I missed the sunset in Esperanza, a beach town on the Caribbean side of Vieques, where it is supposed to be the most beautiful. I sat eating fish and chips and waiting for the sun to drop, but it was still high and slow. It became clear that it would happen while the meeting was in progress. I would have to choose to stay for the sunset or to go to the meeting, in the back room of the near windowless historical building. For someone who puts recovery first, the choice would be clear, would be easy, would have already been made. For someone like me, the choice takes 15 minutes, of hoping the sun will drop in time to not feel bad about being too late, of resenting commitments, of struggling with addict mind and recovery mind and the mind that observes them both. For someone like me, it’s exhausting. The person who puts recovery first would seem to have an easier time.
A man at the meeting, in the back room of the historical building, where I arrived 15 minutes late, said this: “Everything you put before recovery, you’ll lose.” I’ve seen the evidence for this. I put my relationship before my recovery and we broke up one morning when I called, guilty and hung over and crying. I put writing before my recovery and didn’t write a thing because I was drunk or depressed or hiding from the world and my inner life. If I go back out, if I skip meetings for the view, if 15 minutes turns into 30 into 60 into years, I will lose the sunset.