Well a belated Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year to everyone!

I’ve been preoccupied with much lately… work, family, aging parents… the usual stuff.

I have found myself becoming reflective over Christmas time.  A time I mostly enjoy.  Yet, like many of us, times of greatest joy are double-edged in that they serve also as the times of greatest opportunity for disappointment and hurt.  We risk feeling left out, let down, etc.

Winter Trip

Today, my kids are up with their Mom who is able at this time to provide a much more affluent lifestyle for them than I am.  For some strange reason, as much as I have experienced recovery and growth, this fact still niggles at me.  Am I envious?  Perhaps.  Do I still have some regret of my financial losses of years ago?  Perhaps.  Am I worried that I may be competing with the other parent for loyalties, and that I will lose a the competition if the playing field is purchased fun?  Yes, I think that is it.

Do I worry that my kids look at me as a failure because I am less affluent?  Ya, gotta be honest, that is present too.

Do I worry that my kids will centre their lives around fun-seeking in ways their affluent side always has?  Yes.  Do I worry they are learning to be shallow, showy, and self-centred?  Yes.

The facebook feed of pictures from the winter wonderland post-Christmas vacay they are on right now is getting a bit much.  It feels like flaunting.  It probably is.  As teens and young adults, my kids will naturally want to show off to their friends all the fun they have.  Don’t we all?  I have to be honest, I do.

Are we that petty?  Even those of us who have experienced a measure of recovery from the depths of pain and calamity?  Yes.  It is part of the human condition.  Most of us, at heart, are fun-seekers, fun-worshippers, and show-offs.  At least in part.

My conscious mind knows that I have been so much more valuable to my kids than being a Disneyland Dad.  I am a recovering Dad, an honest Dad, a resourceful Dad, a go-to Dad.  My kids saw me lose it all and rise again.  They saw me re-marry an amazing woman, change careers, start a business that continues to grow, care for family, be a stand-in Dad to my step kids, and be loyal and available to them 24-7.

They know I take a nice vacation every year, drive a brand new company vehicle, own our own home, and enjoy other blessings that many others don’t.  Yet part of my internal dialogue tells me the privileges they enjoy are grander.

Why do I worry?  Why do I compete?  What unhealthy, unrecoverd part of me is still sensitive to the affluence competition?  What unhealthy part of me is envious?  What overshadows the immense gratitude I normally feel for the life I was blessed with today?

Has our culture, so steeped in the pursuit of fun, permeated me, the non-conformist?

All I can do is be honest, put it out there, and surrender it.  Just for today.

Reflections welcome.




About Chaz

Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Sober member of AA. Grateful for the life God gave me and for the happy struggle of recovery.
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9 Responses to Fun?

  1. A very honest dialogue with yourself. The answers are yours and you gave them to yourself.

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Purpleborough… yes, my questions do tend to turn into the answers I need. I have missed blogging. First post in 3 months. “A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved”, as Dale Carnegie once wrote. I suppose blogging is often my way of trying to make my problems well-stated. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Debbie says:

    Thank you for being so honest. That helps us be more honest too. I could relate to this, even though my circumstances weren’t the same. As an encouragement I want to say that the dad you are being is going to make more of an impression and be an influence on your kids, more that the fun vacay’s and stuff. And facebook has some down sides! God bless you, Chaz, and your amazing family!

  3. Caddo Veil says:

    Oh my dear nephew, I’ve missed you terribly! Thought of you often, kept you in my heart and prayers. I got tearful reading this, for truly you are a wonderful man and father–I understand about those “niggling” things, even if mine aren’t the same as yours. Just the other day, I realized that I finally don’t care what my estranged siblings may think of me–or whether they think of me at all. Even if they comfort themselves with the belief that I’m the “designated crazy person in the family”–it no longer makes me fearful, has lost so much power. If they think my Faith is only the “opium of the poor”, that is truly their loss. I like to imagine they wouldn’t recognize me now–but it really doesn’t matter anymore. And, is this new freedom I have, transitory? I doubt it–we are fluid beings; stronger, more full some days than others–but I don’t believe we lose the “inside stuff” we’ve gained. Chaz, I’m just glad you’re here–you’re my beloved “nephew”, and I’m so proud of you; always grateful to see you again. God bless you and your family with His abundant favor in the New Year–much love, Auntie Caddo

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Auntie Caddo…. thank you for your warm welcome back. Thank you for keeping me in mind and prayer. Sounds like you experience your own family losses and have come to grips with things that are less than comfortable and fair. I think it is healthy to admit when things hurt…. it is ok if there is a remnant of pain over relational loss of family …. whether it be kids, spouses, siblings… as long as it doesn’t direct or define our lives, it is healthy to feel these losses and distances.

