I can’t believe it but I’m starting to think about one of my “F” words: GOALS!
You see like forever, if I even heard someone mention that nasty word, I’d be like shut the hell up, of course in my head, as I just smiled. I’d be like dude I can’t even keep my shit together right now. Have you seen my shit? Come closer so I can just punch you right now in the face. (Remember Ground Hog Day and Bill Murray punching the insurance salesman?) Yep there is definitely a Mr. Hyde inside. My thought process was I’m barely holding on here day to day and you want me to think about 1 and 5 years from now? Again, shut the hell up, what the “F” ?
This all came about the other night lying in bed, pillow over my head to protect me from all my nemesis, and as I peaked out upon my world I started to think back to five years ago. Where was I? Where am I now? You see it was just over 5 years ago that I became a very broken man. Oh I was definitely broken before that but my soul was so frustrated of providing hints and paths for me to follow, and I’d just ignore them and stay on my stagnant lily pad. So my soul decided to do what it had to do and applied defcon emergency procedures on my ass!
I was struck with a divorce, debt, depression, and enough other shrapnel that come along with all that to blow me off the lily pad and face a world I’d been denying for years. I thought we were talking about goals? I’m getting there…
At that point there was no more hiding a not so perfect life. The spotlight shined brightly on me as I was forcefully dragged center stage. The curtain wasn’t going to shut and my soul held all the cards. I was to start anew like it or lump it. I lumped it!
As I lumped it not much happened. Like a new seed planted. I went through all those f’n phases blah blah blah…more “F” words. Slowly though with tons of work a root system was started. I looked uP and worked on “me”. It took many years of crying and trying. Many new thoughts and framing to get over my lost love. Along with that it took 4 years to pay off $35,500 in debt. I made many wrong turns, dead ends, but each time I was gathering new information and learning. For all my hard work, my soul granted me a gift on February 16, 2019. I became sober. Vowing to never live life again in the fog. To face each day with whatever life throws at me and focus on my base and have faith. My roots we’re getting deeper and deeper. To many on the outside it may appear as I haven’t done anything with my life in the last 5 years, but for me, and that’s all that counts I’ve grown so much from my lily pad days.
Okay here’s the goals part. It takes a bamboo tree 5 years to even sprout above the ground. What’s it doing up to that point? It’s taking in all the moisture and nutrients and growing a deep root system. Once that’s complete get the hell out of the way. Within 5 weeks of sprouting it can shoot up 90 ft tall!!!
So that’s my thoughts from beneath my pillow. My base is there. It’s good. I looked at the past and have seen the great progress this “tree” has made. I’m now at a point where I feel I can actually start doing the “G” word.
How does one quit alcohol? How does one walk away from it? What advice do you give someone when they ask these questions or start on this path?
I don’t know. I struggle a lot trying to provide helpful answers for others. All I know is what is working for me.
I grew up in a world where alcohol was peddled as The Answer for everything. I mean everything: shyness, depression, celebrations, courage, boredom… I gulped it down. So far down that these alcohol pathways in my mind became trenches. The problem with trenches is it’s very hard to see out of them. I was conditioned to blindly follow. It took me 40 years in the trench to figure out alcohol wasn’t the answer. In fact it was a liar because each usage never brought me satisfaction in the end. Yes, there was initial ups but they always always ducked out early and left me alone feeling worse from the consumption. Climbing out of a trench and forming new pathways is no easy task and takes much faith and bravery facing the unknown. All I can say is there is much light and many others living outside of the fog.
The body can only take so much abuse. Yes, it’s called alcohol abuse for a reason. The hangovers, bloodshot eyes, throwing up, bumping into things, blackouts, shaking, and brain fog is your body telling you Enough Already! Listen to it! How can this be a good thing for you? It’s NOT! Not for those of us who can’t stop after one drink. Listen to your body and don’t forget those horrific effects.
I no longer feel guilt or being ashamed that use to come each time after a binge session. Those feelings kept getting worse and more and more intense near the end. I truly feel my soul was shouting for god sakes man stop this nonsense. Give yourself a chance. I knew in my heart I wasn’t intended to live this life leaning on alcohol as a crutch. Today my Inner Voice glows with much love. I feel crisp, sharp, and alive. I feel true to myself. Even my bad days look so much brighter then before.
So that’s my trinity I use daily to stay sober one day at a time. It takes all three to keep me whole and To Remember where I came from and where I want to be.
