I don’t know what it is about myself, my ego or my upbringing that bestowed me with this consistent stream of consciousness that MY way is usually the best way. I seem cursed with this never ceasing notion that I know what I’m talking about or that any opinion to the contrary is inherently rather poorly thought out.
This is my default setting. This is a setting that I currently attempt, on a daily basis, to grow beyond. If you know anyone that is an addict in recovery, you are possibly privy to the notion that is held by lots of my fellows: that we are, some how, in possession of some unique “alcoholic thinking”. I get the sentiment, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Perhaps it is little more than an efficient way to sum up the prevailing “give me that, it’s mine” ideology that seems shared among my tribe of dopamine fiends. In that respect, I’m on board. However, all too often, I’ll hear addicts share about their “alcoholic brains” as an means of excusing simple bad behavior. Behavior that could be adapted, and rightly so once we start living a more upright life. What is the point of getting sober and enjoying life on life’s terms if I am still going to act like a huge child?
Rather, I’m a fan of the idea that, at some point I simply stopped developing emotionally. Perhaps when I was younger and I realized it was easier to lie than tell the truth, easier to manipulate than to earn trust, easier to take rather than work hard began the culmination of what others would call my “alcoholic thinking”. Pour that on top of a genetic predisposition for chemical addiction and you’ve got how I spent most of my adult life. So, then recovery intervenes. I put the plug in the jug and what I’m left with is a 35 year old man with the immaturity of a 14 year old. This brings us pretty much up to speed. So, now what do I do and what does ANY of this have to do with being a Stay At Home Dad?
Ya see, I really don’t like not knowing what I’m doing. Inevitably that means I’m going to have to ask some one for help. This is now how I navigate the waters of my life. I am able to walk this road as Jack’s father because I do not do it alone. Now, that doesn’t mean Jack is raised by committee of sober drunks or that we all hop in the Accord for every trip to the zoo. It means that my life is now filled with the experience of like-minded individuals who freely dispense this wisdom for fun and for free. We raise each other up to the highest heights any of us have ever dared to soar, and we pick each other up when we fall. That way we don’t stay down long enough to feel that all is lost.
Like Jack has been taught to do by his mother and father, I ask for help when I find that I have gotten myself into a dangerous spot and need a few strong hands to safely put my back on the ground. As the days continue to pass I seem to be granted more and more often an intuition that I’ve never been privy to before. A power that I’ve been able to tap into has given me the ability to just act, rather than react. A friend once told me “You’re not responsible for your first thought. You are, though, responsible for your second thought and certainly for your first action.” It’s amazing how often this has proven to be true. If I do as I used to and just “ready, fire, aim” I am indulging in the old idea that I know what’s best immediately regardless of advice or data to the contrary. However, the more I can take that second to pause, take a breath and let the moment wash over me, the more I find that my small, exclusive, controlled thinking gives way to a board, collective inspiration.
Now this is all well and good, but there is simply no accounting for the absolute chaos and lack of control that comes with raising Jack. It doesn’t matter though. The more I do this contrary action, the more I find that frustration molds into a revelry of the uniqueness of the moment. The less frustrated brows and the more cheek to cheek smiles are my salary. And everyday is a payday.
Ok, that last line was REALLY corny. I just couldn’t resist.