Paint It Black

I don’t do death well.

I can make up stories with it as a main topic, watch stuff on the dummy box that is engulfed in it, read the news every day where it is a mainstay of virility.

But in reality, it’s not that easy.

It is the end result of life.

Once the first cry out of the womb is bellowed, the clock to the end…..begins.

As expected as it is…….whenever it happens it is almost never expected.

When it does happen…and it is someone that at one time or another I ran around with, it becomes hard for me to deal with.

You know…..I’ve been clean and sober for quite a few years now.

The actual length of that time really doesn’t matter to me anymore. I don’t and haven’t been in AA or any other support group for a considerable length of time either.

I love being sober.

I just don’t feel I need to talk about it to be able to maintain it.

I just do.

I also hated seeing people coming in and out, in and out, in and out……until some just quit coming back in.

“Someone may have to die for me to say sober” I would hear in meetings.

Which I think is crap, by the way.


There’s this guy I used to sponsor when I was in AA.

Every time I saw him I would say,

“Dude….you’ve got tattoos….ON YOUR FACE!”

I would say that, because he did.

He would come over and have dinner with my family almost every night. We would talk about what was going on and my wife and I would give him suggestions.

Always to the point….never beating around the proverbial bush.

Before I sponsored him, he had like 12 other sponsors.

After me, probably many others.

Regardless of the state of his sobriety and my exit from AA, we remained friendly and in contact.

He would come around.

Then be gone.


We got word yesterday that he got killed by getting run over by a car shortly after getting kicked out of a sober living house.

I hadn’t seen or spoke to him in a few months but he will be on my mind every day.

I drive a beat up truck that was green when it rolled of the factory floor decades ago.

When I got it, it had been completely spray painted black….with individual spray paint cans and recently repossessed by the owner for lack of payment. 

The guy who it was repossessed from was the same one who spray painted it.

And was the same guy I used to sponsor that had tattoos on his face.

I’m just kind of numb.

Emotions aren’t my thing either.

I just hope he is now at peace.

As for me…

I will keep on truckin’


The Sobering Surgeon

Week 2 of my recovery from surgery, required visit number 2 to the surgeon so he could check on the status of my recovery from his handiwork.

He was impressed with how much movement I had in my arm.

As he checked the wound to decide if the staples would be coming out or not he made a point to fill my wife and I in on how close I was to not being around at all.

The injury came within 4-5 millimeters of one of the main arteries.

The width of the band on this ring is approximately 5 millimeters.

He said he was able to place his index finger on the artery and feel my pulse pumping the blood.

4 millimeters deeper and I would of had zero chance of making it to the hospital or otherwise.


Once again, he stated that someone was looking out for me.

Before he left, he said I was healing well….

And that I should be treated to champagne for still being alive.

“You hear that, honey??? He said I should get champagne….and he’s a Doctor… he must be right!”

I did get about 15 staples removed. Which leaves about 35 or so to go.

As far as the champagne goes, I plan on staying sober until I die…..not until I almost die.

I was treated to the champagne of fountain drinks though.


It’s Dr. Pepper…just what the Dr. ordered.

Life sometimes takes scary turns.

Be grateful for every moment.

2day In Sobriety

It’s fairly easy to write about sobriety when things are going well.


The wife doesn’t want new shoes.

The kids aren’t flipping me off behind my back.

No dog poop on the hardwood.

Free donuts abound.

Days like that it’s great to be sober…..and even better to write about.

No problems here. Can’t wait for tomorrow…until then I will just keep breathing in the new car smell as I drive, care free, to the job that I love!

Ahhhh….those days are grand.

Most days aren’t like that.

Today was nowhere near that.

1 hour into my workday, I had the pleasure of riding with the newest employee to our towns botanical gardens, otherwise known as the landfill.

As we walk towards his truck, he says,

“Don’t say anything about what is in my truck.”

Which my ever so delicate reply was,

“I don’t give a f$(k what’s in your truck. Let’s just get this over with.”

I suppose what he was referring to was the 24 oz tallboy can of Bud Light that was resting in his cup holder.

In my head, I thought,

“So he has a leftover can from the weekend in his truck. Who cares.”

Here is the realio dealio.

I have been sober for a number of years. I do not chastise anyone who drinks, nor do I preach to them about being sober.

It’s none of my business.

I have been to a number of outings where drinking is the norm and I just say no thanks.

A Monday workday morning does not fit the bill as one of those outings.

I was taken a bit off guard when he grabbed the can while driving and said,

“Nothing like a cold beer in the morning.”

He continued to drink the beer as we finished our task and returned to the job site.

He has worked for us less than 1 week.

I am the foreman for our construction crew. We operate heavy machinery and are occasionally in precarious work environments.

Our job today was to replace ceiling rafters at a commercial building.

Walking on an open ceiling, 30 feet in the air, and attaching new 25 foot long 2 by 8’s requires a persons full attention.


I was not willing to put myself or any other of my crew at risk.

