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Could It Be..........Happiness???!!!!!

I have felt for a while that I should write something here to try to express what I have been experiencing lately to our friends, and to my loves. I have avoided doing that each time I have approached the keyboard fearing that somehow, were I to capture what I am new and so fragile...somehow it might evaporate, and leave me with the emptiness, sadness, anger and shame that was my life for the last 18 months or so. Today I am going to risk it.

First perhaps in the minds of some who have followed our passage, I am today sober for my 429th consecutive day. The wild change is that I assert this fact feeling no deprivation, or anger, or diminution of my quality of life. I feel great...better than I have maybe ever in my adulthood.

The ending of my alcohol rehabilitation aftercare program, and a recent decision by the court to terminate the remainder of my probation have been a great help in my coming to this point. Those two factors have permitted me to freely stop participation in Alcoholics Anonymous. AA and rehab (while it is clear they are huge assets in the lives of many recovering addicts) have kept me focused on what I have come to think of as an alcohol-centric life. Since I was fourteen my life centered around when I was going to get to drink again...when I was going to get to "be happy" again (i. e., buzzed or loaded), and when I was going to be able to forget some terrifically painful experiences in my past. I was not aware I was self-medicating. I thought I was simply celebrating the joy of being alive. I was mistaken. Alcohol is no longer a major theme of my life or even a minor quatrain. It doesn't enter into my life from day to day.

AA and rehab support groups kept me focused on alcohol as a "cunning, baffling, powerful" kryptonite that was always lurking out there to try to ensnare me and ruin my life and even kill me. It caused me to spend several hours a week obsessing on alcohol....albeit alcohol's absence in my life. It made my life "alcohol centric" without drinking, just with the constant reminder of its power over me. I am not sure if I am powerful now with regard to my drinking. I know I have no desire to drink and I feel really healthy. I don't want to spend the hundreds of dollars each month I spent drinking. I don't want to feel as I did then. I don't want to behave as I came to when I drank, particularly since my gastric bypass surgery. I am enjoying life more now than before, and I really just don't often even consider drinking. Writing this paragraph is more than I have thought about alcohol in the weeks since I have no longer attended AA/aftercare.

Too I am freed from the cultish religiosity that is central and, I think, sadly seminal to AA. I could not buy into that at any level. It is sad that an extended grass roots support community which has such potential for good as has AA, sqaunders so much of its potential for good exploiting addicts whose lives are in crisis to achieve a cheap evangelical religious conversion. This is not at all to diminish the lives AA saves, or the gratitude I feel to AA members who did nothing but try to help me in anyway they could, and who have become abiding freinds. AA is about leading a life that is centered on alcohol and, yet, not drinking. I am, at this point, about leading a life in which alcohol is a memory.......perhaps an occasional afterthought. I am certain some may become angry with me for expressing this perspecitve. Imagine that a heretic!

I don't dislike alcohol. I don't judge others who drink. I am not troubled to be around it. If there was ever a man who has no trouble with alcohol, it is I. I have loved the stuff since I was 14 and lived for it and with it until January 18, 2011. I am glad many find joy in it. I no longer do. I have lots of great drinking stories and memories to tell. I also have a few horrific stories related to alcohol as well, especially in my last days of drinking.

I have an absolutely new love relationship with the two most wonderful women. Amazingly they are my teresa and sue. It is as if I have this great new poly relationship with the two women who I would most want to have it with, and with whom I have a wonderful sense of history and a degree of knowledge and awareness that is greater than I have ever had with any other loves..... and, yet, it is new. I am amazed.

