Tuesday, September 19, 2017

January 8, 2020
The Voice of Reason
The next day I wrote my resignation letter. I had worked for the rehab for twenty-one years, the last fourteen in the same office. The time was right, the only thing stopping me were those annoying voices that woke up whenever I made a change in my life. 

“Maybe you should give the rehab six months’ notice before you leave,” said the Procrastinator.

“You’ll never sell another book,” said the Pessimist.

“In a year you’ll be broke and living in the shelter,” said the Catastrophizer. “Brat Boy and Blondie will tell everyone you’re not their real dad.”

“You should start a detox for cats addicted to catnip,” said that bizarre nameless voice that pipes up when the other voices scare me.

“Or,” said the Voice of Reason, “You’ll worry a lot, make it work, or find a new path. In any case you’ll survive.”
Today I will listen to the Voice of Reason.

2020 Vision ©2017 by Ken Montrose
2020 Vision is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, September 18, 2017

January 7th, 2020 cont’d.

On Comfort, Safety, and Guinea Pigs
The Boss said, “You’re like keg-in-the-basement guy who meets his responsibilities, but knows he could do more if he didn’t drink away his free time. He has to let go of what’s familiar to find something more. Otherwise he’ll spend a long time wondering what might have been.”

“This is nothing like that,” I said, knowing I sounded like a big kid saying ‘nuh uh.’ “Besides, I’m better off staying where I am, retiring when I’m eligible for social security at 72.”

“Unless the conglomerate Congo Rats decide somebody pushing 60 could be replaced by someone half his age for half his salary. Don’t mistake comfortable for safe. Speaking of rats, did you have to order guinea pig?”

“It’s a Peruvian delicacy,” I said, feeling a kinship for the burrowing rodent.

Today I’ll ask myself what I’m missing, if I’m mistaking comfort for safety.

2020 Vision ©2017 by Ken Montrose

2020 Vision is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.

Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com
https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Sunday, September 17, 2017

2020 Vision


January 7, 2020
The Boss, now my former boss,  implied I was being a big baby.  She implied it by saying, “You’re being a big baby. It’s time for you to move on.”

We were sitting in a Peruvian restaurant – the newest food fad.  Blondie had graduated college and was marrying AntPup in the spring.  Brat Boy was a sophomore, playing college volleyball and dating CharChar.  Doctor Deb and I were a year away from celebrating our 30th. My family was settled.

The Boss had retired. The hospital who owned the rehab had been bought by a healthcare system that owned half of Pennsylvania.  They had been absorbed into a conglomerate.  I didn’t have anything against the conglomerate, but didn’t feel the loyalty to them I held for The Boss and the rehab. 

I had started to sell books. Not Stephen King or J.K. Rowling sales, but enough to cover my salary.

I had run out of excuses for moving on.  And unlike a lot of people who came to rehab, I wasn’t being forced to change, or in so much pain that change seemed my only choice. 

Today I will be grateful when change is my choice.

2020 Vision ©2017 by Ken Montrose
2020 Vision is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.

Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Thursday, September 14, 2017

120. Hope and Vanity
Holton completed treatment successfully. Months later his girlfriend had a little girl they named “Vanity Rose.”  Holton brought Vanity to continuing care and the whole office suite seemed to brighten. She might have been born into a crazy world, but she brought with her fresh eyes and new hope. Maybe her generation would solve some of the world’s problems.  
Today I will remember every day is hope’s birthday.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

119. Under the Bright Lights
A week later Quinn completed treatment. Two weeks later they found Austin’s body on this side of the Canadian border.
It seemed they had gone to Canada for a noble reason, to save Austin’s brother.  Bright light. I could only assume my hunch was right, they’d attempted to drag his brother out, sneaking around in the dead of night.  Dark path.  
Quinn’s whereabouts were unknown.
Long ago Austin hadn’t wanted his brother to suffer. Bright light. He talked him into taking Percocet not prescribed for him. Another dark path.

