in between

One day last week, I was in the bathroom before a meeting. I washed my hands and fixed my hair. I saw myself and smiled. I got a rush of excitement. I was so glad to be there. That had never, ever happened at a meeting before. I suppose it was because I was proud of myself for going and grateful for how recovery had saved me, how it had dropped me there, alive. I suppose it was an in the moment kind of thing. I was happy, I was grateful, I had not often felt like that before, so I was excited.

Before recovery, I had no spirituality. I rarely felt connected to anything. Often, still, and always, then, I am a little boy who didn’t get asked a lot of questions. I think of all the work I’m doing, the meetings, the therapy, the meditation, the writing and talking – the work that I don’t think a lot of other people have to do, even though I see other people doing it all the time. I remember being a little kid, drawing on the floor of my bedroom, alone, remember staying up with a flashlight under my Duck Tales sheets and marking X’s on a calendar, of not wanting to go to sleep or wake up or face the next day. Later, I saw it in my writing. Everything I wrote was about despair. I sounded so disappointed, because I was. I believed I was doomed by my past. I had evidence for that belief. Nothing I had done before I was 18 ever made a difference in how I was treated. I still had to go to unsafe places. I still was not asked. I felt like I was outside the realm of human experience.  I didn’t feel anything like connection until later, after 19, when I was drinking, when I was walking down the street with a buzz, with my headphones on.

The only way I could feel okay was to have an ever-growing list of accomplishments and achievements. I had a checklist instead of a life. Now, in recovery, I realize that I’m there in between the things I check off. I’m able to exist in the present moment, regardless of my resume or my looks or my past. I’m still connected, still human.

I start spinning on something now, something that I can’t get past, and the anxiety burns and twists in my chest. I think: How will this ever go away? And then I simply say: “This isn’t mine.” It’s something like turning it over to the care of the universe. It’s realizing I’m just one little part. It’s a relief. It’s a joy.

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3 Responses to in between

  1. AHHHHHH Serenity! It does sneak up on us. So appreciative of you for putting this up. So glad to hear this wonderful stuff. It gives me hope for others and myself and inspires me greatly. Keep it up. 🙂

  2. Riversurfer says:

    It made me glad, to read that you were proud of yourself – because you have in fact make one heck of a difference in your life. Naturally with the help of others, but still – would you not have had the willingness to become sober, then no one would have been able to help.

    I too am proud, happy and grateful and recognize myself in much of what you wrote about in this blog post.

    This sense of recognition, the community that we (all the blogging alkies) share here on the internet is marvellous, I’m glad to have found your blog and will continue following you on your journey through recovery and sobriety.

    Take care!

  3. Thanks so much, both of you.

    Riversurfer: Ya being proud is a tricky one. I’ve spent so much of my life beating myself up, pursuing perfection, and hating myself. It feels important to be gentle, to be proud of myself for the healing and spiritual work. It feels like I’m being proud of the little kid inside me, cheering him on. That feels right when it’s combined with the acknowledgement that so many people, and something bigger than people (whatever it is), did this for me, too.

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