Thursday, July 20, 2017

81. Choosing Rewards
The officer searched and handcuffed Jameston. He put him in the back of the car.  As they drove off, my heart sank.  I thought of all the things Jameston wouldn’t have control over in jail.  When he got out, the real struggle with powerlessness would begin. 
Two thoughts came to mind. Unlike Jameston I hadn’t eaten Xanny bars, or washed them down with a glass of wine. I wasn’t going to jail. I still got to decide when I’d eat, where I’d go, what I could do.  I’d earned some reward points.   Rewards not claimed tended to expire.  Today would be gone and with it the chance to celebrate the day.   I called my wife.
“Let’s eat somewhere nice tonight,” I said.
“Why?” my wife asked, probably wonder what the occasion might be.
“Because we can.”  And because life’s rewards have an expiration date.

Today I will celebrate just because I can.
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, July 19, 2017

80. No Problem So Bad
The next day I saw Jameston sitting on the bench at the end of the parking lot. When I got closer, I noticed a cut above his right eye. Two neatly folded but blood-stained handkerchiefs sat on the bench beside him.
“The doctor gave me these,” Jameston said. He pulled a bottle of Xanax bars from his shirt pocket. “You’re not supposed to mix them with alcohol, but after I took a couple, a glass of wine seemed like a good idea. I thought life couldn’t get any worse.”
“What happened?” I asked, a sense of sadness and dread washing over me.
We were interrupted by car horns on Route 19. “Yesterday, after my wife and I met with the divorce attorneys, I had an appointment with a neurologist.” He dabbed at the cut with another hanky.  “My wife had accused me of being a control freak.  The universe heard, and laughed. I’m about to lose control, of my muscles at least. The neurologist told me I have ALS.”
A police car pulled up. Before the officer said anything, Jameston stood up, said, “My ride to jail is here,” and walked over to the police car. “It’s my car wrapped around the street sign,” he added, gesturing toward the highway.
Today I will remember the slogan:
There is no problem so bad a drink cannot make it worse.

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, July 18, 2017


79. A Great Day To Plant A Tree
Morgan said, “I know I’m on the right path.  But after we got home and my daughter went to bed, I spent the night beating myself up for getting addicted, for not going back to school, for not doing something when I first realized my marriage was in trouble.”
“I understand,” I said, “From time to time I still think about the opportunities I missed, and the stupid things I did. Water over the dam.  Best I can do is make the most of now.”
Morgan smiled. “My mother loved a Japanese saying.  The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, but the second best time is now.”
“From this day forward,” I said.

Today I will plant a tree.
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, July 17, 2017

78. They’re watching

The next day I asked Morgan about picking up her daughter.

“It was sad, Ken,” Morgan said. “She’s always been daddy’s little girl, but she wanted to come home with me.  I think my husband was shocked.”

“Why do you think she was so eager to go with you?”

“She had a hard time putting it into words, but you could tell she knew there was something wrong with her father. Kids know more than we think they do.”

“Do you think she knew something was wrong when you were getting high?” I asked

Morgan said, “At the time, I thought I kept it hidden, but now I think she must have known something was wrong.  Kids watch you, they really do.”

Today I’ll try to set a good example. Kids may be watching.

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, July 16, 2017

77. What Can You Do?

The next day, Quinn asked me if I could watch his dog for a few days. I knew why.
I said, “Going to Canada to rescue Austin is way more than you should take on right now. On the other hand, Morgan is going to get her daughter today.  The little girl is with her father at a hotel in Carnegie.  Morgan doesn’t think her husband will give her any trouble, but she could use some company.  Gonna be an emotional day.   Think you could ride along?”
“I guess that’s all I can do,” Quinn said.
“Do what you can.”