Today I will beware of the dark path that begins under the brightest light.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

118. Kidney Stone People
I made another list of people, ones who had passed through my life like a kidney stone.  The list included a crazy ex-girlfriend or two, and bizarre teachers and professors I only had to deal with for a semester. People in the E.R. who seemed nice enough, but who I really didn’t want to see again. Bleacher coaches, and parents who wanted me to evaluate their eight-year-old’s chances of playing basketball at a major university. People who said they wanted to discuss religion, but had no interest in anything I might say. The crazy lady at the gym who talked to me even though I had my earbuds in, who yelled at me for not having a water bottle, and who always picked the treadmill next to mine.  
The list went on, but luckily for me none of these people had been part of my life for very long.

Today I will be grateful for people who, like a kidney stone, have passed through my life.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

Monday, September 11, 2017

117. Just Passing Through
“Quinn, you tried to convince Austin that Middaymorrow was a dangerous cult before he went there the first time,” I pointed out. “This isn’t something you just discovered.”
We talked for twenty minutes, but Quinn was going to Canada. I understood Austin’s desire to help his brother, and Quinn wanting to help him.  I guessed they had a plan, one that involved grabbing Austin’s brother and dragging him out whether he wanted to go or not.
“This mostly likely ends with you and Austin in a Canadian jail,” I said. Quinn shook his head.
I doubted I’d see Quinn again once he completed treatment. There was much to admire about him –  his refusal to quit, how far he’d progressed, and his loyalty to friends.  I started a list of people who’d passed through my life, leaving me better for having met them.

Today I will be grateful for people who pass through my life.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

Sunday, September 10, 2017

116. Burned
Later that day, Quinn told me he and Austin were going back to Canada to pull Austin’s brother out of the Church of Middaymorrow.  “This time will be different,” he said. “We know for sure it’s a cult.”
Shaking my head, I said, “Suppose you get burned cooking on an open fire. You think you’d learn your lesson, but you get burned on a gas stove you weren’t afraid to touch because the flame wasn’t wild like the camp fire’s. Next you touch an electric stove because there’s no flame. Finally, you get burned in the shower telling yourself water isn’t like a flame.”
“I get your point,” he said. “If I keep looking for minor differences between dangerous situations, I’ll keep getting burned.”
“Exactly.”
“But this is different,” he said. 
‘He’s going to get burned again,’ I thought.

Today I hope I only have to get burned once to learn my lesson.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.

Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

Thursday, September 7, 2017

115. Don’t Just Open the Door
After group I asked Holton about his girlfriend’s pregnancy.  He said, “You know how they say when one door closes another opens.  I’ve been opening some doors lately and looking in.”

“You mean like opening the door to fatherhood?” I asked.

“Exactly. I opened the door and saw the diaper pail, a screaming kid, and me up at 3:00 begging him to go back to sleep because I had to work in the morning.”

I laughed. “And you still want to be a father?”

“I opened that door again and really looked around. I saw my brother’s house. Baby pictures everywhere. Big smile on his face as his daughter sleeps on his shoulder. The baby giggling as his wife plays with her.  Now I see what I really want not just what I wanted to see.”

Today I will open a new door and really look in.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose

Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

114. Holding Onto My Marbles
When I got to the office, The Other Ken told me Austin was marbling out.  The group would pass around a marble, each saying a few words of encouragement before handing it off to the next person. When everyone had spoken, Austin would be given the marble as a reminder of his time in treatment.
He had done well, but he seemed worried. “Thanks guys,” he said to the group.  “So if each time someone encouraged me I got a marble, you’d think I’d have a bag full, right? Each time I accomplished something I’d get another?” He rubbed his temples and stared at his shoes for a second or two. “When things get a little tough, I forget the good stuff people have said. I don’t look at what I’ve accomplished.  It’s like I lose my marbles.  Not this time. I gotta remember what you guys said, look at what I’ve done, stay clean, and hold onto my marbles.”
Today I’ll try not to lose my marbles.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

