Ending the Insanity

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I read this paragraph just now in A Course of Love (the sequel to A Course in Miracles). It’s a beautiful description of what happens when you first hear the still small voice breaking through the chaos of addiction:

A door has been reached, a threshold crossed. What your mind still would deny your heart cannot. A tiny glimmering of memory has returned to you and will not leave you to the chaos you seem to prefer. It will keep calling you to acknowledge it and let it grow. It will tug at your heart in the most gentle of ways. Its whisper will be heard within your thoughts. Its melody will play within your mind. “Come back, come back,” it will say to you. “Come home, come home,” it will sing. You will know there is a place within yourself where you are missed and longed for and safe and loved. A little peace has been made room for in the house of your insanity.

Tales of a High-Bottom Alcoholic

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“Every day of my life, my head tells me I can drink and I have to remind it I don’t even want to drink. My mind wants to kill me: it only leaves me alive to have a vehicle to run around in.”

— Jackie Monahan

I think this quote is both hilarious and scary. The woman who wrote it is an actress and comedienne, and she has an article in The Fix called Tales of a High-Bottom Alcoholic.

A Good Reason to go to Alcoholics Anonymous

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The best reason I have is this:

One night, you will be sitting with your teenage children in a restaurant, and they’ll be sulking and telling you how much more fun dad’s house is and how he lets them eat whatever they want and doesn’t make them do their homework, when out of the blue, you will hear a gravely voice shout out your name.

All heads will turn to watch a burly man cross the room, chains dangling from his belt loops, tattoos snaking up his muscled arms and around his neck, his black leather vest covered with skull and cross-bone patches. He’ll clank across the room loudly, a wide grin spreading across the underside of his heavy mustache, clearly thrilled to see you.

“Billy!” you’ll say. You will stand up hastily and extend your hand, but he’ll grab you in a bear hug, to the audible gasp of your daughter. He’ll toss his dark hair out of his eyes and then reach across the table to shake your son’s hand, using some kind of cool handshake that you would never know about, but apparently your son knows because he’s got an awe-struck look on his face as he ends the handshake with a fist-bump. The man will then grab your daughter’s hand, and she’ll blush from head to toe, speechless for the first time in weeks.

His eyes will casually take in the glass of wine sitting in front of you, but he won’t say a word. Instead he’ll put a warm hand on your shoulder, turn to your kids, and say, “You guys are so fucking lucky to have this lady as your mom.”

Now the kids’ eyes will bug out because they’re not allowed to say the f-word, and it’s your turn to blush from head to toe. Then you get teary-eyed because no one has said that you’re a good mom in a long time.

“Loved what you shared yesterday,” he’ll say to you, holding your gaze.

And just like that, he’ll be off, striding out the door to join some other tough-looking biker types, leaving a cloud of nicotine and sweat in his wake.

“Who was that?” your daughter will ask, and though you will be glowing, you just kind of shrug, all casual-like, as if maybe you have a lot of friends like this, and didn’t she know that? What other things about you might she not know? Maybe you’re not just another struggling mom, doing everything badly, born just to embarrass the hell out of her and her brother.

Plus, they have no idea you sometimes attend AA meetings — not that you’d tell them that’s how you know Billy. Better to let them think that the two of you are friends and hang out together now and then when they’re off at their dad’s.

For the rest of the night, there is a mystery about you, and you glance in the smoky mirror to see a woman you barely know anymore. She’s worldly and well-known and maybe even street smart.

You begin to wonder what else she’s capable of.

At the next meeting you attend, maybe a month later, Billy will walk up to you and say, “Glad you’re back!”

You will smile weakly, and then he’ll say, “My friends were so impressed I knew the beautiful lady in the window of the pizza place. They didn’t know I had such classy friends.”

He’ll wink broadly and clank off across the room, and you’ll wonder about coincidences and the crazy signs sent to you by a higher power with a strange sense of humor.

Then you’ll take your seat and gulp your lukewarm coffee, ready to try again.

I Wrote my First Blog Three Years Ago Today

photo of a woman at sunset
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

On this day three years ago, I started this blog. In my first post, I was only three days’ sober.

I knew everything about alcohol and the mental and physical devastation it causes, or so I thought. I’d read every sober memoir I could get my hands on. I’d been to AA, then quit, then gone back, then quit again.

I used to sit in the back of those AA meetings and hear people say that they had surrendered and just never looked back. It wasn’t like that for me. I never stopped looking back, wondering when I could drink again.

But now I see my long journey to sobriety as an invitation. I was being invited to decide, over and over again, that I deserved better than a life led by addiction. I was invited to experience the pain and heartbreak it causes until I decided I’d had enough. I was invited to see where I’d given away my power, and decide that it was time to take it back.

Ultimately, it was an invitation to love myself, no matter what the world told me, that finally helped me save my life. It was a decision made through the heart, and not the mind. It was a blind faith in my own worth, no matter what crazy thoughts spiraled through my brain.

That voice told me that I was only funny, attractive, or worthwhile after a few drinks. It told me that I would lose all my friends and be relegated to the dull side of life if I stopped drinking. It told me that I would never survive in stressful times without the anesthesia of drink. It told me life wasn’t worth living without the possibility of a drink at the end of every day.

It never told me, “This shit will kill you.”

So three years ago, I wrote my first blog. I hoped that by putting all that pain and confusion “out there,” it would go away. I didn’t succeed right off. It took me another month of false starts until one day, I drove myself to a mountaintop and began the long, sacred process of healing. With shaky steps, I started stringing together a few sober days.

I still marvel at the miracles that took hold of me and wouldn’t let me go. I invited them to travel with me because I knew I needed all the power of heaven and earth to make it. I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

This time around, I committed to listening only to my better angels. I refused thoughts of guilt and shame, and returned my thoughts to self-love, no matter how many times I stumbled. When thoughts of drinking rose in my mind, my mantra became I love myself too much to drink.  

And this thinking brought about more miracles. I forgave myself for the past, and let go of long-held grudges. And all that love I sent out returned to me — sometimes through gorgeous sunsets, sometimes through overpowering feelings of peace and wellbeing. And sometimes through the love and support of strangers who became friends, here in the blogging world.

Thank you from the deepest well of my heart.

💕