Today I’ll do what I can.
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, July 13, 2017

76. Grateful Not Hateful
“Cacophony,” I said to my laptop. “The word of the day is cacophony, a harsh discordance of sound.”
Every morning for a week a new group member had spent the time before group loudly complaining, using the f-bomb as her noun, verb, and adjective of choice.
That morning she was telling the group her effing cat coughed up an effing hairball just to effing spite her.  Then her mother, that effing witch, called to see how she was doing.  
Mostly I wanted to ask her what was really bothering her.   A small part of me wanted to tell her to shut up. Just shut up. Really, shut your pie hole.  Had I done so, she wouldn’t have, adding me to her list of effing  a’holes  instead.  
I sent The Other Ken an email offering to run a group on gratitude. Maybe it would help her brighten up.
Today I’ll be ‘grateful not hateful.’
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, July 12, 2017

75. Gift Horse
My phone rang – Brat Boy and Blondie wanted to meet me for lunch. This meant one of two things. They loved and missed me.  I left for work before they got up.  Blondie was working into the evening.  Brat Boy had either volleyball or basketball practice. Both were likely to be with their boyfriend/girlfriend when I got home from the gym.
It might also mean they were bored and too lazy to cook lunch for themselves.
I hesitated, thought ‘They’re two teenagers who want to have lunch with their dad. Who cares why? What’s that old expression, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?’
“Meet you at the Meatball Emporium at 11:30,” I said to Blondie.

Today I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

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, July 11, 2017

74. Secretly Kind
As they were leaving group, I heard Holton tell Morgan, “Don’t worry, he’s not going to Canada.”
Morgan asked, “How can you be so sure?”
“A week ago I told him the shelter was full, and asked if he could keep a puppy until a cage was available.”
“I could keep some kittens for a while if that would help.”
Holton laughed. “I lied. We had cages open. I figured if he loved a dog he couldn’t take with him, he wouldn’t go. He already has a dozen puppy pictures on his phone.”
“You are devious but kind,” Morgan said. “I never would have guessed.
“Let’s keep this our secret,” Holton said.
Today I will be grateful for people who are secretly kind.
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, July 10, 2017

73. Intelligence Gathering
The next day Quinn told the group he was thinking of going to Canada to get Austin.  The group told him this was a bad idea, but Quinn said it was what his daddy would’ve done. “I know how bad these cults can be.  I gotta do something.”

“Your dad was Army, wasn’t he?” Holton asked.  Quinn nodded. “Bet he never went into a fight without a plan.  Bet that plan was based on information.  Bet he tried to find out what he was getting into before he got into it.”

“Not the same thing,” Quinn said.  He probably didn’t realize he was nodding ‘yes’ as he said it.  The Other Ken had them list situations they had rushed into.

“I married an idiot right out of high school,” Morgan said. “I wanted to get away from home. If I had known then what I know now…”

“Wish I’d done a little research before I bought that car,” another group member said, gesturing toward the oil-stained spot where his ride sat rusting.

“Wish I’d paid better attention in Health Class,” a young woman said. “I might have known you can get pregnant the first time, no matter what your boyfriend says.”

Today I won’t get into something until I know what I’m getting into.

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, July 9, 2017

72. Hidden Pain
“How’s the leg?” I asked Daphne. “How bad is the pain?”
She said, “Truth be told, I was just about done with painkillers. It hurts, but I can manage. You know what stings? One of my nieces stealing my pills. The thief didn’t know I wasn’t in a lot of pain. And to think I’ve always trusted those brats.” She pounded her cane on the floor and added, “Drugs. Nothing leads to breaking someone’s trust like booze and drugs.”
Daphne, one of the toughest people I’d ever met, wiped a tear from her eye. Having her trust betrayed truly stung. My heart broke for her.  
Today I will not betray a trust.
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, July 6, 2017

