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My driving motivations and how I’m trying to change my life are much more complicated than I had originally expected. Right about the time that I quit smoking the thought was that I would simply attempt to look on the positive side of things and continue about my life. Soon thereafter, I found that neither one of those things was as simple as I made them out to be. I had to find something to do to take away my stress, where I once used smoking for that purpose. The withdrawals were actually not even the worst part, as I found out through the first few months of wanting a smoke every single day. Quitting cold turkey was the only way for me, but I found that wanting to smoke every day put me even more on edge than the stress that was building up for lack of an outlet.
As time accumulated, I found that the urge to smoke was eventually irresistible and decided to smoke again. Within one-half of the cigarette, my stomach felt like it was turning inside out and I was returned to the first time I had ever smoked a cigarette. After that point, the part of not wanting to smoke became easier and easier until I only thought about it when I was stressed. Even today I contemplate going back, but then I think about my kids and what I want for them. To add to it, the smell of smoking is no longer appealing to me in the same way it used to be. Now it is more of a reminder of my past, and hopefully a reminder of why I went off tobacco, to begin with.
While I was going through the recovery stages of getting off of tobacco, there was the positive thinking to try out. At first it was simple enough, and as things came up I would simply pick and choose when I could be positive about them. As this pace picked up and it became an almost daily occurrence, the whole message started to get convoluted and even a little diluted. Instead of being positive about everything and being cheery to back it up as most people do, I left my dark sense of humor in place and instead just focused on how to put a positive twist on everyday events. So this is not the 'glass half full, sun is shining rainbows up my ass'. Instead it is more of a 'life is going to fuck you in the ass either way, so you might as well lube up and enjoy it (make the best of it)'.
Having an aggressive personality, I rely heavily on my wife to help me live among civilians and not lose my shit every day. All of my ideas that are crazy, off the wall, or even ones I think are normal (I guess they aren’t by civilian standards), are bounced off my wife first in order to accomplish this seemingly normal task. So when it comes to being positive in an otherwise terrible environment, I have found that it adds stress to my life… but also somehow diminishes my irritability throughout the day. The only exceptions to this are my 3 kids, those perfect little jerklets that seem to have only inherited the traits that make them a combination of assholes, smartasses and bullheaded from both my wife and I. Those three are the only thing I’ve ever been positive about and still lose my mind by the end of each full day that I take care of them by myself. Or even on days that I barely have to deal with them, the oldest can mentally drain me within about 30 min.
Family aside, my positive mentality has been gaining a foothold in my daily routine starting first thing in the morning. As I am not a morning person, this comes as a shock to me, but along with running (on the mornings I can) it has made it to where I actually look at each day in a different way that I used to. Yet my base goal has remained constant, and I am still a smartass and take time to enjoy being an asshole to those who deserve it. One thing I have always believed is that those who do wrong to good people deserve worse than they give, and good people who help others deserve better than they give. I feel that this is the real way that life should be lived and honestly, I take more joy ruining a bad person's day than I do going out of my way for a good person. In either case, I now find more joy than I used to in my life and it helps me to stay positive overall.
One last part of my new self is the way I live and eat/drink. After leaving the Marine Corps, I found that it was really easy to lose track of the days/weeks or sometimes even months, as civilian life is nice and cushy. Eating and drinking too much in all regards is just a mainstay of the American way, and the easiest thing to do is not keep track of the simple things in life. Unfortunately, this leads to all sorts of health problems, and I was experiencing a multitude of them without realizing the cause. This was especially true of fatty foods and alcohol. In truth, they are both a similar chemical that the body almost always craves, and mine was a glutton for both. I would not say that I was an alcoholic, but I did drink more than most civilians on a monthly basis. My tolerance was high and remained high because it was what I was used to, and it was a way to basically keep the past alive in my mind. The fatty and sugary foods that I was eating in excess were no better, and probably caused more problems for me than the alcohol. But at the time I still thought that my metabolism was where it should be and that I wouldn’t have the same problems as other people.
Food was my biggest indulgence, and lack of exercise left me literally out of breath during times that I should have been able to do more. I first started to notice a problem when sex left me out of breath; where my mind wanted more, but my body was asking, what the fuck? We had just started to cut out fats from our diet when I noticed the problem, and it almost seemed like things were getting worse. As our diet improved I still saw little difference and ended up gaining weight when I started anxiety medications. I was gaining 2-3 pounds a day, and not an ounce was muscle weight. This was when I finally broke down and started some small exercises every couple of days. As I progressed and started to see a difference on the scale, I started to feel good about working out and got my wife to start with me. Then as we were walking, my wife stopped and couldn’t move… I ran for the vehicle carrying my daughter. To my shame, I was only able to run short sprints and was winded at every turn. This was the point in my life I really took up working out to get in shape both for my wife and for my kids. I couldn’t be the one that they looked to for protection if I couldn’t even move my fat ass. After that point, my diet changed ever so slowly, adding things as I learned about their benefits. My exercises increased to the point where my only goal was to get better, with no end in sight.
This brings me back to drinking, and as we all know, alcohol can cause weight gain just as quickly as food can. A couple times since we started eating healthier, my liver has basically let me know that I needed a break. Each time I end up feeling sick as a dog only after drinking, and the cure is pretty simple... I take a couple months off, and start slow when I do start again. These breaks have also helped me make the most progress with my exercises. But before I continue, I should state that I do not drink more than just a beer around my kids. That is, unless I am already drinking and get a visit because someone either had a bad dream, or I need to change a diaper (can’t wait to be done with that). Even then, I keep it as far away from them as possible while they are so young. Be that as it may, I do enjoy my alcohol and have no plans to quit permanently. I have family members who are borderline alcoholics, but in my opinion, I have proven my strength of will by quitting cigarettes and want to keep at least one vice. The only times this vice really takes second place in my time to myself is either when I think my wife might let me fuck her, or when I have a workout later in the day. Either way, I have found a nice balance with my personal time to keep myself positive and feel that it has only helped me through most days. But as with everything in life, there is always a balance that must be maintained and for now, I have found mine specifically.