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Archive for February, 2016

Sometime next week will mark the passing of a very relevant occasion in this life of mine. On January 31, 1987 I was arrested for a DUI on my way home from a birthday celebration for a friend. Several days later, facing all the collateral damage of accepting the charges, losing my license, and also favor of my status as custodial parent to my then five year old son…I chose to plea for a deferred sentence, a two year program to heal my soul, and make a fresh start. On or about February 9th, 1987 I was at lunch with an old friend. I turned down a cocktail with my meal and instead had a simple soda water with a twist of lime. I informed the waitress in a private moment that I’d decided to be clean and sober. She said she had recently done the same…So began my journey of real life, real emotions, real tilling of the soul that had been my home for growth, or the lack thereof.
I knew without a doubt that if I had chosen to continue on the way I had been, that my life at a mere 28 years would soon be over and my child would have been fatherless.
And I never touched another drop. Not for 29 years now, over half of my life. Is my life great? Sometimes. Is my life easy? Rarely. Is my life a windfall of great earnings and opulence? Hardly. Have I found the love of my life? Many times. What I do have in the bank and in my heart is life itself. One day, sometimes one hour at a time. I have no guarantees other than the fact time will continue to pass, with or without me.
Is my health well and worry free? Far from it. But it is MY health to be concerned over and struggle with, come what may. Good or bad, it is me, alive and among those walking above ground. I have overcome much difficulty and challenge. Much adversity and frustration. I still am. But the key here, is that I’m alive, striving, trying, and trying to make the world around me better. The lives of those around me better.
I still have issues with alcohol. More specifically; those in my life who drink and are overflowing with issues and toxicity because of their intake. Without having had a drop in near to thirty years, I have fought with the demons of those others. I have used their ineptitude as my incentive to continue on sober. I have no issues with happy drinkers. I actually prefer some folks loosen up a tad and join me in my mostly jovial state…and a couple libations often do the trick.
I’m not against alcohol per se. What I am against is its abusers, and their ultimate abuse of others. I hate mean drunks. Remorseless drunks. Rationalizing drunks. Blame passing drunks. Omniscient drunks (who by the way are anything but). Belligerence drunks. Controlling, bullying drunks. Angry drunks. Drunks in vehement denial that they are in fact drunks, and are of the opinion they have their drinking “under control”. There is a word for that state. And I call it, “BULLSHIT”.
February is the month I celebrate my most relevant birthday. The one that I chose healing, more sound mental health, kindness to others, to listen, to care, to be a part of the solutions, and not the problem. But mostly, for the past twenty nine years, I have chosen LIFE itself, over certain death and the collateral damage that mine would put upon others. My life is far from pain free, but it is in fact; life. And that’s a fine place to begin again, every morning. Matthew Lyle.

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