“Life goes on. … For you.”

Today I spent several hours in service to individuals in need – people I am not related to. Some of the people I spent time with are not well, are not happy, are full of a lot of anger, and cannot or will not listen to reason.

On top of that I experienced a runoff of intense rage-and-adrenaline-filled behaviors in response to the playoff game tonight (and I’m not talking about the conduct of the actual football players).

No magic money appeared in our coffers, no gas in my tank. The bike ride was tits-cold and the dinner, modest. Our foster kitten pissed on every comforter we own so we’ve been laundering them all.

Ralph didn’t bake a cake, after all.

I’m about done with the day.

My conduct today has been solid, especially in more than one difficult situation. I have held to “restraint of pen and tongue” throughout a challenging day and have not created wreckage, pain, or drama for others. I have stuck steadfastly to my resolution to refrain from unsolicited advice and that has tempered my ego. I have kept up my commitments (as well as I can remember them) – even in the face of rudeness. I have asked after people’s health and wellbeing, and I’ve really meant it when I asked.

Days like today can sap my gratitude. Gratitude becomes less of an experience and more of an intellectual construct. I know the experience will return, if I can employ some self-care.

I will make some tea. I will turn up the heat. I will do yoga. I will take a hot shower. I will hold my kids, and let my husband hold me.

I will be glad that no matter what today, I didn’t act like an asshole, I didn’t hurt anyone, and I did what I said I would do, to the best of my abilities.

 

suddenly

So good lord, for a couple days there I was having this fantasy of this big vegetarian platter I wanted to put together, thinking of all those bright colors and crisp textures. Once I get fixated sometimes… it sucks to not just be able to do it the same day, because we all need that impulsivity now and then.

Yeah so the veggies, something I knew my kids would be uninspired about but I couldn’t help it. I’d wash dishes you know like, the typical five times a day, and I’d try not to think about it, my stomach feeling empty but my mind knowing I have enough to eat, am doing fine. Then Ralph got an insurance adjustment check to the tune of a few small funds and I ran out to purchase the goods lickety-split. Half the cost of supplies was the jar of tahini! If you know of some good tahini recipes, hook me up.

When Ralph came home last night he took over from me and finished preparing our meal: homemade pita and homemade hummus, a pea and qunioa salad, shredded red cabbage and julienned carrots, sliced English cucumber, sliced avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, braised garbanzo beans, and bleu cheese dressing. Ralph just about killed himself laying out these beautiful vegetables on plates and serving them up to the family, and one guest. Then he collapsed on the bed for a few moments. Me? I was too tired to snap a picture.

Medical appointments. For Nels, for Phee. For the dog, and tomorrow? Our rabbit is scheduled to be neutered. Phoenix had her well-child checkup and came out perfectly healthy. She got her second injection in a week and, for the second time, was more relaxed than I’ve seen anyone take a needle. Her doctor, a good sort, talked directly to her about periods and about hormones. Then he told she was in the ninety-something percentile for height; the seventy-fifth for weight. I knew my kids were tall but, you know, they’re tall!

Nels had his braces removed yesterday and now has a wee rainbow-colored retainer. He has a sweet little lisp and gets to wear the device a few months. And I get to pay for the braces a few more installments.

The kids both had a brief but violent vomiting-illness of some sort (Phoenix on Sunday; Nels last night) and perhaps I’m fighting off that bug; I’ve been experiencing fatigue early in the day. I rest, drink fluids, take my honey and garlic, and try to be patient.

Resources are thin, but I’m very grateful for my health.

I am.

Today at my volunteer commitment a heroin addict sitting alongside me admitted he had to pick treatment or jail, so he’d picked treatment. Then he added that if he had any money he would have left treatment to go home. He said he’d given up his last $50 so had nothing to return to. I know a little about what he’s saying and what kind of choices (or rather, non-choices) he’s facing and I just felt this sadness. This moment where another human being feels unreachable to me, even if I tried to help. And I’m lost, I don’t know if there’s anything I can do, at all. I’ll probably never see this man again. Only hours later it occurs to me that maybe I was one of the only people he could tell the real truth to, without judgment, and I know that’s Something.

A few hours later in the drugstore, after driving through the dismal dark rain and as my daughter helps me pick up toothbrushes and lipstick and shampoo, I hear the entirely sickening and unmistakable sound of a skull hitting a hard concrete floor. I know immediately what has happened: a small child has fallen out of a cart. My heart lurches as I move out of my aisle and then: chaos. The child’s mother begins screaming and running about the store, cradling the toddler who is also screaming. The other customers begin to stir.

