I get asked quite a bit about what I’m most grateful for in sobriety and that can be a difficult question. Most folks I know are very thankful for their recovery and protect it fiercely and most of us have SO MANY perks in sobriety that we can hardly narrow them down. From small things, like always remembering where your car is parked, to bigger things, like not telling your Trump supporting Aunt to shove a pine-tarred dildo up her ass on Facebook. There is SO MUCH.
I could seriously go on for hours about how well I sleep and how terrific I feel physically and yada yada yada, but for now I’d like to expound upon one such affliction that often plagues the drunk and addicted.
We alcoholics are widely known to have a “thinking” problem and not just a drinking problem. I’m no different. The obsession that came with my alcoholism was absolutely stunning and terrifying at the same time. In hindsight I sometimes wonder that if I’d just focused all that effort and energy into something productive and worthwhile I may have stumbled upon a cure for Cancer or invented Alexa. That’s how much time I spent thinking about booze. However, it was a slow progression. In the beginning I would bemusedly sit at my desk at 4:30 pm and think longingly of a frosty martini waiting for me that evening when I arrived home. A treat for surviving such a mundane day. Or a challenging day. Or a great day! It didn’t matter, the martini was still waiting, like an old friend or an obedient dog. Always ready to comfort me and help me relax.
It didn’t take long for it to sink in deeper than just a passing notion. You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all been on our way somewhere and suddenly we’ve forgotten if we’ve left on a iron or a hose perhaps, or a lit candle in the living room. It is ALL YOU CAN THINK ABOUT until you remedy the situation and that is truly what alcohol became to me; a grand obsession. Would I have enough? Will the party have vodka? What if it’s beer and wine only? I’ll have to pack a damn flask. Will I have time to get a buzz on before the game starts? Can I drink a full glass of whiskey before the dinner party commences? I HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING FOR GOD’S SAKE I CANNOT GO IN TO (insert really any situation here) UNLUBRICATED. ARE YOU INSANE?!?
And so it went and let me tell all of you aliens out there that can drink responsibly and in moderation; IT WAS EXHAUSTING. It became not just a preoccupation, but almost a demonic fixation. It was draining mentally and down in the deep recesses of rationale I knew it wasn’t a favorable complex. I wasn’t stupid, I knew it was going to end badly, yet I didn’t care. I didn’t want to die, of course, but I didn’t really want to live, either. I wasn’t blatantly ignorant, just a raging alcoholic. I know the lines are nebulous at times, but there IS a difference. We bend reality to suit our addiction or maybe it’s the other way around. Someone once said, “we don’t see the world as it is, we see it as WE ARE.”
Of course it got worse. I would bargain with myself over day to day chores in order to reward myself with a cocktail. I moved happy hour up to 3pm instead of 5pm when I was unemployed. Booze ran my schedule and trust me, it’s no way to live, if “live” is even an accurate term. When I say booze owned me, I mean it, it OWNED me. Friends would ask me out to social functions and I would come up with lie after ridiculous lie why I couldn’t join them and the somber truth was that I couldn’t fathom being out in the world without my bottle by my side and let’s face it, finding a purse that holds a two liter of potato juice is a fashion challenge. And guys, if I did get caught out in the bright headlights of sobriety I was not happy about it. I would actually get physically restless and nervous about where my next drink was coming from. Very quickly I transitioned from someone who drank to feel differently to someone who drank to feel normal and that is when the darkness began to sink its talons into what used to be me.
From that day forward every day became about when I could start drinking and where I would get my booze and anything that fell in-between had to surrender to that shameful schedule. The social butterfly quickly retreated into a cocoon and we all know where that landed me – into a web of isolation and lies, and ultimately, into liver failure.
Now I am no longer shackled to that weighty and oppressive ball and chain. Alcohol had me in it’s death grip and it took over two decades for me to realize that the grip was becoming a noose and if I kept on that schedule, I’d eventually take my own life. The freedom that comes with sobriety is nothing short of exhilarating. A lot of newcomers to sobriety note with delight on how much extra time they seem to have now and it’s absolutely true. It’s amazing what you can accomplish and appreciate when you’re not blacking out, lying to yourself, or avoiding life on life’s terms, for starters. Again, I’m not saying it is easy, it’s sure as hell not.
But it’s so very, very worthwhile.
