I think I’m prepared for bad news. Since my decision to quit living at the bottom of the vodka bottle back in 2010 when I sat in my jail cell at the Toronto Don Jail, I was prepared. I was living in the middle of a bad news storm while waiting for my sentences which turned out to be… BAD news. When I first received my sentence to 3 years and 9 months, I could have started drinking again from the contraband liquor available on the range when I got to prison but I didn’t. Instead I made a conscious decision to upgrade my life. Besides attending weekly AA meetings as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, I got on the computers and updated my resume. I sharpened my writing skills by writing novels and this blog. I worked out and got my body right as well as my mind. In time my efforts and progress got me out early on something called APR (Accelerated Parole Review), this is where an inmate can go in front of the Parole board in 1/6th of your sentence. If the parole board believes that you will now become a productive member of society, they will test you on Day Parole.
I was released in one year and raced to prove the parole board right, GOOD NEWS, then came bad news. I was falsely accused of selling a firearm and shipped back to the pen, very BAD news! The summer of 2011 when I got back to the range there was many bottles of Smirnoff and Captain Morgans waiting to dull my bad mood. Instead I doubled down on the positive things that got me out in the first place. I was of more service to the prison church, I worked out more, I wrote more Sober Emcee blog entries. I connected with more inmates and tried to spread my positive energy and resources to them to make their time easier as well.
In 90 days I was set free again! Good News! By the end of the summer 2011 I was finally home and back to my girlfriend (at the time) and loving mother. That summer I realized that my mother started having Alzheimer spells and by the end of 2011 we were signing power of attorney papers in preparation for her full on dementia, of which she is now in stage 4 of the debilitating condition. These are very “good” excuses for relapsing people! But I didn’t.
I found the power in my sobriety and realized the different accomplishments that started happening in my life that would have never happened after drunk nights and hung over days. I hold on to the theory that my blessing will all disappear if I take one sip. In most cases when we get really bad news, like a loved one getting sick, losing a close friend or family member, losing a job or more, they take a drink… and that’s okay, just not for me.
Now I live a series of ups and downs weekly. I love the ups of what I’ve created with a popular podcast (We Love Hip Hop) but hate the downs of financial strain from quitting a 50k a year corporate job that I was really good at. My mom hasn’t recognized me since 2015 maybe and that hurts like crazy sometimes, yet I still don’t drink. My mother is going to be 80 years old this year and I know time is inevitably winding down for her, BAD news on the way. However this is in the future and not the present and in the present I’ve made it this far and done it willingly sober. Tomorrow hasn’t been written yet, so no matter how much good or bad news may come my way, I still need to live one day at a time.