What do we DO when the rules we played by don't hold anymore? Hear stories and thoughts meant to help you get back up when life bring you to your knees.
The first time, I bellied up to the bar after holding my father's hand while he actually died.
In our comfortable, modern world, mere mortals like myself aren't really equipped to help someone actually die. Of cancer. Even with Adderall onboard, it was painful and hard.
Some deaths, like some births, happen with a sigh. Not my father! He went screamin' into home plate by raising himself up off his hospital bed, propped up by his elbow and piercing me with his one good eye. His olho de coyote, golden eye. The other was scorched shut by the air escaping from his oxy mask.
From that one eye, he gave me all the love he had and I urged him onward. "You ornery thing, it's time to go!"
I felt him sitting beside me at the bar-- as I took a long, drawn-out pull of champagne from my own split. It was just that kinda day.
The next time I found myself day drinking on a Monday, it happened after my old boss became my new boss, when my former employer bought my current employer. In the four-year time span between that happening, my old boss had more than TWO DOZEN people among his staff of roughly twenty either quit or get fired by him. Yeah, no, they hadn't yet fired the white male patriarch from the patriarchal Catholic organization. Shocker.
So, I was next. My time was up. I left on my own accord. After accepting a generous shut-up package, I once again bellied up to the bar.
No. I'm not an alcoholic. And let me be clear, there is NO shame in admitting to being one. But, there is something liberating about day drinking on a Monday. When it's clear that all the rules and private agreements we make with society-- as good girl and boy scouts-- we discover are total bullshit.
Dad isn't always right.
My father always assured me that I would cry my most bitter tears in my twenties. As much as I adored my wonderful father, I learned that is categorically NOT true. I've learned it can happen any time.
In my life, I've discovered there are three key losses that bring us to our knees: The loss of a loved one, the loss of our health and the loss of our livelihood. There is also a fourth loss that can happen. It is the loss of our illusion that we are in absolute control. It's that loss of safety, security, and the definition of predictability in our lives. Whatever form that fourth loss takes, whether through infertility, becoming a victim of violent crime, war, terrorism, or even living amid a global pandemic... it's. Just. Loss.
I'm NO psychologist.
I'm a marketing communications (MarCom) professional. I'm what some call a "spin doctor". Until a few years ago, I always looked on the bright side of life. I was born that way.
Then my 16-year marriage fell apart.
My dad came to live with me and my son, soon afterward. He, literally, had a tag on him like Paddington Bear and was a poster child for co-morbidities, living with congestive heart failure, obesity and cancer. Two years later, he died of cancer after I wore myself out caring for him.
And I lost my job. Three times in three years.
Ouch. And I'd be damned if I was going to let any of those fucking things break me.
I had a household and a family and I could not afford to fall the fuck apart.
Tear out the page and start writing again.
So, I broke up with my old story. Over time I re-wrote that story and re-defined what things like "happiness" and "friendship" and "family" and "career" mean to me. Along the way, I got to know lots of people who shucked the textbook example of "Modern American Success".
And wrote their own.
Day drinking on a Monday-- whether coffee, tea, or something stronger-- offers insight on how to recover from major life losses. It comes from my experiences and other now-veterans on the front lines of life's tragedies. NONE of them are therapists. We all got knocked down in the sometimes dark and dirty game of life and found a way to pick ourselves up, dust the seats of our pants off and get back into that game.
It's okay to be in a dark place when shit rains down like hellfire upon you.
But don't wallow for long.
There are people and places counting on you.
Most of all, you count.
Just for the sake of you.
First and foremost.
How Day Drinking works
This is a work in progress, on how to recover from the loss of a loved one, of our good health, or of the loss of our livelihood. As it’s unfolding in real-time, I’ve been wrestling with the “how-to’s”…how to organize it, whose stories to tell and in which format to tell them.
Recently, I received some great help from one of my BFFs, Tara, and, well, Bradley Cooper. Well, not really, but really. I love dreaming while I sleep at night; letting my mind and my imagination take flight in ways that the laws of physics just don’t allow in our waking world. So, the other night, I dreamed that Tara hosted a house party and Bradley Cooper joined us.
Now, I’m not one to be start struck, so a world-renowned actor in my dream is truly something of note. During the shindig, Tara introduced me to him. He asked me about Day Drinking and I shared the very real truth that I’m still working it out. Without being prompted, Bradley let me know that it should be all three—stories, fables, and truisms. Some of what I have in the “vault” leading me to this point includes these genre and he said for me to share them, all. Okay, well, obviously the angels wanted me to take note.
As you read on, you’ll read some true stories—with names sometimes changed to protect one’s sacred privacy. You’ll also read some ideas, and insights—in the form of fables and truisms—on our livelihoods, our health, on love, caregiving, and re-establishing a sense of safety and wellness.
My fervent prayer is that you get through all of this. I hope you get to the other side, that you’re healthy, happy, and prosperous—becoming an actual magnet for true love in all its forms, for joy, and kindness. To go from survivor-to-thriver as a love-and-money-magnet…that is my wish for you…for us, all.
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