Courage to become better

My resolve to leave alcohol alone remains steadfast. No worries there. In fact, I’m looking forward to leaving it alone for a very long time. Because I miss myself. Miss being more motivated toward creative endeavors. And I also need all the strength I can muster these days in order to make other necessary changes in my life. My self-esteem has been on the ground these last couple of years, though it’s never been too good to begin with. I’m very self-critical, which is fine, but it’s gotten taken too far to where I oscillate between lashing out at myself (internally as well as externally in terms of how I verbally portray myself and my past deeds to others when upset) and lashing out at others. It’s no good. Then there’s the need to just improve my life overall and take better care of myself as well as my loved ones. I’m not known for being a very happy person, nor have I ever really been. But there’s only this one life I’m certain of having any control over. It’s mine and I am trying to steer it somewhere else now.

But I also wish to set a better example for others. Including my former companion who has decided to party himself to the grave. That does scare me, though I know I can’t save him. Doesn’t want my help. Thinks he’s content with that. But since we’re competitive in ways perhaps just me doing better on my own will inspire him to want to do better as well. Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, his life is his own. And if not him, maybe someone else will reap some sort of benefit from observing someone getting their shit together and making positive change. Maybe so.

I’ve thought a whole lot about my Papa since he passed and most especially this summer. I recognize that courage is what I’ve been lacking and have been reflecting on the things he used to say about how he changed his life in 1991 when he gave up drinking. He was ashamed of himself and who he had been. And he just trudged forward, day by day, and eventually became someone whom a lot of people admired by the end. He became helpful and persevered in matters even when he was scared. He grew into becoming the Big Man I remember him most of my life as. He’s always inspired me, but now I realize his weaknesses in the past are reflected in my own today and I have an obligation to myself, as his descendent and loved one, and to others who may be impacted by me, to make these changes. I understand that, both in my mind and in my heart. This is sinking in deep and I can feel how important this is to my life and how lucky I am to come to terms with this now rather than after a health scare (as he faced) or a car accident or legal problems or screwing up my job (as he also faced).

His courage will become mine. I am determined to walk in his footsteps, he being someone I admired deeply and observed closely throughout my life. It is important to me that he be proud of me, even if only in spirit. I know what he wanted for us, and I know I’ve not been living up to it. He wouldn’t browbeat me about it though, since he knows it can and often does take failures to make us realize what’s of real importance and to open us up to accepting responsibility for changing our station in life. It’s on us, just like it was on him. And I was proud of him back then. Now I wish to be able to be proud of myself for recognizing my weakness and doing whatever needs to be done to overcome it. Apparently he and I, out of everybody in the family, were the ones to turn out to be addiction-prone. So I’m taking his cue and trying to honor his memory by not repeating history where we both know it needn’t be repeated. Would just wind up being a waste of more years and tears otherwise.

The past couple of years I felt like I was wasting away, like life was passing me by. I isolated myself from most people and gained a lot of weight and grew very depressed and drank entirely too much in the evenings. I fought with my companion all the time because I was so aggravated with my own self and my own lack of will power and self-control. I pushed many of my friends away and kept my business more minimal so as to be easier manageable during that time. And I just stayed home, increasingly so, to where I felt paranoid and super uncomfortable about being around people, like I was an outcast and not welcome among them. It’s been a really shitty period, and I hate that he and my best guyfriend had to witness that. Basically, I fell down. That’s what it was. I’d been at home when not out working a few hours a day.

Then I came back out and hit the barscenes while mad at my former companion and just went on a bit of a tear since about May. And all that did was take my pain and make it public, make it visible, which is what I thought I wanted at the time. To be seen. To no longer be hiding behind closed doors. But I’ve been so angry and that wound up being released on people whether they deserved it or not.

And now I’m back to sitting with myself quietly and thinking and realizing and contemplating where to go from here, because this is no good. I don’t want to push people away, but I don’t blame them for recoiling from my intensity and frustration. But that frustration is ultimately with myself and my previous lack of self-control and bad habits and feeling like I’m letting everybody down and not living up to my own potential. The only way to cure that is to change it, to let that not be the case any longer.

