Before Sobriety: comfortless
After Sobriety: grounded
After Sobriety: LUCKY!
In rural New Hampshire, as in rural, North Carolina, the days can collect themselves at your weaknesses. There is no sightly or unsightly difference between one day to next. I suppose I took other states hostage…during my addictive haze! Ohio, Maine, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, pretty much the southeast coastline…and a few places in between.
However, for aesthics purposes, I will attend to the states of my mind, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
The days in mid winter are long though short. Almost as if, what little light you see, you want to capture in a Bell Jar and hang on to for dear life.
To a deeply satisfied with self, addict. Days, night, hours and seconds, are all relative. A sort despondence occurs. Like the final break to a bough that seemed strong enough to hold back the stormy weather.
My days were never different. Dusky, dirty, impoverished, self seeking and evermore…uncertain.
An existentialist would say that, to truly know oneself you must hit rock bottom. Without rock bottom there is no growth. No knowledge of your inner most virtues.
I have hit, hopefully, my only needed twice…rock bottoms, in two states. The days not much unlike each other. Bright and sunny and full of hope, to someone else. My more recent rock bottom found me entombed by my will run riot. Incarcerated by four walls, two big bay windows and a bed. The whole in my soul had ridden it’s high horse for a full year of anti social behavior. Indeed, I had known sobriety. I grasped it in my sweaty hands…five years prior. I also let it go…as if it no longer wished to be caged. I let it go driving down the highway with a tall boy between my legs, motorcycle weekend on the horizon, in a Scooby Do mini van…looking to get laid at a bar in Haverhill, Mass.
Had I a death-wish? Honestly? Every alcoholic, addict, abuser, I know…has a death-wish. We believe ourselves to be like a cat. Fighting it out until our last life, the 9th, is used up. After relapse, when I begun my descent into madness and mayhem; I averaged a gallon of cheap Vodka and a case of beer per day. Course, the bouts with blotter had to be put aside. The pills? Too obvious to those who watched my behavior like hawks. Booze had strictly been my downfall. Though, when offered, I did not turn down the occassional chance to do illegal drugs.
It’s all relative!
This different day set in rural New Hampshire. Started out with neither a bang, toke or pop. The night before I had been dragged kickin’ and screamin’ to a local AA meeting. Course my captors had us leaving for our destination way too early. Therefore, I had the misfortune of stopping by Home Depot after eating a, this is a bad idea, large greasy fry from Burger King.
Today, I cannot stand overhead lights. Matter of fact, if it doesn’t fit in a lamp…it doesn’t come into my house.
I walked that 1,000 mile journey to the 24 hour chip. Claps, not judgement, all around. I who had been so tough as bitten nails, found myself weak in the knees. Scared of having to deal with the shit storm I had brought about.
That meeting could have happened last night. With vivid detail, I can list who was there, what hung on the wall, the speaker and the kind of donuts being handed out.
After all the well wishes from past friends with sobriety…I laid myself down for a long winter’s nap.
I don’t cry. Given my family history…tears were for those of lesser value. The kinds of people who get picked on. And, that was not for me.
I cried that night. Thoughts rambling around, mixed with Dead tunes and burning incense.
“Once you say out loud you are an addict. That is it! You are banned for life from enjoying a drug or a drink…ever again.”
I hold no one responsible for my illness. And, yes, there had been lovers than neccessary. As well as, a wife and children.
Awake and awakening…that morning, I saw part and parcel, the same shit different day. I had dragged my partner from North Carolina to New Hampshire…promising…change.
Neither one of us found change. You cannot always rebuild a love that has been hit with a shit stick. Lesson learned!
“Once I used to believe
I was such a great romancer
Then I came home to a woman
That I could not recognize
When I pressed her for a reason
She refused to even answer
It was then I felt the stranger
Kick me right between the eyes”
Thing is, the woman I did not recognize had not been my wife. It had been me! Some serious decisions needed to be made. A complete life change and the slightest misgiving that…I would have to take care of myself…for once.
The first week in February is tough, up north. People are generous with their disdain for continued windchill factors. The ice on the windowpane never melts. And, the air seems stiff with indifference.
I believe my sobriety date is in and around Groundhog day! I cannot be absolutely sure. I could ask my ex wife. However, after that fateful day…we did not do much intellectual chatter.
And, though, the room spun, the shakes made my insides feel like roadkill, I opened my eyes to ‘same kind of day, but slightly different’.
I stayed locked up in that room for a week. The detox that time around had been much more physical and far more, mentally grueling. My legs bare and barely movable, made it to the bathroom, the kitchen and back to the bed. The sheets were laden with sweat and tears.
Different? Just a tiny, fragment of an inch!
Oscar Wilde once said,
‘No good deed goes unpunished!’
Certainly he was right. Yet, the morning seemed lighter. Easier to take. The bedroom mirror was not my enemy. It had been an example of what good could come…if I work for it.
I suppose, with deep philosophical thought, it simply could have been that…I changed the prescription to my spiritual glasses. Fortunate was I to know there had been a way out. I know for a fact that those different days. Days that do not come very often. Those times when something is left of center…are a precept. A saturating desire to believe in something greater than I.
15 years later, I still struggle. But I struggle with life on life’s terms. As do…most adults.