I don’t need to explain this photo to you pet owners out there, and I laughed out loud at this technique for keeping your cats/dogs/hamsters away from your Christmas tree. I also *may* have a girlfriend who has a small child that is also afraid of vacuum cleaners and in order to keep said child in their room at nap time she puts the vacuum just outside of her kid’s bedroom door. Now, I’m certainly no expert but that is EPIC PARENTING in my book. And just think, the money she’s saving by NOT purchasing a baby gate can go into his therapy fund for when he gets older.
During this process I’ve rediscovered some journals that I’ve kept over the years. It’s been cringe-inducing to read the rants and musings of my 20-something self, but also insightful and at times, hysterical. I hope to use some of these ancient missives in this blog and this was one of the first entries I stumbled upon. It stuns and saddens me that I knew 28 years ago that my drinking wasn’t normal.
I’ve left the spelling and syntax untouched as I feel transparency is tantamount to honesty.
Days as cold, grey and cloudy as my mind. The cool morning air and stacks of smoke billowing from the dirty inner city, as I find my way home. The cafeteria is a blurred, scattered conversation that I’m not part of. These people have had showers, and more than likely, sleep.
Sometimes it’s a lot easier to keep fucking up your life than to deal with the hassle of keeping it straight. Sometimes in the afternoons you find it’s difficult to remember who you saw or spoke to that morning, or in fact, exactly what you did. After all, you know better than to attempt to remember last night. You always feel more alive at nite, anyway. It’s dark and smoky and there’s something cold and alcoholic in your hand and you know that you can pretend all that you want tonite, and then pretend you didn’t tomorrow.
The nites in between are the best. The slow nights with the regulars are cool, but almost everyone feels they should be somewhere else. It’s a shared feeling, and we drink to it. There are nites when you can’t breathe and everyone is there, and you couldn’t care less. The nites in between are the unexpected ones, the ones that keep you going back. All the “right” people show up, the nite is young and the drinks flow almost freely. You feel that life is fair and good and lucky to be a part of it – and you feel like you fit, if only for a little while.
Then there are the days sometimes you find you can’t stand, and it’s 6:30pm. You laugh, and order another round. You toast to irresponsibility, watch the sun set through dirty windows, feel the lights as they flicker on, and wonder where tonite is headed, and you.
Every now and then you’re alone. Not often, but sometimes 15 minutes to 3 hours can catch you and you look around and inside. You see bills unpaid, and no $ to pay them with, if you’d even thought about it. Six classes missed and it’s only Wednesday. Unreturned phone calls, and a stack of laundry piled up the the closet shelf. So what do you do? It’s Wednesday $ night, and you grab something off of the top of the laundry heap, hope it doesn’t smell too bad, and run to Gus’s* to bounce a check and start the ball rolling.
* Gus’s was a joint on the strip in my college town that would cash checks for students. You know, back in the day when there weren’t atm cards and the like OMG I SURVIVED THE DARK AGES YOU GUYS.
So let’s lighten things up a little bit and get away from alcoholics and dead best friends. Well, strike that first one, we’re gonna talk about my Mother. My Mom is one of the most courageous, strong, and inspirational people I know. She really is. She’s also one of the funniest, although often, she doesn’t mean to be. If you know me in real life I have likely held you verbal hostage at length and told you ridiculous tales involving my Mother.
This is a seasonal favorite. Gather ’round children, it’s time for. . .THE NUTCRACKER STORY!
Years ago I was hosting a Christmas party at my place and per usual, my Mother arrived early to help me prepare and naturally, to start drinking. Ben and I would often call this our “primer coat”. You know, the drinks you have before you leave the house. Or have people over. Or go to work. You know, something to put some glide in your stride before the main event. This is normal, no? Um, no. Nonetheless, it was part of my preparations.
Anyway, as I poured her a
carafe glass of wine, she walked around my living room and took in the Christmas decorations while throwing out snippets of observations and thoughts. I put the finishing touches on my cheese plate and tried to keep up.
“So, I’m still not sure about Christmas dinner. No one but me likes fucking sweet potatoes. Did you get your new trashcan delivered? I haven’t received mine and I’m about to call the city and raise hell. I swear to God Jennifer Ann all I want to do is recycle my booze bottles and they make it so damn difficult. Did you make a hot dip? I should’ve brought my hot seafood dip, that’s always a crowd pleaser but those fucking shrimp are a bitch to clean, then again if push comes to shove you can use canned shrimp, but they make me nervous.”
