Lately the urge to write has been keeping me awake at night. I go through the motions of the daily grind and – when it’s time for sleep – my spirit is restless. “Don’t forget about me,” it nudges.
Looking back at all of my entries over the span of a year and a half, I notice a few running themes. I focus a lot on not allowing the world to get me down. I see myself struggling with deep frustration and anger over societal attitudes toward alcohol; namely that people are dying and nothing changes. (“The world doesn’t care what you think,” I recently heard a woman say. She’s right.) I also notice that I have learned a lot about what it means to “let go” in various realms of life – whether it be a toxic job or a feeling that has worn out its welcome. But there is one thing I don’t talk about a lot: what it was like when I was engaging in compulsive addictive behavior.
What was it like? In a nutshell, it sucked. I don’t really like to spend a lot of time recounting the battle stories. At the end of the day it’s not about the alcohol, the drugs, the credit cards, or the heartbreak. Why not? This is a blog about addiction and alcoholism, right?
Well, this is a blog about my individual journey in recovery. And writing it probably helps me more than it helps anyone else. It allows me to recognize my own patterns and to call myself out on my own shit. But this is also a blog about human relationships. In January of this year an article was published by the Huffington Post which posits that addiction is caused by a paucity of social connection (The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think). Other literature on alcoholism suggests that the active alcoholic is completely incapable of forming a genuine connection with another human being (This is a powerful statement. Want to talk about it? Leave a comment). So I guess this is the story of how I am constantly, imperfectly learning the true meaning of love and connectedness.
Speaking of love, I just got married. Yup. Four days ago!
My wife has the most astounding capacity for love. It is truly unmatched by anything I have ever witnessed. She once anonymously bought breakfast for a forlorn looking old man sitting in a diner. The waitress said that he got cookies every day. She covered those too. She gave up part of her Christmas to bring comfort and companionship to a woman who lost her husband. If I ever accepted the offer, she would carry me over every mud puddle in my path. Not only does she know how I take my coffee, she will go out in a blizzard to get it. When I’m cold, she takes the socks off her feet and puts them on mine. But most significantly, she has seen my fear. She has watched me balk at trust like a wild horse and remained steadfast. She is a calm voice and a gentle hand. And yet I am not tame. I am free.
Freedom doesn’t equate to a lack of commitment. It is a safe space. It is vulnerability.
Our vows said “I offer you my hand, my heart, and my soul, as I know they will be safe with you”. She is the safest place I have ever known.
She read a poem by Roy Croft at our wedding. One particular line echoes in my head:
“I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life not a tavern but a temple”.
I hope she knows how much she has taught me about love. She adorns the temple of my life with flowers. She is sunlight in its windows. She is the color in the sand of its mandalas.