If you have not read Part 1 of this powerful story, click here to catch up.
Below is a story of one firefighter who took sobriety into his own hands for 21 days and documented his journey to a healthier firefighter, father, and husband.
Duty Day. Normally this would be an easy day, but the old saying of a body in motion stays in motion rings true today. I feel sluggish and lazy for two reasons. I didn’t do anything yesterday, and due to last night’s events I slept for shit. I tossed, turned, and kept adding an hour to the sleep timer on the tv. Just couldn’t shut my mind off. I wish my wife knew how much harder this is when we fight. I’m not saying I deserve any extra attention or special treatment. I just wish she realized how even a little comment that sparks a reaction compiles the mental anguish I’m already feeling. I realized something today. Since I quit drinking either by luck of the draw, Karma, or not realizing it in the past, it seems like alcohol is all around me. I see it everywhere, billboards, commercials, and Facebook suggested sites. They were even making a hot toddy on the news this morning!
Long night, Good news is I didn’t sleep through the tones every time they went off. I was worried about that the other day. I got invited to do ice training today with a neighboring department. Great training and equally exhausting. Just what the doctor ordered. I wasn’t very productive when I got home in the afternoon, but I was pretty tired so I wasn’t too hard on myself. I had some pretty intense cravings tonight, but I worked through it. My wife asked me what its like. Its simple:Trying to talk yourself out of what you’re constantly trying to talk yourself into.
I slept in way too long. I woke up at 0730 and thought I would roll back over for a minute. Wrong. My son woke me up 2 hours later, jumping on my back asking for coffee. I’m groggy, and I need a cup too. I wasn’t as productive as my planner told me I needed to be. I found myself walking circles around the house wondering what I should do. It was a nice day today, and by the time I realized what I should have done it was too late. I’m mad at myself again! I have to find a way to break this chain. I wish I had a male figure in my life to look up to during times like these, or at least one that would drive out to my house with a stern voice and a strong kick in the ass like a drill sergeant to get me moving. Being overwhelmed seems to be my likely and go to excuse in my head that talks me out of the talks. Alcohol used to be the liquid that finished the excuses for me. I have yet to look in the mirror during this journey and been able to say I’m proud of my accomplishments that day.
Duty day. Its amazing how much better I sleep. I feel 18 again when I wake up, well with a few pops and cracks. I found out when I got to shift that I was running in charge today. Full responsibility. So they say. I’m ok with it. My mind is so much clearer that I welcome a new challenge. I haven’t had the stomach cramps since about day 4-5. Sometimes I still get a pretty good headache at night, but I think I’m almost done with the symptoms. I still don’t eat as much which I am totally fine with. Especially at night, I used to always wake up with midnight munchies, and now I don’t. I kept myself and the crews busy today. They didn’t like it, but its good for them. What the night holds only God knows, but tomorrow will be a good day. Church in the morning and hopefully some productive housecleaning the rest of the day. I have to stay productive. I have to!
This is the hardest day to write. This was a bad day. It started last night while I was working. I don’t know how it happened or what started it, but my wife and I got in an argument and it just snowballed from there. The names I got called, the accusations I was accused of hurt so deep. I thought when I got home it would be over. I left the station at the tone test, didn’t have a cup of coffee or anything with the oncoming crew. I got home and went to the office downstairs to get some work done. I guess that was the wrong move cause she started on me 10 minutes later. I don’t want to write down or even remember the events and things that happened, but it ended with suitcases on the bed and the word “space” being thrown out excessively. I thought today was the day I would lose everything. I drove to the liquor store. Why not? Why continue this? They were closed, like a sign from God to get back home and not only keep up with what I’m doing, but fix everything that’s wrong. I wasn’t planning on working on us so deeply during these 21 days, but its time to fireman up and play the hand that I was dealt. Our fight had nothing to do with alcohol. Actually, my wife was quite surprised when I started this thing, but at the end of the day I sure wanted a glass to forget what the fight was about. Today was a hard day.
Its 4 degrees outside, my to do list keeps growing, and I cant take a 3-year-old out in this weather. He is getting cabin fever and so am I. He runs around the house, I walk in circles. Damn this weather, and damn all the fighting. We had a good talk last night before bed and hopefully things will be better. I hope so cause this is hard enough with the extreme added stress of the thought my wife could leave me. All of this will work out. I know it, I can feel it. Is fear mental or physical? I don’t know. I have been trying to figure it out lately. I think its both, and beyond that I think what season of your life you are in plays a big factor. I feel physically strong right now, I’ve tried to punish my body with physical activity lately, and I feel there isn’t much I can’t do. Mentally on the other hand, I feel weaker than I have in years. I feel like I could check out when the going gets rough. Its not alcohol based, its mentally based because of everything mental I’m trying to do. A complete lifestyle change in the middle of a cold winter is mentally taxing. Some days you feel helpless sitting inside. It can take a toll on you if your used to being outside and active. I will come out stronger at the end of this, That’s why I won’t quit!
Duty day. Not much to say about today. Great night sleep, no headache, no cramps. Still the same appetite, except last night. I don’t know what happened. I still think boredom is the devil’s playground, and that’s why my nights are sometimes tough. Last night I could not stop snacking. I was like a wild hog in a garden of junk food. I even felt fat when I woke up today. Did a lot of table talk training today to pass the time. We weren’t very busy today, so anything to make those 24 hours pass by.
Well we weren’t busy during the day yesterday, but it sure was a long night. I had specifically scheduled today at my part-time job to work with a specific person, an expert. We had big plans to do a lot of training, and I was super excited to pick his brain. Then the dreaded knock at my bunk room door at 0430 in the morning saying I was mandated for today. I TT’d to the house he was gonna be at so hopefully we could still train. Of course, I ended up being the busiest medic on the east side of the city and I got all of 30 minutes to train with him. I was so mad and beat up when I left. The intersection on my way home… Turn left and you end at the liquor store, go straight and I hit my gravel driveway. I want to turn left, I deserve it, I need it. Just a small sample bottle, just 1 drink. My wife talks me out of it. Demands me to come home, she knew not to give me the choice.
[ Read Part 3: The Finale HERE ]