Tonight we read another “Woman’s Story.” Because I am an Alcoholic, was written by our writer, in the 1950’s. By the end of the story, we find out that she is also 28 years sober, at the time of penning her story.
Trying to find out “Who We Are?” is a question that I think is universal, and not uniquely an alcoholic problem.
For every man or woman in the room, there is a story about who they thought they were as kids, then progressing throughout their lives, to the point they drank trying to figure it out, and finally coming to the rooms, where FINALLY, we figured that out.
In the end our lady found out that she was gay, she moved from the city to the country, and built a garden, where she found peace and serenity.
For me, I knew I was gay which was why I had to leave home. And the one bit of advice I took as gospel was that … “In order to be part of you had to drink…”
That was SOOOOO Wrong !
There were several point in her story that I identified with. Her life began in the country and a solitary childhood and her imaginary friends, then moving to a big city, where she encountered other kids, she still felt apart from, different.
Her odyssey of alcoholism took her all over the world, looking for connection and inclusion. But those tell tale signs, the massive drinking bouts, and black outs and not knowing what she did the night before, began to haunt her.
In her mind though … She just could not be an alcoholic.
Through a series of unfortunate, or maybe fortunate events, in the presence of her therapist and friends, she came around to see that actually, she WAS an alcoholic.
How many of us, just don’t see it while we were IN IT. How many of us came around at first, thinking that “I could not be an alcoholic!” How much time did we sit in the rooms trying to figure it out, justifying our habitual drinking, until we could not fight it any more.
We hear those same words again: Fear, Guilt, Anger, Rage …
We are in a season of “feeling” right now. Something I had not necessarily seen, but the signs were there. My circle of friends is tight. And we’ve been in each others company for a while now.
We have had losses of family, the loss of friends, communities. We’ve seen insanity come to other places, and tragedy occur here at home. I guess you could say that there has been a confluence of “current events” that have shaken the equilibrium of our people.
Our writer talks about finally being able to see and experience the world around her. Be that in her garden, or among her friends, or in the rooms, she mentions the word Seasons.
In my life, I think about the first time around, and what really mattered about that period in my life. Life was coming fast and furiously, and I really did not have time to stop and breath for such a long time.
I HAD coasted to the four year mark, relatively alive.
The familiar Geographical is a common theme in many alcoholic stories. As was apparent in our writers story. I had gone to the many places she did, in my own story.
My first stint in sobriety, did not offer me what this round did. There were too many unhealthy people in my vicinity. The messaging was all wrong. I was too disconnected to know better, that I was disconnected. And nobody knew to say anything before it was too late to affect change.
Even if I did know that, the HOLE in my SOUL, was running the game at the very end …
When I got sober the second time, I was all alone, save the people in the SOBE room who took care of me. I had no friends, no family, no relationship.
I reflect on the year 2001 … I was numb through a national tragedy.
The opportunity to make One Final Move presented itself. I had nothing to loose and everything to gain. I made that move, and did not look back.
I got to Montreal, in April of 2002. In the buffer zone between the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. During that first year of time, I was living alone, going to meetings, attending after care, and I stayed sober, by doing everything I was told to do without argument.
I had eight months of being able to experience my surroundings. The people in my life, then, kept me very busy and on a short leash. In the end, it took me about two years to fully integrate into Canada and find my footing.
I remember that I had time to breathe. You might not think that that is so important, but coming out of the scourge of AIDS and surviving, knowing how hard that was and how we held out collective breaths, hoping to live, because expectations were not very high, nor were the prognosis-es, realizing that I could breathe was very important.
I had come to the point that I was One, alive and Two, sober. With those two markers out of the way, I could concentrate on living life for the first time in my life.
I was almost a year sober before I met my now husband. I had all the time in the world to get to know my world intimately and soberly. And by the time we did meet, I was ready for that portion of my life to flesh out.
The book says that the only thing that has to change in sobriety is Everything.
We see, right now, that people are feeling. In Open Community. I did not notice this until now, having spent the last year and a bit feeling, myself. But over the past few months, feelings have been on our dashboards for some time.
Spend enough time with your friends, and life happens.
My fifteenth year was, as I have said, the most emotional year I have experienced, since I got sober this time around. I’ve been “feeling in open community” and in the end, those people, whom I thought were my friends, punished me for feeling, openly.
I had not known a time where my shortcoming would be used against me by people who watched me crack under my emotions, and then say that they just could not be part of my life anymore.
Alcoholics and Addicts have very selective abilities. Many of them, placed me on a pedestal and it seemed to me, in the end, that I was supposed to be this “Vulcan type” hybrid a.l.a Spock. Not allowing myself to feel anything.
Because when I did feel and express myself “in open community” people ran for the hills screaming and yelling…
I just cannot wrap my head around they way my friends turned around and ostracized me.
But it is what it is. I’m involved in new meetings and a new social circle.
Living in a four season country, if you take the time, there is so much to look forward to. So much to see and so much to experience.
My favorite season is Fall.
That is the season where the most happens. Falling leaves are amazing. Fall is beautiful in a country where trees and green spaces matter.
It is a religious experience, the very first night it snows. I wait for that night to happen every year. The first snow for me, is Holy.
Had I stayed where I was, in Miami, in a 2 season state, Wet and Wetter … Living in the hole I was living in, alone, I would never have flourished the way I did here.
This last move had to work, and I did all the right things.
I would never go back to the life I had for any amount of money.
Coming up on my fifties soon, all I have is time. And I need to remember to appreciate every day, because I never know when this other shoe is going to drop.
Twenty three years later, nobody knows what is going to come, or what life is supposed to look like, so we are all playing the game very carefully.
One day at a time …