71. Honest Mistake
“Okay, you can yell at me,” Daphne said when I walked into the AA meeting.
“You’re a mean, miserable, old lady,” I said, laughing.
“Don’t you want to know why you should yell at me?” Daphne demanded. I shrugged. She said,
“My huge addict family visited me. Somebody stole the pills from my surgery I left in my medicine cabinet. I could kick myself for being so careless.”
I shook my head. “Nah, I’m not gonna yell. Sounds like an honest mistake. If they were sitting out, or you kept them months after your surgery, I might.”
Daphne hugged me. “Better a miserable old lady than a middle-age jackass,” she said with a smile.
Today I won’t kick myself for honest mistakes
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, July 5, 2017

70. Can You Hit the Curve Ball?
The next day Morgan told the group her husband had taken off with her daughter. She said, “Mind you this is not a Lifetime movie in the making. This is an idiot texting me from a motel to say he can’t be separated from our daughter. If I want her back, I have to take him back too. Talk about life throwing you a curve ball.”
“What are you going to do?”  Jameston asked.
“I’ll give him a day or two to spend with our daughter, and then I’ll cancel his credit cards.”  Morgan smiled and added, “I’ll put ‘being clear-headed’ on my gratitude list.  It’s much easier to hit the curve when you’re not eating Vikes like they were jelly beans.”
Today I’ll be grateful I’m clear-headed.
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, July 4, 2017

69. Many Do Recovery
Quinn left. I checked my email. Two agencies were looking for presentations on the opioid epidemic.  Both agencies asked if I could present something a little different. I laughed to myself – over the years I’d developed a reputation for being a little different. I suggested a discussion on how friends, families, and professionals needed to take care of themselves, followed by a reminder that people do get better.  In short order, both agencies agreed on the topic.
I said out loud, “With so many illnesses you hear about the people who die or create chaos, you don’t hear about the people who cope, maybe even thrive.  You don’t hear enough about the people who overcome their problems.”
Today I will remind myself – people do get better.
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, July 2, 2017

68. Throwing A Good Today After A Bad Yesterday
“How’d you end up here?” I asked Quinn.
He said, “I tried to drink away the memories of the Guild. That’s what we called that cult, the Guild. Never worked.  I’d wake up from a blackout with no recollection of the night before, but crystal clear recall of the Guild.  Later, I learned alcohol gets in the way of forming new memories, but you gotta make it to late stage alcoholism to erase the old ones.”
“I’m glad you stopped when you did.”
“Getting sober saved my life, but accepting my past has given me peace,” Quinn said.  “You know how they say ‘throwing good money after bad’?  Wasting a good today fretting about a bad yesterday is the same thing.  I’m done with it.”
I won’t throw a good Today after a bad yesterday.
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, June 29, 2017

67. Stronger Than You Know
“How did you escape the cult you were in?” I asked Quinn. He told me about crossing northern Idaho on a bicycle. His escape took three nights. He panhandled enough money for a bus ticket and didn’t feel safe until he landed in Virginia.
“Did you ever think you could quit drinking?” he asked.  I told him until I really tried, I didn’t think I’d be able to. He said, “People are stronger than they think.  They don’t try, or they quit too soon, because they don’t know how strong they really are.  I saw people die because they didn’t know they had they strength to leave the cult.”
“I’ve seen people die because they didn’t know they had the strength to quit.”
Today I won’t underestimate my strength.
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, June 28, 2017

66. I Believe You’re Mistaken
The next day Austin went to Canada. He sent Quinn a message saying he appreciated Quinn’s concern, but he wasn’t joining a cult, he was helping to start a movement.
“He has no idea how bad his life might get,” Quinn said. “I shoulda done more to convince him not to go.”
I said, “You did what you could.  People have the right to make bad choices.  The best you can do is learn from their mistakes.”
Today I will learn from others’ mistakes.

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, June 27, 2017

65. Give it Time
An hour later Holton came back from the animal shelter.  As he passed my office I asked him why he was so opposed to getting sober. “You get another DUI and you’re screwed,” I said.
“Because I’m miserable now,” Holton said. “How much more miserable will I be without drinking?”
“You ever eat popcorn that was microwaved half as long as it needed to be?” I asked. “That’s miserable. You choke on the unpopped kernels.  You don’t like sobriety so far? You haven’t given it enough time. You’re still choking on all kinds of unresolved issues.  Be patient, and not just about recovery, but a lot of things in life that take a little time.”
Today I will give it enough time.
(Whatever ‘it’ happens to be.)

