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A Reason to Celebrate…Again

July 2014
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I celebrate a lot, if you haven’t noticed.  Often the celebrations are over small things but a few times a year I get into a good one.  Recently I celebrated my 44th birthday and the family celebration was awesome.  Fourteen years ago birthdays started taking on a new importance for me.  In 1991 doctors, after performing a blood test on me checking liver enzymes, predicted it was unlikely I’d make it beyond my 30th birthday, that I’d develop cirrhosis of the liver and make an ugly, quick exit.  After I quit drinking entirely and my liver’s enzyme levels returned to normal, about seven years in, I knew I wouldn’t have to suffer that fate (or so the doctors said).  Those days are long behind me now and short of going back in a time machine and undoing a thing or two, I couldn’t be healthier.

So every year on my birthday I celebrate being on the right side of the grass, pumping air on borrowed time.  Often times we hear clichés such as, “live like there’s no tomorrow” – silly things that people claim to take to heart but do so for about 20 seconds a day during that rare instant when the thought passes through their melon – and it’s gone again that fast…

I am an easy-going, happy guy for a reason:  I’ve been through hell and I was sentenced to death (so to speak).  Once I reached the conclusion that each day really is a gift I was set free.

It doesn’t stop there though.  Too often I see people use “live like there’s no tomorrow” as an excuse to detach from responsibility or as an excuse to withdraw.  After all, who would go to work if there really were no tomorrow?  Living knowing that each day is a gift means embracing my responsibilities.  In the bad old days I used to drink to escape my self-disgust for procrastinating on everything and simply being an overall loser.  In order for me to truly enjoy my life as a sober fellow, I was taught very early on that I am the only person on the planet that I have control over and I have to do the next right thing in front of me at any given moment.  Living happily isn’t a matter of living free of responsibilities but of taking care of the responsibilities I have.

 


9 Comments

  1. Sandra says:

    What a great post. I never get tired of hearing you tell this story. It reminds me each time to be good to myself and try to love myself. Something I need to do more of. Clearly. But mostly to believe in myself. Keep sharing.

    But mostly, Happy Birthday!!! You have earned these birthdays 🙂 by taking care of yourself and taking responsibility for yourself. Thank goodness, or I would never know you! And I consider that a blessing. 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thank you Sandra, it is truly good to be me even if it did take a ton of work to get here.

      Most women I know, Mrs. Bgddy included, struggle with the ability to believe in themselves. Men do as well but not to the degree that I see it in women.

      I could go on and on about this reality on my blog but few people are ready for the message until they’re ready. My battle, early on, was in accepting that I couldn’t get away from the work – that the work is simply part of life, and I couldn’t get myself right until I got to doing it. Dealing with this takes a level of honesty and humility that some people simply are incapable of – mainly because it take so much time to see the results!

      In my case, alcoholism was a really a blessing. Without it I’d have had no reason to change my life. It started out “alcohol centric” but that only works for a year or two. After that an ex-drunk has to get to fixing everything else (the real problems that contribute to alcoholism). Some people are lucky enough to get this through normal life lessons. I was not one of those.

      Again, thanks Sandra. Chin up sister.

  2. PedalWORKS says:

    Good post. Honest. Sincere. Well done and, happy birthday!

  3. Happy birthday! We’re the same age.

    I like your life philosophy. Hope you keep living the good, grateful life 🙂

  4. Aww happy birthday! Love this post, congrats on turning everything around! 🙂

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