There’s this guy.

I knew that would get your attention.

Yes, there’s this guy. Not just any guy. He’s well-known among a circle of my friends. His name is Adrien.

He’s this handyman/painter kind of guy who works his way up and down our alley on both sides. He’s been working on homes in our alley for close to 10 years. We have come to call it Adrian’s alley.

He has a waiting list. Everyone wants him. He can do just about anything when it comes to home repairs/maintenance and upkeep.

The last time he did any work for me was about seven years ago. Besides some small projects, I really haven’t done anything to my home since I bought it in 2001.

This home has so many memories for me. It’s a beach home and that means a lot to a small-town girl from the Arizona mountains.

Pinch me… do I really own a home half a mile from the beach? #blessed

This is also the home where I started drinking at home alone in the evenings. I remember how proud I used to be that I didn’t drink alone at home.

And then…one day I did. And it became a nightly affair with wine.

I have the most amazing neighbors. It’s a real community here in Huntington Beach. One of our neighbors organizes a monthly neighborhood dinner where we meet at a local restaurant and catch up on each other’s lives. And it is here that the chatter comes around to our buddy Adrien. Who is he working for at the moment, and when will he be available? We joke and laugh and prod each other as we wait patiently for Adrien to arrive at our home for some attention and care.

And so it has been sometime since I’ve done any work on my cozy beach cottage. It’s an older home, built in the 40s with lathe and plaster walls. They are cracking, and the ceiling in the living room looks as if it may fall down any day.

The phone rings.

It’s Adrien.

Miss René, your up next! What?! Holy guacamole…me?!

I’m up next! 😊

It’s perfect timing really. Isn’t everything in perfect timing?

Adrien got started on some exterior work, and we begin talking about all the things needed to be done on the interior. The list is long and feels daunting to me.

And so he begins… tearing out the ceiling and rebuilding it, removing baseboards and discovering lots of “jimmy rig” wiring.

The more Adrian digs in, the more cracks and holes he unearths.

He works alone, so things move slowly and I am living in a torn apart home that I see starting to come together.

As I said, this home has so many memories. I will never forget the first day that I drank wine during my lunch hour in this home. That day stands out in my mind so clearly. I knew it was a red flag, but I did it anyway. And it turned into a new daily routine. My drinking now began at 11:30 AM.

As Adrien uncovers shoddy workmanship from past owners we discuss how to fix it. Fixing it properly will take more time and money. As he explains, it’s the only way to do it.

It feels so good to be fixing my home and knowing that all of the cracks will be dug out, repaired and sealed.

It’s so fitting. It’s like I’m living in a shell of a home, rebuilding it from the foundation up. And it’s a true-to-life illustration of what I have been doing internally on myself.

The past four years have truly been an unearthing of Rene. I have been digging deep, discovering cracks and holes that needed a light shined on them and repaired. And I haven’t been doing it half-assed. Like Adrien said, let’s do it right. I could have easily put a band-aid on my uncoverings or I could do the work to heal and mend this stuff.

I have been on a course through sobriety to rewire my mind and develop new ways of thinking and behaving just like the circuits in my home.

I love this parallel story. I’ve been slowly building a new foundation in life. The work is never complete.

Adrien and I have already discussed a yearly home maintenance plan to continue the work we are doing now.

The plan for myself is daily maintenance, and it’s so worth it.

* I also got sober in this home. A story for another day.