10 years sober today

It’s been 10 years since I’ve had a drink today. 

When I think about what life’s like today, I see it through two different lenses. The first is amazing. I married the man of my dreams who also happens to be a successful business owner. Right now we’re both enjoying a week 2000 miles away from home at an investor seminar learning all about real estate investing so he can retire and still make a decent income.

I recently graduated Penn State and landed a great job with a solid company as a financial agent. I spent the last 10 years getting my kids college ready and my son has been excepted into his first pick school, PITT. I’ve also been working on… and finally got my daughter, who has a rare disease, into The National Institute of Health in Bethesda MD, just outside DC. All of which is a direct result of sobriety. Non of this happens from a bar stool in a dingy pub or from my bed nursing one hell of a hang over.

But the other lens isn’t so clear and shinny. All the accomplishments above came at a cost.

My kids stayed home while we’re on this trip. My son’s church youth leader agreed to be on standby if an emergency happened. My husband’s friends’ wife agreed to be the back up. But, I didn’t have one friend I could rely on. My daughter ran out of crickets for her bearded dragon and needed a ride to the pet store. I couldn’t think of one friend I could call on to help. Her brother called his friend. At the investor seminar, we retained the services of an asset protection specialist and as a part of the service I had to elect someone who might care for my children case my husband and I met our deaths before they are of age and there was no one I could think of. I named my son, who’ll be 18 this month as my daughter’s custodial guardian.

Don’t get me wrong, a few names popped into my head but, none that I believe would be able to keep her college bound and in with the NIH because they’re all either states away or are in such financial straights that any money we’d leave for her care would be used for expenses over and above consideration for her college career. The one couple I could think of who are financially stable and believe in the importance of higher education were my husbands friends. not mine. By that I mean, they came with him into the marriage and would get him should there ever be a divorce.

This got me thinking, all of the amazing accomplishments I’ve achieved has come at the cost of meaningful friendships with others. Early on, my first 2 years of sobriety, when I was just focusing on staying sober I had a bunch of friends. I even kept some friends from my drinking days because they were supportive of my efforts, they thought I needed help long before I did and were glad I was getting it.

They are all gone. I mean a random call from one or the other, but not one person who I could ask, “hey can you drive my daughter up to the store to get crickets?”

So what I’ve learned is, if I’m busy making my life stable and secure and don’t have time to nurture friendships or make new ones, I have no other choice but to further my financial success so that I can pay people do little favors that friends would other wise be glad to do for one another. And it’s really opened my eyes to the cycle of financial gain. The more financially successful one becomes… because of the work and time involved in doing so, the less successful one becomes at personal relationship building which causes more need to be self reliant. which means more work, less social time and more need for self reliance. 

As a person who was once very successful socially and very unsuccessful financially I can’t believe that maybe I’m really just a horrible person. But, maybe I am and I just don’t see it. 


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