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/