**** This could be triggering and the F-bomb is definitely tossed often. ****
For those who have followed me for a while, you have already heard most of this so please feel free to skip : )
So I actually just got asked this question via my Contact Me Form from an old friend. Believe me when I say I wanted to go there in my 1 Year Sober post, but my anxiety was just fucking with me so bad. That post was about my 6th version with some explaining more and others not saying much. I’ve heard from other folks when you approach that 1-year mark you almost psyche yourself out. All week I worked on it and my emotions were all over the board. I ended up treating it like crossing a marathon finish line and just celebrating how far I’ve come. It was an excellent day and thank you all for the love you showed me.
It is hard to figure out where to start, but let’s try with jumping in where my life was beyond shit. Sounds fun, eh? This is what I label The Fall. Every great story starts with a great fall and a struggle not to get back where you were prior, but instead to move to that place where you, yes you, intended yourself to be in this universe. The interesting thing though it was more like a fucking swat down. I had just gone through a divorce after being married for 16 years and with two teenage kids. Since I’m not running under an alias out here in blogland, I won’t go through all that. Suffice to say it sucked, royally!
On top of that, I had $35,500 in debt coming from trying to establish rental incomes for retirement. It was also from continuing to sell and moving into new homes and spending tons of money to remodel them. Looking back it most likely was an activity we focused on to keep the light off our unhappiness. The irony is we had to sell our “big house” after the divorce and move into our two rentals. Oh, and they were only two houses away from each other. I can literally look out my kitchen window and look up the hill and see her house.
For three years afterwards it was just a constant tornado whipping sadness into my life. In my first year, I was just in shock and denial. I put on a fairly good show of holding it all together, while inside I was balling my eyes out. In the second year, the wheels fell off and I had an emotional breakdown. I couldn’t get myself out of bed and all I did was sleep. Depression and I go way way back. In year three, I lost all hope, screamed a lot with my head and hands pointing in the air, and started trying anything to get me out of my hell.
How I abused alcohol
You’re probably thinking you didn’t mention anything about alcohol above so what gives? Well, if you think about oxygen all around us and needing it to survive that’s what alcohol had become for me. I started it at age 13 and mastered the art of drinking the poison and becoming a champion binge drinker. My life revolved around when I could swill 10 plus beers in a session and escape reality. And believe me, those 3 years right after the divorce were the worst binge sessions ever. It always started and ended the same way. I’d do the very least possible to get through my day just to reach 4 pm. The tunes would be cranked up, the first beer top popped, I can still hear it now and commence the gulp gulp gulp. Beer two and three were working like a charm. The fog was coming through the front door just nicely. Beer four and five I was numbing up. The dragon had finished its job and left leaving me to my own demise. Beer six and seven not as easy, but man work through it because this numbing takes a lot of alcohol. You don’t want to stop now. Repeat again with eight and nine. At ten and above it was hard to say when I’d stop. It always ended the same though. Tears. Tons of tears of how shitty I was, how shitty my life was, and what an embarrassment my existence had become. Many nights I just wallowed in this state for another few more beers. Clank, clank, clank, clank. Somehow I’d take care of my doggies, god knows how, and stumble into bed fully clothed and pass out. This fun experience would be practiced three to four times a week. Four if I was lucky, HA!
How I got sober?
So in paragraph six we get to an answer. No idea if it will be a good one or not. I tend to tangle up words and trip up a lot, but I’ll give it a shot. I often think I’m boring the shit out of others and they’re like get to the fucking point already. Living with depression, I’d read just about any self-help book in the hopes to quickly fix all my problems. You ought to see my kindle. Anyway, I stumbled upon Wayne Dyer when I was around 33 and it was about the same time Wayne was exploring his spiritual side. Now don’t jump the gun and think I got all holier than thou and Jesus saved me. But I did explore a church, around year two after The Fall, that welcomed everyone and believed in many masters such as Jesus, Buddha,…I will admit it did help at the time. It introduced me to the concept of I’m a spiritual being having a human experience and god isn’t “out there on a cloud” but rather the great spirit is within and all around us. So as shitty as my binges were going, there was a flicker of light starting within.
After cranking up my binges for three years it got to a point. I was lucky. I definitely didn’t feel lucky at the time, but I realized that the one thing that brought so much comfort into my life was now causing the most pain. It’s your tipping point. Even if everyone else saw it prior and you lived in denial it doesn’t fucking matter. What matters is you finally reach that point. The thing is if you never reach this point you will die either literally or figuratively. So for me, this was the point I finally start falling uP! I was still swilling brews but a seed of wisdom had been planted.