I still don't know who I am now. I do know I am glad that I am, which is a huge improvement over much of the last year and a half. I am on a quest to redefine my identity. Much of what defined my sense of self is gone. I am no longer a son except to the memories of still relatively recently dead parents. My filial experience was key to who I was in the past. I am no longer a professional advocate, and agency administrator and political leader of a grass roots advocacy movement on behalf of people with disabilities as I was for 35 years of my life. That passage ended June 2010...and it defined me greatly until then. I am no longer a young man. I seem daily to realize how long ago the key events that influenced my life and character occurred, whether due to a historical report or the death of a celebrity. I am no longer a John Wayne-like self-made, hard drinking, indomitable tough guy. That persona was smashed and is gone. I know now it was a delusion anyway. I no longer am defined by my childhood traumas. My psychotherspist who has unrelentingly and gently nurtured, cajoled, and confronted me has enabled me to get past the huge anger and shame I had regarding the legal aspects of the intervention sue and t made into my out of control life, and the related PTSD, which turned out to be rooted in very real childhood trauma...all of which led to my self-medication. The resulting health is wonderful. My pathology defined me too though, so even that huge improvement is disorienting in terms of my identity

S0 as sue and t and I move forward now, again and anew, we have to feel our way along uncertain who it is I am, and how we are effected by other major simultaneous changes like the death of t's mother, all of us aging, and the passage of life in general

I don't know who I am, but I know I am having renewed excitement once again about adult consensual spanking and D/s. However this new interest in power exchange and sadomasochistic intimacy is characterized by my being much more my wanting experience from both ends of the power/sensual exchange continuum, and in the middle as well.

Things are much better than I imagined they could ever be again. Everything is not easy. We have financial challenges in our new defacto retirement. I am going to undergo a total knee replacement this June, but all in all my life and our lives collectively are better than I could ever imagine they would become with what we have passed through, and I suspect they will continue to improve exponentially if our increasingly aging bodies permit that.

Thank you so much to the dedicated friends who have shared their caring and support with us here whether in kind words or confronting us with realities we needed to face. You have all given us so much.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.


  1. This has to be the most amazing blog I have read in a long long time Tom. You have come so far!!! YAY for you - and t and sue - You are all examples of what love and determination and at times sheer pig pigheadedness can achieve!!

    I am so happy for all of you !!!

  2. Anonymous6:05 PM

    I am only anon because I have no name is Karen and I have been reading your blog for....seems like ever ( maybe just before your first knee replacement!). I rarely comment, sometimes shed a tear, and often smile,I must comment now however,through a few tears.....I am so glad for you all, especially for you, Tom...for traveling such a difficult journey and coming out on the other side....what a wonderful future awaits. K

  3. Anonymous6:12 PM

    Congratulations Tom! You fought a difficult but courageous uphill battle and came out as King of the Mountain. Very happy for you, teresa and sue.

  4. Dear Tom... as as I finally get a chance to sit down and catch up on blogs after our big move, I am.. moved like Karen to tears of happiness for you! I look out from my new home office window.. and somewhere out there, you have a new life too!!! You have risen above it all.. even after the untold and unexpected horrors all of you experienced, individually, as well as a family. I can so relate as I go through my PTSD recovery too, and the delight in finding a life after it. I am not quite where you are yet, but Paladin, like your T and swan does his best to keep me on the top of the waves and not let depression and other things pull me down. I will strive to be like you in rising out of ashes of a past life, and free, soar in the skies of a new one... like a somewhat singed Phoenix.

    The warmest of wishes for all of you, from the depths of my heart,

  5. Dear Tom,

    So very happy for you. As mouse read your words about AA, a thought occurred that it's very similar to "missionaries" who go into third world countries carrying food and water, books and building schools...yes it's wonderful for them to help others...but after their fed they are preached to...converted.

    Anyway, congratulating you Tom, you have achieved something many can't or won't do! The truth is your higher power comes only from you!! You did the work...all that hard hard work...

    Really, mouse couldn't be happier for the three of you!!!


  6. I am betting in is happiness..for the three of you, and my happiness for you. It has been a lonb tortuous road that few individuals, never mind relationships would have survived...but you have! abby

  7. I read this and truly felt a rush of happiness for the 3 of you. But most of all that you Tom once again see light and love and excitement for life.