I pull out my phone and step without hesitation towards the mother, who is frantic and not holding still. Employees intercept; an ambulance is called. An employee runs for an ice pack. The mother calls a friend, convulsively crying. Her older children run to and fro.

Seeing the woman has assistance and none-too-few onlookers I return to my aisle, deeply disturbed. I keep my eyes on bright, irrelevant boxes of cosmetics but I can’t concentrate. & now: I hear the paramedics and I note how they’re talking to the mother. Something is not right with the woman, I can tell, but her child is in good hands now.

A few minutes later and I bring my purchase to another clerk, one who had not been in view of the incident. To me, this woman asks: “Did you see the mom? Did she have [lists a physical description]?…” I respond, “… I don’t know,” trying to remember, thinking of the child and the horrible screaming. The clerk smirks without humor: “I’m not surprised,” she says, without one ounce of compassion or understanding.

I’m not going to play in that playground with you.

It’s like… I have problems but I’m real glad at the problems I don’t have.

hope / smiles

New Years’ Eve was a bit domestic, a bit low-key, but all the same had that sort of festivity to it. This morning I made coffee, read a bit, practiced yoga (I swear this is keeping this body from shriveling into some kind of creepy Henson-like puppet), and then got down to this cycle’s bill-paying (our bills are paid… food and gas the next nine days is going to be rough though!). About this time the kids got up and ventured out in the cold wind and rain, along the harbor, to walk the dog. When they got home they were more than happy to eat a hearty breakfast – fresh-baked scones, eggs over easy, and cocoa from scratch with Hogaboom homemade marshmallows. “You’ve outdone yourself, mom,” my daughter purrs as she lays the table. “Thank you, mama!” my son warmly joins in. Are they polite and loving children or were they just hungry AF after their weatherbeaten walk? Who knows, not I, but take it from me, hungry kids are more fun to feed.

Running out the door in the afternoon to secure flu shots. Of the three of us, Phoenix handles her injection with the most aplomb – arm as limp as a lovely bit of palm frond, eyes calm, face serene. My turn, I have to breathe meditatively and turn my face away since I am quite fearful of needles. And Nels? (I have permission to tell you that) he attempts gravitas but instead dissolves into a five-alarm fear-factor crying episode, including long, drawn out cries of, “Maaaaamaaaa!” which I frankly think alarm the pharmacy tech. He cries and cries and needs to be on my lap and I can feel his entire body tense. I buy him chocolate after and soon the whole thing is a distant memory.

Off to get Thai takeout – $10 for a spicy salad to share. Home and sewing up a new shirt for my son; Ralph arrives home from work, I kiss him Hello, and we are off to an engagement with friends, celebrating a life in sobriety. Home again; Ralph puts dinner together and I take a hot shower to chase away the cold in my bones. The four of us off to friends for New Years games, beverages, and watching the ball drop in Times Square and the fireworks dazzle in Seattle. A few more (very modest) IRL fireworks and then a (very careful) drive home, past revelers and those stumbling down the streets looking horrible – that odd energy NYE brings.

The last part of this year has been hard for me at times. Harder than for anyone else in the family, I think. It was challenging enough it knocked some distraction into me. Regardless, I did not stray from my faith tradition, from my responsibilities to family and friends, from my Recovery, and from my unshakable foundation of joy. I am celebrating my third consecutive sober New Year – and my sixteenth with Ralph! – and I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

Friends and supporters are too many to name, here. I try to tell them “Thank you,” for every bit they contribute to my life, but I don’t always get the chance. May I take that time and take that moment, more often than not!

May your new year be one of growth, one of open-mindedness. May you learn to be there for yourself so that you do not have to abandon others – so you no longer speak with hatred, toss words carelessly, commit so-called “justified” harms against other sentient beings. May you find a few mentors you can be honest with – and whose advice you can take. May you be kind to your body, and not abuse or neglect it, or drive it into submission or form. May you learn Love and Tolerance for all peoples, including your own family and coworkers and community. May you spend a little less time on self-absorbed plans. May you learn from those who you find distasteful; may you come to love your enemies. May you find such joy in all you have that anything hard that comes along it’s like, “What can I learn? Who can I help?” and when good shit comes along it’s like, “Bonus!”

