The Sentencing And The Veil


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Friday came with an undertow of a calm anxiety, if one could put it like that.  The boys still needed to have their breakfast and change and play and get walked down to school.  My oldest threw snowballs at me the entire time making our way down to their classes, while the little one laughed.  We raced the neighbours across the street to see who would get to the school grounds first.  As we walked, glided and jogged, I thought of not trying to think.  Serenity Prayers popped like stick gum. Breathing – God in, fear out. Visualization techniques.  Listening to the crunch and squeak of snow underneath each foot as I tread carefully around icy patches.

It was the last day of a trial that has lasted just slightly longer than my own sober time.  A trial that really, in the grand scheme of things, is typical fodder for the lawyers and the court system and workers.  Another day.  Another dollar. Another goof who did something really stupid and is paying for it.  More paper to push. When’s cocktail hour? Oh that dreaded cocktail hour that lasted years for this alcoholic.  I knew that Friday was going to be the last day, barring a calamity of sorts.  All the arguments had been exhausted.  Both sides weary. Ruling already handed down: Guilty. Just needed to clean up the mess for good.

~~~~~~~~~

“Wow, you’re in a good mood,” she said.

I entered the car of our friend that was driving my wife and I down to the court.  I texted her Thursday and told her not to worry about coming.  It was going to be quick, and it wasn’t worth her long drive from the ‘burbs.  She insisted, being the wonderful person that she is. M is my wife’s friend.  Both met and worked in a bar long time ago.  How fitting for this young-ish man to be carousing and flirting and with my then-not-yet-my-girlfriend-and-later-to-be-wife at a bar.  Little did she know then that she would be accompanying her alkie husband to court to find out what the system would mete out to him for his ugly transgression.

“Did you get rest?” M asked.

“Not getting rest wouldn’t change anything that happens today,” I replied.

I was surprised that she picked up on my mood and called it “good”.  I certainly wasn’t feeling exactly chipper, but I wasn’t morose either.  My mental state was filed under “It is what it is”. And that’s a good place for my mind to be. Doesn’t allow for free falling or grandiose schemes.  Because left to my own devices, I will create scenarios that would make George Orwell or Nick Cave look like optimists.   I will envision the utter pit of despair, or conceive flights of fancy and fantasy that are equally as unrealistic.  And I had already done that a few weeks ago.  The ink ran out on those sketches.  So the best I could do was just being in the moment.  Not let the dog off the leash, so to speak.

We drove and talked about traffic, Little House on the Prairie and parenthood.

~~~~~~~~~

Homeless Alcoholic

Here’s the thing about alcoholism – it takes you down twists and turns you never thought possible.  I could always turn to someone else and say “See? I am not as bad as him.  I still have control over things.”  And then move on. Justify. Rationalize.  Think away the drink while I poison my mind, body and soul with pollutant in a bottle.  I was never as bad as that guy on television shot-gunning Lysol.  Now that’s bad. But it’s amazing how far down the scale we can go.  Or down the elevator, as the common analogy states.

I thought of this as we walked past the people on their way to work, half-eaten bagels getting cold in the Northern wind, cellphones gripped, coffees steaming up the side walks.  If they knew my story, if they knew me, would they point at me like I did at the Lysol dude?  Would those men and women already thinking of after work drinks, or for those who have a little nip of something in those coffees at 9:45 am point at me and say “See? I am not as bad as him. I still have control over things”?

This whole deal wasn’t about my alcoholism, per se.  But of the consequences of the drinking. And that’s two different things.  I certainly was alcoholic before the consequences started to pile up.  I certainly was alcoholic before I could admit it to myself.  I certainly was alcoholic then, as I am now.  But what was going on Friday, and the countless days before that, wasn’t an indictment on me, or my alcoholism.  It was of the actions that my alcoholism brought me to, to my selfish ways, to being the loyal and corrupt slave / subject of King Alcohol.

Subject, verb, noun…sentence.

~~~~~~~~~

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My lawyer once warned me that there is always a chance of getting bed bugs at the court.  I mean, posh New York City hotels and opera houses have them, so why not a down town metropolis court house?  Located in a nondescript building above a coffee shop and a Winner’s, the courthouse sees all sorts.  By this time, I have been able to discern between the suits – who are the cops, who are the lawyers, and then guys like me in ill-fitting, off-the-rack cheapies.  I was once asked if I was a lawyer, but for the most part, I am just another contestant in the wheel of fortune.

Sitting on the benches, we waited for my lawyer’s representative, as my lawyer would not attend.  My parents, my wife, M, and my sponsor J were there.  I brought J “Sermon on the Mount” by Emmet Fox.  It was a book I knew he would like, being where he is on his own spiritual journey.  The representative showed up and we marched into the body of the court.  If there is anything I can say about the court system, amidst the general tedium and long delays, is that it starts right on time.  Bearing witness to many other legal and judicial proceedings in my time there, they move at a quick hustle.  In and out.  Yes or no.  Guilt or not guilty.  Next. Round robin material and speed.

The place was busier than normal.  People were brought up before the judge, hustled to other court rooms, arrangements made for new dates, and petitions pitched.  One man pleaded guilty to credit card identity theft. The court took an early recess, as they needed to find the old prosecutor.  I spoke to J in the meantime, and told him that I was ready to move on and not have this over my head any more.  He told me that he had that cloud over his head for ten or eleven years – whenever he got out of one jackpot, he would get pinched for something else.  I told him that if I got jail time, that my lawyer would ask for house arrest.  He told me his experience with that as well.  Then we talked about the book for a few minutes.

The judge returned and I sat down.

