I was going to blog about anxiety tonight. Day 9 and I am very tired and anxious. Worrrying over the damage I have done to my body with booze and lack of self care, and that awful “Are my pants on backwards? WHY IS EVERYONE LOOKING AT ME??” sensation. But:
We spent yesterday and today sorting through the boys’ 88 thousand puzzle pieces to see which puzzles are intact and which we have to let go. At first it looked like complete carnage – a jumble of disparate pieces and little hope that a single whole puzzle would be salvaged. Eventually, we had them more or less sorted into separate piles and then began the task of assembling each one, most without the box or picture to guide us. I repeatedly found myself sizing up a pile and thinking or even saying out loud, “Oh, no guys. This doesn’t look like nearly enough pieces.” Amazingly, though, a great many of them were all there, including some that I had long since written off and was just postponing chucking out for one last sort-out.
As well as affirming that quantity surveyance and its ilk are not realistic second-career options for me, I was also really struck by the lesson that the ONLY way to make sense of the chaos was to actually do the work of figuring out where all the pieces belonged and fitting them together. I have read a wealth of sobriety blogs and recovery memoirs and various other articles and things about alcohol dependence and addiction, most of which has been incredibly helpful and illuminating and encouraging, but I realised (and this is not at all uncharacteristic for me!) that I have kind of had a sense of having “read to the end” and being able to somehow think my way past all the grind of getting sober – I know how it goes, and I see what you all went through, so I can just skip those middle bits, right? Right? Of course that’s not how it works at all. I abused my body and lied to myself for YEARS, and it has been nine short days since I decided to remove alcohol from my life entirely. Of COURSE I am tired and anxious, and still chubby and not seeing even a whiff of a pink cloud, although I remain profoundly relieved if not elated at having finally made the decision. Now, I have to do the work. Again (and again and again) I am so deeply grateful to all of you who have gone before and written with such courage and honesty about your journeys. I may not have the boxes to my own puzzles but it helps more than I can begin to express to be able to take guidance and inspiration from your works in progress.