And so it went. Now, my Mom has always been a colorful lady, but it’s not like her to drop an F-bomb unless it’s really, really warranted. She doesn’t let ’em rip like her kid does, and I’ve always applauded her restraint.
She was over at my fireplace mantle where I had placed two nutcrackers on each side for a nice bookendy look, with my evergreen wreath between them. It is also significant to note here that my Mother is notsomuch with the pomp and circumstance of Christmas. She loves the baby Jesus, sure, but she’s always thought that the commercialization of the holiday was somewhat blasphemous. She had picked up a nutcracker and was working it’s handle up and down like it was silently trying to talk to her.
“Mom, are you alright? You’re swearing an awful lot right out of the chute, don’t ya think”?!?
She glanced over her shoulder and looked at me quizzically, and I truly don’t think she realized she’d been quite so salty in her vernacular. Upon my comment though, she DID realize it and a sly smirk slowly spread across her face. (Can I also mention here that my Mother is very petite? This bears nothing on the story itself but it helps with the visual because in reality she is just so stinkin’ cute and elf-like.) She stared right at me and slowly moved the nutcracker’s mouth to move in sync as she loudly exclaimed “well, fuuuuuuuck yoooooouuuuuu!”
I must’ve had quite an expression on my face because she immediately began laughing so hard she almost dropped the offending nutcracker, and of course I started giggling as well from the sheer shock of it. It’s one of those memories that makes me chuckle now just at the silliness of it all.
Years ago when I talked about writing a book my Mother encouraged me but asked me to respectfully wait until my dear sweet Grandmother passed away, and really, that was fair because there’s plenty of things in my life and about me that I wouldn’t want her to read about. My Mom had already embraced me as a disappointment* but my Grandmother still coveted my potential. She’s gone now and all the skeletons can come bursting forth from my closets but from that Christmas forward when we went to visit her my Mom and I would use the word “nutcracker” in substitution of two other less appropriate words that are not nice to say around your sweet Granny.
Mom: “Here Jennifer Ann, your Grandma made some hot beets for dinner. . . have some.”
Me: “Um, no thanks. More for you!”
Mom: “Nutcracker. She made ’em and you’re eating ’em.”
So, really The Nutcracker story is one that keeps on giving, year after year. My Mom and I still say it when we can’t share our thoughts the way we’d like to, which is pretty often as you might imagine. She’s coming to visit this Christmas and I can only imagine what pearls of wisdom I may pick up while she’s here. Much like a twisted version of “Elf on the shelf”, I’m somewhat expecting a similar nutcracker situation after she reads this post. She may additionally add the caveat that SHE might in fact have to die before I author a book because of posts just like this. I love you, Mom.
*My Mom is an endless source of positivity and encouragement in my life and always has been. She understands the value of a joke even when she’s the butt of it. She’s a professional, after all.
If this song doesn’t get your feet tappin’, then I don’t know what will. This is a delightful combination of some of my favorite things, i.e. booze, prison and music. Not to mention one of the best band names, ever. . . Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats.
Now for seventeen years I’ve been throwing them back
Seventeen more will bury me
Can somebody please just tie me down
Or somebody give me a goddamn drink
If you’re a drunk like me then you know the feeling. That notion that someone may just have to physically tie you down to stop you from pulling the proverbial plug outta the jug. I get it, I do. Back in the dark ages when I was trying to quit smoking I entertained picking a discarded dirty butt up off of the ground and lighting it in the throes of that nasty addiction. I KNOW. Did you just throw up a little in your mouth?!? Of course you did, because that’s a normal reaction and addiction is anything but normal. I will also admit to exclaiming “SONOFABITCH! Gimme a drink!” just like the enthusiastic chorus for any reason whatsoever in our household because it tickles me and annoys my sweet husband. WIN-WIN, you guys.
As the holidays approach I find myself thinking about Ben daily. Due to both of our illnesses, we haven’t spent a Christmas together in a few years but I think we had a 10 year run before we broke our streak. On the years we weren’t able to reunite we still squeezed in some trips but something was always special about our holidays together. Most of my friends knew Ben so his visits during the holidays were always cause for get togethers and celebrations.
