Step 1. Alcoholics Anonymous. Way back. Like, waaaaaay back. Years ago. Quietly suspecting that those words might hold some magic. Quietly suspecting I might have a problem. Quietly drinking. Quietly suppressing, trying not to bother anyone. Quiet. I read those words somewhere…and waited for the magic to happen. It didn’t come. Admitting I was powerless over alcohol was embarrassing even as I thought about it while I was alone.
Fast forward to last year. 2013. Lent. Gave up alcohol. Again. Thankful that there were only 3 days between Ash Wednesday and the first Sunday of Lent so that I could drink. I always thought that fasting from whatever we gave up on Ash Wednesday was kind of like a “gimme” to get me through till Sunday. Not like when Lent is in full swing and you have to go a week before you can have what you forsook. (? That sounds weird, but I think it’s right.) Regardless. Irregardless. Either way, I.never.made.it. I came close once & then I drank on Good Friday. I felt like such a schmuck. There I am, going through all the motions and traditions that are so dear to me – and then I drank – sigh. Sigh. Jesus came and died for the sinners, for the sick. I counted there.
2014. Through inspiration from someone very close to me, I stopped drinking. To be in solidarity. He gave me strength. Knowing my inspiration’s battle gave me strength to look at my own war within myself. I was astounded that I could quit. Like that. Like being on a tightrope and feeling completely at ease. I just decided to do it. I counted the days. I was so happy when I made it past 7. Like, I had beaten my Lenten record. What was up with that? I was going to Alanon. I was seeing a counselor. Turns out, I may have had some problems to deal with. (Insert sarcasm;) I started accumulating weeks. Of sobriety. Me! And I liked it! Then I started getting a little worried. How long could I do this? On my own. I wondered about the “white knuckling” I had heard about.
I went to LA. I was invited to an AA meeting. I may have blogged about this before – anywho – as I listened to the part “How It Works,” I was hooked. Yes, I had a desire to stop drinking. Yes, I wanted what those people had. I.found.my.people. All my life – I started drinking when I was 7 – I looked for a place – a place where I fit in. Just like I was. No pretense. Just me. And all my faults. All my baggage. And I had to go clear across the country to find it. Imagine. I had not experienced that kind of true contentment in a long while. Years. And contentment with myself, not because of someone or some outside force. I was happy to be there and felt I found my way home.
Fast forward again. I came home and began going to AA meetings here. I got a sponsor. We started working on my steps immediately. With my sponsor, who knows more about me than any other human on the face of the Earth, I admitted I was powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable. I couldn’t do it alone. My life could not continue the way it was going. Something had to change. Drastically. So, Step 1 began my true journey to sobriety and finding myself. I was finally able to start pulling back the curtain on my life and letting the sun shine on all those secrets for all those decades. And through this journey, I have felt the Son shine His beautiful mercy and love on me. On me. A wretched sinner. A sorrowful, repentant sinner. A simple person who knows what it is to NEVER fit in – who has to think back decades – like before my dad died when I was 8 – to remember feeling like I belonged. It was amazing.
Yep, a blog post will have to do. Today has been great. One daughter started school, the other starts tomorrow. The one who starts tomorrow wanted to have fun today. We did. We went to a traiteur (healer) for her back. Not that that was on the “fun” list, but she needed it. We swam for over an hour in an great indoor pool. We had lunch at Whole Foods & saw the Fantastic Four (not so fantastic, but it was a great excuse to escape the Louisiana heat and eat Milk Duds). Home. Which is weird. Because we are supposed to be “separated” which we are? In a way. In many ways, actually. But.those.old.shitty.habits.just.kick.in. and I want to scream. I even pulled out my “Facing Codependency” book that I carefully worked through all last summer at the beginning of my odyssey of sobriety and getting my shit together. And not taking anymore shit. Shit seems to be the word of the day, folks. Anywho. I thumbed through the book. That raised my anxiety because I saw my notes that I wrote from last year. WTF? WTFFFFF>>>>? If I could go back to last summer and kick myself, I would. You should see some of the shit I wrote about what was going on. So fricking anemic. I have grown a whole lot in just over a year. I get that. But today.
Today I feel like the elephant who gets the chain taken off it’s ankle, but doesn’t leave. I find myself doing all that old shit that I used to in anticipation of my husband’s return from his day – what can I do to make his amazing day more amazing? And I’m beating myself up because even though he is tolerating the new normal – which includes me NOT being a waitress/indentured servant placed on this earth to make sure he has everything he needs and wants and doesn’t have to wait long and can act like an asshole when he feels like it and it’s probably my fault anyway…yeah, those days are over. I do love cooking and I cook a lot. I just want to break this feeling that I must be that old person. It pisses me off that I even go there.
I have fixed this situation in the past by asking myself, “What would I do if he were not here?” And then I try to do that. But it isn’t working today and that sucks. Plus, I’m tired. My mind goes into overdrive when I should just take my foot off the gas & chill. I intended to get my Beast workout in. I don’t think that’s going to happen since I went all Michael Phelps earlier – not with weed, just with swimming.
I think I am going to give myself permission to have the rest of the evening off – see what needs to be done – do what I can – realize I am not a servant – enjoy the last evening before daughter 2 has school tomorrow. I still feel pretty wonky inside. I tried to download an app & there’s not enough storage available on my phone – it’s a good app about codependency devotionals – okay fine, so I tried to back my phone up on the computer. It didn’t take the crap off my phone that I wanted to take off & now everything I plug my phone into says “Not enough storage available.” Screw you, Steve Jobs. I mean that in the nicest way. Mostly.
sigh. I feel a little bit better now. Mostly because of that last comment to Steve. I’m sure he gets where I’m coming from.
For being the pebble.
From the bottom of darkness
You fought your demons alone,
Scared and hopeless.
Until even that bottom cracked and splintered.
Then you said those very small words,
“I need help.”
So focused on you
And getting you into the sun,
It didn’t occur to me that
I, too, had been living on the bottom,
Dark and lonely.
You were the pebble.
You created such a quiet, widespread ripple,
You can’t imagine.
I was simply trying to help you,
But you were helping me.
With each passing week and month,
The ripple continued it’s quiet spread.
Your ripple has swept up all of us,
In one way or another.
Light shines down
And illuminates all the hidden pain.
Thank you for being the pebble.
It is my honor to be the ripple.