Thank you for being there for our 2013. I could not have made it without you.

it’s so late it’s morning again,

and my son is quietly playing Legos a few feet away while I mess around with a few more electrons, sending out these last few bits of minutia and miscellany from my day, to God Knows Who and God Knows Where (I haven’t checked my analytics in months). My boy doesn’t realize in a few minutes I’m probably going to “make” him watch some incredibly bad “sci-fi” television and if that gets boring, I’ll pick up my thick-as-a-brick Dickens novel, before dropping off.

Last night I had twice-a-night sleep, which along with my Chinese herbs and cold remedy (raw honey and garlic) has left me refreshed today. This double-sleep, when it happens, dovetails nicely with my son’s growing-boy loonnnnng lie-in schedule – we rise at the same time for a peaceful (enough) morning of coffee and yoga then a shower when I’m finally fully awake. And at the other end of the day, in the late hours, it is pretty lovely to have the company of my son, all to myself. He makes me special origami, whispers harshly to me while we watch goofy Bigfoot documentaries (as his real-life Sasquatch father slumbers soundly on the other side of the bed), and makes conversation without the relentless questions and spirited talk that so characterize his daylight hours.

***

I am feeling a bit somber and a bit reflective, at the moment. As most who read here know for two-plus years I have been putting time in, on a volunteer basis, helping addicts and alcoholics new to Recovery. Tonight in my endeavors a man was brought into the meeting I was chairing; he was still dressed in a medical robe, so he was very new. He was shaky enough to be escorted by more than one of the personnel, and for a moment it looked like he was going to fall. Ultimately he was not well enough to stay, and he left again. I gazed upon him while he made up his mind and after he left, I returned to the business of the group. “Not feeling well,” I said quietly and the rest of the group murmured in compassion and shared pain.

When I left a little over an hour later I saw him again at the end of the hallway, receiving medication and some medical ministrations. As I walked down the hall I realized suddenly that I knew him, knew him by name, had known him while clean and sober and listened to him speak on several occasions. He had been entirely “normal”, entirely cheerful, entirely functional when I’d know him before. It had required two sightings on my part for me to recognize him.

As often as I’ve seen this very same thing, it still can be a shock.

My alcoholic career was about the briefest and most merciful that I’ve yet heard of. This is rather extraordinary because it didn’t feel brief while I was living it. But now I’ve had some experience and have seen so many living with the disease I know many drink (or drug) after it no longer serves them – usually for years, and often for decades (a dear friend of mine drank over sixty years before getting sober)!

Of course, this “brief” alcoholic career was a living Hell such that I hope you never see me belittle it in any way, here or elsewhere. I see others I know who seem to be living the same kind of low-level shit out – a private Hell they don’t even know they’re living, mostly because they hide their innermost selves and try to put on a good face. The autopilot, the anger, the stress, the driven-nature of their day in and day out, the blame and shame and victim-role – these things feel normal to them, yet somehow circumstantial, somehow just what life is like yet somehow someone’s “fault”. They have a list of bellyaches and resentments and sarcastic asides but deep, deep down… they blame themselves. Somehow … somehow.

I know it too well and I hope to never go back. I gotta tell you, living in that pit for even a few brief years was long enough to, figuratively, bitch-slap me awake.

I forget sometimes I am the Walking Dead, and that my path could have landed me elsewhere. Today I get to live a normal, healthy life and participate in my community, and with my family, and even give a little – sometimes a lot! – of time to “strangers” who suffer from this particular malady.

I don’t moralize addiction or compulsion whatsoever (well… I try not to!) and so tonight after I get over the initial shock of seeing this young man in the state he is in, I hold him in my heart like a cancer patient who’s very ill from chemo (another experience I’ve had). He is very ill and I’m sad to see him in the clutches of illness; moments like this my drinking doesn’t feel like a lifetime ago, it feels recent. At these moments my heart breaks open in compassion and if I didn’t have a husband and children and furry critters depending on me, I think I’d devote my Life to the care of these individuals.

In the car, off on a date with my daughter and husband, it takes me a while to shake off the work I do. I am glad to be Me and glad to live my life, more glad than you can probably know!, but my heart is with those who suffer because I know that although I can Help, I cannot Cure. Sometimes I get mixed up and think somehow I’m supposed to be Curing, supposed to be Fixing. It’s incorrect, but nevertheless it’s a powerful and compelling illusion, and it is often quite disconcerting.