I guess when someone you love passes away it’s normal for you to retrace your steps in the woulda-coulda-shoulda department and although not usually helpful or insightful, I find myself doing exactly that a lot lately. I think that most people end up feeling that they didn’t do enough, but what they did do, they hoped helped. Ten years later and I’m still wrestling with guilt from my Father’s passing but this is different. My Father led a long and exciting life. He was an adventure, and so was Ben, but Ben’s time was cut short and I find myself re-living every conversation we had before he passed this past May.
I spoke to him the week before he died, and remarkably he seemed almost like his old self. His confusion was minimal and his smartassery was fully in tact. You know what we discussed? Fucking ginger ale.
Today as I was on my morning run I talked to him as I ran along the river. It was early and it was foggy, grey, and still. I told him about my weekend, and the parts where I thought of him. I told him I missed him and I’m still pissed about his leaving me behind. As the tears started to well up I told him I wished he’d give me a sign of some sort. A sign he’s listening, a signal that he’s still with me. The request was part nonsense and part hopeful. Just then Cher’s song Believe came on my iPod (yes that’s right I still have one and you’ll pry it out of my cold dead hands, assholes) and although I put the damn song on there in the first place and it was on random shuffle I began to laugh out loud as I ran and then burst into Oprah’s ugly cry and had to stop running and wipe my eyes.
During one of our trips to New York years ago, Ben and I had wandered into a gay bar on the upper east side but it was after we’d been “over served” at many establishments and had found this place purely to bogart some air conditioning and re-hydrate. It was early afternoon and there were only a few folks gathered around the horseshoe shaped bar. We were not in the best of shape. We’d been partying for four days straight and it was the end of June and hotter than the hinges of hell. We were exhausted, and we stunk. I truly think it was one of the few times where Ben and I just sat in silence. As Ben later would lament, we’d had a little bit of enough.
And then it happened. One of those old queens crammed a crinkled up bill into that tragic jukebox and on it came with what seemed like 10,000 decibels, BELIEVE, by Cher. It wasn’t rehearsed and it wasn’t choreographed, it was just ridiculous. Ben leapt to his feet and began dancing and I jumped up with him, laughing and incredulous at his sudden burst of energy. In seconds the few folks that were in the dump began dancing too and our bartender handed me a tambourine while shouting encouragement to all of us. Ben was doing his very best Cher as I banged the tambourine on my hip in what I thought was the beat, laughing hysterically the entire time. We danced and spun ourselves around and the bartender poured pink shots of something delightful for all of us. As the song ended there were cheers and applause and Ben and I collapsed into our martini’s giggling until the point of snorting while we high-fived the rest of the impromptu ensemble. For years we joked about that spectacular shared moment with complete strangers in the awful heat of the summer in Manhattan.
That was a long time ago but it came flooding back with cutting precision this morning and although I felt lucky to remember it in such detail, it cut loose a piece of my grief that I’d been clinging to like Ben’s memory.
WHY? I want to know why. WHY didn’t I just go to him when he first got sick? Why didn’t I call more often? Why didn’t I call his Doctor’s and get more information? WHY WASN’T I THERE FOR HIM? He would never have left me like I left him.
Of course, I know in my heart that’s not the case. I know it’s not the truth and it’s my guilt and remorse talking. I sobbed by the river and slowly came to the realization that at the time I simply couldn’t go to him. I COULDN’T have helped him because I was in the fight for my life at the exact same time that he was. I wasn’t in my right mind, and I couldn’t make decisions for myself let alone think through a process in which it would take for HIM to recover. The difference between us is that I had help. I had a husband and a family and people in my life that would not let me give up. Ben had ostracized everyone and that is exactly what alcoholism does to you in the end. It tells you what you want to hear and common sense and rational thinking go out the window. He shut everyone out and one by one, we all tried to help him in our own ways, but he just wouldn’t let anyone in. Looking back I feel like I didn’t really try listen to him because in my heart I knew in the end, it was all lies. He, in turn, told me what I wanted to hear and he kept it up until the day he died. It was a dance of sorts and we both knew it. We knew the last time we saw each other that it might be the last time but we didn’t discuss it. I still don’t know how I feel about that.
I truly believe in my heart that the real tragedy is that by the time Ben was willing to accept help, it was simply too late. His body and brain were ravaged by his disease and it was just too damn late. And that’s the heartbreaking part of this whole thing, his hope at the end. Now the world is short one hilarious, kind and gifted person and I’m short one best friend. Like I’ve said since he passed away, now I have to make MY life count twice as much.