113. Hitting the Pause Button
I ran into Jameston at Dunkin’ Donuts the next day.
“How are you holding up?” I asked.
He took a second to gather his thoughts. “My sister says there’s a moment, after she gets the triplets to bed, while her husband takes the dog out, before she puts toys away, where she hits the pause button.  She will stand at the kitchen sink with her eyes closed for a minute or two, sometimes as long as five. Just stand there and pause before she gets ready for the next day. I am sick, but I’m living in that pause, do you know what I mean?”
I shook my head, “I’m not sure.”
He continued, “Some people think I must have instant spirituality because I’m terminally ill. Maybe I look like I’ve discovered some ancient wisdom. I’m really just me, at peace with my eyes closed, knowing I’ve got to open them and face the world soon. I’ve hit the pause button. It’s the eye of the storm, but it’s calm.”
Today I will hit the pause button.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, September 4, 2017

112.  There’s a Reward
 The next night I curled up next to my wife on the couch.  She said, “I thought you were going to work on your laptop.”
“I stayed up late last night to get today’s speech together,” I said. “I’m beat and I’m gonna take a break.”
“You’ve earned it,” she said. “You deserve a little reward. There’s a great movie coming on.”
“What?”
“A real tear-jerker.  I know you’ve heard of it, but I bet you’ve never seen Beaches.” She saw my face and started to laugh. “Oh, that look!  I wish I’d said The Notebook.  Here’s the remote. You pick the movie.”
We watched a sci-fi movie and I thought time with her was the best reward.
Today, if I’ve earned it, I will reward myself.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Heroin, Oxycontin, and Other Opiates: Breaking Your Addiction to Them
The Kindle version is FREE 9/3 - 9/7 http://www.amazon.com/Ken-Montrose/e/B001K8MG0S
This workbook looks at the carrot and the stick of opiate addiction. The exercises are geared to helping the reader recognize what motivates him to continue using these drugs. It also discusses common-sense approaches to recovering from addiction.
Excerpt           
"There is a “carrot and stick” to opiates. Imagine a jackass chasing a carrot dangled in front of him on a stick. The animal will chase that carrot until he is exhausted, remembering the taste of the first carrot.
"Now imagine that his master finally allows him to eat the carrot in the shade. The carrot only satisfies his hunger for a few minutes. In what seems like a moment, his master will be hitting him with a stick to get him moving again. Soon his belly is rumbling, his sides hurt from the stick, and he knows he must get up to chase another carrot.
"Opiates are the carrot and the stick. The high, and the escape from pain, are the carrot. Withdrawal and all the problems opiate addiction causes are the stick. Addiction is the master. Guess which role you play. This workbook will help you stop."
Heroin, Oxycontin, & Other Opiates © 2005 by Ken Montrose
Other Free eBOOKS 9/3 - 9/7, available from: http://www.amazon.com/Ken-Montrose/e/B001K8MG0S
  • Forgiveness: A guide for people in Recovery
  • AArdvarks: A Daily Recovery Message Novella
  • g-NAts: Another Daily Recovery Message Novella
  • Smart Bears, Angry Rats: A somewhat sci-fi daily recovery message novella
  • My Favorite Character Defects: The Next Book Written By Your Addiction

Friday, September 1, 2017

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Time for a Change will return Tuesday, September 5th.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

111.  Correction
When I got home that night, I reviewed a speech scheduled for 9:00 a.m. the next day. I’d thought it was finished, but realized I’d left a big section blank. It took me hours to correct it. I wasn’t in my happy place when I finished. “Well this sucks,” I said to my laptop. “I still have to write my blog.”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was lucky to have the time complete the missing section. If this had happened on some other night, I might have been at Blondie or Brat Boy’s game.  I said out loud, “I’m going to make mistakes. I’ll be grateful for a chance to correct them.”
Today I’ll be grateful for mistakes I can correct.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

110. Don’t Know Your Own Strength
“You know who’s stronger than people think?” Morgan asked. “Jameston.”
“How so?” I asked.
“I thought he needed complete control or he’d melt down. Then he does right by his son, even though it tears him apart to let go. He doesn’t overreact to his wife cheating. Accepts complete responsibility for his wreck. And now, he’s developing a sense of humor about his ALS. That’s strength.”
“Jameston - a sense of humor?”
“I’m telling you Ken, he had me laughing about his situation. I’d wallow in self-pity if I had his problems. He doesn’t even seem worried.  That’s strength.”
“You’re dealing with a lot,” I said. “Maybe you too are stronger than you think.” Maybe I am too, I thought. Most people who struggle find a strength they didn’t know they had.
Today I won’t worry, knowing I’m stronger than I know.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, August 28, 2017

