COVID. What a trip this 2020-21 period has been. Tragic, and great. Frightening and peaceful. Enriching and sad beyond measure. My recovery has given me the peace of mind to not make a mess of this unfortunate time. That’s a blessing I cannot put into words. How profoundly gratifying is the knowledge that, during this covid season, it could be worse. Drinking would make the entire thing so much worse, but I did not. I do not.
I can only imagine the mess I would have made of my life and my family’s had I been drinking this whole time. Trying to find the excuses to leave the house several times a day for liquor runs during quarantine. Trying to hide how drunk I was from people who were around, all the time. What an awful mess this must have been for countless families, even if they were not directly affected by Covid. Family dysfunction had to be at an all-time high with everyone stuck together at home for months on end.
But, to a lesser degree, I have been through this before. I socially distanced as much as possible towards the end of my drinking. I isolated and felt infected. I felt unsafe to be out, around others. Ingesting poison (ethanol) in such quantities. I was almost constantly impaired. Trying not to breathe on anyone or holding my breath around people (similar behavior for different reasons). And hiding, feeling unsafe in public.
My kids have never seen me drink. They’ve seen me be an asshole, but they’ve never seen me drink. During this whole homeschooling, quarantining, non-stop together corona-time they haven’t even seen me be an asshole… well, not much. But when they did, it sure wasn’t due to intoxication. It was just me being a human being, and as such, doomed to make mistakes. Sadly, a flawed human is the best I can hope for. Just like everybody else.
During Covid, due to my sobriety, I was able to be a good flawed human. I supported my family, friends, and community. I feel I kept my family and children as safe as was wise. In so many ways my life has gotten better, our lives have gotten better, with this weird reset. We have gotten closer as a family. I pay more attention to now. I have spent a lot of my life in a time that doesn’t exist. By that I mean, the past or the future. Now is the only time there actually is. Now is the only time that you or I can actually do anything. By paying more attention to now, life has gotten richer, more rewarding, more important, more immediate. The lessons I learned from my unfortunate history can guide me now. My bleak past can serve as a signpost, reminding me of where I don’t want to go.
My program of recovery teaches me that I should not regret my past… but I sure feel bad for the guy I was. My life was so small and frightened. The freedom I have been granted in sobriety is quite frankly hard to fathom. But because of my past, I can be more grateful for my present. Even when quarantined, my life felt bigger than I ever imagined possible when I was trapped in my disease. I intend to do whatever it takes to avoid going back, this life is too good to miss.