It’s 3:07am. Can’t sleep. Haven’t completely conked out since Friday night. I think the Thai Massage training awakened something in me. And now it won’t go back to sleep.

Maybe it's the past two weekends’ new age feeling talk. “Place both hands over your heart. Close your eyes. Feel heart energy field, then project loving kindness. Like a flashlight.”

Kate says I should come back to bed. Long drive to St. Augustine, Florida today.

Before first kissing Kate (four years ago), I needed whiskey or wine to fall asleep. “Needed,” because routine slips into habit slips into addiction. Didn't call it addiction then. Called it routine. And then habit. Then addiction.

Dating Kate, we moved quite quickly. Lived together after a month. Engaged after six. Hiding my consumption became practically impossible. It’s hard to flask sip mocha rum all day at work, then come home, snap fingers, chew gum, brush teeth, function sober for the evening. Shame pushed me to sobriety.

During the year of no alcohol (which started as a month trial, then became 40 days, then just kept going . . . ), I often would wake up at 2 or 3am. Unable to slide back into dream world, I’d write. During that year, the regularity of insomnia led me to apply at Whole Foods for a Baker position. Why not start work at 4:30am? I was already up.

I wrote fiction, exclusively. I mean all writing is born of personal experience. Has those roots. But I wrote from imagination. Wrote about a law school drop out who tried to kill himself. And about this kid named Xavier who befriended Somali college students in Minneapolis. And on and on. Frenetic typing. Quiet house. Slow throat breathing from the bed. Racing mind. Churned out a novel every four months. Gradually I slept in.

And quit Whole Foods. Heinous favoritism amongst management. Plus I was bitter then. More bitter, I mean. But it was a toxic work environment. They wanted my shirt tucked in, my wild hair cut, my smile Crest Whitestripped, and I just wanted to bake bread. Fist-knead dough. Just wanted touch therapy.

Now, four years later, iPhone alarm bings at 5:30. I still write when Kate’s sleeping.

Late dinner last night. Sautéed kale, acorn squash, mushrooms, onions, garlic. Recently, Kate said she’s been having nightmares Really vicious vivid dreams, she says. Google says stress, chocolate, pregnancy maybe.

Maybe the mare is stampeding from her subconscious to mine. Maybe love-projecting raised my energy-level. Maybe my organism only needs four hours of sleep now. Doubtful.

In four hours, the car will be stuffed. Turkey will go in a cooler. The bakery didn’t have pumpkin or apple pie. My sister got chocolate and pecan, I think. Grocery bags of spices the AirBnb probably won't have. Instead. The dog on the floor. Kennel in the back. Bags in the spaces between. The cat is staying behind. Noah said he’d stop by.

My Thai Massage teacher Michael Sitzer says when he’s at an impasse in an interpersonal conflict, he’ll take a break, go to a separate room, quiet mind, close eyes, press palms, heart center, call to mind someone he loves dearly, then push that feeling through neural synapses to the imagined image of his conflict partner. Project love. He says it works.

Pre-Thanksgiving hoopla, pre-conflict, I’m going to try projecting positive vibes. On myself and the whole Thanksgiving troupe.

#altdad #amwriting #alcoholism #diary #insomnia