Day 76


Craziest Friday night I’ve had in awhile.

Snow storm turned my commute home into a 2.5-hr drive, and I arrived to find little C was sick and vomiting. It’s 11:30pm now, and I’ve been up for the last 2-3 hrs with him throwing up every few minutes and crying. Now he’s finally sleeping. Glad I was able to be 100% there for him, more than I would have been in the past.

Nowhere better to be…

Day 75


I love watching these numbers pile up. 75 feels like a nice, solid, committed kind of number. And I feel solid about my decision, for so many reasons.

Tonight, and many many nights since I’ve quit, I noticed a difference in the way I feel as I put my boys to bed.

Before, by the time we were tucking them in, I’d have had at least 2-3, maybe 4 drinks. And I’m being generous, as one of those was usually a stiff G&T that probably counted for more like 2-3 drinks in and of itself. Bath time, although fun, would have been stressful for me, as I tried to wrangle the two of them through the process and into pajamas. 

Stories, bathroom break, then lullabies, then bed. All with a clock ticking in my head. Only X minutes until this is done, and I can get back to drinking/relaxing.

The end of the process was always the worst. All the extra requests, Mom, could I have more water? Mom, could you sing another song? Mom, could you snuggle with me? Mom, lay on the couch please? would start to drive me nuts and I’d often lose it and yell, Thats enough! I’m leaving and I’m not coming back!

It almost always ended poorly.

But now? Now, although the process can still be just as exhausting, I find myself connecting more, forgiving more, compromising (without losing control!), and at the end – all those extra requests? I’m there for them.

Those bedtime snuggles are precious now. C has a way he likes to hold my hand as we snuggle. And he always yawns after I lay down with him, as if it helps him relax. W scoots over to make room, and wants me to wrap my arm over him just so. He often falls asleep in the two minutes I lay there with him. And if either of them wants extra snuggle time?

Well, I’ve got nothing better to do.

Let’s Be Still, The Head and the Heart

Day 74

Till, Henrietta Harris


My head is so congested, I can’t even fit thoughts in there right now. Somehow I powered through a busy work day, and thanks to C’s support, got the kids in bed and am now headed straight there myself.

As I made myself a tea, I thought back to what sickness was like when I was drinking. I knew I had a real problem when even sickness couldn’t keep me from having a drink or two. Before I quit, on a night like tonight, I would have convinced myself that one drink wasn’t all that bad, really – it would make me feel better, right? Then, depending on how strong that one was, I’d often have two or more – and smoke on top of it all.

Going to bed wouldn’t be hard – pop a couple NyQuil (yes, on top of everything else) and hope for the best. It was the getting up part that was the hardest. Nothing like a hangover when you’re sick as a dog.

I knew that at the very least, it wasn’t helping – and most likely, was hurting the recovery time, but I did it anyway.

Amazing what we can avoid confronting even when it’s right there in front of us.

Took me ~3 years of KNOWING I had a problem before I quit.

Day 73

84929.78469, Michael Theodore



Yesterday was the viewing and wake, today, the memorial. So many people affected, so much sadness and grief spilling over at every turn. 

When we came home last night, I was wrung out. C and I had some good conversation, then I smoked and went out to the garage for therapeutic work on the puppet theatre project while listening to my comfort music, piano nocturnes. 

When we dragged ourselves to bed, together (which never happens), I couldn’t find it in me to post.

But I did stay sober yesterday. I had a virgin Bloody at the bar, and then enjoyed their sushi (!) and apps with water, which honestly was not a problem at all. 

Found myself connecting with friends in a deeper way than I had in the past. And reflecting on it, I’m almost certain that if this had happened a year ago, I would have spent more time concerned about how I was coming across to others than I did actually concerned ABOUT the others. But not now. 

Being in the moment, feeling the pain, seeing it on others faces and reciprocating in empathy, sharing mutual memories and shock that this could happen. All of that was more deeply possible than before.

For that, I’m grateful.


Day 71

Journeys, Michelle Rummel


Wore myself thin today, and not enough sleep last night. My hope is to get better rest tonight for tomorrow’s marathon day.

The viewing is in the afternoon and our friends are meeting at a local restaurant/pub afterwards for a sort of wake. I’m nauseous every time I think about the viewing, and nervous about the setting of the wake. I know I won’t drink, but it’s almost like I won’t know what to do with myself. And everyone else will be drinking, probably heavily.

Maybe I’ll order a virgin Bloody Mary – love those, especially with olives. Although the nausea might keep me from anything other than ginger ale.

