Made me pine / For the lamplight / Where you lie

Sometimes I wonder if those reading here, this last year’s open self-identification as a recovered alcoholic, guess at the nature of my previous drinking. Like how much secret guzzling did I do, quantaties. I’m going to get to that in a minute but first I wanted to say some things about my day.

Today I got myself up early after a very poor sleep in order to make the commitments I said I would.

Today I cared for my son and daughter by putting away laundry and getting breakfast ready and pareparing the house for a calm and nurturing environment, and by driving my son the special place he wanted to go.

Today I texted a sick friend and offered to bring her something if she needed it.

Today I drove in the car and smoked a cigarette and sang along quite joyfully and felt so happy to have a car and gas money.

Today I made time to meet with and talk to another friend about something that was troubling her, because I care and I hoped she trusted me enough to talk, and I hope she didn’t later regret that in any way.

Today I asked after a man’s health and heard he’d been having a hard time with a rather scary event. I listened and we talked a while about his physical ailments and his perceived dangers of semi-longterm prescribed narcotic medication.

Today on two separate occasions I gave a man a cigarette. In one case, the fellow needed one. In the second case, I’d remembered the young man likes the kind I smoke. Directly after this transaction he asked for a hug and I gave him one, and today it was a loving and completely comfortable and genuine hug, because today that’s what I really truly deeply have to offer.

Today I talked with a practitioner who felt compelled to come out to me, although she told me she hadn’t yet done publicly or to her employer.

Today I took a phone call and laid aside plans to listen to and discuss someone with a long-standing serious health issue that had recently come to a head.

Today I asked my mother about her day and took a few minutes to give her attention.

Today when I came across my husband during our various activities, I asked him, “How are you?” or “How was work?” and I genuinely wanted to hear, and I listened as best I could.

Today I assisted another woman in Recovery in the way I understood that woman wanted my help.

Today I answered an email from across the country about a parenting/family issue that was giving the author some grief.

Today I coped with my physical pain by expressing gratitude for those who help me (the practitioners, family, and friends) and accepting that Ouch, It Hurts.

Today instead of the sewing I’d longed to do, I recognized my pain level and instead watched an old B-movie while I rested.

Today I apologized to a friend for a careless mistake I’d made.

Today I treated my children well.

I do not write these items out to try to look good for others. I write them because they are directly related to the quality and experience of my sobriety. To respond to my inferences earlier, I used to drink, mostly starting around dinner dime, for medicinal effect. If you ever came over you’d see how I drank, I didn’t get too sloppy. Maybe I even looked “normal”. I certainly had many people express surprise when I came out as alcoholic and needing help.

But man, it had nothing to do with how many glasses of wine or how many fingers of Jack. See the days I worked hardest to be a “good” mom (warning on that link, ranty), or deal with the latest setback, or my anger at my husband. The days I tried to do things to make my friends happy. You know, I had less quality friends then and fewer friends, than I do now. But anyway back then I had to wonder about how those friends felt about me. I felt I should “fix” them if they were in trouble. I felt I had to perform as a “good friend” just like my “good mom” stuff. If I made a mistake I felt humiliated, too much show to make a good amends. The friends who behaved toward me in ways that hurt, I ended up avoiding them, effectually cutting them out of my life.

None of that is how I live today. The difference may not be something that loud and evident but is experienced so deeply it is truly a revelation to write.

I don’t give the list of the things I did today to brag. Or to try that¬†Sisyphean¬†effort of being “good”. It’s to remind myself of the woman I am today, of what my actions evidence. That’s not who I used to be.

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