Everyday I come to work and I think of how lucky I am to be employed at the university that has provided insurance for the past couple of years for my family. It came at a very good time and in particular when my husband was in the midst of being in nursing school. It was the first job that I actually worked the standard full-time 40 hours per week that came with health benefits. I felt very grown up…mostly because for the past decade I was in school and working various part-time jobs, and delving further into the world of river guiding. And then I began work on the Native American River Guide Training Program, which I toiled on night and day (most of the time) and worked more hours than I was paid for. I worked very hard on making the program a big success especially in recruiting and raising funds for the participant fees. It was a program I was and still am very passionate about, but back then I was very deeply involved in all aspects. I was doing most of the planning and managing of the program, instructors and participants but I had amazing folks to work with, and most of whom I still work with today. Back then I don’t think I “played” very much because I felt my work was my play, too. Little did I know that outlook was taking a toll on me. You know what? My version of all work and some play was to work 60+ hours per week and play at the local bars or wherever there was a together involving the presence of a keg or six pack of beer. You see, I was an alcoholic without realizing I was or else I was in serious denial.
Plain and simple, I was drinking too much and I didn’t know it. I loved the feeling of drinking good beer (and bad beer as the evening went on) but then I got carried away. I thought this was how it was done. I didn’t know that some people stopped drinking at a certain point and I kept going. Then an event happened that changed my life. I almost had my life taken away. I was traumatized. To stuff that pain elsewhere I drank but even that wasn’t working anymore. I began attending counseling sessions and this woman helped me very much through this negative time in my life. At her insistence I began attending AA sessions which were also very helpful. Four years ago in November, I have been sober and so glad I am. Life is much easier. No more awful hangovers. No more purchases of unnecessary 30 packs of beer or pints at the bar. Waking up was more enjoyable.
So now I try to have a healthy balance of work and play time. If there is an unbalance, I am cranky and spacey. I cannot afford to be unreliable because of my daughter and husband who need me. These days I much prefer to be sober and happy. I pity all the college students I see staggering in and out of the bars and onto the city sidewalks every week and weekend beginning on Thursdays and especially on our city’s terrible allowance of Tequilla Sunrise. Alcohol in moderation and safe places is much better then in places where someone may get hurt or left behind.
Now when I “play”, I spend time with my family, read a book, care for my chickens and garden, and began DIY projects. I love my life!