~~~~~~~~~

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The judge did what judges do in these rulings – read out all the facts, what the prosecutor brought to the table, and the defence’s arguments.  I am still not totally used to hearing the objective, hard-nosed facts of that day.  The amount drank.  The picking up of my son at day care.  The readings when I was caught and asked to blow.  The 911 calls about my driving.  It’s never easy to have it all put on public record.  Then again, I made it public record years ago when I did what I did.  This wasn’t one of those lazy, pathetic drunks in my basement.  Well, let me correct that. All of my drunks were pathetic.

I could also hear the sniffling behind me.  If it is hard for me to hear at times, it’s devastating for my own family and friends to hear it.  It is never easy.  Never will be.  My wife was doing her best not to cry.  She was dressed up for a business meeting later on at a certain building.  The funny thing is this: the day I was arrested, she had business in that same building (she does not work at the building).  The last time I had court, she had a meeting at that same building.  And same thing Friday.  It seems that my offence and court seemed to be intrinsically or cosmically linked to that building.  Not sure why.  Odd.

My lawyer’s rep leaned over to me at one point and said “Keep a poker face, no matter what”. Well, that was part of the plan.  I couldn’t see myself dropping down like I got hit by a sniper and gnashing away, nor could I see myself jumping on the desk and doing a jig.  It was going to be poker face, regardless.  This wasn’t the place for the emotionally displaced.  There was no currying favour either way.  And as the judge kept reading, she continued to look at me.  I heard what she said, word for word, and yet that the same time I was outside myself, watching as detached as the court reporter would be.  It’s wasn’t disinterest (I was quite interested), nor apathy.  It was removing my mind from attachment, to just be in the moment, to allow the sunlight of the spirit to place-hold myself, to be free of thoughts either way.  To allow the ribbon to unfold as it would.

And as the ribbon unspooled, the judge stopped for a moment, and asked me to rise.  And I did.

~~~~~~~~~

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A few days ago, my wife and I were in the car.  My wife, of course, was driving.  We were passing some trees alongside the highway, and we had a vista of the nearby bridge overlooking the Don River.  The bridge was covered with a sort of wire cage.  It’s called the Luminous Veil, and it’s not so much an artistic piece (it is, in a way) as it is a suicide prevention instillation.  Many have decided to sadly end their lives on that bridge, which is located only minutes from my house. Even during construction of the Luminous Veil, there are tales of men and women jumping while the construction workers did their thing. I have even seen someone attempt suicide there with the wires in place.    Determination in the darkest places.  We’ll fight through anything when it comes to oblivion.  And I could relate, because there were times I would crawl over broken glass to get the relief that a bottle would give me.  There are countless stories of what people did to get their next fix, their next high, their next buzz, or to do whatever it took to keep up a lie.  And I certainly have mine.

I told my wife that I was going to give her the phone number of my boss at work, just in case. You know, just in case. I couldn’t find his business card in my wallet, so I would get it later.  There was silence in the car for a while and then my wife told me that I had really thrown her off by saying what I did.  Up until then, we had the unwritten, unspoken pact of staying positive, of not even going to that place of the what if.  And I had broken it in a footloose moment of practicality.

“You don’t realize the impact you have on others in what you say,” she said, momentarily upset.

I apologized, and realized she was right.  I was so used to living a life where I thought I didn’t matter.  Where my words were meaningless, because my life had felt like that.  That my spirit was always crushed and what did it matter what a promise was, or being accountable?  What did it matter what came out of my mouth or not?  Like those people who looked over at the lush foliage surrounding the Don River before they plunged from the bridge, I felt so often that my existence held no significance to me and those in my life.

As my wife once told me early in my recovery, that during my old ways, I robbed people of me.  I robbed people of the experience of me, because I was so self-absorbed and self-loathing.  And I realized that she was right then, and right in that car.  My words do have meaning, because I have meaning.  Not in an egotistical manner.  But in a human manner.  Of relationship with those around me.

I put my wallet away and didn’t think about work anymore.

~~~~~~~~~

Rural-Computer-Room

Hefty fines.  Parole for 18 months.  Courses and other alcohol-related treatments to attend and comply with.

No incarceration.

I could easily say that I was doing cartwheels inside, but I wasn’t.  It was still what it was, as I let myself be that day, and this was just something.   Don’t get me wrong, I was relieved beyond measure.  My wife and I didn’t have to explain to my children why their Papi wasn’t around on weekends.  I didn’t have to upset my work schedule.  I didn’t have to make additional plans with others for child care.  Papi would be home.

