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Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Wish You Were an Alcoholic Too

Yesterday scared me.

I awoke to a pounding headache, the back of my head throbbing in the darkness of the early morning.
I took some Tylenol, made some tea, and settled onto the couch, awaiting the rush of energy and happiness that would follow once my head stopped trying to kill me.

The pain eventually went away, but instead of embracing the day, I found myself dreading it.  Every time I tried to move, I felt as if I were made of lead, my body and mind refusing to collaborate, my attempts at snapping out of it futile.

It wasn’t just that I was physically tired.  I was mentally exhausted, which for the most part is nothing new, except that usually I manage to suppress it and get on with my day.  But not yesterday.  Yesterday I gave in to the dread, the despair and the depression that kept my ability to DO, just out of my reach.  I felt an overwhelming, frightening, exhausting emptiness.  I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t laugh, I couldn’t think straight.  I could barely move.

It was 12:30 before I even brushed my teeth, and I reheated the same pot of water 7 times, never getting far enough to actually make that much-needed second cup of Earl Grey.

Like I said, it scared me.

I managed to make it through the rest of the day by the hair of my chinny chin chin, but I went to bed in a defeated blur.

This morning I thought about yesterday, and instead of trying to pinpoint the exact cause of my demise, or ruminate on what I could have done differently, I had one, very clear, very profound, very loud and necessary thought:

My worst day sober, has got nothing on my best day drunk.

And then, after I dropped Ian off at school and made sure Andrew was looked after, I hightailed it to my nearest AA meeting, where finally, after much too long, I was able to exhale.

I wish you were an alcoholic too.

I mean, I don’t wish for you the drama, and the heartache, and the guilt (not to mention the wasted precious time) that comes before sobriety.  But I do wish you had a roomful of people that understood you, didn’t judge you, offered you their phone number in case you needed to talk at 4 a.m.  I wish you knew what it felt like to sit among doctors, lawyers, and homeless men and women and watch them hug, support, and pray with one another.  I wish you knew the comfort it brings to be able to know that you’re not the one in charge in this great big world, that you don’t call all the shots.  That you aren’t weak when you cry out for help, and that the greatest asset in your life is to feel gratitude in your heart.  I wish you knew what it was like to relate to a perfect stranger, hear their voice tell your story, and be reminded that you are not alone.  I wish you could leave the weight of the world at the door of your nearest meeting, and know you have a choice in how or if you want to carry it anymore.

Today is a new day.

For me, for you, for those of us blessed enough to still be stomping around in it.

I’m going to enjoy the $hit out of it, if you don’t mind.

One very sober, very grateful moment at a time.

4 comments:

Marcy Massura said...

every time. you tell it so well.

Jenny said...

You're an incredible writer. You've given me a new perspective every time I read one of your post. Thank you.

Britton Minor said...

Jo, you are such a treasure. I love your raw, honest, fighting, loving, talented, never-give-up self. The strength and bravery you bring to every day never ceases to amaze and inspire me.

Your post brought me to tears (for your pain), and ultimately to the place in which I will not take a second of today (if at all possible) for granted.

Thank you, Jo, for being you, and for enlightening and encouraging all of us.

Shelby Barone said...

Just checking in to see how you are doing. :) ((((hug))))