A Third Noël.

It’s kind of hard to believe that this video was shot two years ago. I look at the person in it and smile. I can honestly say that it is such an accurate time capsule for where I was at. Two years from now, I will have moved on even further, constantly growing in the direction I want my life to go. I believe that in a world that has gone completely mad and consumerist, the greatest gift this time of year and every single day is the ability to reach out to others. When I was drinking myself to death and doing all manner of drugs, it was pretty easy to be selfish. I turned my back on the world with ease. Deep down it hurt me, but that’s what the booze was for, to take away the pain. Facing up to sobriety is more than just stopping drinking. Every relationship in my life had to be looked at in a new light. I had to rebuild old bridges that I had incinerated along the way, others I had to evaluate if they really were in my best interest. I also had to reach out and make new ones and see if the sober me was as fun as the drunk me. Relationships have been one of the key factors in my recovery. I have an obligation as a good friend to be there for people when they need me instead of bailing out of something if it isn’t going to benefit me. I remember earlier this year when I was really pumped about meeting the singer of Incubus, Brandon Boyd, at a book signing in Paris. On the same day, a friend happened to be closing up his apartment with his family before moving back to the States. He asked for help and I went. Man, I was bummed, but reflecting on it, I am so glad I put him before some rockstar. Five years ago I would have not even given the guy the time of day. The way my friends love me is a spectacular thing, really. I have had some brutally frank conversations with them and been told truths about myself that made me cringe, all done, though, in my absolute best interest. I cannot believe the sheer love I have been shown by those closest to me. I don’t do yearly reflections or make great predictions/declarations about the plans I have for the future. The present moment is the most important. Right now. No resolutions to to do anything because the 1st of January is around the corner. The time is always now! Quitting smoking or drinking, pledging to lose weight and get fitter, breathing life in to relationships….. that stuff is all ‘now’ stuff. By forgiving myself and letting people get closer to me, I have been blessed in many ways. My kids are growing in a way that makes me proud and this year I married my wonderful Val. I was not ready to be a husband when the above video was shot, but time, patience, and faith have brought me great rewards that continue to give and give. Thanks to my loyal readers and supporters for putting wind in my sails each day. Wishing you a sincerely wonderful Christmas.

McGloughlin

Copyright: Jenn Whiteman 2014

Road

Four Years Of Sobriety: Reflections.

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Photo © Jenn Whiteman.

I usually ponder this day on the run up to it each year, and then think about it first thing when I wake up on the day itself. This year was different. I thought about it a few days ago, but when I laced up my shoes at 5:50 this morning for my daily run, my mind was empty. I headed towards Versailles in the biting wind and misty rain, focussing on the moment, one purposeful, measured step in front of the other. The path was eerily quiet, save for a few people heading to work. And then it hit me. A guy just ahead stepping into his car, my headwind blowing his scent straight up my nostrils. Jean-Paul Gaultier, Le Male. Suddenly I was in my bathroom in London some ten years ago, wiping condensation off the mirror after my shower, staring at the face I had come to loathe, its desperate, hopeless reflection staring back at me. I’d tried to reason with that face as I sprayed on that same fragrance that had now just stopped me in my tracks. Not if the guy getting into his car had’ve poured a Heineken over me, could the memories of my past life have been more vivid. I ran along for another half an hour and sobbed the whole way home.

My tears over addiction have been many. I have cried over the hurt I caused others. I have cried out of frustration and hatred at myself. I have cried out of desperation to be saved. I have cried because I cannot fathom how much people love me and encourage me. This morning it was out of gratitude. I cannot put on paper how I really feel about where my life has taken me. That’s the stuff I talk to God about, and I can’t even express it to Him, either. It comes from a deeper well in my heart that regular forms of communication can’t really tap into. When you have stared at death and felt it’s cold hand work its way towards your throat to squeeze that last breath of air out of you, you tend to see things differently. I remember a conversation I had with my buddy, Tim, in Colorado this summer. He’d had a crazy busy week and he wanted to drink a cold one and watch some baseball on a Friday night. We hopped in his car and drove to a liquor store and the topic led to drinking. He wondered was it ok for him to have a beer whilst I drank apple juice. “Sure it is,” was my reply. It’s like I always tell people, if you abstain just to be sensitive to me then I feel even worse. The world didn’t stop drinking, I did. After he picked up a few beers we rode home, and he asked me about my old daily drinking habits. I told him about needing to get some beer into me within the first hour of waking up, and then told him quantities. He was stunned! I remember him pulling into his garage and just sitting there, hands still on the wheel, shaking his head and saying, “How are you still alive, but seriously?!” I am alive because it’s a miracle. Really. I should be dead. My body, or any body for that matter, cannot take that kind of abuse for a decade and a half and then suddenly stop and become an ultra-runner. There are many complications that could have arisen from this kind of systematic, obsessive abuse. So you see, when I am out for a run and I go deep into my mind and reflect on how I could have left two amazing kids fatherless, or skipped out on friends who mean the world to me, you see where the tears come from. It’s gratitude.