There were the grim reminders that my actions needed reaction, and while I didn’t have to sit in a cell, there were some big consequences.  I was told also that there could be an appeal by the prosecution.  They need 30 days.  I will count down quietly.  And as we convened outside the courtroom, with hugs and kisses, handshakes and restrained smiles, I felt a great weight off my shoulders.  I looked around and wondered how long the weight would go on for some of the other people there.  I recognized the same dejected and surprised faces that I once had.  I saw in others the feeling that things would never get better.

My parents, wife and our friend M left, leaving me with my sponsor.  The lawyer’s rep left soon after.  J and I talked about computers, as he is getting one for the first time.  I told him that if he ever needed help with it, to call me.  He promised me he would.  And then he and I parted ways too.  I was left there, in my cheap suit, alone, left with the same rush of people to and fro that greeted me that same morning.  It was now noon. What would I do now?  The boys need dinner, so I would start on that.  I also have some calls to make.

Life goes on.

One thing that resonated with me after the computer talk with J was how often the judge mentioned this blog.  She mentioned it by name, mentioned how we all reach each other, how we support one another.  And the letters.  All of your letters.  It dawned on me that my life is now protected by a Luminous Veil.  The Creator, my family, people here, other alcoholics, the program of recovery.  I never need be alone.  Ever.  If I am ever alone, it’s because I put myself there.  Ego and pride separating me from life and those who live it.

Thank you once again for all that you have done.  All of you.  Anyone that has crossed my path in this journey, those in my family, those in my new family, those who are still suffering. Thanks to the Creator.

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83 Comments Add yours

  1. iamsobernow says:

    Congratulations Paul. As difficult as this has been for you and your family, what has emerged through your writing is truly remarkable. I am so early in my journey to sobriety, just 43 days. I’m finding it very difficult to write just yet. Your blog and many others have been the lifeline I’ve clung to as the fog clears and I begin the work of living without the “alcohol armor” that I believed protected me. Thank you for sharing your experience. It has been a gift to many and clearly that fact was not lost on the judge.

    1. Thank you so much. I am a little overwhelmed by the support before, during and after this whole thing. And you are a part of it, so thank you for being here and sharing.

      And congrats on (your now) 44 days! No rush on writing. I was scribbling in a cheap notebook. I don’t think I would have had the wherewithal to blog or something ambitious like that. Just do what you’re doing. I was a zombie for a while, believe me. The fog took a while to lift. A few bloggers mentioned that about themselves recently too, and it’s in that time span…so you’re on track 🙂

      Thanks again for being here – it does mean a lot to me.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  2. That is the best possible news for my Saturday morning, Paul. And a suspenseful read as well! I hope you are enjoying the serenity this answer brings you!

    1. thank you Josie 🙂

      I wasn’t sure about the suspense angle…lol. It just happened that way. Wasn’t sure how to go about it. Part of me was just going to spill it right off the bat, keep it low key. but you know how it goes – once you sit at the keyboard, the Muse comes out and throws you for a wobbly.

      Thank you for EVERYTHING that you’ve done. I couldn’t have done this without you.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  3. jrj1701 says:

    Woo Hooo!!! No prison for Paul!!! I am happy for you, Dude. Now you can get on to the real important work of helping us drunks and addicts keep it between the lines and on the ground one day at a time, and we really need your help.Take care+++

    1. And I need your help too. We don’t do this alone. I get as much from the newcomer as I do the old timer. That’s why I need you in my corner, and me in yours, JR. Gripping hands and playing Red Rover Red Rover with that ugly thing called addiction. But it’s a nice thing to have over, to say the least, and you really helped me. Believe me. I would have given ya my jail address. Kept in touch. Traded Saint cards. Sneaked in some popcorn in the envelope. Oh well…we’ll try that trick another time.

      Blessings to you, my friend. Thanks again.

      Paul

  4. Kate says:

    Wow, I was on pins and needles reading this, waiting for the outcome. So, so glad that you got a more positive outcome than feared. Wow. And your blog and healing has helped so many. God gives us mercy and many, many second chances. So glad you can begin to move on. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    1. Oh Katie, thanks! God certainly has given me grace and now mercy. What a wonderful and joyful thing that is. For many of us in different situations. Thank you for being here. I have been a lurker on your corner of the world lately – forgive my lack of comments there the last couple of post…but I see that you are doing well after all. It makes me smile. Moving on and doing your best and keeping God in your heart and showing others how its’ done. You’re an inspiration.

      Blessings and hugs,
      Paul

  5. fern says:

    You, Paul, are an example of how to be gracious and humble. I am glad you shared the outcome and I wish you continued serenity, regardless of what comes next.

    xoxo Fern

    1. Fern – I learn from all you guys. I still do and I love that I do that. So thank you for all that you’ve done and shown me in the time that we have known each other. Serenity can be contagious, can’t it? And these days I am basking in yours. Thank you for all that you did to help me out. Not to be forgotten. The fellowship extends all over…and for that, I am thankful.

