Monday, March 3, 2014

20 + 2,000 = Serenity

1. the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.


I woke up this morning in New York City, where my wife and I are visiting her brother and his family. I'm 622 miles away from home, unemployed, and my finger nails are painted blue (left hand) and pink (right hand) with multicolored sparkles. (Just one of the benefits of having two adorable nieces!)

But after a long and emotional weekend that included driving to Delaware; meeting some amazing friends for the first time; giving a talk at the atTAcK addiction 5K pre-race dinner on Friday night and participating in the actual 5K on Saturday (more to come on these events soon); worrying about an impending snow storm; and driving up to NYC on Sunday, I realized something this morning: I am at total peace with myself.

Seven years ago, I never could have imagined feeling this way. In fact, here is an excerpt from my journal entry from March 3, 2007:

"I feel like I’m starting to not care anymore about the few friends that I have. I just don’t care anymore. I think I’m close to bottoming out. I have no interest in doing anything anymore."

That was written while my son was going through a very difficult time in his life, dealing with his severe depression and addiction. It was also a time when I was in the throes of hating and feeling sorry for myself instead of working on my own recovery. I had been consumed by my son's illnesses. Looking back, I was almost as sick as my son was. I was lost and I was struggling.

Fast forward to today. March 3, 2014.

I have worked hard on my recovery and on making myself feel better. I am at peace. I have managed to take back control of my own life. And the pesky demons that wouldn't allow me to feel good about myself have been extricated.

You know, every once in a while I tally up the number of days it's been since I decided to give up alcohol. I did that calculation this morning, and discovered that today is a milestone of sorts.

It's been 2,000 days since the family therapist at my son's rehab facility told me to "Be the change you want to see in your son." I am so grateful that a power greater than me convinced me to take that advice and run with it. I grew up the son of an alcoholic, and I hated that more than anything in the world. (And I mean anything.) Fortunately my sons can say they have a sober dad, and maybe the example I'm setting will help them as they get older.

Oh, yeah. One more thing: My son celebrated 20 months of sobriety yesterday. That's 608 days, one day at a time. How badass is that?

Do the math: 20 + 2,000 = Serenity.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." --Reinhold Niebuhr


  1. That is so great Dean that your son is doing well and that you are sticking to your commitment to remain sober. That sends such a powerful message to your son as he knows he has your unconditional support! Enjoy the rest of your trip and how sweet to let your nieces pain your nails. That is a nice uncle!!