Now, because of these long-winded thoughts and moments of deep introspection on my part, don’t go thinking I regret my past. I do not. I love my past. I love the people I’ve met, the mistakes I’ve made, the good decisions I’ve made. I wouldn’t be me without them. The journey has been filled with colourful characters who have been inexplicably generous to me in many ways. I do, however, treat my addiction with absolute contempt. It is the enemy and it wants to hurt me. It goes far beyond being my Achilles heel, it is pure poison and represents the darkest side of my life. I have been to emotional places that no one should ever have to go to, and my eyes have seen things that most of you reading this can’t even dream of. I absolutely love being sober and it pains me to say this, but, not everybody loves the sober me. Why? Because it alters the balance in relationships. The more comfortable I get with my sobriety and who I really am inside, the more it leads to making better decisions. When you’re a using addict, people tend to be able to manipulate you a lot easier. You don’t care about much other than where the next beer is coming from. It may not be intentional on their part, but you are more likely to be swayed because your lack of self esteem and ability to make a judgement call is somewhat impaired. Sobriety taught me a wonderful word that I didn’t use very often, no! If a person you love, I mean really love, stops hurting themselves and choses to get busy living instead of dying, then that is all that matters. I make choices these days that positively affect my family and loved ones, I make them in the best faith I can muster and hope to continue to be able to give a leg up to other addicts who wrestle with those early days of addiction. If you are struggling with an addiction or are just lost in your life, it never stays that way. Seasons come and go. This day four years ago, as I went cold turkey, I thought I would never sleep properly again. That in the horrendous days that followed, as demons climbed the walls and mocked me, I never actually believed I would find peace. I was convinced that the stain on my soul would haunt me at every turn and that my nightmares would make me crazy. That didn’t happen, and now I find myself in a season of profound joy and curiosity for the journey ahead.

I really want to say thanks to all those who remembered today and sent well wishes. We really do this together. Your encouragement and support keeps me between the ditches. May you know the joy and warmth it brings me. Happy Christmas.

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Finding Stillness.

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I could spend all day at this computer, seriously. Not because I want to and definitely not because I have to. It is just the habit of being caught up in stuff that I deem important. In the greater scheme of things, however, most of it is far from important. I read a really great book last February–and consequently re-read it again in September–called God In My Everything, by Ken Shigematsu. Not only is it a super-practical guide to living a faith-filled life in crazy times, but it opens with a story about the monks in Glendalough, Ireland. I remember trips to this monastic site when I was a child, the old stone buildings transporting me back to “simpler” times. Were those times simpler? Probably not. Can you imagine the cold and the wind of eastern Ireland? Brrrrr! In the book Ken talks about routine and discipline. One of the most memorable passages talk about how the monks would just drop whatever they were doing when the bell for prayers sounded. Whether they were doing manual labour outdoors, or in the middle of daily writings, they had to drop absolutely everything and pray. Sounds easy, right? A couple of days ago myself and my wife had set aside time to spend together over scripture. The time was 17:00. About five minutes beforehand I was sending one of countless emails in a bid to make a huge impression on this world and save the day regarding one of the many, many projects I always get myself into. With about two minutes before our allotted time, I looked at the clock and was still typing. A panic rose up in me because I needed to get this email done. You don’t understand here folks, the entire universe would have stopped turning on its axis if this email didn’t get sent. And then I remembered the monks. I remembered the importance of carving out the time to spend in devotion. 17:00 came, I closed my laptop. And it felt good. I know what I am like, I would have spent five more minutes and then ten and then twenty…… The result is always greater than the sacrifice, and it’s not even a sacrifice. Giving up frantic-typing time in order to be still is truly a game-changer in my day. It’s like when I rise at 6:00 to run my 10km, I have never come back and said, “I am so sorry I went and did that.” Finding discipline in a routine does not just happen immediately. Stepping away from the laptop or rising early takes practice and devotion. It is through these practices, though, that we come to know ourselves better, allowing ourselves time to hear deeper answers to our own questions instead of a knee-jerk response. And the email? What email?