We drive down the hill and toward the cheerful lights of the grocery store, past boarded-up windows, past prostitutes out in the cold, past sadness and cheerfulness and want and need, and onto our errands.

My husband tells me: “You look mad. You look beautiful, but mad.”

“I’m not mad,” I tell him.

blank sky

My son is awake and he’s making soft chirping sounds. Singing to himself in the bed. He says, “Cuddle me,” and I lay down next to him. He says, “I need love. Your job is to give me love.” He’s safe and every day each day that is all that matters.

Ralph is making up coffee, hot coffee. We have good coffee no matter what, well most days. Grandfather: gone. Family: best not to talk too much about that. Thanksgiving: cancelled. But I have a home of my own and children and a partner and wee pets who count on us. Our rabbit greedily eats the beet-peelings from the night before. He knocks a parsnip top out my hand when I offer it to him!

My daughter is home from school. She’s dead-tired. She writes on her whiteboard outside her room:

KEEP OUT
unless you’re Kelly Hogaboom
Plan: take a nap / be miserable

Ralph is worried but I tell him this is a Good Thing, she has boundaries. And she knows what she needs.

I am off to do the Wednesday thing I do. People who don’t get to be with their families for Thanksgiving; who get to be lonely and in a dark place. Some of them have no hope. I can offer that if they can listen.

I am two years six months sober today and every day is a gift.

small stone #24
Nothing goes
like it’s expected to.

small stone #25
cold cold cold
the car is cold
Your hands are warm.

what hath night to do with sleep?

It’s cold and I’m cold on the ride home. I’m cold on the bike most the year, especially on my return trips. I think I get chilled on the trip out, then I sit in my own sweat a bit and get clammy indoors, then back on the bike. Barring proper cycling gear that’s just how it is. For now. I was bringing quarts of hot water which helped a little but not much.

Just after eight, before I set back off to Hoquiam, my friend Charlie accosted me about biking. “You got any protection?” he asks all surly. He means like, a firearm. He’s seventy-something, grew up in the Appalachian mountains, and he is hardcore. He still plays with guns. He’s been shot. By friends and enemies both, I think. Anyway now he says he’s worried. “I”m worried someone’s gonna grab ahold of you,” he tells me. Yeah, I’m thinking. “It hasn’t happened yet,” I tell him, hiking my leg over. “No – but it could!” He is stubborn. He’s a little pissed. “Yeah…” I say. “There are a lot of sick people out there. – Goodnight!” and I’m off.

The streets are cold, crystal-clear, a great big moon. Near-deserted. Past Myrtle and there’s a loud altercation. I can hear angry screaming, abuse, for a full mile. I am sobered at the thought of all the suffering in the world.

Across the bridge and I pull up to Simpson and a red light; another person on a bike is waiting as well. He turns in partial profile and I recognize him. I got to know him a while back when he had a spell clean and sober. He’d put on weight and lost the hardened look in his eye and he was becoming that sweetheart he is, the one that lives within.

Now though, he doesn’t look great. He’s attending a huge plastic garbage bag with presumably all his belongings, somehow balanced on the bike’s handlebars. He turns and I smile at him and greet him by name. He’s trying to figure out who I am and I notice with a crystal-clear delight two items in his overstuffed backpack – a pair of miniature dachshunds peeping me with large, liquid eyes. I ask about the dogs. He tells me their names – mother and daughter. He asks me how he knows me and I tell him. I tell him I have an eighty-pound dog and can’t pack him in a backpack.

The light turns. I tell the man to Take Care and I’m off into the night. Amber streetlight. Smell of ozone and deep green grass. Almost home.

I pull up to my house to a crumpled dog hair-infused afghan swaddling a huge pile of leaves on the porch. Fancy, I think. And sure enough when I walk in the door my nine year-old tells me: “Mama did you see the leaves I put on the porch? Because they are fancy.”

I lean the bike against the coffee table and stride into the kitchen and greet my husband. And I stand at the stove and eat like three lentil tacos and take a swig of Mexican Coke.

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.

A "Fancy" Porch

an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation

Yesterday within one half hour or so my entire world was thrown into chaos. I am trying to think about it and decide if it is accurate: the worst news I’ve ever heard. I will have to tell you later. Right now my thinking isn’t working at its best.

Details are not forthcoming as for one thing, I am not the principal character involved, here. If you’re looking for those, they may come in time.