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, June 26, 2017

64. Happy Distraction
When I got back to work the next Monday, Austin was close to going to Canada to work for the Church of Middaymorrow.  Quinn was more convinced the Church was a cult. The two of them couldn’t stop arguing about it. Morgan’s husband was living in a motel, not with Morgan. Her son was supportive but her daughter was heartbroken. Jameston had served his second wife divorce papers.
Holton showed up fifteen minutes late with three kittens and a puppy from the animal shelter.  Having animals in the center clearly violated the rules. I went up front to see how he’d gotten past Miss Rella.  She had a kitten in her lap.
The group put aside their differences for half an hour or so until The Other Ken told Holton it was time to gather up the animals and take them back to the shelter. I thought he was smart to allow the distraction.  They needed a little shot of happiness.
Today I’ll be grateful for happy distractions.
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, June 25, 2017

63. Papa ‘Trose
The next week I visited my dad at my sister’s house.  He’d had major surgery a month earlier, and had spent time recuperating in a nursing home.  Just before he left, he caught an infection that didn’t affect him until he got home.  In the week I spent with him he ate little, ran a fever, and slept off and on most of the day. 
About the third day into my stay, the visiting nurse said to me, “Your father is really something.  He never complains. He shrugs his shoulders and says, ‘What are you gonna do.’ He even smiles.”
“He knows it’ll take a week for the meds to clear up the infection,” I said, thinking my dad understood acceptance better than  I did.
Today I will try to follow the example of people who accept what they cannot change.
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, June 22, 2017

62. If Today Sucks
“Didn’t your husband go to the cabin with your neighbor?” I asked.  Morgan nodded. “What will happen to her?”
Morgan said, “When my husband said he was going back to me, she picked up a stranger from the nearest bar.  She’s moving in with him. Her husband told me she’s bi-polar, off her meds, and manic. In a couple weeks she’ll crash and want to come home.  He may not let her, but he’ll make sure she has somewhere to go.”
“Taking a tough but compassionate stand,” I said.  “He sounds like a wise man.”
“He said all the times he’s been through this taught him a lesson. Sometimes, when life sucks, it sucks out your weaknesses. The trick he said, was not to let it suck out your heart too.”
If today sucks, let it suck out my weakness and leave my heart.
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, June 21, 2017

61. Another Epiphany?
Morgan stopped in my office after group.  She told me about her husband.  “He said he had an epiphany up in that cabin.  I’m his destiny and we should be together. He’s sorry he didn’t see that sooner, before he cheated on me.”
“Do you believe he had an epiphany, had some great awakening?” I asked.
She laughed. “Oh he’s always having epiphanies. He got into the Air Force Academy, but didn’t go because he had an epiphany – the Air Force might not be the place for a ‘free spirit’ like him.  He worked in his father’s construction company, but he had an epiphany about being meant for better things.  He quit in the middle of a big project.  They still don’t talk to each other. And of course, his latest epiphany, he wants to live with me.”
She smiled a sad half smile and added, “I had my own little epiphany. He’s just a small boy who can’t decide what he wants for Christmas. I deserve a life with a grownup. I’m going to divorce him and see if one shows up. I’m not going to settle for less.”
Today I will not settle for less than I deserve.

