I was at my old stomping grounds pub tonight, to see the boys. It’s quite remarkable how they have completely accepted my not drinking. It’s almost like they know I have an alcohol problem or something! Phhhht! Can you imagine? NO ONE knew I had an alcohol problem! Especially ME. I kept it completely hidden from myself you know — in plain sight! Wasn’t anybody more surprised than I was to discover the truth…er, I mean the lies, just like all this crap I’m going on about right now.

But really, my pub-buddies have been remarkably accepting, even complimenting me…at laborious length…how great they think it is that I’ve quit drinking. I really didn’t expect that. It’s such a nice surprise, I think.

My problem now about the boy’s at the pub is that I seem to be losing interest in going to see them! I didn’t realize how ridiculous we — I — all sound after getting a few beers in us. The conversation, once the beer has settled in, sounds quite simply juvenile. I don’t mean that in a negative way as much as I mean it in a Star Trek “Spock” logical sort of way. Ok, boy’s will be boy’s, I guess. But…there just seems to be something…um, off…with all that tomfoolery now you know? Have I Until now, I was unable to see, let along start to question this.

I hooked my home stereo system up to my TV and computer this weekend. It took me a couple of hours. It’s taken me over FIVE YEARS to have the gumption to do that! Oh, I’ve tried a number of times, but could never figure out which doohickey plugged in where, which thingamajig connected to what, which wire led to this and what the heck was that button for and – oh – the on-screen set-up display from the receiver to the TV? Just too damn much for this guy! Gotta be an outright genius to figure all that stuff out I figured.

So, after doing it so easily this weekend, I sat there for a few minutes, humming, really listening and enjoying it — but quite dumbfounded, quite perplexed, quite confused. I even felt a bit sorry for myself — for my old self that is, that that poor ol’ sop’s brain was just too sopping wet from schlurping all the Schlitz to get it! Holy crap.

But now I see, and the view ain’t pretty, but it is enlightening!!! Stuff like this has been happening to me almost every day. It’s all a bit shocking, but encouraging, and most certainly humbling.’…

Free indeed. May we all.



6 weeks sober…


6 weeks today without a drink. I can hardly believe it. Never mind that if I do drink, I could die  because I’m taking the Antabuse. That has nothing…wait — no, it has lot to do with why I haven’t had a drink for 6 weeks. Knowing me, I’m sure I would have drank, something anyway, by now. However, in my own defence I have to say that it isn’t just the Antabuse that has prevented me from drinking. We all know how much I have wanted this, to be free of alcohol. While the Antabuse has been an effective deterrent for me, the fact is, only twice in the past 6 weeks have I actually wanted to have a drink.

I’m done with alcohol. After all these years of struggling with it, because I know I’m one of those people who just can’t and shouldn’t drink, because I can’t just have one, or a few. No, why have just one or two or a few or even more when more will make me more — oh so much more…And then I’m drunk every night…and we know how well that goes for me!

It’s been 6 weeks since I’ve been drunk. 6 weeks since having a hangover.

In this 6 weeks I’ve gained so much of my life back…

In this 6 weeks I’ve regained my long lost senses of taste and smell and vision.
In this 6 weeks my blood pressure has gone from an average of 145/90 to 115/65 (!).
In this 6 weeks I have the memory — that I remember – ha! 6 weeks ago I thought I was getting Alzheimers!
In this 6 weeks I’m twice as efficient at my job.
In this 6 weeks I’m starting to regain — not regain — to have a relationship with my children and grandchildren.
In this 6 weeks my bank account isn’t overdrawn between paycheques.
In this 6 weeks my love for music has returned far more that I ever dreamed that it would or could — I’m even back doing some composing.
In this 6 weeks I’m back to the gym and running and in the best physical shape I have been since I was a teenager.
In this 6 weeks I’m cooking more for myself. I’m keeping my place neat and tidy.

In this 6 weeks so much has happened for the better, I can’t image ever going back to the bottle. But I know it’s only been six weeks. Therefore, I am cautiously optimistic, but ever so hopeful.

May this 6 weeks turn into 6 months, 6 years and so much longer.

May we all enjoy the same and more.


Merry Birthday…

Golden Compass On The Map

Today is my birthday. I turned 60! Holy crap! Turning 50 was nothing compared to this! When I turned 50, I thought I could still better myself in many ways. Like hit the gym, become a jet fighter pilot, a doctor, a rock star, a professional accordion player or even sire another child.

Hitting 60, for me anyway, it’s like — hold on a sec’ — what the hell just happened!? Where did my muscles, my navy career, my patients, my fans, my accordion polka band tour, my third kid? Where’d it all go!? I didn’t even blink!

I know, I know, a lot of people accomplished great things in their 60’s. Colonel Sanders of KFC was in his 60’s when he started KFC. There’s a long list of people who were late bloomers and accomplished great things in their golden years. My problem is that with sobering up so late in life, I’m nowhere close to being a late bloomer — I’m still a pea in the damn pod waiting for the bush to shake before I can get my ass in the ground and grow! Golden years? Phhht! I’m somewhere between the LEAD and TIN years of life! I’ll never live long enough to reach any golden years!