      Hugs,
      Paul

  6. Paul Mc says:

    Very early on it was “suggested” to me to somehow? make my life something to be proud of “to make myself useful” We that are miraculously alive & still breathing after wrestling and losing to active addiction have choices to make. I’m proud of you!

    1. Thank you Paul. It’s nice seeing you here! Your presence on Twitter is fantastic and it’s a joy to see you here. Thank you for your warm comments.
      I am very blessed to have you in my recovery world.

      Blessings and hugs,
      Paul

  7. warmginger says:

    No decent words from me. All I can think is Thank F*** For That…TFFT…TFFT…so relieved for you and your family.They have you now and for tomorrow. TFFT. 😀

    1. I like that mantra, wg. I am very happy to be here this weekend. And all weekend. Grateful beyond measure. And grateful to have you here too.

      Hugs
      Paul

  8. Paul, I’m so happy for you and your family. I was holding my breath throughout. You need to write a suspense novel! Congrats and stay safe. Hugs, Trish

    1. Thank you Trish. I might have had my own fill of suspense already too…lol. I might be ok with something along the lines of Goodnight Moon than a thriller. More my speed these days 🙂

      Have a wonderful day!

      Blessings,
      Paul

  9. lucy2610 says:

    I am so pleased and relieved for you Paul. Your blog is a great gift to us all and I’m glad the judge could see that and the people who visit it rooting for you 🙂

    1. Thanks Lucy – your words mean a lot. I am relieved too, at the sake of making a gross understatement. I am very glad you’re here 🙂

      Blessings
      Paul

  10. Casey says:

    Paul, this is beautiful. And it touches me in a very deep way.

    My husband got lucky too. His BAL when he was finally caught (after 15 years) was 0.20. The arrest was frightening…for both of us. I had a fight with him that night…he took off to go the bar…he didn’t think he was THAT drunk. I think they picked him up around 12:30 am, on his way home. I didn’t get a phone call until 7:30 in the morning from county jail.

    He got off “easy”, in a way. Suspended license for 6 months, probation, bail and court fees, alcohol counseling. But we got dropped from our car insurance (of course) and his massage therapy license was delayed until after his probation.

    I had a dear friend who was facing jail time. He was supposed to spend one weekend a month in jail. He was a former police officer, who made some mistakes. Apparently, if he could afford the fines, he could get out of jail (so he said, I’m not sure if that was true). But, after the first wretched weekend…I sent him some money for his fees. He still had a suspended license for a year, but he avoided more time in jail. I feel good about that.

    “As my wife once told me early in my recovery, that during my old ways, I robbed people of me. I robbed people of the experience of me, because I was so self-absorbed and self-loathing. ”

    Yes, I can SO relate to your wife’s perspective. That was my husband – self-absorbed and self-loathing. I couldn’t connect with him other than physically for the longest time. There was this pervasive sense of emotional abandonment. He was present physically, not so much emotionally.

    Last night, he emailed me as said he wanted to go out for a drink (he’s not abstaining, but he’s been more under control…for the most part). I felt a terrible sense of fear. What if something happens? What if he just forgets his lessons?

    That “invisible veil” analogy is beautiful. I have struggled with suicidal ideation…so I understand what would compel someone to check out of this life. But I’m stubborn as well. I just forge through those times…sometimes after a really good cry.

    At any rate…I’m touched on many levels by your sharing here. I’m glad the judge took your blog into account. You ARE doing some amazing work here.

    Thank you so much!!!!!!

    Casey

    1. Thank you Casey – and thank you for sharing some of your intimate story there along same lines. This certainly takes us to dark places, and unfortunately puts other people in harms way – family, friend and innocent bystanders (well, everyone is innocent). We are the tornado. The sad part is that not all of us make it. I have heard of a few people recently who didn’t make it. Read about a woman in her late 20’s (in the UK) who is in a hospice to die because of her alcoholism. It’s around us everywhere, and it’s sad.

      I hope that your husband is doing better in his drinking, as “better” is a subjective thing. Some do stop or moderate. I am not one of those folks. This is where all-or-nothing is the way to go. I have done “all”. Now it’s nothing. Addition by subtraction.

      Thank you for your wonderful comments and share. It makes the blog a much better place 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

      1. Casey says:

        My stepmother tells me she almost didn’t make it. We were estranged at the time she was hospitalized due to her alcoholism. She went to AA after that. It took my dad a lot longer to go. When we reunited after a 19 year absence (not my choice, my mother had kept their information from me), they’d been both in recovery for about 5 years. Now it’s going on 15, I think…

        My husband is doing better. He ended up only going out for a few hours Sunday night and seems to moderate himself now. I think it may take me some time to feel safe, but that’s my deal, not his.

        And you’re welcome. I am pretty sure you.re making the world a better place. Just sayin’ =)

  11. sherryd32148 says:

    Shit Paul! No fair making me cry!