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, June 20, 2017

60. No Argument Here
“My husband wants to come back,” Morgan said when group started. “My mother doesn’t understand why I won’t let him. She says he made one mistake. Mom wants to talk about it over a bottle of wine.  She also doesn’t see why I won’t drink with her since painkillers were my downfall, not booze. I can’t seem to make her understand.”
Holton snorted, and said, “People say ‘I don’t understand’ but mean ‘I don’t like it.’ You’re never going to get them to like it, so let it go.  No point in explaining yourself over and over.”
“My dad doesn’t understand why I can’t be an accountant and do my art on the side,” Austin said. “I’ve given up arguing with him.”
“Hmmm,” Daphne, who was there for continuing care, said, “rather than argue, I tell people who don’t like my choices to ‘kiss my flabby butt.’  Four words, explains my position, often ends debate.”
The group laughed, and Max The New Guy suggested once they’ve stated their position, they stop arguing.
Today I won’t waste a lot of time explaining myself over and over.
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, June 19, 2017

59. Going to the Dogs
At lunch The Other Ken told me Holton gives a ton of money to the animal shelter.
“Holton?” I asked. “Pain in the butt, cup is always half empty, can’t wait to get out of here so he can drink again – that Holton?”
“Not only that,” The Other Ken said, “He walks the dogs, plays with the cats, and cleans out cages. He does it all.”
 “Holton makes Jameston seem like a barrel of laughs,” I said. “Holton?”
Miss Rella’s smile grew as she said, “I love when you find something to like in somebody who seems completely unlikeable.  I’m always grateful to be reminded most people aren’t all bad.”
Today I’ll be grateful very few people are all bad.
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, June 18, 2017

58. Where You Been?
Quinn and Austin were arguing outside my door.
Austin said. “The leader is called ‘Grain.’ He says spiritual people start as boulders and age into rocks, stones, pebbles, and so on. They care less and less about the world because they let life wear away their concerns rather than wearing them down.  Grain says he’s sand hoping to become dust.  Dust blows in the wind without a care. It doesn’t get high, or hurt people. This is just what my brother needs.”
“That sounds good,” Quinn said. “but it’s a set-up to use people. You don’t like clearing woods all day? Grain will tell you it’s just to wear away what’s holding you back.  Too tired for his sermon? He’ll tell you he’s gonna talk about letting go of exhaustion.”  
“You don’t know him, so you can’t know if he’s sincere.”
“You’re right, I don’t know him, but I’ve known people like him.  I’m just saying listen to somebody who’s been there. Y’all don’t have to agree with me.”
I listened, thinking of the people I’d met who’d warned me my drinking was out of hand long before I got sober.  At the time I hadn’t taken them seriously. I was young, young people drank, they didn’t know what they were talking about.  I could have spared myself a lot of grief had I listened.

Today I will listen to people who’ve been there.

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, June 15, 2017

57. Holding On to the Good
Later that day Morgan walked into my office.  She seemed a little shaken. A fellow nurse had overdosed in a hospital bathroom.
She said, “We met at an NA meeting.  She had a plan to fix her life. So much for that.”
“How you holding up?” I asked.
“Not sure I’m holding up, but I’m holding on.  It’s work, but I’m holding onto my nursing license. I’m going to hold onto my kids and my house. My marriage is over, but that’ll making holding onto my sanity a little easier. ”
“You’re holding onto your recovery.”
“I am. It’s like I lived through a tornado.  Every time the wind blows in my life, it’s reassuring to hold on to my recovery.”
Today I will be grateful for the good I’ve held on to.

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, June 14, 2017

56. Letting Go
The next day I saw Jameston sitting on a towel on a bench in back of the building.  I sat beside him.
“Not cleaning your car today?” I asked.
“No,” Jameston said, “I’m letting my hands heal.” He held them up for me to see.  There wasn’t a mark on them.  He added, “There’s no real wound, but sometimes when you let go something go, it takes a little skin with it.  I grabbed hold of the idea I’d have my son back in my life.  Letting go was the right thing to do, but it hurt.”
“You did what you thought best, even though letting go hurt. I gotta admire you for that.”
Today I will accept letting go can hurt.

