The long term consequences of the stupid stuff you did when in your addiction are the worst.  The body can heal from an awful lot of damage.  Most of the physical effects of the abuse I put myself through cleared up quickly.  Since I tended to binge and then cycle off of the alcohol I became very familiar with detoxification.  The first 48 hours were the worst.  Inside of a week or so the anxiety and restlessness subsided.  I would get my appetite back.  Frequently I’d feel…well not exactly pain in my abdomen…but just an odd feeling.  That took a little longer to subside.

That happened for the last time the week I entered the Overcomer program.  Lots of other changes happened after that during the next few months.  That part is over.  I’m out now.  Now each day the long term stuff comes home to roost.

The pain I caused my friends and family seems to be healing.  Trust slowly comes back.  Frankly, my friends and family are fully aware that I’m not fully trustworthy at this point.  It would be foolish of them to not be closely holding me accountable.  The substance of my temptation is too readily available.

Everyday on my way home I see a billboard at the corner of Wade Hampton and Church.  It’s a bourbon bottle pouring a drink into a glass.  It’s even my old brand.  But really, this doesn’t bother me.

It’s the day to day stuff that’s getting to me at this point.  I have two jobs.  One of them I technically started back in July of 2009.  A friend from BJU who manages a local café gave me a job as soon as he saw my application…no questions asked.  I told him what happened.  Weeks later he was suspecting that I was drinking and even though I left suddenly to go into rehab he gave me back my job when I came out.  Again, no questions asked.

I’ve always felt that I was a grateful person and I really do appreciate the fact that I have a job but that only goes so far to soothe one’s mind.  The job is depressing right now.  Months ago I got passed over for a position with more responsibility and challenge.  Now, though I have weekend job that I really enjoy there is no guarantee that it will turn into anything more than a part time position anytime soon.  That weekend job pretty much sealed my fate at the café.  There is no opportunity for me to progress.  No opportunity to grow.  I’m an interchangeable cog. I’m fully swappable with any high school kid.  The value I have to the company is well represented by the fact that after over a year my nametag is just the backside of an old business card with my name written in sharpie.  It’s 7 or so hours a day on my feet for low pay at a place where the company’s idea of a good raise comes out to about 2%.  I had a little hope a few weeks ago to expand my role a little but that didn’t work out.  After getting it all but solidified I made the mistake of telling the higher-ups that I thought that I was about to go full time at my weekend job so they put it on what seems to be permanent hold.  The pragmatic will probably point out that it’s my own fault for telling them but I didn’t feel right about having them invest some fairly intense training in me only to have me leave within two weeks.  That didn’t work out for me.

I get up at 4:30am to open the store.  I fill the same orders day after day for a couple of dozen regulars along with less frequent walk-ins.  I get a half hour break then lunch comes.  I like lunch best.  It’s usually busy and I stay busy enough during that 2 ½ hours for the time to pass quickly.

Last year it wasn’t quite the same.  In the recovery program I didn’t see the news much.  I wasn’t as in tune with the schedule of my old life as it moved on.  This year when classes go back in session…I notice.  I see Facebook posts from old friends and students who are talking about things I used to be deeply involved with.  Holiday breaks come and go.  They rejoice in the extra time off to be with friends and family.  I pick up some extra shifts and work crazy hours for 18 days straight.

And after all is said and done as the philosopher Jimmy Buffet once said….It’s my own damn fault.  I tough realization but one that has to be accepted.

I accept it better some days than others.  I’m still not drinking though.

    • TJ
    • December 4th, 2010

    I’m praying for you, Joel. I know what it is like to not have job satisfaction. It’s hard to get through the day-to-day stuff sometimes.

    I’m confident that things will pan out for you. And for me. 🙂

    Love you, sir.

    • Caprice Coleman
    • January 16th, 2011

    Joel, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Hang on to the good consequences of sobriety like the healing of body and relationships. And you are not truly replacable by a high schooler or anyone else at your cafe job. You have unique experiences and a great personality that are gifts shared with people, even when they are ordering coffee from you. I know a good cuppa from a good soul has made my day more than once. Life is certainly not always (ever?) perfect and all of us are going to make mistakes in our lives, but to quote the philosopher P!nk, “Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel like you’re less than f**cking perfect.” Take care, Caprice

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