    Congratulations my friend. As long as I breathe and have an email address you will never be alone.

    Now I need to go get a tissue. So, so happy.

    Sherry

    1. I will always take you up on the email if I find it necessary. I know the type of person you are, and I know you are always there for people. It just shines through in your being and writing.

      Sorry to make ya cry…no intention of!

      Blessing and hugs,
      Paul

      P.S and thank you for all that you did in your support. It means the world to me

  12. I think it is so wonderful that you were able to come to a place of detachment and peace before the verdict. It was out of your control at that point! I am so glad that you do not have to spend time in jail. A happy day! 🙂

    1. I think I, and many of us, already spent time in a jail of our own making…our minds and our addiction. And we are free now. So it was nice for my body to be caught up with the rest of me 🙂

      Thank you for all your support, my friend. It was not unnoticed 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  13. Paul,

    This is wonderful news to read today. I’m so happy for you. I’m at a loss for words right now—basking in immense joy and relief.

    Huge smile and a hug,

    Victoria

    1. Victoria – I can’t tell you how chuffed I am at having you here. It means so much to have you stop by. I am very blessed to have such a community around me, and having you in it.

      Hugs and blessings,
      Paul

  14. primrosep says:

    So glad that weight has lifted. Wishing you continued peace in your heart. Thank you for being the blessing to so many others.

    1. I am the one who is blessed – having everyone here and in my outside life as teachers and fellow travellers. Thank you for being in my recovery family – it is a wonderful feeling to be a part of something greater than the sum of the parts.

      Blessings and hugs,
      Paul

  15. jill says:

    I am so happy for you. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    1. Thank you Jill – so very much appreciate. Glad you’re here with us 🙂

      Paul

  16. whinelessinwashington says:

    Paul,
    I am so, so happy for you. If anyone has made an incredible, spiritual journey out of sobriety, it is you. The jury does not know what you have done in helping others, and how far you have come from what I can tell. I have been here, doing well, but not writing for awhile, but I always feel blessed with your wisdom and am so happy for you. You are an inspiration, and this great news has made my weekend even better. Congratulations! Ellen

    1. Ah Ellen! I love seeing you here! I hope that you write soon – have missed your posts. I was just over there to make sure I hadn’t missed anything 🙂 But that is ok…life often takes over.

      I am very happy with this, and with you and the rest of the sobersphere always being there, whenever I need a laugh, insight, some humanity, wisdom or just to connect. That’s the beauty of what we do.

      Thanks again Ellen for allowing me to be part of your recovery life too.

      Blessings,
      Paul

      1. whinelessinwashington says:

        Hi Paul,
        I know, I need to start writing again. I’ve been stuck in my head, keeping it above water for the most part, but so much trying to keep all the balls in the air. And, the good thing – is I’m getting better at asking for help. DAMN who thought that would be so hard?

        I am going to write a post right now, and stick with it. Because you know, it WORKS!

        Light and happiness to you,
        Ellen

  17. What a lovely post today, Paul, if the word “lovely” makes any sense?

    I say lovely because you always have such an endearing way with words. Your readers have so much to take away from experiencing your growth as a human being alongside with you…here. Not everyone has the courage to be as truthful as you by sharing your story, and I admire you for this. I can honestly say you have turned something so awful into something unimaginable; a chance to be reborn again. This is all by the power of His Light, your strength and His plan for you.

    Your wife seems like a very wise person. I love when you wrote what she said to you in the car…”“You don’t realize the impact you have on others in what you say.” In so many ways, us, the alcoholics, really don’t know how much our words or even our actions impact others. When are minds are intoxicated and controlled by our monsters from within, we hardly have any respect for ourselves. So if we don’t have respect for ourselves, how in the hell can we watch what we say or care about what we do when it comes to other people?

    I’m so glad the judge has learned about your blog. I wish more people, especially those who are still struggling, could see how helpful it is when we share our journeys with each other. I still have a couple of people who I’m trying to help, but I just can’t reach them yet. I will keep praying for them that one day, they can be as fortunate as you.

    Congratulations are still having the freedom and finesse to make us laugh, cry, feel joy, experience your pain, and feel uplifted each time we are so inclined to pass by here.

    Your grateful friend, Gina

    1. Thank you Gina – I am almost beyond words after reading your comments. So thank you. Yes, my wife is wise…not sure why she’s with me, though! lol
      I learned about being honest and telling my story and opening up by being in the rooms and also being here with you and everyone in the sobersphere. Your own story with you and your mother are inspiring to me as well, and I am always learning to peel back that onion a little bit more each time.

      Learning to respect myself a bit more has been one of the most difficult things for me to do in my recovery. And self-forgiving. Again, these are things that I have learned from you guys, and taking my cues from the Creator. It’s been tough, and it can be even today, but it gets a touch easier every time.

      Thank you for your beautiful comments…from a beautiful person.

      Hugs,
      Paul

  18. One day at a time says:

    I am so relieved for you. That is a fantastic piece of writing. You certainly are blessed with many gifts.