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, June 13, 2017

55. I Doubt It
Hilary said, “Hey, I wanted to ask you guys something. Heath says I should go to college. I’ve been thinking about it. Sometimes I help him with his courses, so I know I can do the work.”
“What’s stopping you?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Hilary said. “I’ve been thinking about it since I got sober.  The first year, I didn’t want to add pressure to my life.  The second year, I decided I wanted to try. This year I’ve been getting ready.  September is coming around, and now I don’t know.”
“Honey, you know,” Daphne said. “You know you can, and you know you want to. Doubt is the only thing holding you back. Nameless doubt. Doubt out of habit. Doubt for no reason.  You know what my dad used to say?”
“I want a paternity test,” I guessed. 
Daphne hit me in the ankle with her cane.  “Doubt your doubts. Question your questions.  Look to see if you really have a reason for not trying, or if you’re just scared.”

Today I will doubt my doubts.
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, June 12, 2017

54. Do You See?
Hilary, who’d been quiet up to this point, said, “I feel bad for him.”
“You feel bad for Jimmy?” Daphne asked. “Why the hell would you feel bad for him?”
Hilary said, “Because he has no idea just how much of a weasel he is. We say he wormed his way into some girl’s bedroom, but he says he charmed her.  We see he might be a sex addict, but he sees himself as too sexy to resist.  He’s not breaking any laws, so there’s nobody to force him to look at himself the way his drunk driving did. To him, it’s all good.”
I said, “I dunno, I’m having a hard time feeling too bad for the guy.”
Hilary said, “Look, without any insight there’s no reason for him to change.  He’s going to be stuck in this pattern of one night stands and meaningless relationships until he becomes the creepy old guy nobody will sit with. That’s sad.”
“You have a point,” I said.
“Maybe,” Daphne said. She pointed her cane at Jimmy and shook it.

Today I’ll be grateful for whatever insight I have into my own behavior.
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, June 11, 2017

53. Give the Newcomer a Break
“You know what else I see?” Daphne asked, pointing to the corner where Jimmy, a pale man in his late thirties was talking to Anna.  Jimmy was leaning into the awkward distance between them.
“Hey Jimmy,” Daphne called. “C’mere a second,” in a tone a prison guard might use on an inmate teetering on being sent to solitary.  
Jimmy held up a finger, smiling at Anna, to let her know he’d be back in one minute. I could see the discomfort on her face, but I’d seen Jimmy in action. If anybody could get past her defenses, it was him. 
“Why are you hitting on the newcomer?” Daphne asked. “You need to prey on girls struggling to stay sober, don’t know who they are without their booze, who don’t know who you are yet?”
Jimmy said, “Wow, that’s cold. I’m just trying to make her feel welcome.  Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do for newbies?”
Daphne snorted.  “Don’t bullshit me, kid.  You ain’t looking to penetrate her denial.  How about I shove this cane so far…”
I interrupted her, “Hey Jimmy, give her a break.  Let her find her way, make a few friends, get some clean time under her belt.”
“I hope when I’m old, I’m not mean and suspicious like you two,” he said, and walked away, but not toward Anna, who had joined a circle of women near the coffee pot.
Today I will look out for the newcomer.

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, June 8, 2017

52.  What a Pain
I went to an AA meeting that night. Daphne said “Hello Ken,” as she hobbled up to me, using a cane. Her limp was worse than it had been the week before.  Hilary walked beside her, trying to offer support.
“No sarcastic comment?” I asked “You must be in pain”
“I am. But I’m seeing the surgeon next week. I was putting it off because I was afraid of the painkillers he might prescribe.  You know what turned me around? My dead husband.”
“Your dead husband?”
“Yeah, if I had left that pain in the ass twenty years earlier, I would have been a lot happier. But no, I put up with him because I was afraid of the pain of divorce. I’m telling you Ken, the sooner you deal with the pain the better.  I see that now.”
Today I will address my pain sooner rather than later.
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, June 7, 2017