109. Take What You Own and Leave the Rest

Morgan stopped by to tell me she was leaving day treatment, but would still be coming to the recovering nurses program. Her phone chirped.
“My silly ass husband texting me again about how lonely he is,” she said rolling her eyes and turning her phone upside down on my desk.  “He’s trying to make me feel guilty for breaking up our happy home.  He says my son needs a father, I took a vow, he stuck by me when I was abusing pills, and on and on.”
“Are you feeling guilty?” I asked.
Morgan snorted. “I’ve owned my part. I feel bad about stealing pills. Not gonna accept the rest. We didn’t have a happy home, he cheated on me, and we took the same vows. He’s not a good father.  My husband loved when I was abusing opioids. Made him feel superior.”
“He’s trying to use guilt and your recovery against you,” I said. “Glad to see you’re not buying it.”
Today I will own my part and let the rest go.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of firction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Sunday, August 27, 2017

108. Holton Hears a Who
After group the next day I heard The Other Ken talking with Holton about his change of heart. He’d decided he was an alcoholic, and had to stop drinking. The Other Ken asked him what had convinced him.
“I heard the who,” Holton said.
“The band ‘The Who’?” The Other Ken asked.
“No, our baby’s heartbeat.  That’s what we’re calling the baby until he or she’s born. I kept thinking I heard the whole next generation’s heartbeats listening to the who.   I started seeing people with babies getting into cars.  How many times had I been drunk, sharing the road with them? I started really hearing all the kids around me. The who isn’t really just our baby, it’s all of them. I’m telling you Ken, you start listening to the who and your life changes. You realize you owe something to the next generation.”
Today I will listen to the who.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of firction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.

Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

Thursday, August 24, 2017

107. What Did I Miss?
When I got home that night I had to thread my way past boxes and bins stacked two and three deep in the hallway. Blondie was going back to college.
“When I left home, I could put everything I owned in the back of a Ford Escort,” I said, “with room left over.”
“I’ll bet Grandpa packed the car, and Grandma did a happy dance,” Brat Boy said. He wasn’t far off, but I ignored him.
 “What are you smiling about?” Blondie asked.
“I have been sober your entire life,” I said. “Think of all I might have missed if I was still drinking.”
Today I will be grateful for everything I didn’t miss.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

106. Keep the Home Fires Burning
While I was on Pinterest, I stumbled across an expression I hadn’t heard in years: ‘keep the home fires burning.’ It meant to keep up with daily life while someone was away. The expression came from a song popular during World War I.  While soldiers fought in horrible battles, the best loved ones could do was keep homes running and families together.  This was no easy task. Worrying about a loved one, doing without necessities, and assuming that person’s responsibilities took a toll on people back home.
Loved ones of anybody fighting a battle with addiction, cancer, mental illness, other problems know the struggle to keep the home fires burning.  Taking care of a sick loved one while going to work and raising children for example, can be overwhelming.  And yet, many people beat themselves up, wondering if they could do more.  Keeping the home fires burning might be the most heroic thing they can do. This includes keeping a home together while someone is away at rehab, or fighting an active addiction.
Today I will help someone keep the home fires burning.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

105. Personal Debt
I got on Pinterest to look for story ideas. The site picked pins it thought might interest me:  motivational quotes, bikini girls fishing, canning, DIY concrete finishing, and history.
“I like fishing,” I said to my laptop. “I’ll check out the motivational quotes later.”
That annoying make-believe voice, like my own personal Jiminy Cricket, had me reaching for imaginary bug spray.  It said, “Borrowing work time to look at fishing pins just adds to your personal debt.”
We’d had this conversation before. The voice called borrowing time, money, energy from one area of life to feed another area ‘adding to your personal debt.’  The guy eating three donuts and telling himself he’ll go to the gym later owes himself a personal debt, time on the treadmill. Ditto the woman binge watching Netflix, planning to spend time with her kids tomorrow.  She owes them quality time.
“Fine,” I said to the voice. I clicked on the motivational quotes.
Today I won’t rack up any more personal debt.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, August 21, 2017