  8. weirdgirl7:52 AM

    wonderful to read this, Tom.

    all the very best to you and yours on this exciting next stage of your journey together

    with fondness and deepest respect


  9. Tom, I read often, but rarely comment. I have been on my own journey of sobriety and like you, don't really know who I am anymore. As I continue to put myself back together it becomes easier to let go of the scars that caused the pain, which in turn caused the drinking. I thought I was so strong, I was wrong. Now I am learning to be strong and as the scars fall away I no longer need to numb the pain. The best thing about not being numb is you get to really feel the joy life has to offer. I wish much joy to all of you.

  10. Anonymous11:30 AM

    <3 This is the post that I've been hoping to read for 18 months!


  11. I am SO very happy to read this post!
    I'm sure you'll have bad black days now and then but you've gotten over the worst so it appears to me.

    All the best to you three.

  12. Impish19:09 PM

    Oh, Tom, I am so happy to hear this. It sounds to me like you know yourself as well as many. We change so often as we age that I think knowing ourselves is a life long challenge. Knowing you are happy, and that you have wonderful people to be happy with - that is something to cling to. This post has been a gift to those concerned about you. Thank you.

  13. Ordalie6:42 AM

    Hi Tom!
    I just want to know how you managed to superate that craving for booze. I'm overweight and know I should stop drinking but my resolve doesn't last and after being sober for a few days I rush to the supermarket.
    And it's clear I won't go to any AA since I live in a very small village.

  14. Thank you to everyone who responded to this and to all those who have sent positive energies and caring our way.

    morningstar, I was as amazed to write this blog as you were to read it. Thank you for your friendship and caring throughout the arduous path to here,

    K, how wonderful to have someone who has read here for years surface to comemmorate this point. Thank you for caring and it is good to meet you.

    Joyce, It is always good to hear from you. I don't know if I am a king, but I do feel like I've been struggling up a mountain. Thank you

    Mystress, you have been such a friend through all this to me and to swan and t. Your personal struggles with PTSD have made your insights particularly on point with our experiences. I hope for you that unexpectedly one day the mists of the past haunting your present suddenly dissipate and your life becomes clear. Thank you in particular for your reaching out to us in email.

    mouse, you have been with us throughout and your caring has helped. I think AA is filled with good people who want to help and be helped in return.....not a bad transaction. I don't choose to trade dependence on an alcohol-centric life life for dependence on religiosity and superstition. I am not there a higher or greater power or not. I cannot be saved unless I save myself. This is the antithesis of the belief system that AA demands you adopt and base your life upon. Your comparing AA to the dynamic that occurs within missionaries, i. e., good people caught up in unfortunate religious cults, genuinely working to help others, is an apt metaphor.

    abby, Thank you for your congratulations and support. There was no "good" option for me to survival and growth. Thank god I never chose a horribly "bad" option.

    Renee, it does seem almost foreign to see value and happiness in life again......and amazing too! Thank you for caring

    weirdgirl, you have traveled his journey with us and have invested energy and caring into trying to create a good outcome. I think I may have found least for today. Thank you

    faerie, I know for me I don't yet know who I am. I know I didn't really know who I was before despite the delusional comfort I wrapped my life in that told me I did. I know I am happy in this moment that I am still me and believe that when I discover more about who that is, I will recognize it more accurately than in the past. Thank you for caringand contributing.

    Eamane, thank you for hoping for me/'us. I am glad for this culmination of this 18 month process. Thank you for sharing that gladness.

    nancy, life gives us more black days than any of us need. I thought that "blackness" was my entire future. Thank you for being one of those who helped me find points of light on the way to this clearing.

    Impish1, I know I didn't really know me before though I believed I did. I now feel as though I don't know much about me, but have moments when I think I may be actively blocking that self-awareness. You have been such a special friend to me/us as we have gone through this.

    Ordalie, my cravings for alcohol have ended (I never had classic alcoholic withdrawal thank god). I've lived through obesity and alcoholism. There is no comparison to how vibrant life is now. I thought food and drink were adding so much to my life. Besides killing me they were sabotaging my quality of life not increasing it. Life for me today is thrilling compared to still uncertain and unknown. I had to get here though to be able to contrast the two states of being.

    All the best to everyone of you,


    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.


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