51. Temptation
I was thinking about Austin, Quinn, and the Church of Middaymorrow when I walked into the break room at noon.  Only then did I remember I’d left my lunch sitting on the counter at home.  “I hate getting old,” I said to the Keurig coffee maker.  “Looks like it’s me and you and some donuts from the vending machine.”
I looked at the refrigerator.  There was nothing in there that belonged to me. Still, it couldn’t hurt to see what everyone else brought for lunch, I thought. My stomach growled at me. The refrigerator motor switched on, humming an invitation to just look. I could have sworn the Keurig’s power light winked.
In the old cartoons, a devil and an angel would have appeared on opposite shoulders.  Instead, in my personal cartoon, a 300 lb. version of me from my past, drinking alone on my bed in tighty-whiteys, said, ‘What the hell, it’s not like anyone’s gonna know you took their lunch.  Blame the intern.’ 
On the other shoulder, the weight–lifting version of me, ripped with washboard abs –it pays to have a vivid imagination – said, ‘Don’t look. Practice resisting temptation. Not giving into some minor temptation is like doing one more rep. Builds up your strength to resist the next temptation.’
I grabbed a cup of coffee and walked down the hall to the vending machine.
Today I will practice resisting temptation.

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, June 6, 2017

50. I’m Warning You
“Y’all got a minute?” Quinn asked me as we rode the elevator together.  He told me about his past, how he and his mother had been addicted to Valium when he was born.  She had gotten clean, but relapsed when his father was killed in combat.  Quinn’s mother switched to heroin.  He told me about years of abuse he suffered from the revolving door of men in his mother’s life.
“When I was fifteen we joined this cult in Oregon,” Quinn said.  “Bad times.  Here’s my point, and thank you for listening all the while, Austin’s brother has joined a cult.  Maybe he don’t know it yet, and Austin surely don’t, but it’s a cult.”
“Did you talk to him about it?” I asked.
“I tried to warn Austin, but he just laughed.  Said I was paranoid.  Showed me a letter his brother wrote saying how happy he was and how Austin should come up to Canada to see for himself. ”
“Sometimes warning someone is all you can do,” I said, thinking there must be more.
Today I’ll accept sometimes warning someone may be all I can do.
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, June 5, 2017

49. Winning, But Not at All Costs
Once again Jameston was cleaning his car when I pulled into the parking lot the next day. 
“I’ve decided not to see my son,” Jameston said, not looking up from wiping his dashboard.  “I’ve started putting money away in case he wants to go to college.  I’ll contact his mother again when he’s a junior in high school.”
I said, “No offense, but you’re handling this better than I thought you would. You’re making progress.”
“I could take her to court and win. I could.” He shook his head and said again, “I could.”
“But you’re not going to?” I asked
“For me to win, my first wife has to lose.  My son’s world gets turned upside down, so he loses.  Same for her husband.  Sometimes winning is like a drug for me. I’ll do anything for it, but the cost is too high.”
“You’re still clean,” I said. “That’s a win.”
Today I will try to win, but not at any cost.
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
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Sunday, June 4, 2017

48. Show Not Tell
When I got home that night I flopped into my chair and put my feet up.  Ten minutes later my wife walked downstairs, purse in hand.  She turned into the living room, and stopped in front of the dog.
“Who’s the best dog ever?” she asked the crock of Shih Tzu lying on the back of the couch.  Scratching the dog’s ears, she said. “It’s you! Love my little puppy, yes I do!” She kissed the dog, scratched her ears some more, and kissed her again. “I’ll be back in an hour,” she said to me.
Blondie came down the stairs a minute later. “Wait up, Mom!” she said.  She stopped to say goodbye to the dog. Blondie questioned the animal at length. “Who’s the prettiest dog? Who’s the smartest? Who’s the most loved?” She kissed the dog, and said, “Love my doggy!” She walked down the hall to the basement door.  I heard her from the basement stairs say, “See you Daddy.”
If they hadn’t told me a hundred times, and showed me in a thousand ways, how much they loved me, I might have been annoyed.  Instead I called the dog over.  She curled up in my lap.  “You’re not that cute,” I said as I scratched her back.
Because I might forget to say it, today I will show people how much I love them.
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, June 1, 2017