    1. That is very kind and generous of you to say…thank you. And I am blessed to have you here and being part of this wonderful support. I have learned from you and others what it’s like to be there for someone. Thank you again.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  19. Thrilled with the news so happy it is (almost) all over. Then you can truly get on and enjoy the recovery you have worked so hard for.
    You deserve some peace now.

    1. Peace is something that has always been there, but I haven’t always been in contact with it…lol. Thank you. I am in a better place now. Still have a lot of work to do, but things are where they need to be, I suppose. That is something I still have to remind myself…or have others remind me. Thank you for being you and a part of my recovery family.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  20. Amy says:

    OH!!!! What wonderful wonderful news! I love all the things you say about taking your time to not freak out, about how your words have heft and weight and meaning. That you realize that you are important to other people, because you are. You are a fine man my friend. Keep up the good work.

    CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks Amy. I am happy that you swung by…it’s always a pleasure and treat hearing from you, my friend. I know you’re a busy gal over at Soberbia 🙂 I can’t believe how much has changed for both of us. Wonderful to share our stories, yes?

      Cheeeeerrrrssss back at ya 😉

      Paul

  21. Whew! I confess I scrolled down to the end to find out this good resolution and then went back to reading the rest. I felt such relief! Funny – that I should feel such a connection, that I care since I don’t know you, after all and have just been reading your blog, maybe a year? But you are endearing and a veritable recovery poster-boy in your beautiful humility and wisdom. And your wife is obviously a gem too. I am so happy for you and your family. So great to continue hearing the good news of your continued recovery.

    1. Yes, my wife IS a gem. I am not sure I got so lucky. Many a woman would have ran to the hills a long time ago. I owe her big time.

      And thank you for the support, Tricia. I have been a lurker on your corner of the world, and am kicking myself for not being an official follower. I just changed that, so I hope to do some reading and writing there 🙂 Thank you for reading here and being part of my family here.

      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support and for being here.

      Blessings and hugs
      Paul

  22. sobermalarky says:

    Glad you’re with your family. All the best to you.

    1. Thank you malarky (love that name!)

      And congrats again on your 18 months!

      Blessings,
      Paul

  23. tallulahwolfangel says:

    You made my day! So happy for you. Thank you for being you.

    1. And you have made mine with your comment!!

      Thank you for being here and sharing your light 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  24. Off-Dry says:

    Paul, I work in book publishing, so you can take it to the bank when I say that you write suspense like a *master*. 🙂 Reading this wore me out! Thank you for sharing the experience with us–I’m so relieved for you that you will avoid jail time. Kristi

    1. Ha ha…thanks Kristi. I can’t say that I have been given that compliment before, but thank you…that’s quite kind of you to say. As I mentioned in another comment, I wasn’t sure how this was gonna unfold, so I just let it go where the muse took it. I think I would fumble madly if I tried to purposely do suspense. Oh Lordy…lol.

      But I am happy to find some solid sort of closure to it, legal wise. The rest of it will fall where it needs to fall. But I am so blessed to have so many friends out here, and count you squarely as one. thank you for your support.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  25. Debbie says:

    Wonderful. Wonderful news, Paul. I am so glad for you

    1. Thank you Debbie. Big deep breaths as of late. It will probably hit me one day just how big this was. I mean, I get it, but may hit a deeper level. or not. We’ll see. But it’s done…and I am glad.

      Thank you for the support 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  26. I am so pleased for you, what a relief this must be for you and your family Xx

    1. I have to admit it is. And a bummer too, but it will pass. The whole thing is done and now just waiting for the dust to settle so that we can just move on. I think once the punishments are done with can I stand and say that I have paid the price. Now it’s just doing and getting on.

      It could have turned out much, much worse.

      Thank God no one got hurt or worse.

      Thank you for being here.

      Paul

    1. Thank God indeed! But it’s all good now. Gotta figure out the financial stuff on this now. Won’t be easy, but it will get done.

      Thanks for stopping by, my friend 🙂

      Paul

  27. Glenn says:

    For you and those that love you I am elated that the worst of the public proceedings are nearly behind you. I understand and can relate to the pain in uncertainty of having handed my freedom over to a judge because of devastating choices I have made. Such is no way to live.
    I am also happy that you have chosen not to rob the people (and more personally, me) that read your work of yourself.
    You are a gift good Sir.

    1. Thanks Glenn. I am certainly not the first nor last alkie to be put in front of a judge…lol. But it’s nice to know that things worked out the way they were intended. Either way I would have said the same.

      And thank you for giving us the gift of Glenn! Wonderful writer and thinker and doer. Your enthusiasm inspires me. I like what you say and how you say it. I was just on your blog and made a comment – wonderful post of yours. Thank you for being part of my recovery family 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  28. Karen says:

    Paul, I know it’s not a cause to celebrate but I am so happy that you have an answer and hopefully closure. You’re right that we all have each other and I’m breathing a sigh of relief that you won’t be incarcerated. Peace and love to you friend.

