I was reminded at a meeting recently how fortunate my life has been. Despite my years of drinking I remained what many call "a functioning drunk", i.e. I got up every morning, got dressed and got to work. I did enough at work not to get sacked and therefore the money continued to come in. In fact I was very fortunate that I was in an industry and a job that paid very well indeed and therefore the money I needed to feed my habit wasn't difficult to find, I could drink enough and not have to squirrel money away for that from the bills, the shopping etc. I was lucky too that I found recovery before I started to lose the things that really matter - family in particular.
Others tell stories of true horror, of ending up in places and conditions I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to have to live day in day out like that. It is vitally important that I listen to these people, "listen to the similarities not the differences" they say. I do, and I realise that; but for my extremely good fortune I would indeed have had to face the hardships some of them did.
Recently I've also been reminded through reading the blogs of partners of addicts and alcoholics what damage is done on the other side of the fence. It is a startling truth that I can relate more to stories of street drinking drunks than I can with those of a woman who is the partner of an alcoholic in much the same situation as my wife was with my drinking. I still often feel no matter what I do I can never repay the debt and "make amends" for all the harm I caused. I was not a physically abusive drunk, worse I was an emotionally abusive drunk - often in total ignorance but still it is true. I have to be honest given it was a default engrained behaviour for so long I can't deny that there are still elements of that behaviour in me today and I have to work hard at that if I know it is surfacing.
My children - again look at how fortunate I am, my son had great university exam results last week. The first person he called to tell was me - I am blessed that he did. My daughter often will text me straight after a GCSE to let me know how it has gone - all fantastic stuff that I'm so glad I'm here to receive that - I wouldn't be if I was still drinking, at least I wouldn't acknowledge it I wouldn't have an iota of appreciation for what those acts really mean.
I find myself drifting a bit at the moment in many things. I feel unsettled. I don't feel centred, grounded or with a purpose. I feel I'm "going through the motions" on many things. There is a passage in one of the stories in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (version 3 I think) that talks about living life on life's terms, accepting what is and not what I want it to be - I need to dismiss these restless thoughts and focus on living my life today in the best way I can.
The funny thing is if you were to say "so why the restlessness?" I couldn't give you a straight answer, I'll come up with something that sounds really plausible no doubt and some excuse or rationale about why it is impossible for me to correct right this instant, but in truth I can't see what it really is other than simply not accepting what a terrific life I do have and that I should stop watching it go by and live a bit more in it in the moment.