I went to the boss and told him the new guy was drinking.

He was confronted and let go.

He was surprised that he lost his job over it.

I finished out the day, but it was shot from the moment he drank from the can.

I mean…who really thinks it’s good idea to drink so early in the morning….at work….and then be pissed off when it doesn’t work out?

I will tell you who…


Before I got sober, I lost 3 jobs for the same reason and was offended that they would actually fire me.

It’s not easy for me to write about struggles in sobriety.

But I do.

In order for life to come full circle, I have to be willing to roll with the curves that come with it.

The curves are reminders of wrong turns taken in the past that have led me to places I would rather not revisit.


I cherish what I have,

I am grateful for what I have learned


I am respectful of my past.

Being sober works for me.

It’s good2begone and that’s why I go.

About Last Night

This is not about the movie first made in 1986….nor is it about the remake of the same movie that came out recently.

My life is not done in black or white…nor is it scripted or always end happily or is played in under 113 minutes.

My life is full of color, unpredictable and is constantly ongoing.


Last night, I went back to the place I walked away from almost a year ago.

An AA meeting.

Was I loaded?

On the verge of getting loaded?

Fighting back temptation the only way I knew how?


I was asked to go, by my wife, and I said yes.


If it were only that simple, this post would be done.

She has asked me to go with her to AA functions repeatedly over the last year and my answer to the question was always the same…quick and concise.


So why now?

I have made a few recent discoveries…that’s why…and here they are-

1- I am a stubborn ass.

2- I am missing out on an important part of my wife’s life by being a stubborn ass.

3- Choosing to stay at home alone and staring at the popcorn ceiling for hours wondering if it would actually taste like popcorn, instead of spending time with the woman I love in whatever capacity, further proves than I am a stubborn ass.

Ok…so I really just discovered 1 thing that encompasses a few more.

It is what it is.

Here is how it went down.

It was a speaker meeting where a topic would be picked and various members of the visiting group would share on the topic from behind the podium.

The visiting group was my old home group. We traveled about 50 miles to take the meeting to the other group.

We arrive early. My wife tells me,

“I didn’t tell anyone you were coming with me.”

My reply,

“Cool. No problem.”


Inside my head the voices were carrying on a meeting of their own….

“DUDE!! you know she told everyone….they are probably planning to rope you back in!”

“Watch your back….bro.”

“Remember last time you ran into your first sponsor at the Christmas dealio? This will be worse….and you will be outnumbered….”

The voices are always sooo positive.

The Christmas fiasco was a doozy. My first sponsor was outside talking with a new comer. I went out to sit with them to avoid playing board games inside. He made the comment that I was in AA but quit for some reason.

I replied plainly,

“If you want to know why I quit going…..all you have to do is ask.”

He asked. I replied.

“I stopped going because I lost faith in and any sort of belief in a higher power….or God, if you will. Without that, the program ceased to work for me. I chose to stop going to avoid resentment or bitterness toward the program that saved my life.”

He paused for a second, then went into AA savior mode.

He quoted several passages from the big book and threw in a cliche for good measure….

“You know….good2begone…the program works if you work it.” He said as he stared confidently at me with his arms crossed in front of him.

I leaned in from my chair and said in a calm quiet tone,

“I stopped “working it” quite a few months ago….and I am still sober….and more at peace than I have been in a long time. Save it for someone who hasn’t heard your tired racket.”

The conversation that followed made the new guy so uncomfortable he got up and walked away from us and said –

“Wow…this is uncomfortable.”

It was.

But, my first sponsor gets off on that. He is very knowledgeable on the book….not so much on practicing or experiencing it. He is basically a big book bully. It worked for me when I first came into sobriety..not so much over 7 years later.

Anyway…about last night…

My wife’s sponsor, cried and gave me a huge hug when she saw me.

My wife’s sponsors husband…who was my sponsor when I quit going a year ago saw me and..

Faked a heart attack.

I walked over to where he was sitting and he said, as he shifted his cigar to one side of his mouth,

“Don’t sit next to me…I don’t want to get hit by the lightning.”

I did what anyone else would have done…

I sat next to him, patted him on the arm and said,

“Suck it up old man, it will only jolt ya for a second.”

He chuckled, looked me in the eye and said,

“It really good to see you.” and shook my hand.

The meeting started. I stayed seated and listened to what everybody had to say on the topic.

I didn’t freak out.

No one tried to kidnap me and place me in the 12 step padded room.

We had dessert and conversation afterward.

Before my old sponsor left, he shook my hand and said,

“My number is still the same…why don’t you make sure it still works in you phone sometime….by the way…I wasn’t joking when I said it is great to see you. I hope to see you again.”

Last night,

I went back.

Will I keep going back?

I don’t know.

The scenes of the future acts of my life have yet to be written.

Whatever those future acts have in store, I know that if I need help to get through them, I still have a place I can go, where there are people who know me and are willing to lend a hand, whether it has been a day or a year since they have seen me.

And that is what last night was about.