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I’m An Ultra-Runner.

I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”

Viktor Frankl.

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Photo: M McLoughlin.

I’m an ultra-runner. At least I was, kind of still am. It’s been a long road.

I love to run, it used to be away from stuff, and I was running a lot—mostly from myself and my penchant for cracking open beers at eight o’clock in the morning. I ran across my home country until my body screamed at me to stopped the madness, but I didn’t stop, don’t know how to sometimes. I had a good few years where I ran, and placed well, in some ultra-distance events. Anything from 50k to 100 miles to 24hrs was the norm, I didn’t discriminate against distance, I just ran. I love the freedom of it, the distillation of life down to a repetitive motion that most people are capable of doing. I think too that I ran to prove something to my friends and my family. People talked about running 10k races and inside I was thinking how tough I was for running over ten times that distance. All seasons change, though. My life altered dramatically for a number of reasons and I found myself not running at all. Looking back in it, it’s hard to pinpoint a real reason. Of course family came first and work hours had to be put it, but I found every excuse I could—niggling injuries, tiredness, self-pity. I just didn’t have the guts to go out and apply myself in a disciplined way. I was lazy, resting on my past performances as if I was entitled to be fit because I had put in so much work in the past.

After two years in the wilderness, I got back on the trails recently. The first few runs were a struggle, and I cursed my raspy lungs and my lactic acid-filled legs. The difference this time though is that I am embracing the amount of work it will take to get me in shape for my first ultra in March of next year. Life is completely like this, too. I’ve watched myself and a few of those around me throw their hands up in surrender because the wall in front of them seems insurmountable. The obstacles we face in life are very similar to those early days of running. Pushing past the obstruction seems like too much effort and bother. However, by putting in the daily effort and taking it one victorious kilometre at a time, the results can be life altering. No accomplishment is impossible if we are capable of dreaming it. After two years and many situations and conversions where friends have said, “Oh yeah, Mally runs too, he’s an ultra-runner,” and I have internally said, “Actually, that was the old me,” I can now make peace with the fact that I am on the roads most days, working towards my goal. The difference this time is that I am not trying to impress anyone, but instead am moving forward with a passion and a purpose I thought I had lost. Feels pretty good, too.

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Parenting A Child’s Heart.

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Just recently I was sitting in an airport and was jolted out of my seat by a guy screaming. I thought he was being attacked, but it turned out he was doing the attacking, his little daughter being the recipient. There has to be no greater shame put on a child than being openly berated and humiliated in front of hundreds of people. I had to count to ten–I was that close to ripping him a new one, but that would have made me no better than him. Now, I don’t know what the kid did, nor do I know the history of the dad and his outburst, but it didn’t look like the behaviour of a person who knows how to count to ten himself. We’ve all done it, parents that is, been up to our eyes in stress and let rip. I know I’ve had moments with my own in a public place where I’d hoped the ground would open and swallow me. There is a great part of Louis CK‘s act where he says ~

I really think it’s crazy that we hit our kids. It really is–here’s the crazy part about it. Kids are the only people in the world that you’re allowed to hit. Do you realize that? They’re the most vulnerable, and they’re the most destroyed by being hit. But it’s totally okay to hit them. And they’re the only ones! If you hit a dog they will put you in jail for that”

He is absolutely right. Watch any TV show, movie, YouTube clip, and people are pretty much more offended and outraged by animal cruelty than the plight of disadvantaged kids all across the world. What is happening to us? Don’t get me wrong. I am privileged to know great parents that inspire me to be the best dad I can be, but holy moly, there are some awful people too–parents who treat their kids as their own personal stress ball. I heard a great sermon this summer in Appleton, WI, and the pastor, Brian Dainsberg, was preaching about parenting to the hearts of kids. That line stuck with me, parent to their hearts. Kids’ hearts are the purest places I know-full of wonder, joy, and happiness. Remember when you were little and your mom made your favourite dish, or your dad told you how he was proud of you? Man, that unbridled joy still resonates with us ’cause let’s face it, we spend our lives looking for approval. If the ones who brought us into the world and are supposed to protect us and love us more than anyone else, the ones that guide and anchor us, if they don’t love us back the same way……. it’s too hard to even write the thought.

