The moments in between being born and dying can seem like eternity, the moments that take our breath away, that make us gasp, astonished by our good fortune or bad luck, the moments where we can pause and consider consequences or predict outcomes. Sometimes these moments feel like forever, like when we’re in a car accident and time slows to a crawl, and sometimes they can feel like a heartbeat, like the time spent with my father. Dali’s exploration of the fluidity of time has always touched me, melting clocks draped over cliffs surrounded by melting people and faces mashed with elephants or swans. There is something intrinsically meaningful in the ticking of our clocks, and something overwhelmingly meaningless. Time waits for no one. We have all the time in the world. Time heals all.
My mother was very hurt by my Christmas post, to my surprise and against my wishes, she continues to read this blog, and it’s something I am powerless over. Her feelings, her reactions, her…. life. I’ve reread my words and tried to find something that was hurtful, but all I’ve found is gratitude for the gift of sobriety and being present to enjoy a family Christmas. Perhaps she was upset by the thought that this is the first Christmas I’ve felt present, but that isn’t something I can help, or wish to unsay, because it is my complete and utter truth. It wasn’t said to discredit any other Christmas I’ve had, because I’ve had fun at Christmas time before, but this time around was different and much needed. I needed to be with my father this Christmas. I needed to be present for myself and my family this Christmas. I needed to be sober this Christmas. Jill says part of sobriety is being able to state your needs. This is a big change for me, this ability to recognize needs and a step further in stating them. This is a big first.
For example, every time I got the whip cream from the fridge to douse my pumpkin pie, I had an overwhelming urge to inhale the nitrous from the can. What a retarded way to want to relapse. A 30 second high with a head filled with “wawawawawa” and brain cells quickly committing suicide. Not the way I’m gonna go out. I told my dad, a need to be able to express my addict desires and work through them with support, and he laughed.
I don’t think I’ve ever done that…
He said if he’s going to get fucked up then he’s going to get really fucked up, and I am exactly the same. If I’m going to relapse it’s going to be on mushrooms and acid and extasy and all the fantastically mind enhancing drugs I’ve enjoyed in my past, not some stupid 30 second whip cream can buzz. But I’m not going to relapse, not today anyway, and being able to communicate this funny desire is what helped me to move through it. Also hearing my dad laugh at the thought of wanting to get high for only 30 seconds made it all the more obvious that a) he is in fact my father and b) getting high off nitrous is dumb.
These moments in between Christmas and the New Year are proving to be rather difficult in terms of substance sobriety. I find myself wanting champagne at midnight, wine at dinner, beers in the afternoon. I find myself wanting to smoke a blunt when the ball drops, do a line off a strippers ass at 12:01. I’m staying close to my programs and my support groups because I don’t want to start this whole shit parade over, I don’t want to get high, I don’t want to get drunk or fuck up. I just want to participate in tradition, and those things are my traditions. This year is about creating new healthy traditions, things that don’t cause me pain, and don’t frustrate the people around me. This year is about new. Just as the past year has been about. I’m continuing to move forward, and looking back with gentler, kinder eyes. It’s just frustrating sometimes when the people we love most don’t see how we can move forward together.
Jill says that when one person gets sober, it creates ripples in every person’s life around them. The butterfly beating her wings in Africa deal, and I see how my life changes have caused some life changes in those around me. One of my closest friends, KB, called the other day to say how he is over the effort of smoking weed every day, that he wants to hit some meetings. My relationship with my father grows stronger and stronger with each passing moment, and it’s these moments that are creating our new relationship, our friendship, our father/daughter team. The way I interact with my brother and sister has changed, and they are changing as well, my brother is growing up into a wonderful young man and my sister is facing some very difficult choices in regard to her current relationships and living situations. I try to be a role model for them, and show them both that if you so desire, you can change every aspect of your life and the way you live it. The relationship with my mother has changed, because she can see what I’m going through and knows that it means I will be different. We were comfortable as we were, best friends and completely emotionally enmeshed. I have changed because I am able to see my part in things, able to understand how my wings have caused a big kahuna across the ocean of my relationships. I am not able to predict how any of these people will be changed by my changes, but I am able to love them and support them unconditionally. That is the person I want to be, and the person I am confident in becoming.
The moments in between extraordinary events and daily living make me feel whole. They are the silent moments like now, only the tap tap tapping of my fingers across the keyboard. They are moments dedicated to killing alien zombies with Deezy or sitting in traffic or on airplanes next to strangers talking about how wonderful the introduction of a girlfriend went with the parents. They are the moments like American Beauty’s paper bag, moments of leaves swirling up with the wind and falling back to the ground. They are the moments that make my life meaningful and worthwhile, even if they are moments of nothingness. They are moments of change, and of things threatening to always stay the same, and it’s these moments I feel are best suited to stop, pause, take a deep breath, and decide what kind of person I’d like to be, and what kind of day I’d like to have. Today, I’m going to be true to myself, and enjoy a beautiful day.