I became sick and tired of being sick and tired. Forty years of abuse will do that to you. I was sick and tired of waking up hungover, dehydrated, and trying to function throughout my day. I was sick and tired of the self-negative ego talk. I was sick and tired of hiding behind a beer bottle and not living a life. I was sick and tired of being lonely and crying my eyes out. I was sick and tired of the pressure to man up and not be a …! There has to be enough sick and tired’s to slow down the pendulum to eventually start getting it to swing the other way. Motivation won’t be enough. It must be a knowing that enough is enough. I started leaning into that flicker of light from within. I read at least ten books on getting and staying sober. I started following other sober bloggers. As I mentioned in my other post it was Annie Grace’s book, This Naked Mind, that helped confirm that for me alcohol is a poison and I can’t control it. It was a big fat lie society had been helping me pour down my throat for years. On February 16, 2019, I reached my beautiful tipping point.
How do I stay sober?
Again it’s that knowing within that keeps me sober. Sure Annie’s booked helped educate me, but there’s a huge difference between being book smart compared to gaining knowledge by experience. My above experiences finally led to this sober point. I was very fortunate to not have any physical withdraws and the emotional triggers I do have I can usually swat away. It does get much easier. I don’t go to AA, but I know many who do and swear by it. My hat is off to anyone who reaches out for help. It shows great braveness, self-love, and wisdom. The next piece are my practices that help keep me grounded and sober.
I know some are curious so here goes:
I get outdoors. I live in the beautiful state of Colorado up in the mountains. The mountains, trees, and big blue sky speaks to my soul. I get so much joy from a hike that it is my therapy.
I belong to this wonderful community online. It’s a loving community where nobody is judged and everyone is supported. The Fall taught me empathy and this is my passion now.
I have my own spiritual practice that reconnects me to my soul. If I had to label it’s shamanic based.
I follow a minimalist lifestyle.
I force myself to get out of my home and get social, let me be specific, with loving souls.
I stopped hanging out with negative and mean people even if society says I’m supposed to look the other way and be loyal, fuck that!
I attempt to catch my ego and tell it I disagree with that ridiculous statement. That’s my rewiring.
I tell myself often I love you Dwight Hyde and believe it. Self-love.
I have this fire lit within to improve many areas of my life and know by steadily taking my time walking with love I can accomplish anything.
Well, that’s it for this post, folks. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. I hope it helps someone a bit. I now treasure The Fall and bond with those who also came out on the other side. When in doubt focus on love.
I want to tell you about a dream I had. This was when my ex and I were still married planning out our divorce. A very hard time to say the least for both of us. One night as I was sleeping next to her I had the following dream. I’d come home and walked through the door. I looked across the room and my wife(ex) was completely white and shaking. She was so scared she couldn’t even speak. She was pointing around the corner. Like something beyond frightful was hiding. For once in my life I didn’t ignore it or run away. Without thinking I ran across the room, around the corner, and looked right at the monster and SCREAMED! After that I woke up.
Prior to quitting alcohol, I had a little voice within constantly asking:
If not now, then when? When? When will you truly live this life?
Are you happy about how you’re living? Is this the human experience you believe you were intended into this universe to follow?
What will be the biggest regret you’ll have on your deathbed looking back over your life?
Have you ever given your true self a chance?
I’m now 1 year sober sitting here feeling very proud, happy, and mostly just peaceful. Much of the guilt and shame is going away and self-love is starting to finally come back. I do want to say though, from my experince quitting alcohol and leaving the comfortable numb fog takes courage and tons of internal rewiring. There will be many mental, physical, and emotional battles you will face on your path. Some you will win; others you may lose. Regardless you will grow. Staring down your dragon will take everything you got, but oh is it ever worth it. Scream if you need to but wake up! If you need help get it! You won’t be alone. Don’t wait 40 years like me. It will be the most rewarding work of your life. Hell you’ll actually get your true life back. Lean in and have faith in that voice from within. It’s your guiding system – listen to it.
I thank you all for your love, inspiration, and support this last year and offer it right back!
From The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown: “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Please join me in supporting these beautiful brave souls:
I’ve never created a year end type summary post because quite frankly there hasn’t been a whole hell of a lot to “highlight”. This year though, I feel like my Phoenix spread it wings and started to lift off. Before I start I want say whole heartedly thank you all for your love and encouragement.
It’s one thing to come out of the ash knowing you are no longer the same. Taking flight is a whole other endeavor. It took 4 years of self imposed imprisonment for me to finally start to rise. As weird as it sounds, it wasn’t until my alimony and maintenance agreements were complete that I felt my sentence was lifted.
