“Happiness, Holidays, Engagements”
This past Christmas was amazing. Plain and simple. 2017 I spent the holidays white knuckling sobriety and trying to come to grips with the idea of making it through life without alcohol. This year I spent it being thankful for life, around family, and with the funniest little six month old trouble maker constantly crawling around the house to try and drink water out of the cat’s fountain. (Max is obsessed with her fountain; perhaps he thinks he is a cat as well). I didn’t struggle with any urges to drink and avoided certain events that I thought could spark one. Christmas is obviously different when you have a kid and this year was just a small glimpse into how exciting it will be as Max gets older and understands what’s happening. We hosted Christmas dinner at our house and both our families showed up and prepared dinner for us all to enjoy. It is wonderful to see how much everyone cares about our little devil. Everyone put away their normal Christmas day traditions to come spend it around a little baby who can’t even say words. I was amazed at just how much love was directed towards this little guy and how big of an impact he has on everyone around him. I know how happy he makes me, all he has to do is crack a smile and I’m ready to cry harder than when Mufasa dies in the Lion King, but it is just remarkable to see the extension of joy spread to everyone around him. He is so loved and it is amazing to be able to see and recognize just how beautiful that is. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I understand that more and more every day. I know he depends on us to survive, but I don’t know if he will ever know just how much I needed him. He made it the best Christmas ever after a near unendurable experience.
“Will You Marry Me?”
There was also another major occurrence over the Christmas break. Nadaira and I got engaged! The mother of my child and my partner in crime agreed to spend the rest of our lives together. On December 30th her friends got her out of the house (she totally knew something was up), and Max, Ruxin, and I dressed up in our finest attire to “surprise” her when she got home. (the boys were looking DAPPER!)
Nadaira and I live together and have a baby. I’m sure an engagement isn’t a huge surprise, but it is still extremely exciting. The thought of saying “I Do” to the woman I love, while our toddler son runs around the ceremony distracting everyone, and all the non-parents say “why doesn’t someone just get that kid to stop!” is the thought of blissful happiness to me. I absolutely can’t wait for that day.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Now I’ve been quite open about my alcoholism (being open is the whole point of this blog), but as most people do, I carry some other baggage through life with me. I pretend to like Football around my sports watching buddies, I shame eat burgers in my vehicle more than I will ever admit, I can’t play Monopoly without cheating, and I have been engaged before. This is no surprise; I imagine most people taking any time to read this post probably know I have been engaged before, so I don’t wear that with any sort of shame. Life is a collection of experiences that you can only hope to learn from, and while I wear no shame for having been engaged previously, I do wear shame about where my life went after it ended.
After my engagement ended there was really only one thing I wanted to do and that was to party. I wanted to drink with the boys, swipe right on tinder like it was my job, and experience single life as a young adult. I was 25 and didn’t know what it was like to be single. I wanted life to be like a TV show. Hang out in classy bars wearing a blazer saying things like “this round is on me ladies!” And I certainly tried that. I had lots of single friends who liked to socialize and we spent an insane amount of time and money bars trying to live some movie like idea of happiness. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t like that. You want to be this suave character and realize that you’re about as smooth as a dirt road after a rain storm.
Given my lack of skills with the ladies I worked on a different relationship, and that relationship was with alcohol. It is the most deceiving disguise for your emotions. Rather than reflecting on my life and dealing with a fairly significant life event, I chose to drink my face off and hide my emotions behind a thinned blood stream. I hid this way until Nadaira and I started dating later in 2015. We started to get serious and then I had to move to Sudbury for work. As sad as it was to leave, it put a massive emphasis on the fact that a person was making me happier than alcohol was. And while I didn’t quit drinking until 2017, it was being in a relationship with someone who I cared about that allowed me to transition to a place where I could even consider quitting drinking.
I lasted 8 months in Sudbury and took a job back home. I have emphasized this before, but when I decided to quit drinking in 2017 it wasn’t because I was at the lowest point of my life. It was because I wanted to avoid the lowest point of my life. I drank like a fish for a year and a half with the perception that having been engaged would deter anyone from wanting to be in a relationship with me. Now I was at a point where I lived with someone and we were expecting a baby. She knew I had been engaged but that didn’t matter. It was time to stop having a pity party for myself and look around. Yes I had baggage, but the only thing that was actually impacting my life was the “antidote” to the baggage. (The antidote was booze). Accepting that alcohol is the root of your problems as opposed to the medicine for your problems is hard, but it was the step that allowed me to understand what I had in front of me… An amazing life, with an amazing girl, and a soon to be amazing child.
If You Can’t Laugh at Yourself
So here I am, engaged again. I’ve received a few “try and make it to the wedding this time” jokes, and that’s okay. I’ve been joking about it for years. I am who I am because of everything that has happened in my life and if I couldn’t handle a few harmless jokes at my expense I’d be the biggest hypocrite in the league (I make fun of my friends a lot, and ruthlessly). This Christmas was amazing and I am over the moon to be engaged to my best friend. (Although I suspect if it had taken much longer I may have been hearing Beyonce’s Single Ladies blasting around the house). I could ramble on about how happy I am forever but I will end it by paraphrasing a Rascal Flats song like the lame idiot I am. I’m grateful for the broken road that has led me where I am, because there is no place I’d rather be.