I believe in getting inside the world of my kids and adapting to how they feel, not how I feel. I want to adjust my life to theirs and get involved in their lives. I am not a big football fan but I sure love having a kick-around with my boy. If I am consistent in setting boundaries for them, then they will respect my rules and decisions without me ever having to discipline them harshly. Kids are our future and to quote Maria Montessori ~

Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

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Merica

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Mt Antero from Mt Princeton, Colorado. Photo: M McLoughlin

Ok, so, I haven’t been here in some time. I am updating from the heart of the peaceful Black Forest in Germany, about half an hour from the eastern French border. The past four months have been a heck of a ride. Firstly, I got married on May 14th in Denmark. “Denmark, DENMARK?” you say. Correct. DEN-MARK. The reason was solely down to the bureaucracy we had to endure at our local Mairie (town hall). If they moved the goal posts once, they moved them ten times. Seriously, I am convinced the lady was just pulling stuff out of the air and making it up as she went along. We eventually found out that Denmark is the Vegas of Europe, minus Elvis. We ended up on a remote island after a two-hour flight, two-hour drive, and a seventy minute ferry ride. When we booked in at the hotel (think two loft rooms) and I asked the guy (think Van Gogh but with two ears) if he would like to be paid tonight, he replied, “No, it’s ok, we can do it at the end, it’s not like you can go anywhere.”

Since then, my adorable wife, Val, and I have been on an adventure. A week later, we had a small reception with our closest friends in Paris. June was spent settling the kids into their new apartment and getting used to the fact that they don’t have papa to themselves anymore. I gotta say it was a huge adjustment to all and I am so very proud of how everyone has handled the big change. Val and I spent three weeks in the United States from July 5th, the first week was with my new in-laws in Wisconsin who threw us a very special wedding reception. It is known as the Dairy State and having it be my first slice of Americana was an eye-opener. Friends told me that for my first visit, I had to be prepared for the size of it all. Boy, was I not ready for the experience. The first night, to stave off jet-lag, we went to a local grocery store to stroll around. Massive. I mean aisle after aisle of goods, and not just the amounts but the varieties too. How many flavours of Gatorade do you really need? As for the cheese, it was like the doors to a mysterious lab were opened and as the fog from some genetic experiment cleared, all that remained were two monstrous fridges facing each other. Each one resplendently polished to showcase an array of fromage so overwhelming that the French would simply wave the white flag, surrender all their Roquefort and camembert, and go home defeated. Everything is huge. Burgers, soft drinks, churches, cars, pastries, ice-creams, and on and on. The people, I have to say, are pretty incredible. In France there is no service. It’s almost like you have to apologise to a store clerk when you walk in the door, I mean you have just ruined their day after all. In Merica they glide over beside you, blind you with a million-watt smile of perfect teeth, and offer to pretty much help you in any way they can. And don’t start me on the restaurants! “Hi, my name’s Jessie and I’ll be your server for the day.” Service, service, service. I never had to ask for a coffee or a drink refill, ever. And even if Jessie saw me as just another tourist and hated my guts and the guts of four generations of McLoughlins, I didn’t care. She plastered on a fake smile and just plowed through it. Service. The banks are another example of how life can be so much easier if you are…… chilled. Where I live you have to press a buzzer before they let you in, then you wait in line with the rest of the people tutting because they have things to do and places to go. Then to get anything done you have to provide a mountain of paperwork and, barring a urine sample, have to turn your paper trail over to them only to be scrutinised, then rejected and told with a smile that says ‘I hate you,’ that you have to come back another day. Not so in the good ole U.S of A. No Sireeee. Banking in America is kind of like the restaurant experience, only multiplied. Instead of one gleaming smile, there is an army of them. All eager to make your day better. As soon as you walk into the air-conditioned expanse, tellers fight for you. “How are you today sir?” I call it guilt-free banking. Where you can walk and not feel like you are holding a gun to someone’s head in order to get your money from them.

