Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Here Comes Sunshine

Another Grateful Dead reference above, for those who aren't fans. This morning, on the way to work, I was in a great mood. So many positive things have been happening lately. I often listen to political talk radio on the way to work, but this morning, I decided that I didn't want to hear the conflict and hate I'd hear there. Instead, I decided to listen to the Grateful Dead channel on satellite radio. One of the first songs I heard was "Here Comes Sunshine", and it just seemed to fit how some things have gone recently.

And, I'm not just talking about one great training weekend. That's just a small part of the good things going on.

My son has been struggling in school all year. He's been very withdrawn and this past winter, he didn't even seem to enjoy skiing. About 6 weeks ago, he brought home the worst in a bad series of report cards. My wife and I were so furious at the report card that we headed out the door for a run together, so we could talk and cool off a bit. My wife told me that she thought our son was depressed and that we weren't seeing typical teenage behavior. There is a lot of depression in my side of the family, including me. By the time we were done running, we were calm and we'd formulated a plan. We gave our son two choices - severe punishments (no video games, cell phone, internet time, TV, etc.) or visit a counselor. He chose the latter and after some visits and consultations with his doctor, he was given a low dose on an anti-depressant. In just four weeks, it seems like we have our son back. He is still struggling to wrap up the school year, but he's become sociable again. He's smiling at times. We are playing chess and cribbage again. We bought him an electric piano and he's learning to play. He's excited by some things again. The situation probably isn't over, but it's much better. We almost went the other way - with severe punishment. It's clear that would have been exactly the wrong thing to do and I'm glad we took some time to think things through.

I've been fighting an injury. But, I've also been fighting something worse than that. In the past year, pretty much since WS was cancelled last year, I've been drinking too much. For years, I've tried to kid myself that because I drink world class wines, high end liquors and high quality microbrews, I'm not really a drunk, but rather a connoisseur. But, recently, I've really come to doubt that. I recently made the decision that alcohol was really causing me some problems. So, I simply decided that I was going to stop drinking for six months. I don't know what will happen after six months right now. But, I know that if I can't stop on my own for six months, I need some help and I'll get it. Since making that decision, it feels like a weight has been lifted. Last night, I went out to a nice restaurant with my wife and friends before a concert. I served as the designated driver and it was just fine. Different, but a better approach to life. It's only been a week since I stopped drinking, but I feel better already.

Here Comes Sunshine.

And yes, my hamstring injury is starting to feel a lot better. A friend remarked in an e-mail yesterday that my blog had been too depressing to read recently. He had pretty much given up on me being able to finish WS. Ten days ago, I was thinking those same things. But, the last week has changed my mind. And yet, in some ways, that's been the least important change in my life in the past few weeks.

Just 10 weeks ago, I was working 3 jobs and 75 hours per week. Right now, I'm working one job for about 40 hours per week. I'm working from home 3 days per week. My life is so much simpler. I'm spending more time with my family. I have time to relax. I've been catching up on reading. I've been doing work around the house that I'd neglected for a while.

And, I have two cool trips coming up - a week in Costa Rica with my son and some of his friends, and then a family trip to CA for Western States, where I'll also get to visit with lots of other friends.

Here Comes Sunshine.


Patrick said...

It sounds like everything is coming up Milhouse!

As to the drinking, I am rooting for you, there are many other things to enjoy...like chocolate but that leads to other problems...

David Ray said...

I commend you for facing both issues head on. That's good news about your son and it sounds like you and your wife handled it well. Not so easy to do.

On the drinking side, I quit in college a long time ago. Alcoholism is prevalent in my familhy and I'm staying far away. Good job putting a check on yourself to see what happens.

Now, the chocolate is another story.

Harriet said...

Keep us posted. I once worried that I might be an alcoholic but, on the advice of an alcoholic, started drinking NA beer. I drank that stuff like a fish; I was merely after the hops and the sugar. I was just another binge food for me.

So I haven't had a drink in 13 years but not for "alcoholic" reasons.