104. Growing Up
Morgan sighed. “I thought he was really something when we met.  Maybe I didn’t think much of me. Then I got my nursing license and a good job. Now I feel bad for him.  He really is a little boy.”
I handed her a box of tissues.  She wiped her eyes, tilted her head to the side and tried to smile. The Other Ken walked by and Morgan stood up slowly.  “Time for group,” she said.
I thought Morgan had grown a lot in the time I’d known her.  The trouble with growing is you outgrow people, especially if they’re smaller minded, with less heart, and not as much spirit. For all his efforts at self-improvement, Morgan’s husband had remained small and self-centered. She had outgrown him, and it broke her heart. 
On the other hand, if she hadn’t grown, she most likely would have relapsed. Hard to be happy when you know you’re less than you could be.
Today I will continue to grow.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Sunday, August 20, 2017

103. A Cult of One
“I feel bad for the guys in our group,” Morgan said.  “They want to rescue Austin’s brother from the cult, but easier said than done.”
“Have you known anyone in a cult?” I asked.
“My husband’s a cult of a one. He’s completely self-involved, believes he’s always right and has insight nobody else has.  Rules don’t really apply to him. He’s endlessly involved in self-improvement and making money. Does to himself what cult leaders do to their followers. When his plans don’t work out, he punishes himself.  Works like a dog, meditates for hours, goes without sleep, crazy diets, killer workouts.”
“Have you tried to get him help?” I asked.
“He says he’s just doing what I’m doing, trying to get better.  We’re different. He wants to change overnight, make a ton of money, and doesn’t value any opinion but his own. He’s his own cult.  I’m trying to get better one day at a time, and keep a roof over our heads.  I’ll take whatever advice I can get. I’m not a cult of one.”  
Today I won’t treat myself like a cult of one.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Thursday, August 17, 2017

102. A Special Kind of Weird
The next day Morgan stopped in my office. “Do you know what I’m learning from NA and my recovering nurses program?” she asked. “The larger the group, the more likely you’ll find someone with your kind of weirdness. And finding someone as weird as you is wonderful.”
“What kind of weird are we talking about?” I asked.  
“Staying clean is weird in this neck of the woods. It’s good to have sober friends. Then there’s three of us who call ourselves ‘the lemonade stand.’ Know why?”
“I couldn’t guess,” I said.
“Life has given us lemons for husbands. We fantasize about making lemonade, sorta. Shrinking them down to the size of lemons and running them through a blender. Or renting a wood chipper … you get the picture.”
“I’m glad you found kindred spirits but the blender thing is more than a little weird,” I said, shaking my head, but smiling.
“This from the strange man who talks to himself all day long.”
Today I’ll be grateful for people who share my kind of weird.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

101.  Hopeless?
Daphne called me to say she’d found out which one of her nieces stole her painkillers.
“She confessed?” I asked.
“After she OD’d and was revived,” Daphne said. “Going to the hospital turned out to be a blessing in disguise. One of the nurses told us she was a crack addict and a prostitute by the time she was fifteen. You know the story, in and out of detention, school dropout. She got clean when she was twenty, got a GED at twenty-three, and graduated nursing school before she turned thirty. You know she didn’t have to share any of that with us, but she did.”
“How’d your niece react?”
I could almost hear Daphne roll her eyes. “She was skeptical, but at least she listened. I think she got the idea there’s no such thing as a hopeless addict.”