But seriously, thanks to sobering up 6 weeks ago (!), in just 38 short days, I feel like I’ve reversed time! I haven’t felt this healthy, this mentally sharp and plain ol’ with it like this since I was about 35. I was 37 when I started drinking heavily, and everything about my life has been in a steady decline since then. The divorce, the separation from my kids, the financial problems, the bankruptcy, the job changes, major depression, death of friends and family, a major health crisis, etc., etc. My “Stress Test” scores weren’t even ON the charts for years!

My point is, while I’ve just turned 60, thanks to quitting the drink, what could have been a very depressing event is actually completely different from what I imagined. Now, without the booze coursing through my veins and wandering about like a one-eyed, peg-legged drunken sailor in a windstorm, I think I could sire another child! No, no, no, I’m kidding about that.

What I’m not kidding about is that with just the past six weeks of change under my belt, I’m seeing life in such a beautiful, positive light, that it is my delight to see that I’m free, free to be, just to be, me. I have the gut’s for that now. I’ve made it through. I have survived. I’m in the lifeboat. Phew! Now, I just have to bloody well hold on, chart a course and stick to it — steady as she goes!

May we all.


On the 10th day after Christmas…


On the 10th day after Christmas, my sobriety gave to me…extreme fatigue. And you thought this was going to be another pie-in-the-sky soliloquy about how extraordinarily wonderful sobriety is, didn’t you?! Ha! Well, it only takes a fanciful cursory reading of most of my blog over the years to see that it is full of mostly doom and gloom, so the past few weeks have been a refreshing change, we must agree.

So, I’ve been sober for 35 days now. 34 of those days I have had terrible insomnia. I’m not talking about the, “Oh it took me ages to get to sleep” type of insomnia. I’m talking about the, “Oh God I can’t believe what time it is nowtype of insomnia.

Last night was one of the worst, which is why I’m so tired today. I took some Melatonin and went to bed around 11. By about 3, I had taken a milligram of my anti-anxiety med. I take it in half-tab increments. Under normal circumstances, a half milligram is all that I need, but not last night…er — this morning really, because I didn’t fall asleep until sometime after 5 o’clock! I was up around 9.

During the night, I tossed and turned so much the sheets on my bed looked like a corkscrew. I was so wound up in them I was afraid I’d unravel at high speed and be jettisoned out the window into oncoming traffic. Oh, all night I was up and I was down and all around. Off and on I read some, meditated a little, ate some granola, did some stretching…all of which usually help, but no, not last night — not ANY night in fact since December 1st, my first day sober.

Amidst the unholy twilight, I read specifically about alcohol use and insomnia and discovered that insomnia is actually the number one most common “side-effect” for people who quit drinking! Oh great, here I always prided myself on wanting to be the exception to most rules! I sure wish I was this time. But no.

The good news is that the average duration for one suffering insomnia like this is 4 to 5 weeks, but it can last for much longer… I’m hoping I’m not in that much longer group. We’ll see. I also discovered that insomnia like this is also one of the biggest reasons why many relapse and go back to the bottle. I can totally relate to that temptation now! But I’m not going to give in to that. Oh no, no way! I’ve come too bloody far in this whole god forsaken adventure to miss the grand finale!!! And that’s my being able to confidently say — I hope one day soon — that I am FINALLY FREE from the booze; this pestilent scourge, this dogged tormentor of my soul.

May that day ever hasten — with sleep or without it — I will await with bright and sober heart, with sober mind and sober soul to see it come in all its glorious splendour.

And may we all.



On the 8th day after Christmas…


On the 8th day after Christmas my sobriety gave to me…just when I thought that after a month of being sober I’d already had it all. But no, today — all of a sudden, as I was taking the trash out — usually the most boring thing I can ever do — I was looking around at the per usual un-lovely alley way behind my building and realized that my vision seemed somehow….more…vibrant . The asphalt looked more asphatly; the concrete building in front of me looked more concretey. I looked up to the sky and the sky — oh the blue! So blue! And THEN I smelled it — not the sky or garbage — but the air. The early morning air smelled so fresh, almost sweet!

And then this afternoon, I ate a few candy coated peanuts. Simple candy coated peanuts! And oh, the taste! Just like the day long ago that I first tasted fresh honey. Around 11 years of age, I was at the home of my elementary school crush. Her father was a bee keeper and he offered me a taste of his latest batch of honey. Not knowing what to expect, I gingerly dipped my finger into the liquid gold and then into my mouth. My taste buds exploded into rapturous delight. Such a sweet joy I have never forgotten. Tasting those candied peanuts today was just like that! Well, almost, but they sure didn’t taste like that yesterday!

And then tonight, watching TV — it seemed like I had a new TV! Oh ya! The colours were so vivid, so bright, so rich, so alive! I had to pause and revel in it, amazed by its stark refreshing beauty, like a bright red rose bathed in the dew of a warm summers morning.

Yes, on this 8th day after Christmas my sobriety gave back to me — my senses; my vision invigorated, my sense of smell renewed, my sense of taste rejuvenated! What a gift! I didn’t know, scarcely even realized, that the alcohol had robbed me of those things long ago — so insidious the beast it is!

Like a barbarous thief in the night, it sneaks in and steals our senses and our life and our being and – and our very heart and soul…

Not any more.