That is what I am resolved to do. I feel like living again, both for myself and my loved ones. The slow death (as some of us refer to it as) is too painful and does no one any good. Depression might always linger around, but that doesn’t mean I have to give into it and let it rule me. I’ve had enough of that. Time for change.

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2 Responses to Courage to become better

  1. Midas Mind says:

    “And if not him, maybe someone else will reap some sort of benefit from observing someone getting their shit together and making positive change.”

    I feel the need to humbly and possibly unnecessarily suggest that this someone else be you 🙂

    This post has touched me quite deeply, because I know the feeling all too well of watching someone accept the consequences of a dead-end decision. I have two friends, both of whom were younger than me, that have died directly from the usage of destructive intoxicants. The one that hurt the deepest, paradoxically, had told me many times that he was planning this fate for himself. He would often say that he didn’t want to live past 30, and the reasons he gave were always somewhat difficult to argue with. It’s the only solace I have for seeing someone so close to me, and so full of intelligence and potential, leave without finding peace in this world first…

    Well, I promise I’m done dirtying up your blog now. And to respect the intentions you’ve shared with me I won’t be expecting a response. In fact I’ll just go ahead and say that I’ll make it a precedent to wait for when _or_ if you decide to invite me to communicate with you again.

    But I’ll be around.

    • Byenia says:

      I meant besides me, seeing as how I know a lot of heavy drinkers, plenty of who have dealt with DUIs (OWIs) or are experiencing health problems, etc. Yes, I obviously will benefit from this first and foremost, but I still hope that this change can be of value to others as well, just as one of my favorite bartenders giving up drinking over a month back majorly inspired me.

      It’s part of human nature to be impressed on by others and to wish to do the same in a pay-it-forward fashion. We tend to derive a sense of satisfaction from that because then our efforts are noted and may even prove helpful to others in a vicarious way. That’s one of the benefits of this sort of life change, same as with exercising to lose weight and whatever else that requires a great deal of will power and self-control. And being noticed by others also aids in continuing to hold ourselves accountable throughout the process.

      A year or two back my former companion’s childhood friend died in his sleep due to organ failure after years of using meth. He was in his early 40s when he died. I’ve watched my former experience other deaths in his family that he barely reacted to, but that friend’s death, even though he hadn’t seen him in many years, really affected him. I recall after that not being able to reach my former and using my key to enter his house and finding him swaying in the kitchen, completely wrecked, slugging hard liquor and in an angry mood. And he took that out on me over the next two weeks because I was the one he could get away with showing those emotions to. And I remember telling him at one point: “…but I’m among the living.” Like I was asking him to come back to us, to the living, to care about us, to help us, but he didn’t either care or understand.

      Then a few months back someone he and a bunch of his friends knew wound up committing suicide after years of heavy drinking and finding out he had major health issues related to that. The man hung himself in his home, and a lot of people are still strongly impacted by his decision. This is right here in my present community, and that guy was considered a friend to a lot of people. But he worked in a bar and was surrounded by people who drank heavily, including someone he lived with, and he saw no other way out apparently. People continue to talk about him all the time at the bar I’ve been frequenting in recent months.

      So yes, this is bigger than me. This may be my individual problem to reckon with inside myself currently but it’s an issue that impacts plenty of us in all sorts of ways and to varying degrees. Those men weren’t islands unto themselves and neither am I, even if I have far fewer friends who might care about my demise. Of the people I do have in my corner, they’ve been great and I do owe them as much as I owe myself to get a handle on all of this and change my life for the better. Because my closest people see and deal with the consequences of my behaviors and actions. They have invested in me because they care, which helps me to want to invest more in myself so as to make them proud. I don’t want to hurt them due to my own personal negligence. And I no longer wish to be hurt as I have already by the personal negligence of others when it comes to alcohol getting the better of us.

      I don’t mind if you comment on my blog. Just as long as you accept where my focus is directed at this time. If you glean something of benefit from anything I write, then great. But my energy has to go toward sorting my own stuff out currently so I’m not the best for being a sounding board for others at this time. Living in my own head at present because that’s what it’s going to take. Gotta do me right now. That’s all I was trying to tell you back before. But you’re welcome to stick around if you care to.

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