I have always been an extremely dedicated worker. Even when I don’t care for a job, I have always kept a strong work ethic. Of course, one of the many things I noticed from my depression and alcoholism is that my work ethic fell. It’s one thing that truly spiraled my emotions and mental faculties out of control. You see, being focused on things has always been my specialty – achieving a black belt in martial arts, working three jobs while attending college full time, fighting for my life at different times when I was a cop, being hyper focused on whatever task or goal was needed, etc.
Being driven has always helped me overcome the challenges in life.
Over time, I gave way to being human. Yes, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!
I can’t quantify when I began to drag my ass about things, but it’s something I’m not proud of becoming. I’m not sure if I got tired of working so hard and not getting where I had hoped to be or if it was the failings in my marriage when trying to make someone else happy or if it was my brother’s suicide that shut me down. Sometimes, life just kicks you in the gonads. There have been various times I have used work or thrown myself into my tasks that helped me overcome things, but I had spent the better part of the last 10 years or so just giving up.
And I hated that.
Of course, that’s truly when my alcoholism began to set it. I notice tremendous similarities between myself and some of the personal stories within the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous – one of those being that a lot of alcoholics are very driven people. In fact, my sponsor has told me before, that alcoholics have awesome willpower (a common misconception is that we have no willpower) – who else, but an alcoholic, will walk miles in a blizzard just to get a drink? But that’s sort of the tricky detail, right? We alcoholics are only powerless over the choice of drink – given the choice for a different decision, we tend to choose a beer or something else as the solution to our problems.
This is one of the reasons I had such a difficult time accepting my own alcoholism – since I was not a “low-bottom” drunk and could see the various times in my life that willpower had carried me through, then it would have been no problem for me to choose a different course of action. I could even remember times in my life, where I chose not to use alcohol to deal with stress, anxiety or depression; but for some reason, in recent years, I felt I could not fall back on those matters and chose to drown myself in beer.
But, even yesterday, when I was feeling so overwhelmed by my life, I found myself in the midst of my job and being very involved. This is something I had not done in quite some time. And by the end of the day, I felt good about myself. I felt accomplished and that I could accept my horrible financial situation, as long as I had a job. I felt somewhat empowered by the end of the day. Granted, this doesn’t change the fact that I want a different position, but it does tell me that there is another way to handle life.
And I felt serene until I had a discussion with my wife last night and began to take on the stress and crap she feels. I have problems in my extended family and things have not felt good – especially because my wife feels like no one likes her (her family and my family). She also feels like she has wasted her life and that she will not amount to anything.
I can figure out how to work through my own problems, but I have never figured out how to work through someone else’s problems and one of the many things I fear is that those I love will believe I don’t care when I can’t fix their problems. Although, I know it’s not my responsibility, I can’t escape the obligation I feel. And I hate that my emotions are tied into someone else’s emotions – and the closer they are to me, the more I feel.
I don’t know how to work through that…
I’m now sober 42 days.