I woke up crying in the middle of the night, covered in cold sweat. I dreamt I told my Dad (who passed away 5 years ago from cancer) to fuck off, with a few choice turns of phrase. I can’t remember much of what led up to it. Something about the missing base to a table, that had a round glass top. A bicycle with a book in a wicker basket strapped to it’s side. A cluttered antique shop. My parent’s kitchen. I was irate and angry.

Storming out of the room in my dream, I felt instant guilt and went back to apologize. I said I was sorry and hugged him – it was too real. I said “I am so sorry. I’m sorry. I have a list ‘this long’ of things that are bothering me. I’m stressed out. I’m so sorry.” I could actually feel his skin. He smelled like the factory he worked at when I was a child. Like grease and coal. And he put his lips to the top of my head while I was still crying and said ‘I forgive you. For most of it.’

Then I woke up, crying.

For most of it. That’s the part that is haunting me.

I had a good day yesterday, actually. Day 4 on Naltrexone – and for the first time in god only knows how long, I didn’t get totally wasted. The wine just stopped tasting good after a few glasses, so I chose not to drink it (well, I still drank a bottle – but what an improvement from the typical 3, 4 or more.) I also had a 4 hour ‘nap’ from 6-10pm, my typical tie-one-on time. This cold is knocking me on my ass. Regardless, I only have positive reviews for being on Naltrexone and using the Sinclair Method so far. Fingers continue to be crossed.

Perhaps it’s the new pill that is giving me weird dreams and causing the exhaustion. Perhaps it’s all this writing and reflection. Perhaps my Dad came by for a visit to help me release some guilt – his and my own. To help me along on this journey. In yesterdays post, I actually wrote “I would love nothing more than to sit down with 20-Years-Ago-Me and talk about the affair my alcoholic father had that messed up my concept of a healthy relationship.”

So, I put him there. In my dream box. Where you collect little things subconsciously throughout the day, and they creep out at night. It’s been on my mind of late to write a letter to my father. I’ve written it 1000 times in my mind. It’s finding the courage to actually write it that I struggle with. Writing it down makes it real. Makes everything that happened, have happened. I know that much of my anger and addiction is rooted there, so it’s somewhere I need to dig.

In the days leading up to his death, I was struggling to find the strength and humility, the courage to go and have for the first time in our lives a heart-to-heart conversation. And for me to say in words that I forgave HIM. He carried so much guilt his whole life. He’d cry every time I’d leave after a visit for so many things that he did, that I did, that we never talked about. I wanted to clear the air, for both of us, before he took to the skies.

It never happened.

The thing is, you think you have time. 

In fact, there’s many letters I should write. This journal is a long one to myself. But there’s so many people that deserve an explanation, or that I have questions for. Some still here, some now gone – either by death or distance. Re-connecting is a goal of mine for 2017. Reconnecting with myself, my family, estranged friends – people I’ve pushed away and people that chose to leave. Connecting more with the ones who have stayed. Connecting more with nature and my community. Maybe most importantly – disconnecting from toxic things in my life.

I’m borrowing this list from Nicole at Cockatoodledoo, which I read yesterday and was so inspired by:

  • Have more open and honest dialogues with my partner.
  • Make a better effort to keep in contact with friends (not just on social media).
  • Connect with nature, spend a lot of time outside.
  • Connect with my body – use it more, feed it better.
  • Connect with my mind – write more, read more, skim less, spend less time on mindless activity like social media.
  • Disconnect from my phone – treat it as a device, not an appendage.
  • Pay attention to spending and the things I mindlessly consume.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle.
  • Spend more time connecting with my community – volunteer my time somehow.
  • Connect with my discovered (and yet to be discovered) skills – take opportunities to learn new things.
  • Figure out what work life balance really means to me.
  • Connect with my relationship to alcohol, explore sober connections.

I didn’t expect to reconnect with my dead Dad last night. Or to offer him a heartfelt apology through actual tears while sleeping. I am only days into this journey towards sobriety and self-discovery and am already starting to witness positive changes and tiny miracles.

For the first time in a long time, I am hopeful.

Thanks, Dad.

Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


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