Somehow, in spite of this, I also need to get about 10 hrs of work in.

Lots of thoughts swirling in the back of my head, but no time to type them out. Bed is calling.


Day 70

Snowy Saturday

What a full day. Mostly good with some tough moments mixed in. My girlfriend (and her 3yo son) who joins us for gymnastics was a good friend with J as well. So after pushing the boys off to class, we sat and talked. It was helpful just to say things out loud and mull them over with another person who understood.

Then each of us was off to our crazy full, pre-christmas Saturdays. C and I split the boys up and went on errands. I took my little C shopping for presents, and he was surprisingly chipper and compliant. When we got home, our first snowfall was coming down and by the time they woke from naps, it was 3-4″ deep and perfectly sticky.

My workout today was pulling the two of them on the sled all over the yard. Again, mom, again!! And making snowball after snowball for them to throw at me or the other. Even big C joined in briefly.

I was tempted to drink wine at dinner. C made a very delicious, weekend wine-friendly meal – thick-cut sirloin (rare, my favorite), risotto, roasted cauliflower and sautéed mushrooms. Doesn’t a nice red sound perfect with that? And of course, he had one open. But no, tart cherry juice on ice had to do the trick.

Then, after boys went down, I took on the project of stripping the bench I found on Craigslist, in the hopes of turning it into a mini puppet theatre and dress-up storage. My first time stripping, and it was a lot harder and more physical than I’d imagined. I worked my ass off on that for 3 hours and it’s only 1/2 way done. Even ended up running out to the store at 10pm to find more stripper when I ran out (and it was nice to have that option, being sober).

As I worked, and strained, and scrapped away, I realized that it was therapeutic, almost a form of meditation. And I thought about J. I thought about our friends who are affected. How he died. The finality of it. And I channeled the pain into the work.

I’m exhausted now, but it feels good.


Day 69

Screenprints of Disconnected Planes, Ben Kafton


Why do we struggle so much to feel connected to others? Even when others love us, it seems we struggle to let that love in and benefit from it as much as we could.

I’ve struggled with this myself, and am now focused on the idea due to my friend’s suicide. We all thought he knew we loved him. We thought he would come to us (as any of us would, in theory) if there was anything wrong, before doing something so final, so drastic, so damaging.

Maybe his loneliness wasn’t a factor. Maybe there was an entirely different situation that none of us knew about.

But I still wonder if this would have happened if he’d been able to let more love in.

Day 68

Empty, Erin O’Keefe


Feeling so empty today. Not sure there is much to say.

Yesterday and today were a struggle to stay present in the pain. Work was an escape for most of the day (just finishing now at 11pm), and the boys provided the usual joy- and drama-filled chaos that was a welcome distraction today. But mixed into that were moments of profound sadness, anger, questioning, wanting it to not be true then realizing with leaden grief that it was.

One of my first reactions yesterday was to give myself permission to drink. That voice in my head said, Go ahead – this trumps everything else. It would be OK if you drank tonight. Totally understandable. Numbing the grief would be natural, healthy even.

But I pushed it aside and had tea and cookies instead.

Tonight, I almost smoked up. Honestly, I probably would have if the vaporizer was charged, but it wasn’t. And I think that is for the best.

In what few spare moments I have to process right now, I should be doing just that.

Perfect Time of Day, Howie Day

Day 67


Hours ago, I found out a friend took their own life today. I am in shock. It leaves such a gaping, ragged hole. This person was always smiling, always cheerful. Surrounded by people who loved them.

But of course that’s always how the story goes, isn’t it? 

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. – Thoreau

Day 66

Leucantha, Philip Grausman


Busy day today, tonight’s workout is my carrot. I’m beginning to realize how important physical activity is, not just in my logical brain but deep in my long-term learning center. Lived learning vs logical learning.

I’ve always been someone who read and listened to a lot of pop-psychology, self-improvement type content. And honestly, I knew it was going in one ear and out the other most of the time. Things like mindfulness make so much sense, logically, but are extremely hard to implement.

Now, after quitting (and possibly with the help of Wellbutrin – which it seems has opened my mind to think outside of it’s usual patterns) I find that I am not only more receptive and absorb more, but I even find space to change my actions based on these logical learnings… bringing them out of the grey space of my brain and into the visceral, material, real-life testing environments of work, home, relationships etc.

Does that mean I’m succeeding at mindfulness or any of the rest? Absolutely not, most of the time. In fact, tonight – after a couple spats with C, I feel further from it than ever.

But regardless of how I feel in the moment, without the alcohol I’m one step closer.