I vacillate between absolute disassociation and, then, almost, glimpses of normalcy. I think I look normal on the outside to many people (I am good at this!). During these two days I am able to do many tasks on autopilot. Then suddenly I become almost non-functioning. My daughter asks me something in the checkout line about the change jar, and I begin to cry (silently; without her notice). Only a few minutes later I can’t remember what she said about the change jar.

In the evening I sit in a candlelit room with several other women and I talk about my weakness. I begin to cry. I talk a little more and then I say from the depths of my heart, “I am so grateful I am sober.” I am broken down pretty good, but the gratitude is so plain and so strong is almost the greatest bliss I’ve known.

Soon this ecstasy is re-swallowed by the darkness. I am back wandering in the desert. It is cold and dark. I am in no-man’s land where no one can help. No one can save me now. I am beyond human aid. There is a comfort in this because I know it is the truth. I stand in the grocery aisle with my children, trying to select frozen pizzas for our dinner. Frozen pizzas because I have not been able to eat since yesterday morning; one reprieve today where real hunger was with me. But since this usually isn’t happening, I eat when I can make myself, just a little bit, just a little bit of food and a little effort. So now: dinner for myself, the children. Pizzas. What else? Juice. A cucumber to slice. This will be good enough. This takes all my concentration.

Meanwhile, I search my heart for my own causes of suffering. Where have I failed to have compassion? Where have I not accepted the truth of suffering? Perhaps I have not failed particularly. I certainly believe no one is immune from catastrophe. My job now is to suffer, and suffer. It has become my time to do so.

But I have other jobs too. My children, my husband, my family and friends, and my community benefit from my survival. These people, the very Universe itself, all will benefit from me finding meaning in this abyss. I am ready to find it because I know it is there… I know it is there. Even if it is hidden from me as of yet. I am patient. I am persistent.

I am here.

feeling kinda rough

Tonight I’m in a bit of pain as I watch a young person’s life go down the tubes. I’m helpless to stop it. But I have the illusion I could. If I just said the right thing! If I just strategized the right way! If I just gave a little more! If I just withheld a little more!

And this latter, this futile attempt to control something more powerful than the human will, is where the suffering comes in.

If you read here much, you probably know: it means a great deal to me that I’m an alcoholic. It probably will mean something very dear to me, for as long as I draw breath.

And in recovery, I get to work with people. I can help people, which means more to me than I can express. I get the honor of watching people live heroically, with an incredibly powerful and destructive disease – I watch them live in a way that is uplifting and wonderful. Like my husband said tonight about the recovery community we call home: Those alcoholics live by principles that the whole world could take a lesson from.

But yeah, sometimes it goes the other way. I get to know a woman, I get to spend some time with her. We share our lives – we spend hours together in intimate conversation. Our bond grows fierce – deeper than your typical friendship, more poignant for the fragility we’ve come to know, the miracle of just another day sober and another day in gratitude. She knows me – she knows the hell I escaped – and I know her, I know a bit about where she’s been and how bad it was.

Then I watch her go back.

It just – hurts. In a way that is bottomless.

The decline doesn’t happen suddenly, either. It happens slowly. I see it happening. I speak up. I say something. It keeps happening. She asks for my advice again. I give it. She doesn’t take it. It keeps happening.

It keeps happening.

When I watched my father die of cancer I didn’t have the illusion I could stop it. I grieved, I mourned, at times I even felt sorry for myself or felt angry over his suffering. But I didn’t suffer under that illusion of power, of control.

Alcoholism and addiction – they are diseases. They resemble cancer a lot more than people think. But they also lend themselves to another disease: that of perception. We keep thinking we can control it. We can manage it. We can say the right thing. We can “make” someone stop – by kindness, by sternness, by yelling, by pleading, by the silent treatment. By taking something away. By giving something. By giving until we’re dry.

It’s all bullshit because nothing but divine intervention can stop it.

So tonight, yeah, I got a little less peace than I did a few days ago. I’ll feel better soon, but for now? Just: BALLS.

Hutch (Photo By John)

take a look at my fucking awesome dog if you can stand the radsauce

Hutch (Photo By John)

(photo by our friend John, and posted here with much gratitude)

We Hogabooms are doing about as well as we can be doing. These last few weeks have been incredibly busy, a pace we are not accustomed to and that I don’t want to become accustomed to. Ralph has worked himself into a wee frazzle with his play practice, full time job, full time daddyhood and husbandness, and some side work (both for fun and for scratch) to boot. I ain’t gonna lie, he hasn’t kept a civil attitude during all this, but we are still getting by pretty good.

