I’m present. I’m home sick and have been up all night with a 7-month-old baby but I’m present. Some vitamin B and coffee combined with the exhaustion are creating an odd hyper awareness in me but it’s ok and I’m here for it. 

I sit with my son out back on the brick ledge of our garden to get some fresh air. He gazes at the vibrant green tomato plant in front of us and bats at it aimlessly with his still clumsy hands, trying to gain purchase of the leaves. A colossal sunflower towers above us, beautiful yellow exploding in the midday sun and we appreciate that too. It’s pleasantly warm, but not overbearing. 

I study his hands. His eyes. His face. He’s getting big. He’s starting to babble constantly. He laughs wildly when you tickle him and has a huge grin for anyone who looks at him. He’s eating carrots, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and applesauce. He takes everything in with wonder. He exists in the here and now and he just is. 

We sit on the ledge, and I think about how grateful I am for this. How we can simply sit outside together taking in the world and we don’t have to do anything else or be anywhere else.

It makes me think about the old days. The pain. The daily self-imposed suffering. The constant need to always escape reality by any means necessary, no matter the cost. All the things, all the time that I gave away freely in my disease just for one more moment of respite from myself. All the hurt feelings and stress my behavior created in the lives of others. My utter inability to maintain presence for a single moment on any given day. Uselessly expending what little vital energy I had left on mental trips to the past and future. Victim mentality. Selfishness. 

I sit here with my baby son, and I think about these things, and I flash through the years since. The detoxing. The treatment centers. The years of rebuilding – of making things right to the best of my ability. Of trying, sometimes failing, but mostly succeeding (all things considered). The pain of being honest with myself, of being vulnerable with others, the taking of inventory, the trudging of this spiritual path. The remarkable endeavor of getting clean and having a beautiful life built up around me through sheer miraculous grace, and tough legwork. A life I never want to give away again. All the time spent soul searching, building relationships, creating memories, therapy, learning, prayer, and meditation. The acceptance that I’ll probably always learn things the hard way and surrendering to that. Finally understanding that I’ll always be a work in progress, that we all are, and that that’s ok. 

All those things culminating to this moment in the garden and I’m back. 

The warm sun kisses our skin. A monarch flaps its feathery wings past our faces and alights on the sunflower blossom. We both watch it; we’re both here for it. The sweet scent of jasmine floats in the air. A beige lizard warms his belly on the concrete nearby and watches us carefully. I’m tired. I’m sick (but not like I used to be). I’m aware. I’m present. I’m here and there’s nothing in the world I’d ever trade, or give away, for this moment. 

People heal every day; anything is possible. It’s never too late – and you’re never too far gone down that you can’t be saved.

P.S.  I used to take this blog as an act of service. Something I did that was strictly for others. And while my main principle has always been grounded in providing hope to families and individuals struggling, I’ve come to realize just how important and therapeutic this is for me as well. It feels good to write down the way I feel, the things I’m going through, and the places I’ve been. The good and the bad, equally. It helps me have perspective in my life that I sometimes lose in the hustle and bustle of everyday living with a family of four and a full-time job, and the myriad of other circumstances that arise in this crazy game of life. It can be easy to lose your presence. Some days feel like I’m bouncing from one task to the next with no time or anything of substance in between. Writing helps me regain that. It helps me practice gratitude, an enduring coping mechanism that should be in everyone’s toolkit. It helps me reflect in a positive way on how far life has taken me – the depths to which I’ve sank, the peaks I’ve climbed, and everything and everywhere in between. So, with that, I’d like to thank you for being an audience to it all. For the opportunity. For letting me see, and be, myself. Thank you. 

With love, 

Sean – In Recovery