Today I will remember there’s no such thing as a hopeless addict.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

100. Crowded
I checked my email before I went to bed. A depressing article caught my eye. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found the number of alcoholics in this country had risen 49% in eleven years. The article pointed out about one in eight Americans now has a drinking problem. People hadn’t really noticed because of the opioid crisis.  I only saw the article because it was reprinted in the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin from the DailyMail.co.uk.  
“One in eight,” I said to my cat. “That explains a lot.”  I told my cat alcoholics can get lost in the crowd of people who drink socially. Until they really screw up, they blend in. You think you drink like your friends who have a couple beers or a glass of wine after work, but you don’t.  You might be near the social drinking crowd, but you’re not really part of it. Recovery means standing apart sometimes, which isn’t always easy.
“I bet you have a friend who thinks he’s like other felines when it comes to catnip,” I told the cat. He didn’t argue.
Today I will stand out from the crowd.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, August 14, 2017

99. Granted
That night I was is sitting in the daddy chair when Brat Boy got home.
“Almost bought it today,” he said. “I was trying to pass a truck on I79 when this guy pulled up behind me, like a foot off my back bumper.  I got past the truck, pulled into the right lane, and thought I was safe.  This idiot passes me, but stays in the left lane. He slows down until he’s beside me, the whole time drifting into my lane. I finally hit the horn, he seemed to wake up, and drove off, musta been doing 100.”
“Might have been drunk,” I said, “Glad you’re OK.”  Just then my wife texted me to say she was on her way home from work. She too would be traveling I79. I texted her ‘drive safe, you can’t be replaced’ with a heart emoji. I checked an app on my phone to see where Blondie was. To my relief she’d made it to her destination.
“Everybody’s always going somewhere,” I said to the dog and Brat Boy.  I thought ‘I take it for granted they’ll all get there safely. Maybe it’s because I take them for granted, at least a little.’

Today I won’t take anyone for granted.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Sunday, August 13, 2017

98. Roadblocks
“But what if I’m not a good father?” Holton asked.

“Drunks make bad fathers,” I said. “You’ve stopped drinking.”

“Yes, but I want to drink.”

“But right now you’ve got some serious clean time.  You’ve gotten past your first roadblock to being a good father. Drinking again would be like turning around and running into the roadblock you just passed. You want to do that?”

“No,” Holton argreed, “but there’s other roadblocks, more that might be get in the way of me being a good father. Other people’s kids get on my nerves.”

“Other people’s kids get on everybody’s nerves,” I said. “Just not all of them and not all at once.  One roadblock at a time.”

Today I’ll get around one roadblock at a time.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com
https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Thursday, August 10, 2017

97. The Gift of Desperation
“I have been given a gift,” Holton said as he walked up to me. “Desperation.”
“Lucky you,” I said not sure what he meant.
“Jameston and I got to be friends. With his divorce, and his arrest, and the ALS, he’s going to need a friend. I don’t want to let him down. My company is expanding. For the first time in years I care what happens to my employees. Damn sobriety.”
“Damn sobriety,” I echoed. “It’ll make an alcoholic into a responsible adult.”
“I’m still not convinced I’m an alcoholic, but here’s the kicker. My girlfriend is pregnant. I desperately want to be a good father.”
I smiled. “Desperate to do the right thing.”

Today I’ll be grateful for the right kind of desperation.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

96. Don’t Compare Your Insides to Other People’s Outsides
As we were talking Holton pulled up in a sparkling new Mercedes. Quinn stared at the car.
“I get it,” Quinn said to me. “I get the slogan. ‘Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.’ From the outside, Holton looks like he’s got it made. My insides are knotted up because I didn’t do more to help Austin.  If I compare my feelings to his appearance, I might feel sorry for myself.”
“And?” I asked.
“Holton’s struggling with his recovery. I think he knows he’s an alcoholic, but can’t face life without booze.  His ole heart breaks for them shelter dogs.  Holton says he hates people, but he looked he was gonna cry when Jameston went to jail. His insides hurt as much as mine.”
“If you compare your insides to his outsides,” I said, “You might resent him, rather than helping him.”
Today I won’t compare my insides to other people’s outsides.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

94. Exit Stage Left
“Putting drugs aside,” Morgan said to me, “What do you think is the worst addiction?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Food maybe. You gotta eat. Gambling. Sexual addictions cause people a lot of pain.”
“For my money it’s drama.  My husband is addicted to drama. He’s always in crisis. Every other post on Facebook starts with a complaint about someone he never names.  He gossips constantly. Never misses a chance to be offended. Cries about things that have nothing to do with him.”
Quinn said, “I gotta agree with Morgan. Drama addicts are like drunk drivers. You can have everything under control, minding your own business, staying in your lane, when they run into you.  Throw your life into an uproar.”
“You’ve got a point,” I said to both of them, realizing how lucky I was not to have much drama in my life.
Today I will be grateful not to be around drama.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, August 7, 2017


