If I could have known what the following 6 months had in store I'd have drunk my own Kool-aid and taken a swift turn into necessary change. Not to say that I wish the last few months away nor do I wish anything had gone differently because it is what it is and I suppose I am much bigger for it, but at the same time I could have saved myself and those around me the expense.
By all appearances to the casual observer I'd been doing fine. I'd maintain a somewhat decent attitude, my humour was intact, I'd try to remain positive, and I probably looked relatively healthy. To those closer to me it probably wasn't as rosy around the edges. You'd see a pessimist and someone who was quick to anger at smaller matters. You'd see someone who had unceremoniously hung several talents up to dry and was fearful of trying new things or even believing in self to conceive of them in the first place.
You'd see someone who was spinning their wheels in fear.
You'd see a man who'd all but given up on growing up.
You'd see a drunk increasingly losing their way.
And so it went, my living out a day to day, building an impenetrable wall between myself and God and letting my heart become thoroughly overgrown with brambles. Easy to miss from the outside because I'm good at hiding it, impossible to hide from on the inside.
So I drank and let my being fall into darkness because it seemed much easier to dumb down.
These are not easy things to take ownership of and they are even harder to openly admit. I have been down this path before and I have seen small fleeting victories along the way, but it always came back to the resentments and fears and lack of self worth which always led back to pouring on several litres of numbing agent, thus stalling any hope of healing for another day. Mornings spent dragging myself out of bed and going through the motions of daily routine, moving neither forward nor back, heaping layers of shame and oftentimes regret onto an already suffering state, sometimes faking smiles and an easy nature.....all the while tossing matches at a tinderbox that threatened to burn my life to the ground.
It's a really hard thing to admit to, and for months I steered clear of the responsibility, thinking that I had it under control and that it could always be so much worse.
But then things started to get worse. The difficulties in my relationship, or at least in my ability to relate properly within my relationship grew worse. The blackout nights became more frequent. The social gatherings where I'd embarrass myself and/or my partner came more often. My fears and frustrations reared their ugly heads more than I was comfortable with. The mysterious injuries I didn't remember causing myself. The well known beating and robbery I sustained in June. The bike accident in September. The stupid horrible things I said to Britt and don't remember saying. The almost nightly drinking. The sabotaging of opportunities to live life and do something other than isolating and getting shit-hammered.
The matches tossed onto a bone dry tinderbox......it's a wonder that I'm still here.
But, like I opened this dialogue with, a lot can change in a few months.
I will spare the details of my personal bottoming out as it is personal and something that I am still wrestling with. All I can say is that on the night of October 3rd the tinderbox blew up and though my life didn't burn to the ground it most definitely gutted a corridor or two and stripped me bare.
Scared sober and humbled far beyond my own broken ego I turned and walked away from an existence that was sure to ruin me. I got myself to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting pretty quick and made it my intention to give sobriety my full attention. I wasn't sure what I had hoped to get from an AA meeting, but it was helpful knowing that I had support in hearing other peoples stories and being reminded that I'm not alone in this crazy little drunky-drunk world.
In the weeks since I took my last drink I have been clearing away the brambles and breaking down the wall that I have built around my heart. I have been deepening my relationship with my spiritual practice and have been acknowledging gratitude daily.
Waking up sober has been nothing short of inspiring. Sometimes it has even been wonderful. And sometimes it has even been scary as fuck.
My relationship with Britt has been mending well and though things have shifted between us, there is a growing balance and harmony that feels ultimately right and good.
I don't expect the shit I've done as a lousy drunk to be forgotten and in fact I wouldn't want it forgotten as it serves a daily reminder of how not to truly live a life in full.
My relationship with self has been mending as well and though things have shifted there is a balance growing and a peace that I haven't felt in a long time. I am grateful for waking up and remembering the night before. I am revelling in the gifts life is offering, be it a simple breeze, a meal bought for me, something said that brought me back to myself, and most importantly the simple contentment that i am cultivating and growing into by the day.
Believe me, I don't want to be one of those annoyingly happy preachy people but I'm most certainly not going to shy away from exposing and expressing unabashedly. If that means that I meditate, go to an AA meeting every once in a while, develop a deeper relationship to the God of my choice, cry over music, go raw vegan, tell you that I love you, or laugh at your kids fart joke, then so be it.
When the alternative is so dire I think it's pretty clear where my loyalty rests comfortably.
None of this should really come as a surprise to anyone and I'm not saying any of it to shock or to claim that my story is more significant than anyone else's or whatever. I'm not playing victim or hero. I'm not laying claim to any answers and I'm not pondering any deep questions. I don't expect praise and I sure as hell don't want a door prize for my efforts.
I'm just laying it out bare because that's what I do. It's what I've always done, even when I've been stuck in the mud and not seeing the forest for the trees.
It's just what I do. It's all I know.
And in this clear headed sober space I am reminded that it is all I've ever wanted, this life so divine and full of promising change.