    1. I know what you mean, Karen. I think that’s why it was important to sort of keep it in perspective. Yes, the immediate relief of no incarceration what tempered by the other fines, etc. and the simple fact that this whole thing even happened. And yet, it has been a blessing in disguise. It was the real wake up call. At least, the second last wake up call.

      Thank you for your kind and gentle words…means a lot to me.

      Upward on onward:)

      Love and light,
      Paul

  29. Paul,
    I want to say I love your wife. When I was reading her words and her insightful comments, I wept. How lucky to have someone in your life who values YOU, your worth and your purpose in this world. Too often we don’t give ourselves enough of the self-love; here, you have an advocate in your daily life. What a blessing!!!
    Also, the mere fact that you’ve spread the awareness of alcoholism into our court systems – via your blog and the judge’s willingness to immerse herself in this -puts a personal side to this disease. Perhaps this IS your life purpose for the moment you are living; not to say this is the only purpose, but for heaven’s sake, look at the positive impact you are having.
    I think the closure on this case is the way to open more days of positivity for you to continue to tough the lives of those affected by alcohol.
    Blessings to you as this weight has been lifted. True joy must be resonating in your family’s hearts.
    Linda

    1. Ah thanks…she is pretty awesome 🙂
      I have always said that she is my biggest ally, through thick and thin. Even loved me enough to ask me to leave to protect our son and to let me recover and heal. She is special, no doubt. And a blessing.

      You might be right – this might be where I need to be right now. We’ll see – I will just go with the flow right now. Why bother trying to row upstream?

      Thank you Linda for your lovely words – they warm me up on a very cold day here in the big city.

      Blessings to you

      Paul

  30. bornsirius says:

    Paul, fantastic writing here… and very relieved to hear that you won’t be in jail. Especially for the sake of your kids. But also because your blog would be missed in the online recovery world! Your voice and the community you have created through this space is a treasure. I’m so glad the judge picked up on that.
    Your sense of calm definitely came through in this post. Glad for your serenity, friend – that’s one of the biggest gifts of all. Peace to you!

    1. Hi Laurie – thank you for writing. And thanks for the warm wishes. I am so fortunate to be amongst such amazing people out here, yourself included. I have been able to stretch out a bit more outside my comfort zone out here and embrace more of what people are able to share. And for that, I am grateful to you all 🙂

      Love seeing that smiling face, my friend.

      Be well,
      Paul

  31. Wonderful to read that you are free – in so many ways. Thank you for sharing this difficult part of your journey and I hope that you feel strong in revealing your vulnerability.
    Love how you are so real about your situation without being bitter or resentful. And your ability to tap into some serenity shows how a difficult time can be managed in a positive way.

    You are bright light for all of us on Recovery Road! Shine on 🙂

    1. I do feel a bit freer, to say the least, Carolyn! I was thinking about what you said about feeling stronger in my vulnerability. And I don’t think I could have been able to to that without my faith and my community and my family.

      I had to learn that resentment wouldn’t get me any where. I actually referred to the arresting officers and anyone related to my pulling over as angels. The Creator working through others to make sure my son and I were safe, and others too. Strange to say that, but that is what my heart told me to feel. So, I go along almost unwillingly.

      Thank you for bearing witness to this. I am so glad you are here.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  32. Great news Paul! I am so,very happy for you and your family. You sure had me going down my little memory lane… Strangely it was 11 years ago and it sometimes still feels like yesterday; I could totally relate to the way you were feeling. Whew! Glad that part is over right?! And you’re still here to fill our hearts with joy! Thank you! And onward we go!

    1. Thank you Maggie. Glad you could relate. I hope that I am able to help someone in a similar situation down the line. That is my intention, and know that this all happened because I was meant to stop drinking, and that this is to help another in the same boat. I just know it.

      Thank you for being here, Magz. You’re the best 🙂

      Paul

  33. Really grand turn of events, old chap. Must be nice to get oxygen back into the lower parts of the lungs, now that the penal hammer is holstered and regular ol’ life gets to reign again. Sveet.
    I won’t blather on and here (for a refreshing change) I just wanted to give you bruising punch in the shoulder out of joyous celebration. Then grab you around the neck and lovingly shake you all about. Because that’s what it’s all about.
    For me, at least.
    Love you, Pauly. And if some ex-drunk, reformed thugian like me can feel so much love for you, imagine how much greater the love of that which created you. We’re talking Mega-Nitro Love.
    So of course you’re gonna be luminously veiled in it.
    Like some sexy harem dancer. hahahahaha.
    But seriously dude, the insights all this travail has brought you will yield great dividends. And continue to do so. You got to really SEE that Love rules the universe, and when we aren’t dead-set on destroying ourselves, we can let It rule ours.
    You’re a great inspiration. You not only didn’t get drunk over this stuff, but handled it all like a real man. Faced some brutal shit. And held your mud.
    Like some kind of tough guy.
    A loving version.
    Your pal,
    Red Rover

    1. You told me all along through our emails and comments back and forth all of this, Marius. Your message never swayed. From day one. And you were right. Even though you taught me how to make a spear out of rolled up newspaper and a toothbrush shiv, you said from day one that love rules. And it does.