93. Love You to Death
Morgan walked up to the group, and without saying hello, said, “Can you believe my crazy mother is paying for my husband to stay in that hotel?  He doesn’t have to grow up, go back to work, and make a life for himself. She says she’s going to keep paying until I come to my senses and take him back.”
“How long can she afford that?” I asked.
“Forever and a day.  My mother married into money twice. My dad was an alcoholic.  For his fortieth birthday she had a wet bar installed in the basement. My stepdad had high cholesterol and a bad heart.  She fed him ribs and bacon until his heart stopped.  If you ask her, she’d tell you she did everything she could to make them happy. They were grown men who made bad decisions, but she enabled them both to death.”
“Enablers,” I said, “They’ll kill you with kindness.”
Today I’ll beware of enablers.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Sunday, August 6, 2017

92. Retreat, Rethink, React
As if he’d heard us mention his name, Quinn walked up.  He reached out his hand, and pulled Austin to his feet.
“No ‘I told you so’?” Austin asked Quinn.  “Middaymorrow’s absolutely a cult.”
Quinn shook his head. “What’s that saying? ‘Retreat, Rethink, React.’ No, you and me need to get some clean time.  Somewhere down the road we can figure out our next move.  Maybe then we can help your brother.  I know you feel like you hit a wall, but you’re not beaten until you quit.”
If today I feel overwhelmed, I won’t give up.  I will retreat, rethink, and react.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Thursday, August 3, 2017

91. Be Right Back?
When I got to work the next day, Austin was sitting on the steps in front of the building. His long hair had been cut to a short stubble. Sunken eyes rested on prominent cheekbones.  He barely looked up when I said, “Austin?”
“My brother’s not coming back,” he said.  “He’s too far gone. He loves the Church.”
“The Church of Middaymorrow?” I asked. “The cult?”
“Quinn was right, it was a cult. He wasted his breath warning me.”
“Quinn didn’t waste his breath.  You made it back.  If he hadn’t warned you, you might not have known you had joined a cult.” I paused, “You really think your brother won’t come back?”
“Most people don’t get addicted trying something once. My brother was gone before that first Perc hit his brain.  I know guys tried coke and were gone after the first line.”
“Gotta stay away from anything addictive,” I said. “You don’t know if you’re the one who won’t come back.”
Today I’ll remember you don’t always come back.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

90. HALT
By that time it was almost 10:00. I started to get my laptop out, when Brat Boy said, “Past your bedtime, old man.”
I started to argue, but realized I really was tired.  The AA slogan HALT crossed my mind. They said if you didn’t want to do something stupid, like relapse, don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired – HALT.  As much as I hated to admit it, Brat Boy was right.  I put my laptop away and went to bed.

Today I will remember to HALT before I do something stupid.
Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

89. A Won Day at a Time
That day Brat Boy had worked his first day at a real job.
“Just think,” I said to him when I got home from the AA meeting, “In fifty short years you can retire.”
“Thanks, dad,” he said. “I was feeling good about working until you said that. Now you’ll probably hit me with some cliché, like ‘one day at a time.’”
I laughed, but said, “I got sober at 28. It was hard thinking I might live another fifty or sixty years without booze. People said, ‘take ‘em one day at a time.’ Depressed the hell outa me thinking how many days sixty years might be. You know what kept me sober?”
“Fear of the new friends you might make if drunk driving landed you in jail?”
“I didn’t stay sober putting up with something one day at a time.  I stayed sober because I learned to win each day. Any day I didn’t drink, I won.  When I got through tough times, it was like I’d won an upset victory.  When I finally started enjoying recovery, I was running up the score. Time passed much faster a won day at a time.”
Today will be a won day.

Time for a Change ©2017 by Ken Montrose
Time for a Change is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com

https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/