I hope he knows. Knows it all, I mean. How much I loved him and still do. How much I miss him and will always. How every Christmas from now on will be bittersweet in his absence. I profoundly hope that he’s found the peace that he so desperately searched for while he was living.
Can he see me? Is he watching me on my journey? Does he know how I feel and how I wrestle constantly with the choices I made for the both of us?! Does he know he mattered? Does he know my heart feels emptier now that he’s gone? I hope so. I hope he knows that we are all better people for having known him.
Yes, I think he knows. That’s what I choose to believe.
In 2015 I was discharged from the hospital with a very puny and sick liver and a considerably fat folder filled with recovery options and programs. It was overwhelming, terrifying, and embarrassing all at once. I didn’t want help, which made it even more unappealing but I also knew that my BEST thinking and resources had landed me in the hospital in the first place so I figured maybe I should give it a shot. Some call this the gift of desperation and that’s a whole other post all on it’s own.
A friend of mine who has over twenty years sobriety under her belt offered me some rookie advice. “Don’t walk into any recovery program and try to identify only with the others that appear to be like you. Listen to everyone. Look for the similarities, don’t latch on to the differences.”
So naturally, I thought that was bullshit but started reluctantly going to meetings. It was then that her advice made sense. It’s easy to sit across from someone and nitpick every single detail about their experience, especially if it’s not in any way similar to yours. You can smugly think well, that’s NOT me, I would never do something like that when they talk about drinking straight bourbon in the morning. You can sympathize with someone who is going through a divorce because of their drinking problem, but you think, again, poor thing, thank god I have the support of my family.
You can play this deceptive little game for hours and sometimes it may make you feel superior in some fashion, or maybe like a little less of a drunk, perhaps. If you look around the room you’re going to find quite an assortment of folks, I assure you. I’ve mentioned before that alcoholism doesn’t discriminate. There’s an annoying but truthful saying you hear around the Sanka* counter and that’s “alcohol doesn’t care if you’re from Penn State or the State Penn” and that’s the damn truth, Ruth.
I don’t remember when I stopped hearing and started listening.
I won’t say the clouds opened up and I heard angels blasting trumpets or anything, but it was just like they say in the movies, the proverbial lightbulb went on and it stayed the fuck on whether I wanted to listen or not. They spoke the truth and the truth is exactly what I needed to find in myself and that my friends, can be a challenge. You know why? Because you don’t want to know. Not really. I sure didn’t. Like Gloria Steinem famously remarked, the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
Suddenly I found myself nodding my head in almost every meeting . . . a lot.
I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
I can’t recall what my first epiphany was but over the last two years I have them more often than I don’t. I can’t tell you how comforting it was to find my people, even if they were a bunch of drunks. Well, then again, it’s because they’re a bunch of drunks, isn’t it? I remember listening to a woman divulge that she had such terrible social anxiety that she sometimes practices her laugh. I heard many newcomers confess they wondered if they’d EVER HAVE FUN AGAIN and I was terrified of that as well. I can remember one meeting specifically where someone opened a can of diet coke halfway through and we ALL froze like we’d been tased because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US heard a beer can opening instead. We laughed like ninnies instantly at our shared reaction.
Of course, there are similarities that aren’t quite as light hearted. I found that I’d earned my seat among the masses that had been to jail and been convicted of a DUI. Most had embarrassed themselves in public and I think 99% of us had experienced blackouts on a regular basis, and that’s not funny at all.
The shame binds us but the humor unites us and that’s what helps you start to heal. It’s simple, but it’s certainly not easy.
I’ll try to help if I can.
* Remember this shit? And I do mean shit. First of all, who drinks caffeine free coffee?!? That’s like a non-alcoholic beer. WHY THE FUCK BOTHER?!? Then again I never drank coffee or booze for the taste. I remember a crappy jar like this in our pantry cupboards in the 1970’s but I guarantee my Mom wasn’t drinking that nonsense. Her coffee is black, her mary’s are bloodied and straight whiskey isn’t a problem.
Everybody say HO! It’s officially December so I figure nothing says “traditional Christmas” more than my BFF wearing my Sheryl Crow coat while donning antlers and shades.We spent countless Christmases together and I cherish most of those memories. What memories I have, anyway. We weren’t ones to shy away from the eggnog, after all. When Ben and I were hanging out there wasn’t a competition to be the voice of reason so a lot of times we were just stray dogs barking at the fence together, as he often would say. I think of him every. single. day. Sleep in heavenly peace, my friend.