      Will believe the best for you too in your situation and this time of year. So glad to be back to the blogs and among friends!

      Happy New Year!


  4. jeremiahandrews says:

    Hello there. I was wondering where you had gone. You know kids always want to be on their best game, and one upping each other is something that goes on with today’s kids. I think the necessity of “looking good” to others is something we must expect. I guess you should take it while you can.

    Peer pressure to have the best, do the best, vacations on a grand scale solidify their standing in community. It should not be a reflection on what you can/cannot provide for them. We (in recovery) do what we can for those we love. This is where I say (what people think of me or you is none of your/our business). But still your introspection is warranted.

    The older I get, and the longer in recovery I am now (11 years) the less I am concerned with trappings and wealth. I am sure they will mellow with age. But for you, stressing what is important and what is meaningful is where you should direct your energies. We aren’t all “Disneyland Dads.” I wish I had the money for a trip to Disney.

    Don’t take things so personally. But be who you are and that will translate into who they become. It is far better to be honest and transparent to our kids. I’m sure if they are able will recognize what is more important. Just remain grounded in who you are, and share that message. It seems that fear of people and of economic insecurity has left you. Since things are going so well. And that is something to be proud of. We may not be millionaires and be able to provide grand class vacations all the time.

    Your kids know who you are. But we must allow them to grow up as they will. All you can do is be who you are and let the rest fall where they may. Don’t sweat the small stuff. and Happy New Year.


    • Chaz says:

      Hi Jeremy…. thanks for the thoughtful comments.

      Yes, the peer pressure my kids feel is certainly a huge factor. Kids have to one-up. Probably always have, probably always will. I suppose my weaknesses just get caught in the crossfire a bit.

      Agreed too that what people think of me is none of my business. Well, I have to say that I agree for the most part. I do hold out that I do have a big part in how I affect people. But I certainly cannot control all of another thoughts and perceptions. I have no idea what circumstances and experiences they viewpoints of me are filtered through and I am not about to take responsibility for all of their circumstances and experiences.

      On my path of recovery, I have discovered that there is much to be learned and much healing to be drawn when I admit the simple truth…. “I hurt”. Rather than “they are hurting me”. The former puts the responsibility on me to deal with the circumstance. It focuses on the “the things I can” change as the serenity prayer states.

      IN years gone by, my knee-jerk reaction was always toward blame of another person for what they were doing to me to make me feel pain. Try as I may, I could never control all of the people I felt were hurting me.

      Today, when I say, “I hurt”, it is the gateway to asking why? And then, with the help of others (fellowship), I seek to discover what it is about myself that I can address and change to deal with the pain. So much more effective than the old way!

      Especially when things are really overwhelming, “I hurt” may be the only bit of reliable truth I can speak with any certainty. When we are writhing in pain, we are capable of saying almost anything… and if we speak untruths, we can hurt ourselves further or remain locked in our pain. Truth on the other hand sets us free. So admitting the pain we are feeling is, again, the gateway to freedom. It is for me at least.

      Looking forward to getting caught up my brother!

      Thanks for stopping in with your insights and encouragement.



  5. Hey Chaz-

    Sorry this is a few months late, but this way you’ll have it for next year.

    The gifts you offer to your children are worth far more than their new material distractions. What you are giving them, by being sober and responsible for your choices, guarantees their futures!

    Learning from your mistakes, as you are doing, you are giving them the guidance they need NOT to follow in your old footsteps, repeat your mistakes and is saving them the trouble of having to learn it for themselves. How much money would you have paid for that gift if you could go back in time and buy your way out of learning it the hard way?

    The best gifts Parents give their children, are the benefit of their experience. Their Mothers gifts might be more expensive, but yours are far more valuable. Your kids know this, and so should you!

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Alaina…. I agree with all you’ve said.

      I do not even wish to compete with their other parent. Why? Would that not be acknowledging a comparison of value?

      I wrote this post at a time when this was bothering me as part of my method for getting it out there rather than let it bounce around my head.

      The circumstances were playing on some of my weaknesses so I wanted them exposed. Can’t fix what you don’t know or acknowledge…. right?

      Thanks for your encouragement. It is a continual process to avoid the influences of our materialistic culture and live in what is real. I agree, experiences are the better gift.

      Thanks again.


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