On Dec 3, 2016 I was at a Christmas party for work. I went, ate, had a few drinks and came back early, but it didn’t end there. I decided to go out downtown afterwards. More drinks, more shots, I even drove after but that wasn’t even the worse part. I picked up my daughter and drove home after that…
I had already been to a recovery home, graduated and didn’t pick up a drink for over a year. Slowly I started to distance myself from my fellowship, ego came back and I thought I had it beat. I had ONE drink and put it down. I had TWO drinks and put it down. A few more weekends doing the same, this is great!! But then came the one weekend where I drank all night and started using again…and I never stopped.
I became a “weekend warrior” partying again and again. This lasted for almost 6 months. I wasn’t happy, I was disconnected, isolating from people in recovery and had no one to talk to. I knew what I had to do but I couldn’t do it until Dec 4 2016 when I woke up with a hangover, guilt and full of shame. I said I’d never hurt my baby girl and yet I drove home with her the night before? So much could’ve happened, accident hurting my baby girl, pulled over she would’ve been taken away or even worse….death! My pour daughter so innocent sleeping in the back seat not able to say anything or even know what was going on! What gives me the right to have that much power over someone???
I said what the FUCK? Was I thinking?? And I said never again!!!
I regained my purpose and refocused my life towards my daughter. I did a complete over haul on my life, started with church than reuniting back into recovery. Each day is a new day, constantly staying connected, sharing my thoughts but some days were still tough but I have never been more determined!! I’ve been working harder and harder on myself through my recovery and its blessings are truly shining through. My connection with my daughter has never been so strong and I believe you can see it in her eyes. My patience and understanding from my recovery has given me more opportunities with my daughter than ever before, seeing things for what they truly are and at that exact moment with her is a gift on its own. I’m not losing moments anymore making it about me and getting upset and frustrated. I’ve learned that as frustrated I get sometimes that it must be even harder for her. When she does act out or doesn’t respond appropriately, I give her more time, more compassion, more LOVE. She’s my child and I will love her for her and not what I decide or think she should be. I praise her and try to be the best role model for her as I can be. I do what she wants me to do and some will say she runs the show and maybe she does but she deserves it. She told me to quit smoking….and so I did it! Is it so bad she runs the show? I’ve gained a few extra minutes with her a day not stepping away for a smoke and I’m grateful for that time. Today we make memories that last, smiles that brighten up the world and laughs that will never be forgotten.
Recovery has given me more opportunities than I could ever imagine possible and I have now started to give back on my free time volunteering where I can. It took me almost a year to be able to do so but I truly believe that you cannot give from an empty well and my well was empty! The time I took for myself was much needed to grow and learn from my mistakes. I am not better or fixed or cured because I don’t drink… I still have to work hard at it every day fighting against the grain to do things I don’t want to do but in the end its all worth it!! This year was my year and thank you to all who has supported me and stuck by my side, you all know who you are. To the others who have been patient with me also thank you and the new year will be ours!!!!
I am Patrick Thanalak, a grateful recovering addict and today is my 1 year!!