Fatherhood and Sobriety

Car Trouble

Sputter and Cough

Driving home from a meeting last night an all too familiar shake appeared in my cars engine. The traction control illuminated and I was greeted with a flashing check engine light a mile from home.

“Not again,” I say to myself. I have a feeling I know what this is, and I’m curious because I thought I had the problem fixed 6 months ago. I stagger the car home and I hop online to do some research.

I appear to have another bad ignition coil. Great.

The last time this happened my car would sputter and cough when revving past 2000 RPM, and then get better in the 3000 rpm range…. if I could pick up enough speed to get there. I was confident that the problems was resolved.

Apparently not.

YouTube to the Rescue

So in recovery, I can’t just let this slide. I have kids to pick up, work to be employed at, meetings to get to, destinationless driving to partake in while I try to clear my head from the other shit going on in my life. I can’t let this thing slow me down, so I go outside and start taking the spark plugs out.

My old man comes to take a look and notes that one of the spark plugs doesn’t have the typical white film on it that would indicate proper firing, so we clean it off and stick in back in the engine.

Without a diagnostic computer on hand we needed to get clever with our figuring. I remembered the symptoms of the cars behavior from the last time and we start looking for ignition coil troubleshooting on YouTube, and several videos pointed out that a bad coil, when disconnected and the car is running, will not drop the RPM of the engine. A good coil, when unplugged will.

So we went back out and pulled those mothers one by one and sure enough the 3rd coil didn’t drop the RPM when pulled. We had our culprit.

A Trip to Napa and $60 Later…

We replaced the coil and fired up the car. It runs like a champ. I’m proud of our accomplishment, because this means I’m not hobbling down the highway to get to work again.

The beauty of all of this is that in sobriety, I wasted no time in taking care of this issue. When I was drinking this would have ruined my weekend and I would have complained and hated life, and would have been generally miserable while waiting for somebody ti figure out my problem.

Or I’d have just drove the damn car the way it was and dealt with it.

No Problem

I didn’t have to do that today. I came up with a plan, enlisted some help, and got the problem solved in a matter of hours. I’m out $60, but hey, at least I can afford it when I’m sober. $60 in booze would have kept me in disrepair.

The point is, shit like this comes up in life. Being sober and willing to take care of it is a choice I can make today. I don’t have to let this shit bog me down. I don’t have to let it ruin my weekend. I don’t have to use it as an excuse.

I am sober, and I can solve my own problems.

That is just another thing to be fucking grateful for.


Joshua admitted his life had become unmanageable on April 24, 2016. He regularly attends A.A. meetings and by the grace of God, is allowed to pour his heart and soul into co-parenting his three children.