 47. Beating My Head Against the Rock
I heard the uncertainty in Holton’s voice as he told the group he was going to drink again as soon as he got out of treatment and off probation.  Like a lot of people, Holton was caught between a rock and hard place.  Holton was doing what many people did – beat his head against the rock.  He was going to drink more just to prove he could.  He reminded me of toxic couples who hated each other but got married because they feared being alone.  It never ended well.
Holton needed to climb over the rock.  Maybe on a Twelve Step ladder, maybe by some other means, but not by drinking.
Today if I find myself between a rock and a hard place, I won’t bang my head on either.

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, May 31, 2017

46. Bad Luck
“Hi, I’m Holton, and I’m not an alcoholic,” Holton said, mocking the usual way people introduce themselves at AA meetings.  “I was fine until the local cops got jealous of my car and started following me around.”
“Your blood alcohol level was .15,” The Other Ken pointed out.  “Almost twice the legal limit. Do you think maybe that’s why they pulled you over?”
“You know it’s all about money.  The courts collect the fines. You collect my insurance money.  Everybody’s got a hand out. Just like last time.”
Morgan snorted. “Oh honey, two DUIs? Don’t you think it’s about more than money?”
“Money and bad luck,” Holton said a little unsure.  “Bad luck and money.”
“You seem to be creating your own bad luck,” Austin said.
Today I won’t create my own bad luck.

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, May 30, 2017

45. Complacent Me Here
“You never rest, do you?” Morgan asked.
“I’m afraid to stop moving,” Quinn said.  “My daddy was Army.  He used to say ‘Complacent me here to help you fail.  Get it? Like complacent sent me, but you get rid of the second ‘sent.’  My old man had a thousand sayings, but that was his favorite.  He’d been everywhere, seen everything, Used to say ‘rest on your laurels long enough and you’ll discover they’re really poison ivy.’”
“He sounds like a lot of fun,” another new guy, Holton, said, dripping sarcasm.
“He truly was,” Quinn said.  “And he was never complacent about looking after people. His soldiers, his wife, his kids – we all knew he was figuring on ways to motivate us, make us better, happier, more productive.”
Today I will guard against complacency.
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, May 29, 2017

44. Looking Up
Quinn was new to the group, and a sad story, but the only one smiling.
“Y’all walking out the swamp, just like me,” Quinn said. “Difference is, I don’t look down. Why would I? I know the muck. I was born to it, and I waded in deeper. I feel it tugging at me with every tired step I take. Don’t need to look at it. I look up.  I look up at the dry land, where I don’t have no charges hanging over me.  I look up at the mountain where I’m going to school, getting a job, getting married, livin’ like a person.  Y’all look down where you are now and be miserable.  I’m gonna keep walking, gonna look up, gonna be happy now.”
Today I will look up.
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
Happy Memorial Day!

With heartfelt gratitude to all who served, and all who sacrificed...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

43. Alarmed
The group congratulated Austin on staying clean and sober.  He said, “I got another letter from my brother. He’s doing great. “
The Other Ken asked, “Did you ever find out why he’s writing letters instead of texting you?”
“I looked up the post office where his letter came from.  There’s nothing up there. Small Canadian town with a couple of stores.  I called the postmaster ‘cause there wasn’t much on the internet about it.  He said there was an old logging camp being fixed up by a group called the Church of Middaymorrow.  The pastor keeps everyone’s cell phones.  They all write letters. Said they seem nice.”
An alarm went off deep in my brain. I heard ‘church’ but thought ‘cult.’  I emailed The Other Ken, saying I’d look into the Church of Middaymorrow. “Probably nothing,” I said to my laptop, “but it’s never a good idea to ignore alarms.”
Today I won’t ignore life’s alarms.
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