I’m Better Now!
I was trying to get home from a funeral or something. I had a flight change in Minneapolis/St. Paul with a brief layover. Doing what I always did, I ended up in the airport bar. I didn’t end up there because it was fun or because I was feeling gregarious; it’s just what I did with any spare time, especially when I was by myself. In fact, I really hoped no one would bother me with conversation. I wasn’t there for that. Somehow, (a couple of drinks in) I got confused about when I should be back at my gate. By the time I figured it out and ran back, it was too late. My plane was still there, I could see it, but I had missed all the boarding announcements, and they were not going to hold everything for me. I proceeded to try to shift the blame on the airline employees, the time change, anything other than me, and my preoccupation with drinking. There were no more flights out that day either, at least not with the help of the people I had been berating about my own drunken mistake.
Ashamed, I had to call the wife and lie about why I missed my flight. Ashamed, then had to call work and lie about why I wouldn’t be there tomorrow. Ashamed, a cab ride to a hotel, a room for the night, meals… none of which I could really afford as the trip wasn’t for pleasure anyways. And ashamed, more drinks.
My life isn’t like that anymore. I haven’t experienced deep shame for years now. That’s not to say I don’t make mistakes. However, I mostly avoid them. The only thing worse than being wrong is promptly admitting it. And when the instance occurs that I do behave poorly, I try my best to make it right as quickly as I can. Bad news doesn’t age well, and lying makes it worse.
Recovery has given me this gift. I no longer think of myself as a poor excuse for a man. I try hard. I do my best. I can be counted on. My wife, family, friends, and business associates all know they can rely on me to do what’s right to the best of my ability. My children (who have never seen me drink) know me as trustworthy. I’m better now.
In this “Part 2” of my life, I try to do it right, not for me, but because to do right is right. My life is so much better now. My sobriety is a gift for which I can never show enough gratitude. But I intend to die trying.