While I was drinking, I figure I was spending 70+ hours a week drunk…and the rest of my waking hours were spent recovering from the previous nights indulgences.
I went to work, did the minimum, went home and got drunk, and repeated this process for years. There was no room in my life for much other than alcohol, and although I never truly realized it, my alcoholism was stealing my life away, one hour at a time.
Now that I’m in recovery, I have the time to live my life, and the sobriety to enjoy it. One of the things that really surprised me about sobriety was all the time I seemed to have on my hands all of a sudden. Even with making a genuine contribution to the household, and the raising of the kids (very different from the contribution I made while drinking) I still seem to have a lot of extra time to fill.
I used to start drinking every night after work (earlier on the weekends…much earlier) and although I might have done a little something during the first 5 or 6 beers, after a couple of hours of drinking I was pretty glued to the TV and concentrating on working myself into a stupor.
The next day was pretty much a write off as well, and although I could do my job (just barely) I certainly never gave it more than the minimum required, and weekends involved sleeping as long as I could…and then starting to drink as soon as possible. I spent more time drinking and recovering from drinking than I spent on anything else, by a lot, and once I stopped drinking I had hundreds of extra hours a month that needed to be filled with something other than beer!
What to do with myself?!?
Most people wish they had more time, but for the newly recovering addict, all this extra time sure feels like a lot of work, and it takes effort to fill that time with anything other than drinking. It didn’t take long though to begin to appreciate the possibilities all this time afforded me, and I dove into family, work, projects and hobbies with a passion I had previously reserved for intoxication.
I got to know the kids again, I helped out around the house, I got back into wood working (much safer without whiskey!) and I even completed a guest house out back over two summers. My work performance has improved dramatically, and instead of just barely hanging onto a job, I’m busy weighing out my options for career advancement!
I love waking up on a weekend morning, knowing I have the whole day ahead of me, feeling good and feeling healthy and rolling leisurely out of bed to meet a full and productive day. I never saw it while I was drinking, but my abuse was stealing my life. It was stealing my health, it was stealing my family, and it was stealing my time.
I wish I could have it all back, but I’m just grateful for the time I have left. If you’re reading this, and thinking about getting help…you’ll never regret grabbing your life back, and all of a sudden you’ll have the time to enjoy it!