      You’re an example of being a real man, a real person. Through our luxurious comments back and forth, which I love, is a person who radiates love. You still have what I want, Mr. G.

      Big hugs and mucho love to you,
      Paul

      You’re

  34. furtheron says:

    Glad the sentencing is removed as the sword over your head – you can move on now.

    You are a shining example of the programme in action – take care

    1. Thank you, Graham. I feel now that I am removed from one of those sticky pads used to trap mice and am free to go where the Creator needs me next. My family and I are ready to move on. Thank you for being in my recovery life, kind sir. You have always been an inspiration.

      Paul

      P.S my son is now taking guitar lessons, and we rented a half-size for him. It makes me want to take lessons myself now. Was thinking about this, and knew who the first person to talk to about this would be 🙂

      You might catch an email from me sooner that later 🙂

  35. Paul, I’m going to be very selfish in this reply and say I sooooo needed to read every word you wrote. This one was for me. I NEEDED each word, each reminder, each phrase to remind me that I AM NOT ALONE. See, today, I had my own legal hoops to jump through for the divorce. My powerlessness was front and center. I felt like I was on that bridge and felt myself sinking into The Thinking — what’s the point, why me, how can I possibly… My alcoholism began pulling me into the abyss — the dark place where nothing escapes. I sat across the table from my attorney and said, “This part scares me.” It does. I am scared.

    Your post reminded me to have faith. In the end, everything goes as it should. As you said, life goes on.

    I’m glad you have some resolution.

    You are an inspiration, Paul.

    Dorothy

    1. Thank you Dorothy for commenting…I am so glad that you found something in this… 🙂 I have learned through this to trust the process. My friend Marius there had been telling me that all along, as did some others. And when I started to stray from that, that is when I started to get anxious. So stay the course, even when every part of me wanted to rail against is, was what I needed to do. Not easy, my friend. Not easy.

      I am aware of what has been going on for you , via your blog, and it just seems that things are going as they need to be. Not what we want to hear, of course…but then I look at the big picture and wow…what a difference things have been for you! We have let fear rule us for so long, and the more we release ourselves from it…the better we get to facing things.

      So I will pass along what was passed to me – have faith in the Creator. He’s got it all for you. He’s got your back. He will play this out with love.

      Wishing you the best, my friend.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  36. big mike says:

    Pauly

    You know why I like reading the sober blogs? Good Orderly Direction and because some of the writers keep it ‘green.’

    But for the grace of God…….there go I.

    At the sentencing, were you thinking…….What the heck !! Didn’t the judge like my blog?? LOL !

    Time to double down on staying sober bro.

    18 months of dealing with government folks, their ‘programs’ and hefty fines would be messing with anyone’s head. I would be talking about it at my meetings. Maybe someone has experience with it and can opine on the angles to make the journey easier.

    Good luck

    1. You’re very right. My ego is my worst enemy these days.

      Thanks Mike.

      1. big mike says:

        Dude
        Our ego is our worst enemy everyday. Rare is the mamaluke AA’er who see’s the glass half full, all the time. I’d be pissed at the judge too……but then there might be a silver lining in carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. The judge might have handed you a gift. As my ole sponsor used to say, “Hey Mike: Are you enjoying your present? Do the right thing and its all a gift bro.

        later

  37. Really happy to read this, Paul. Fabulous news. And fabulous writing too. Funny, I just mentioned stripped, emotion, stories in my other comment at your new place — this had all that. No bells and whistles — just you, a stool, and a fedora, telling your story. And people connected and felt you.

    Loved it, loved the news.

    You’ve been given an opportunity, Paul. Use it. Spread your wings. Go fly.
    -Christy

    1. Thanks Christy.

      I do plan to use this. I have to brush off the feathers…they are a bit dusty 🙂

      While I am here, can I play you a ditty? Some Counting Crows? I love how you used them in your last post. Graham was right – very clever and poignant.

      Thanks for the props…big compliment coming from you 🙂

      Blessings and hugs,
      Paul

      1. Here, I’ll play you one … and it’s not even the acoustic version.

        “Gonna get back to basics
        Guess I’ll start it up again …
        It’s a lifetime commitment
        Recovering the satellites
        All anybody really wants to know is…
        When you gonna come down”

  38. Belle says:

    i really am so happy to hear your news. i know that the consequences aren’t ‘nothing’ but they’re better than they could have been. i’m glad you have your veil. the world is a better place with you in it. hugs from me.

    1. Belle!! Thanks for this…made me so chuffed to see you here.

      I am certainly am getting dinged left, right and center with “nothing” (yeah right!), but I am grateful still…it could have been a lot worse. A LOT. So for that, yeah, I’ll do what is needed. It will all turn out, in the end.

      Thanks again, Belle. Means a lot seeing you here.

      Love and light,
      Paul

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