Wisconsin was followed by Colorado and some quality time with my soul-brother, Tim. It is the most beautiful place I have been. Period. Colorado Springs was our base and we hit Pikes Peak, The Incline, good coffee houses, thrift stores and so on. Colorado is a state with a lot of transplants from other states and I felt right at home. I met some dear friends from Paris who were there at the same time, and hey, we had another wedding reception organised by our friends Fran and John. I made some amazing connections who are keen to get behind the book and run some articles on it that will be seen by a global audience. It reminded me of the importance of being around like-minded individuals who are supportive and constructive. We finished the trip at St. Elmo and stayed at the Ghost Town Guest House. It was secluded and wild. I managed to fulfill a dream and hike to the top of Mt Princeton with my good friend, Jim. 14ers are a dominant feature of the Colorado landscape and called so because of the fifty-eight peaks that exceed 14,000 ft. I had a nasty fall resulting in severe contusions of the left leg, ribs, and wrist. I am tying in a bandage right now.

The Black Forest has been relaxed with my kids and one more week here will take us to the end of our vacation. The book is almost done (yeah, how many times have I said that) as our final proof-readers are nearing the end of their task. My dear friends, Jerry and Shelly, have been going through it with a tooth-comb and found things we have missed, which is both encouraging and frightening. After that it’s on to the next steps. I am expecting a Christmas release. There’s been some interest from big name organisations who would like to see The Second Lap have a global audience. Again, encouraging and frightening. I will be back to posting more regularly from now on, I really felt it was important to take a step back and focus on my family. Many of you have asked about kindle versions of the book and yes, it will be available on kindle. I will be making contact with Amazon over the next few weeks to discuss the best avenues of distribution. Cheers.

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Why Donald Miller Is Wrong About Writing.

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Donald Miller: Photo by Laura Dart.

 

Donald Miller recently wrote a post on writing. I am a fan of the guy and his first book, Blue Like Jazz, had a major impact on me. The rest of his stuff is pretty good, too. He has a real knack for helping people to ‘live better stories.’ In essence, we can go through life in a mundane way or we can edit our own stories to give them meaning. It’s quite simple but resonates with a lot of people. If you take a risk, then you will most likely have a story to tell. So, this post he wrote was about getting feedback from his publisher on his latest book and having to make edits. He said ~

Then, I’d make one edit only to create a domino effect throughout the rest of the book. I did this a few times before I started to believe the book was a total disaster and would probably never be published.”

I know this feeling. When my own book came back, I felt like the editor had taken my baby and hacked off one of its arms. It is a long process and requires the ability to be open-minded and selfless to the story. Miller’s solution was to tell his wife,

Babe, I’ve got to get a cabin. I’ve got to get my head back in this book and I can’t do it running my usual schedule.”

And that, folks, is where Mr. Miller’s and my experience part ways. Miller believes that ~

- a book will demand your all. That great line won’t come to you on a schedule (though you should keep one anyway) it will come to you when it wants and you have to be sitting there when it arrives or you’ll miss it. If you’ve got a book brewing, rent a cabin. I know you have kids and a job and can’t afford the luxury and I’m sorry if that’s true because the reality is it probably isn’t true.”

I disagree. I wrote my first book at my kitchen table in a tiny studio apartment as a single dad with alternate custody. I barely had time to do anything, but I made the time. I think the whole myth of getting a cabin romanticizes writing and the escape of it all. Hard work and discipline are far more important than days/weeks out in the sticks. The reality for me was this: get the kids to bed and stare at a screen till the wee hours before getting some sleep, rise early the next morning and fire up the coffee machine to try to pump some life back into me before getting the kids to school, then head off to teach English to a bunch of people who stare back at me like I was a dog that got hit by a car. During the editing process, I’d wake up with ink on my pillow and pens in my bed. I did get a few trail runs in, which kept my sanity and creative juices flowing, but other than that I grabbed every spare moment I could and poured myself into my craft. I love what I do and even as I wait for my book to come out in Autumn, I am constantly mind-mapping and laying the foundation for what I know I will be doing for the rest of my life. The day it feels like a job is the day I’ll quit. What Don Miller seems to be saying is to be a legitimate writer, I must be able to afford a cabin in order to “make it.” This is dangerous to all aspiring writers. Does he not remember the day when no one knew who he was? Is this the type of story he wants us to live? Where certain things are only within the reach of the financially well-off? I will leave with this great quote from Anais Nin as I believe writing should be about wringing ourselves out on the page, whether it’s in the woods or not.

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it”

 

 

Thank You!

Tip Jar at Open Bar

Creative Commons License: Dave Dugdale via Compfight

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that ~ Martin Luther King.