3 things I’m thankful for accomplishing in 2019
Getting fricken sober! Can I get an amen from the choir. (Pausing for the amen now. Maybe even some whoop whoops). This completely pulled me out of the fog of my life from numbing and forced me to face my dragons and start working through my shit and see I’m lovable. I’m worthy. I have tons of love to give,
Getting healthier. Emotionally and physically. These accomplishments all flow together like dominos. Being sober forced me into becoming aware and seeing facing the dragons is the only way forward. I kicked my ass halfway through the year for not making progress on losing some weight and made good gains in that area.
Getting social. I forced myself past discomfort and now get out with other folks at least 4 to 5 times a week. I also just recently met someone who I thoroughly enjoy spending time with and am looking forward to continue to grow that relationship❤️
Along with all this, I feel like WE grew closer. Yes my little tribe of misfit cape crusaders have grown to a pretty neat tight group! I’m so grateful for you all in my life. This has been the best therapy for me becoming friends with you🤗. I’m starting to take flight and know this new decade will bring new experiences, joy, and growth for us all.
I thought I’d provide an update on how all is going. I started a Gerontology class about a month ago. It goes for two semesters and I’ll end up with a certificate. I’ve always been interested in working with the Aging and after reading Marc Freedman’s book, Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the second half of life, I felt motivated to start looking into careers I could do that have a direct social “good” impact on humankind. Over 25 years ago when I was in college, I had made the decision to follow the money and go down the tech path even though back then I was interested in gerontology. Now as I start looking for my second career, I am in a position where I can explore different options that makes my soul smile. It’s exciting. It may not be for another 5 years, but I thought why not explore now. Marc’s book is a great read and I highly recommend it. It’s about giving back to society and much much more. Our generation hasn’t exactly made this planet a better place, but we still have time to leave a legacy we’re proud of.
I’m making good process on my emotional eating after getting sober. I’m down approx. 15 pounds overall for the year. It definitely has taken all the discipline I have, but more crucial looking into more of the Why I need “something” to escape my reality. Understanding I’m not my thoughts and becoming the watcher has helped. I’ve learned more about this with Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself. ….boy I’m plugging a lot of books, eh : )
Last month, was the last month for me paying maintenance and child support to my ex. It’s probably a touchy topic for many who follow me, so I won’t be shooting off any fireworks. Obviously, that frees up money that I now can put toward my debt. As many of you know when I got divorced I had to get a loan from my mother, so I basically didn’t have to go bankrupt. I’m happy to say that I’ll have that loan paid off at the end of November and be totally out of debt other than my house payment. This is a whole new concept for me being debt-free. Crazy how long it has taken me to figure it all out. I’m 53. I guess it’s not really crazy. I’m a slow learner and always learn the hard way.
I just opened my I’m Done Drinking app and it reads I’ve been sober 234 days. Things are going well on that front. I don’t have cravings and am enjoying the clarity and hangover-free mornings. You have to understand though it took me over 40 years to quit. I stopped, started, repeated…many many times. This year though it finally came to the point of being done for good and not looking back. I cheer anyone who is on this journey!!!
That’s about it. Been loving up the fall and getting out on hikes. I feel like I’m supposed to be getting more social, but that push is more like a “living up to society” requirement and not one of my own right now. We’ll see….
I thought 6 months of being sober after drinking for 40 years warranted a post. Plus I thought for those starting down this path that hopefully there may be some information that would resonate with what their experiencing. When I quit drinking I was more then ready. There was much guilt the day after a binge session plus way to many hangovers. I knew it wasn’t healthy for me in any fashion at all. There was also my soul laying down a slow steady bass beat in the background of give yourself a chance Dwight. At 53, I had been leaning on alcohol since I was 13. I had so many Day Ones I couldn’t even count. But this time around I was truly onboard.
I started my sobriety 3 plus years out from my divorce after being married for 16 years with two kids. I was making some progress on digesting that whole crushing scene plus I had less then 1 year left on paying off $35,5000 in debt. Coming up out of those low valleys encouraged me to take on my alcohol dragon. My first month of being sober I pumped myself up by reading tons of books on quitting alcohol. Reading everyone’s story with eventually happy endings definitely helped push me along. It was like when you first start off on a new job or exercise program your all jazzed and usually surrounded by other like minded people. I joined a forum and just immersed myself into this new world of how to be sober. I didn’t go down the AA route because for me I have my own hang ups with religion and the 12 steps. That’s just me though. I’ve read many books and follow many bloggers where it works for them and I fricken applaud them. The one book for me that really helped with the transition was by Annie Grace called This Naked Mind. I’ll do anther post on that someday. So yeah, the first month I was cleaning out my body from the poison and feeling pretty darn excited.
