sure, but I believe it was necessary to fulfill my life’s goal of sharing a birthday with both Oprah Winfrey AND Tom Selleck. Mission accomplished.

This was only the first time I decided to start living however. Somewhere around four years old I proclaimed I was going to be a famous actor. I might not have actually said that in so many words but I knew from a very young age in my heart that I was going to entertain people so I decided I was an actor and started living as such. Years later, the first time I felt like I was really in love, I was inspired to write my first song and shortly after it was received so well I decided to make that a regular part of my life for the rest of my life and I started living again. These moments continued to happen throughout my life on a fairly frequent basis and helped keep me fully engaged with life and in control. Then something terrible happened and I stopped living completely.

Before I get into that though, I should address some things that happened since my last post. My birthday was last Thursday and Sunday was the Super Bowl. Both of these events were my first real “staying sober” challenges. I honestly didn’t think they’d be challenging at all, and in many ways they really weren’t, but sometime during the day of my birthday I decided I was going to have some drinks and I convinced myself it was ok. First of all, it is ok. I know that I’m at a place where drinking once or twice a month for special occasions wouldn’t throw me back into a downward spiral of depression and practicing moderation is something that would probably be more beneficial to me in the long run but for whatever reason the moment just never felt right and I ended up sticking to water both nights. This did however open the door for a new conversation about how to proceed with Sober City in the future and I’m sure I’ll be setting new guidelines for myself eventually. Just not yet.

The second thing that happened had nothing to do with drinking at all but probably more to do with my entire struggle over the past 6 years then everything else combined. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday and I haven’t been able to talk to him for roughly 7 years now. Losing my father shook me to my core. It’s not something I’ve talked about much on here but it needs to be acknowledged. Sometime during the 11 months when dad was in the hospital (with a sever brain injury) and the months following his death, I decided to stop living. After spending 20 some years of engaging with life and “deciding to live” time and time again, for the first time ever I shut down completely. This wasn’t a conscious choice and it wasn’t something that happened overnight but it was a throughly self destructive mindset that took over my entire being and turned me into someone I didn’t recognize at all. Thankfully, I’m through the worst of it and well on the way to recovery but I’d be a fool not to recognize the profound impact it had (and will always have) on my life.

I only bring this up now because yesterday reminded me just how important it is to start living again. I’ve been hiding from life for way too long and it’s the worst thing I could be doing and the last thing dad would ever want me to do. It’s not a simple fix. It’s not a shortcut to happiness, but it is an opportunity to channel my younger self, the person I used to love and nurture, and decide to start living again today and hopefully again and again tomorrow.

Sharing all of these thoughts with everyone might not be necessary or productive (or cool) but it helps put things into perspective and it’s all part of whatever journey this turns out to be. So let’s start living again people! It’s what Oprah would have wanted.
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JM

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