THE NEW NORMAL

When I return to work life, people might not recognize me

Here is the problem, I so identified myself as a “normal” person over the past 8 years of drinking at night, that they had no idea who I really was. The same was true of myself. I would get to work at 6:30 and work until 3:00 each day and would drink from 4pm to 4am with sleep off and on. I didn’t have any hangovers or leave any clue. I hid everything.

“My life at work was stressful to say the least. Without revealing too much, our doors never close and therefore neither did my job end at the end of the day. There was always the next text, email or call that I had to deal with. In over a decade I have not had a “normal” vacation. I was always on all of the time. Needless to say, it doesn’t take much to know that I couldn’t keep this up forever. Even going to Church was at times difficult as I would receive a text, “I need help”. I’d try to text back without being noticed, but by then my concentration was shot.

Homelife wasn’t much easier. With a special needs child turning into a man and other stresses, I could never stop. My child would never be happy with moving on when a difficult situation happened, they would freak, panic and in general, overwhelm everyone. I felt I had to be the one person to try and help, and most of the time I was not successful. Eventually I gained a lot of weight, at 5’9″, I was overweight for many years at 235 lbs. I tired running or working out, but it never seemed to stick. Finally in 2011 I topped 275 lbs, finally ending at 278 lbs, therefore the name of this blog. My wife was going to a doctor who looked at me and said he could help me also. He put us both on a diet and we both lost ~100 lbs. By the time I got to 220 lbs, I began running very slowly. I was able to do 2 miles pretty well and kept at that for a while. I then upped it to 3 miles every other day. Then 3 miles Monday – Friday with a 5 mile run on Saturday. That became my plan. I would run 5 days at the same mileage and then up it by 25% on Saturday. Soon I was topping 50 miles a week, I had a PR in a 5k at 20:48 and my half marathon PR was 1:43. Needless to say, it was during this time I lost the rest of my weight and got to 178 lbs.

Then my running career ended with the injury that I mentioned at the beginning of my first post in many years called, “The upcoming change in my life“.

Somewhere in the time of my short running career the stress from home and work caught up to me and I began drinking. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I remember ending my daily runs with a drink (not Gatorade like people thought). I would always run in the afternoon after work and so it seemed okay at the time.

Here I sit, 2.5 week sober after 8 years and temped so many times to drink, but not really. I feel the urge at the end of a day or at some other point when I would normally say my day had ended, but honestly, I really have no desire to return to that life. My work has taken a lot of pressure off of me in the past month or so and I cannot say more how thankful that I am to my lovely wife who had become my helpmate and rock during this time. Finally my children have moved out and really I had no reason to drink, other than the habit I developed over the 8 years.

Here I sit. I head back to work, 2 weeks from Monday. Who will I be when I return. After a month of no stress, no phone calls, no emails or texts, how will I do when I return. I will be kind and helpful as always, but I will no longer try to handle stress that is impossible to handle. So many people have been so wonderful to me, I would feel like I betrayed their kindness if I turned back. So I will need to figure this out before then. My therapist is giving me help to get through the day suggesting trips to the gym and also helping with cooking dinner which does interest me. I have 2 more weeks before I return, but that will go by in a flash and then I will have to be the new me, not the old me.

Back to the question, “Will anyone recognize me when I return to work?” I’m not sure. I have already had people remark how “light” my lovely wife and I look to them, “You and your lovely wife just seem lighter to us” my friend mentioned. Obviously the storms will come and I will need to take my place on the bridge of the boat, but I must learn to lead and not just run around wiping up the water.

I will need to lead. Strength and leadership is what I have been learning on this break. In two weeks everyone will see how successful I have become at both!

I hope to show them the NEW NORMAL version of who I am. This is a lifetime change, so how will they react? To some extent, I really don’t care.

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