At about at 3 weeks the “glitz” wasn’t shining as much. The realization came that I no longer had my tool to escape from reality. All of my main issues around depression, debt, divorce, health, insecurities…. were still there plus now I was feeling guilt on how alcohol had harmed me for all those years. Also, I had to back away from the sober community I joined, because seeing so many folks repeat day 1 over and over was almost like a trigger for me and I certainly didn’t want to go down that path anymore. What I did do though is start following some sober bloggers here in WordPress who had been successful being sober for some time and that has helped me tremendously.
I won’t go month by month but needless to say it’s a shit load of hard work! Hard work that I’m so grateful for!! Not being able to check out when life or my thoughts start fucking with me was extremely difficult. Just sitting there and finally for once in my life just looking straight at it and dealing with it sober took everything I had. The good news is I’m getting better at it and each time I feel a bitter better about myself and I’ll just say it – Proud!
One thing I learned was that many of us who stop drinking including myself pick other coping mechanisms. Mine was emotional eating and I’m currently working my ass off , literally, on curbing that. This inner work is a trip and the ego is a nasty little fuck!
So at 6 months I’m feeling so much more love for myself and know I’ll never go back. My soul is smiling more each day and my confidence is growing. The support and bonding here on WordPress is just priceless. I know I still have a lot of work to do, but now I’m taking control of my life, living my life sober, and discovering a new power within. I hope that for all of you.
* For those interested in learning more about alcohol and possibly exploring going AF check out these resources and blogs
When I say initial it’s only been 19 days, but coming off tipping brews for 40 years this is quite the change. I haven’t had any real physical reactions being AF and attitude wise I’ve been pretty pumped up, BUT… I have noticed this slithering around me in my shadows:
– I’ve been noticing in the last few weeks I’m oversensitive and have been overreacting quite a bit. This leads to anger. Who knows right, I may have been experiencing this forever and am now just figuring this out being out of the fog. I’ve thought it over and over and each day I got closer and closer to naming it. My anger is coming from my shame and regret. I realize this is all natural, it doesn’t make it any easier.
I played the whole alcohol game for 40 years. From never giving myself a fighting chance, to marriage, kids, divorce, divorced kids, heartbroken, and debt. All heavily influenced by alcohol. I do love that I finally figure it out, my life and health is improving, and I’d NEVER GO BACK. It’s just that bitter taste. I’ve heard the phrase, sometimes you never get over it, but you get through it.
I wasn’t ready until now, I get that. I’m already telling myself I did awesome for figuring it out now, but for right now there is that bitter taste. So I’m doing my work and going to my shadows. It’s not easy and I realize that. It will take time for sure.
One last thing I’d like to say. For all of you doing this AF work (or considering it) in your 20s, 30s, and 40s I so applaud you! Its fucking hard work and some of the environments you find yourself in at that stage make it even harder. No way around it. You though are so courageous and smart for taking these steps to be AF now and not in your 50s. The work will free YOU and allow your “YourNameHere”Ness to shine as it was intended to. If applicable, it may save a marriage and allow you to be proud of doing everything you could do for your kids, OR If applicable, becoming AF may allow you to free yourself from a bad situation.
This isn’t being written for any pity. It’s just my observation of me and maybe it will help others. Also, for those going AF later in life you will know your not that only one with these feelings.
I’m going to continue to grow, learn, and rock this new life!! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for all your love and support!
* For those interested in learning more about alcohol and possibly exploring going AF check out these resources
I’m in 1 week of my happily ever afterness of being sober! Well big whoop many may say..1 week…really?? Well it’s huge for a guy like me who’s been drinking alcohol for 40 years. Yep started dabbling with it at age 13. I grew up in a blue collar town where there was more bars then anything else. In high school we lived the whole sex, drugs, and rock n roll scene. Heck when you came into our front door of our home you were greeted with a 8 stool bar and asked what you drinking?
At 53, it’s just time for ME. I’ve toyed with idea of soberness for years now and I have finally gotten to the point where I’m just DONE with alcohol. More to come on this topic – baby steps just making it public.
In honor of this splendid direction of my life, I present to you a happy sober soul named Dwight David Hyde. Yes, I’m proud of me!!!