I’ve always said that I’m somewhat similar to Herpes, really. You *think* I’ve disappeared and WHAM! there’s a flare up and I’m back. So, I hope you all had a kick-ass Thanksgiving and if you are in fact struggling with sobriety that you made it unscathed through the whole enterprise. These are trying times for the best of us and then you compound the holidays on top of it all and, well. . . it can be a shit show.
We ventured out of town for the long weekend and it was fantastic. Sometimes a getaway can really put things into perspective. I refused to worry and project and/or doom say. I just enjoyed the atmosphere and the holiday hustle and bustle, ate too much and in general just took some time off to just enjoy the now, as in the previous post.
Now, I’m married so this means that I have to occasionally do things that I don’t necessarily enjoy, but that are important to my husband. No, I’m not talking about dressing up like Danica Patrick in the bedroom (again). . .this time it was college football. Since we were out of state we had to wing our approach to viewing his games and that was finding a sports bar. Now some of you out there are probably wondering aloud why I would purposely strap on a suicide vest and walk INTO A BAR. A dark raucous bar filled with obnoxious and loud folks all screaming for their team while drinking booze and eating fried foods. In other words, HEAVEN. These, you see, are my people.
Well, they used to be. And here’s the thing. They haven’t changed, I have. They seem to be able to still go out and enjoy a few beers and get home safely without the assistance of the backseat of a patrol car. Assholes.
Regardless, it doesn’t bother me to go into bars on occasion. Rarely have I ever been in one sober so in a very real but kind of comical way, it’s like seeing them for the first time and objectively, they aren’t so bad. Well, some are, but this one was pretty reputable and more than that, clean. I may be a drunk but I’m still obsessively tidy.
As we bellied up to our stools my husband suddenly and completely lost his hearing. Wait, let me rephrase that. . . he lost his ability to hear me or any of the surrounding clamor as long as his game was airing. I’m used to this during football season and promptly ordered a ginger ale and struck up a conversation with our bartender who was young, dumb, and full of. . . himself. He had an amusing way about him and I liked him immediately. As we chatted about our holidays he offered up some snippets of his. He was hungover, he mentioned, from a pretty legendary night of drinking with his buddies the night before. I asked him if he had a good time. He grinned.
“I fared better than both of my buddies,” he said, “one broke his thumb and the other went to jail. It was pretty epic!”
I nodded my head knowingly and laughed. I’ve been there, of course. It’s one thing in your early twenties but quite another in your late 30’s and 40’s. There comes a point in your sobriety where you look back on all the terrible consequences of your actions while drinking and then realize to your horror that you kept up that nonsense for another 5, 10, maybe 20 plus years AFTER that awful incident. The fact that really bad shit happened and that it wasn’t even a wake-up call is one that’s hard to navigate in sobriety.
The wreckage in your rear view mirror is personal and unique. Sure, sometimes it’s amusing and funny. I’ve jumped off a second story roof onto a trampoline to the
delight disbelief of other guests at a summer cookout. I’ve drunkenly saddled a stranger’s Harley on Sunset Boulevard and spent the entire night with a dude that could have been Ted Bundy. I crashed a number with The Spinners at a fancy country club party and proceeded to *play* tambourine with them until a roadie politely escorted me off the stage. What I’m talking about is epic wreckage. People lose spouses and jobs and children and relationships and that’s not even scratching the surface of what that it does to you internally and the emotional havoc that comes with the oppressing guilt and self loathing.
Of course I didn’t say all of that to Tom Cruise behind the bar. He was busy texting his comrades about their recovery and I didn’t feel the need to expound upon mine. I just smiled with a little nostalgia and a whole lot of gratitude. After all, who has TWO functioning thumbs and woke up in a snazzy hotel?!?
I’m being whisked out of town for a long weekend getaway! Now, a real blogger would probably have already scheduled a Fun Friday Foto post and all of that shit MUCH earlier than this and certainly not be a fly by the seat of your pants type of writer but have I mentioned that I’m an alcoholic? Really. I mean, COME ON PEOPLE WHAT DO YOU EXPECT.
