waking up #recovery #renovation #familysystems #alcoholicfamilies

May 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

It is nineteen years since I came into recovery. In January, 1996 I turned 40. By the end of the day I was plastered, laying on my back in my front yard on the dirty snow, unable to get up. The next day I asked myself, “If I die tomorrow will I be content with how I lived today?” The answer was no.

On April 20, 1996 I smoked my last joint. I was a habitual pot user, smoking regularly at 5 pm everyday. It was all I looked forward to and everything I regretted afterward. After I stopped using I went into a catastrophic emotional tailspin. I remember at one point I was sitting on the roof of a friend’s house sobbing uncontrollably.

On May 26, 1996 I boarded a bus to go to a drug rehab centre. I had to be pried out of my familiar surroundings with a crowbar. Even though my situation was extremely unhealthy and destructive, I couldn’t imagine living any other way.

After the first week in drug rehab I realized I could not go back to my marriage and home. I would never stay clean from drugs and alcohol if I went back. Two weeks later my stay at the centre ended and I was on my own, beginning the process of building my new life. I was forty years old. I had a maxed out credit card and I was living on social assistance.

When I arrived in the city I had less than a hundred dollars left on my credit card and a ten dollar bill in my pocket.

Since then I have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine art, graduated with a masters’ degree in technology studies education, married, bought a house, put a new basement under the house, entered a carpentry apprentice program, and worked to complete a doctoral degree in curriculum and pedagogy.

I am now 59 years old. I have begun tearing down the walls on our century old house. My home is a chaotic mess of piles of dirty dishes, renovation dust, and misplaced furniture.

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The front porch has been covered with a tarp for three months. A giant beam sits in the front hall awaiting installation.

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I have two client’s houses to caulk and paint.

Jethro, my reactive rescue dog, sleeps on the couch nearby. My husband sleeps upstairs. My son stayed out with his friends last night, he is here for the summer working for our contractor and helping us on this house.

The sun is coming up each day further and further northward on the eastern horizon. This morning the rays of sun light up the full green leaves of spring past the roof of the meditation centre. The linden tree outside my dining room window is in full bloom.

Today I plan on getting the kitchen cleaned up so we can use it again. I think my other task should be getting the mountain of dirty laundry into the washing machine and getting the mountain of clean laundry put away.

Also my neighbour, who is teaching me to garden, has told me to water the new plantings. So I must get out to do that.

Everyday of my life these days is a busy day. I work hard, and the fruits of my labours show in my surroundings. I have people who love me and care about me, and who are also not using drugs or alcohol to make life bearable. Life is tough, it has always been so. Today I will manage life on life’s terms because I have found a new way to live. If I die tomorrow I will be content with how I lived today.

Time to put the coffee on.

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