The exhausting pace has helped me get over my daughter’s first week in school and get down to the often amusing – and occasionally grim – job of sorting out my Feels about it all. I am mostly a thousand percent proud of her because she is awesome; she has already navigated what seems like a sizeable amount of unpleasantness and she keeps hopping up early in the AM with a smile. It is important for me to support her but I have all these little thoughts, some valuable, some probably not much. I keep thinking I want to write a separate wee tumblog or such thing – supporting other unschooling parents who have a child who elects school. I truly think it would be a fun experience!

In the meantime however I am trying to survive our current pace. This weekend Ralph’s play opens; we are also heading out on vacation in short order after that. It is taking each of the two brain cells I have rattling around up there to not ass-out on commitments I’ve made here or there.

During these weeks, I have had so many kind and wonderful interactions with friends and family it would be impossible to list them all here. Close to my heart is the friendship of another sober alcoholic, a woman who inspires me in a profound way hard to put into words. And on the the heels of this inspiring friendship I consider several other women in my life who have been my confidants and my support during a lot of changes – and some problems that seem to stay the same – and who’ve kept the faith, and kept their kindness coming, and had real wisdom to offer me.

My friends help me stay sane, or at least in that general neighborhood. For that, I am profoundly grateful.

Pack It In, Pack It Out

well and i even have a little left over, to help you

Pack It In, Pack It Out

Today on a Flats walk with our dog and three kids – two of the children mine, one from another family – we came across a dozen pelicans (of at least two species) diving for fish. It was really something to watch, as they hit the water with incredible force, like missiles. Along with the pelicans many species of gulls and other waterfowl messed about, and we spied at least two harbor seals. Obviously, there was a large school of fish in the water falling prey to this predation. In the course of the walk around The Flats, two different men along the trail told me two different stories about the species of fish out there (men love to tell you shit, even when they don’t know the shit!).

My dog was out of his mind with joy. In case you hadn’t been following: he’s been on near-bedrest for a few weeks since his incredible illness adventure with salmon poisoning. Today he was so excited he actually fetched a stick (unheard of) many times. He also played tug-o’-war with me and growled a lot. He has a huge, powerful mouth and very sharp teeth and I’d never heard him growl before. I was a bit unnerved!

The weather on our walk was so wonderful. It was balmy-warm – in fact, it would have been unpleasantly humid had it not been for a wonderful sea breeze. There were so many animals at The Flats – wild and domestic – and not a few people. It was a wonderful walk out and I’m glad I made the time.

***

Just lately: I am over-worked. Not only physically – besides having household responsibilities, more water aerobics, and two new Etsy sales that have me knee-deep in costumes – I’ve also been working intensively, and I do mean intensively with a new-to-sobriety alcoholic. I am astonished how much work she’s willing to do – but I’m also aware that yeah, it’s necessary. Watching someone reconstruct themselves from near-ruination is an honor and a privilege beyond what I can articulate.

And I’m a bit rueful: in Recovery communities you will sometimes hear those with long-term sobriety say, “I won’t work harder than the new guy!” [Meaning: as a sponsor to help him get and stay sober.] And yeah, I’ve heard it now and then and always thought that’s supposed to mean, Yeah that’s right, tough love, those lazy newbies! Well I never thought of the reciprocal. Because let me tell you, this new gal works like a dog, so that means I am working like a dog. I am not even kidding. Even if I didn’t think it completely unethical to share details, I haven’t the strength to write much about it. It’s working me, right now.

Many reading here won’t understand. [And yet she tries to explain anyway!] A big part of what’s hard on me is going through my own history – memories of what it was like to get sober, of those early days. If you’ve done it, you probably get it. It’s a big deal. Remembering what it was like invokes a kind of PTSD. Today and yesterday I’ve been thinking, Did I really do that? Did I really go through all that? And it’s like – yeah, I did. I felt like crying today and wanted to give myself a hug or somehow take care of myself in ways I neglected before. I had it hard. And I didn’t even know I had it as hard as I did. Does that mean I have it hard today, and I don’t know it, as well? It’s a scary thought. I am tired of suffering. It hurts.

Tonight: I resolutely put aside my fears and my own traumatic memories. I am here now, my children downstairs want me now. My husband is available to me now. A small dish of strawberry shortcake awaits. Hot water and soft pajamas. A warm bed. A curious dog. Purring, comforted kitties.

I am here now. Tomorrow is another adventure.