It’s confession time you guys. Part of my journey is making amends for the wrong doings I’ve done. Another part is acknowledging my responsibilities and my part in each and every situation. Owning your shit, for lack of better semantics.
This is really neither of those things but it’s a little window into my sickness. Since starting this blog I haven’t delved into what really got me into my circumstances or the gory details. Trust me, those are coming. For now though, enjoy this little snippet from 5 years ago. When sobriety wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary.
The year was 2012 and for some insane reason we had Thanksgiving dinner at our home and I still cannot for the life of me remember who the fuck thought that was a good idea. Regardless, I did my best. I enjoy cooking and my in-laws are pleasant enough but suffice to say I’m not really keen on obligatory family get-togethers. This year was no different which is still why I cannot fathom that I volunteered to host the event. Best I can come up with is I probably had a drunkenly ambitious evening and blacked out and called everyone I knew after scrolling through Pinterest and invited them to our home for Thanksgiving dinner. That is some shit I would do. And then not remember, naturally.
So, I had to make good on my promise and boy, did I. We had turkey and all the fixin’s! We cleaned the house! We lit candles! We had kids setting the table! There was a floral centerpiece! It was glorious!
And all the while I was sneaking off into the guest room to take hearty throat-burning shots of whiskey every half hour or so. You know. . . to cope. This is on TOP of my mixed drink that never left my hand AND the wine I served with our dinner. A deadly trifecta my friends.
In an act of divine providence I got lucky. I managed to stay upright during the meal and only slurred my words a teensy little bit. Everyone enjoyed themselves and all in all, the dinner was a success. I’m still not sure how.
After everyone left I felt VICTORIOUS! I did it! I AM a good wife! I’m a fantastic daughter-in-law! I can do no wrong! Let’s celebrate with more whiskey! And I did. Repeatedly. We changed clothes and sank into the couch to relish our blessings and bask in the glow of pulling a family dinner out of our asses.
This is where I may end up divorced over what I’m about to confess.
As is sometimes typical in an alcoholic celebratory frenzy, I felt a wee bit amorous. OH COME ON. Like you’ve never gotten a little kissy-face after
eleven a few drinks? My sweet husband had helped all morning with the festivities and well, why the hell not? We were finally alone with a four day weekend ahead of us! Let’s get kinky! Heck, I may even take off my sweatshirt! WOOT.
Well. That’s seriously about the last thing I remember. I hear that
we I disrobed while going up to the bedroom leaving a trail of clothes behind on the stairs, while doing my best Mae West. I then proceeded to pass out during mid-pucker and consequently remained unconscious slept for about 4-5 hours. When I awoke, I was really confused.
I came downstairs to find my husband watching football.
He looked at me closely as I stood there teetering in front of him with my bathrobe on, hair askew, and mascara smeared.
“Hey sleepyhead,” he laughed. I stared at him and then at the kitchen where all the dishes had been put away and the counters were sparkling. Um, now I’m perplexed. And still very drunk.
“When is it?” I stammered. He looked at me, eyebrows raised. “What do you mean, when is it?” I looked around again and out the window. I was still so wasted that I was unsure as to the time of day, and to WHAT exact day it was. I started wondering if I was in fact late for work. Is it morning? Is it evening? When the hell was Thanksgiving?!?
Frustrated, I looked pleadingly at my husband and fought to find the words to express myself and my bewilderment. “Noooo“, I slurred. “WHEN IS. . . NOW?!?” I pointed down towards the floor repeatedly as if that was the universal sign for “present day and correct time, please”.
Seriously. That’s what I came up with. When is now? I somewhat pride myself on my vocabulary and yet I could’ve consumed a can of alphabet soup and shit a more sophisticated sentence than that.
Yes, folks, that was FIVE years ago today and yet my husband finds cause to mimic my performance that day quite often. Anytime I get confused or misunderstand something, he’ll laugh and bellow WHEN IS NOW?! out of nowhere and laugh uncontrollably. Yeah, it’s hilarious. I have to laugh because if I don’t, then it’s just sad.
I anticipate today’s Thanksgiving will be a little different than five years ago, and I’m so grateful for that. I’m thankful for the absence of blackouts, and for clarity where there was once chaos. Now is the time to take inventory of our blessings and say thanks. Now is the time to look back and forgive, and to look forward and be of service. When is now, you ask?!?
Now is all we have. Happy Thanksgiving.