And Now We Build The House
Every morning, first thing, I write three pages in a journal (first thing after coffee, if I’m honest), a habit that’s stuck ever since I completed The Artist’s Way back in May 2009. In September, right around my one year soberversary, I started rereading them from the beginning. I counted the stacks today and, including my current one, I have forty journals full of what essentially has become an ongoing narrative of my life for the past almost ten years. It’s a lot of words, y’all.
You know what gets me? How often I referenced alcohol: words upon words about how much I hated drinking, how badly I wanted to stop, how amazing I imagined it would be to never have another hangover, how convinced I was that I was an alcoholic (I no longer identify with that term). So much agonizing over some ultimately inaccessible to me place of moderation, as if by arranging something inside me just right, I might arrive there, like it was an actual geographic location. Though I knew when I started rereading that there would be many alcohol-related references, I am staggered by the quantity. I can reread one or two journals at at time before I have to lay down in the dark or stare at a blank wall for a while. They’re hard to read.
So now I’m about six or seven journals in and questioning why I’m doing this. This journal excavation. But then: I do know why. I’m trying to understand how I got here. I’m trying to connect the dots, form some kind of shape, a shape I could potentially mold and sculpt into something beautiful. I want to make something beautiful of my life! I don’t want to die with nothing left behind but a decent book collection, a twenty-pound best friend/dog, and these piles of journals spelling out desire after desire with nothing tangible to point to. I want to point to something. I want to hold something in my hands, pass it down to whoever lives on after me, even if it’s other people’s children, or a humble library.
A big part of me wonders whether re-reading these journals is actually helping. Mostly it’s just freaking me out that things don’t actually seem all that different now, that I still have a goddamn far as fuck way to go to be the adult I so desperately long to be. Sure I’m sober, but I’m still terrible at managing my finances, at making money. I am newly single, starting over in that regard at almost thirty-five, and contending with the fact that since I don’t hang out in bars, if I want to meet anyone it will probably be THROUGH AN APP <shudder>. I just graduated with a masters in writing, which is cool and all but guarantees zilch as far as employment opportunities that will be lucrative enough to help me pay back my debt in any sort of reasonable time period.
But; and: I’m sober. And this is everything. This is the thing that has me not in a full blown panic, this is the thing that tells me I can keep going. I can keep going, I can stay right here, I don’t have to flee myself. And so I will. Because I have a foundation. Which, incidentally, is my word for 2019.
Now I get to build the house.
If it wasn’t obvious, this blog is indeed a chronicling of sobriety. If you’re looking for some rock bottom blues, you won’t find that here. Because: what interests me is everything that’s come since I stopped. Learning how to construct a life I don’t want to run or numb from.
Now that I don’t drink, I’m moving into the next phase, what’s known as emotional sobriety. This is the phase where a person must do the work to uncover/heal/transform all the parts of themselves that pushed them to drink/use in the first place. This is the place where the proverbial Shit Gets Real.
One of my 2019 commitments is to post here once per week. I’ll be exploring all this. I will be sharing how one builds a house of one’s dreams as I go. There will be resources, events. I hope to have some friends contribute. I hope to create something beautiful, to give light to the darkness(es). I hope to do right by this choice that has given my back myself. I hope to eventually forgive myself for not having a different past. I hope, perhaps more than anything, that it is helpful.
Maybe this is good enough for now. After all, I need fifty-one times more content :) But yeah. This is how I’m starting the year. No resolutions, no lists, no “top tens.” Just me over here, continuing the process of getting my shit together, one Topo Chico at a time. Fantasizing about an eventual bonfire, with thousands of pages of kindling at the ready.