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The Broken Road – Adjusting to a Sober Life

The rest of the weekend in San Carlos was spent enjoying time with what felt like my newly adopted Costa Rican family.  There were a few more trips to the river as well as a family dinner at the house of one of Priscilla’s aunts in the area. 

LOVERS CELEBRATE VALENTINES DAY IN BHOPAL.By the time we were packing up to leave, my heart and soul were filled with a true feeling of being content and happy.  It was the first time I had felt this close to happiness in a very long time.  However, there was a little voice in the back of my head asking, “When will this all end like it always does?” That was the alcoholic’s voice talking to me, waiting for the crash that would cause me to drink again.

On the way back to Heredia from San Carlos, Priscilla and I would take turns between glancing out the window and looking at each other. More than a bond of friendship had occurred over the past couple of months, but there was still the pain of not being able to actually be with each other as a couple.  Being that she was pregnant with another man’s child made that a bit difficult especially with her mom picking up on the signs.  Just to let you know, hiding feelings or basically anything from a Latina woman’s mother is next to impossible.

Although we were unable to talk about our feelings out loud, technology created an avenue to express ourselves to each other.  Each day we would begin our days with text messages, afternoon Facebook IM messages, and talking on the phone for an hour or so each day.  Priscilla was the first person I wanted to start my day off with and the last person’s voice I wanted to hear before falling asleep. Even though the situation was hard for both of us, our friendship and love for each other grew more and more each day.  Both of us were the shoulders of support we needed in our trying times.

After a few months of being taken care of by the wonderful Nicaraguan woman, I was in need of taking the next step in becoming self-sufficient.  With the help of Priscilla, I found a room at a bed and breakfast in the same area I was currently living.  The woman that ran the house was very religious and it would be a great atmosphere to remain sober while continuing the recovery process.

The room was small but it had its own bathroom and for the first time in about 6 months I was going to be able to enjoy hot showers.  There was a shared kitchen area and living area, but the room provided me privacy for the first time in a while.  The owner of the house also allowed only males to live there, as she said, “Combining males and females in the same quarters always created drama”; smart lady. There was no alcohol or drugs allowed at the house, which was funny because the guy in the room next to me smoked weed almost every night.

The only other rule was no females overnight or in the rooms with closed doors.  This is normal of most public displays of affectionhouseholds in Costa Rica and the result of it is displays of affection on just about every corner and park bench in the country.  It reminds me of when at age 14 and 15 before having transportation, we would make out in the movie theater.   However, in Costa Rica the kids live at home until they get married and this can be upwards of 30 years old in many cases so these PDAs continue late into their lives.  I guess they realize they will never be able to afford a house in Costa Rica so they might as well live in their parents’ house until they pass on.

All in all, this was basically a kind of halfway house for me.  It provided a healthy atmosphere in which the temptations of alcohol were few and far between.  It was the perfect next step on my path to being integrated into society again.  The next step on the list was obtaining a job to cover my expenses.  I could not ask my parents to cover me during this recovery any longer. Asking my parents for support during this process was humbling to say the least.  I still felt a lot of pain from the fact that they did not come and visit me during my 3 months stay in the hospital.  Each time I would speak to them I could almost feel that they thought I would fall back into drinking when I got healthier. I knew that my past and all of my previous actions put that thought into their heads. It would be a long journey to try to rebuild a relationship with 2 people that meant everything to me but that I had hurt and disappointed repeatedly while growing up.  I always remembered in a Dale Carnegie course I took that it would require close to 20 positive acts to others to overcome the 1 negative action in the eyes of others.  I had a lot of work to do, but had to focus on my life and myself first.

Through another friend of mine, I was set up to interview with a company that sold software to pest control companies.  It was not what I had dreamed about doing while growing up but when you are in need of a Work-From- Home-Job, you aren’t picky.  It was stress free and did not require much effort.  After a quick interview I was hired and would start training the next week.  One thing I had learned during this recovery is that I could not have everything I wanted on my timeline. I had to learn patience and accept that I was not truly in control of the things I wanted to accomplish in life.  I had to take the baby steps required to move myself in the direction I wanted to go and allow the things to happen at God’s pace.  For someone that wants results here and now, this part of letting go was probably the most difficult for me. Good things were going to happen; I just had to let them happen when they did.  Not easy.

The best things about the job were the hours and the fact that they left me alone. There was no real micro-managing which is how I like working. The work day began at 7 am and ended at about 3:30 pm.  The only problem was that I did not see much of a future in this sales position; therefore I did not put much effort into the job. The way they kept tabs on whether you were working or not was by you signing in with Skype and staying online.  With an automatic mouse mover, this allowed me to leave my house each day at about 2:45 and have them think I was still working.  I put in just enough effort to not get fired while looking for another employment position in Costa Rica.

At 2:45 each day I would head to the house of Priscilla’s grandmother for afternoon coffee and my dose of family love.  When I would show up I would automatically feel the acceptance in the humble household filled with cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.  This daily afternoon event was more important to my recovery than the final 45 minutes of work that I skipped each day.  Seeing the bright smile of Abuela when I arrived and getting that hug each day brightened my spirit. But the biggest reason I would make sure I arrived at afternoon coffee was to see Priscilla.

giving-someone-the-key-to-your-heartUsually after about 10 to 15 minutes of visiting with all of the other family members in the kitchen, she would walk through the door. Because she knew I would be there, her tardiness was normally based on the fact she wanted to pretty herself up.  Little did she know, with or without makeup she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. It wasn’t just her outer beauty; it was her heart that attracted me to her. Seeing her smile and hearing her laughter brought a peace inside me.  She did not even know how incredible a woman she was.  She had helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life and I was determined to do the same for her.  Although she presented a strong exterior, I knew the truth. Going through her pregnancy alone was a daily battle that she had to push her way through.

I could not offer much but I did all that I could to try to bring at least a little happiness to her life each day, and try to alleviate the stress being caused by her emotionally abusive boyfriend as he took out his problems with finding a job in the USA out on her.  No matter what I did for her, I always wanted it to be more.

The situation did not leave much room for optimism.  She was pregnant with another man’s child. She had a Catholic mother that was more concerned with her staying with the man that impregnated her than her own daughter’s happiness. She had a father that did whatever her mother said to avoid drama. There was not much hope for us in being together, almost a Montague and Capulet scenario. From the start of the relationship between Priscilla and I, the obstacles and barriers we would have to overcome to be together were clear. Knowing the risks, I also knew the reward of spending a lifetime with a woman that had become my best friend was worth the fight and the journey ahead. Without hesitation I jumped in with both feet and put my heart on the line.  Isn’t finding true love and happiness the only real reason to live?

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.  May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”-Edward Abbey

Next Up – Going Through a Pregnancy

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