(written over several
days weeks… short bursts of writing) (not part of ongoing series)
Four years! I’ve made it without a drink for four years!!!
I couldn’t make it past four hours, unless I was sleeping, before I finally decided that I had enough of that lifestyle. Now, I’m making it past yet another annual reminder. It feels amazing to have accomplished this goal… but I’m still an alcoholic and I’m still in recovery. I dove too deep when I went exploring… I’m still fragile. I told someone the other day that I still feel like I’m in recovery. They looked back with a puzzled expression… The wandering mind of an alcoholic…
I was just kind of staring out into nothing, thinking about the abuse… the torment. It just flashes so fast when I see the name of some of them. It will happen every once in a while, on Facebook. I’ll see the “suggested friends” or whatever it says and then the name and a much older face, sometimes an older version of the same bully or sometimes I can’t even tell who the fuck it is, even though for whatever reason they were one of my bullies. I had quite a few.
The redness in my face, the fight or flight racing through my body, the anxiety rush, all hitting, but then subsiding as it does. It subsides faster as the years go by, I hypothesize. Seems to anyway. I just stare at the face and then click on the profile… looks like an idiot. Trump flag flying idiot, still in the small town, no chance of ever leaving, escaping, but blissfully posting about “libtard dems” etc… I think about how lucky I am that I wasn’t welcomed into the group back in school. Thinking internally, “Thank God that I had been abused and bullied enough that staying there, in that small town, made absolutely no fucking sense. No fucking sense at all.”
When you’re a tiny kid with a speech impediment… and you’re the new kid in a first-grade class in some small town in Texas, it’s amazing how a tiny brain knows that they are in a bad situation. You know that shit just aint right. My new school and I was already in two fights my first day. Well, I was getting punched. Not really fighting. I couldn’t speak correctly; I was broken, and those kids beat me up because of it. I was in speech therapy until 7th grade. That’s a lot of hell… and High School was worse. The abuse that I endured for years, the heavy drinking beginning, the hard drug use, the anxiety, the suicidal dreams. It was so bad, but it began to get easier to process as an educated adult with a degree in psychology and a desire not to drink. A desire not to die.
It’s been four years since my last drink, but I still feel like I’m in recovery. No relapses, but still on thin ice. Strength through fragility… just knowing how weak I am makes me stronger. I know that I’m damaged, in need of repair, shouldn’t be pushed too much… even with the passing of this anniversary I’m an alcoholic that doesn’t drink. I’m an addict.
The time that goes by heals slowly and the days that pass without drinking tend to accumulate like snowflakes or like resin in a pipe… my life has been so fucking weird, so destructive, so anxious, so nervous, so scary to be a part of and to watch from afar. Addiction and education are what stick out when I think of the last decade, the last four years have been just hanging to a life preserver… feeling good about my chances but knowing all the stories about the circling sharks.
I try not to think about the past too much unless I’m writing, but I think that we all have moments where we drift away, thinking initially about good thoughts… presents during a special Christmas or some crazy times with friends, but then the thoughts begin to become dark… sad, thoughts of abuse, embarrassment, times when I was mean, times when I was victimized… it’s difficult to go there… to that place in my brain, but it’s a bit more familiar now at 50 then it was when I was in my 20s… I’d just drink it away back then, but now it’s almost like I’m thinking about a different person in my thoughts of how I processed life as a drunk. My alcoholism is a war. My war. I’m winning right now… strength through fragility.
This post took a long time to write for very little content. I kept waiting to have something deep to write or some huge epiphany, but instead I just ended up writing short bursts of thought, thinking, “no, that’s not quite it.” And then stopping.