About two months ago I started a fund-raising campaign for financial assistance so my daughter could attend a specialist school. She is autistic and getting a good education here in France is very difficult. Many folks from different parts of the world wrote to me and sympathised with me as they live in countries where autism is accepted and the support network is quite strong. Asking people for money is never easy, but I believe that if the cause is worth it, then people want to get involved. The whole thing started out pretty slow with a few donations here and there. At the halfway point I was genuinely touched by the generosity of complete strangers as well as a few select friends who really pushed it on social media. I felt like it wasn’t just me standing out there with my hat in my hand. Two things struck me during this experience. Number one: the people who have the least, give the most. It’s true and I am sorry if it bursts anyone’s bubble or makes it feel like I am calling financially well-off people miserly, but it’s always been my experience. It’s ok though, it’s only money. But what money does is build a wall around us. It enslaves us by having us believe that if we only have a little bit more then we will be happy. I read an article on Donald Trump recently and he was asked what amount of money would make him happy. “Ten percent more,” was his reply. I witnessed the selflessness of people who were in the process of moving, changing jobs, looking after their own kids, suffering a personal loss and so on, all of them coming to bat for me and for my kid.

This leads me to number two: the gift is in the giving. Seriously, this is not some hyperbole/postcard crap that I’m usually tweeting about. I am sure there is a scientific formula to it but I ain’t talkin’ bout science, I’m talking about things of the heart. And folks don’t give so they can stand up and say, “Yep, look at me, I’m a stand-up citizen.” So many gave anonymously. One of them, I sent a message and told him he didn’t have to. He told me, “I don’t do things because I have to I do things because I want to.”

We ended up surpassing our target and during the last twenty-four hours of the campaign, it became a real voyage of camaraderie. Each person is now invested in something that is greater than all of us, something we achieved together. That is what we do best as community. We lift each other up. There’s been a few negative comments that have filtered back but they really do go in one ear and out the other. Negativity has no place in my life. I did what I had to do for my kid and I’d do it again and a whole lot more to give her the best possible shot. She started the school last Monday and everything is falling into place just nicely. Her new team is amazing and has very high hopes and great plans for the next few years. I want to say that I am so sincerely moved by all that has happened. I try in everything I do to be honest and convey my emotions without pretense, but it really is hard to get across how grateful I am. As my little girl goes through life, I know that each person who invested their heart and money has played a major role in getting her to where she will be. My hope is that you know just how important and life-altering that is.

“Is That Your Beer?”

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Creative Commons License: DeusXFlorida via Compfight

Just this afternoon, I was standing in a supermarket queue with my two kids, loading my groceries onto the belt. A single can of beer was about six inches in front of various items that were mine but were not separated by one of those dividers you pick up and put behind your shopping. The guy in front of me looked like the future me, had I not stopped killing myself on a basis daily. My son, who over the years had been dragged into supermarkets, corner shops, and any other establishment that would sell me booze day or night, looked at the can and froze. The look on his face was half horror, half questioning. He asked me, in a tone I have never heard, “Are you buying a beer, papa?” I didn’t know whether to smile or cringe. I am proud of his courage to ask such a question and it fills my soul with joy to know how much he loves me. It also makes me shudder at what I put him through, but it is pointless to beat myself up over it. I was a mess. I got my act together. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the stress of life and as much as I do not miss drinking at every waking moment, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times where I would love to turn my back on the world, draw the blinds, and drink a crate of beer. I don’t go to AA meetings as all that talking about getting hammered makes me want to have a Bombay Sapphire and tonic real bad. The meditation of running, the love of my family, and the reminders from my son keep me between the ditches. For me, being sober is like being a super-hero to my kids. I can face the music instead of running away from it. I can stand firm in the face of the inevitable problems that life lays in front of me and can distill it all down to what is most important. Staring at my Facebook feed and wishing I had someone else’s life is a thing of the past. Today served as a milestone that it is not the big anniversaries of sobriety that matter but the simple act of getting through this amazing journey one step at a time.

Happy Easter.

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Werner Kunz via Compfight

Today is Easter Sunday, a day that, for most, is characterised by the indulgence of chocolate and wondering, to quote the mighty Bill Hicks, “why we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by telling our children a giant bunny laid chocolate eggs in the middle of the night.”

Most of our Christian ceremonies and holidays have been destroyed by advertising, our motivations driven by public holidays and indulgence. For me it is a day of new beginning, as is every day. There is no time like to present to resurrect ourselves, we are never out of the game or gone beyond the point of saving and, having seen some hopeless cases in my lifetime (myself included), I can attest to the power of rising up. Happy Easter.