Square and True
I looked down at the phone, it was my sister again. I was already well into another day and night of getting my buzz on and being the life of my party so I ignored it. I heard a ding that she had left a message, later’ I thought as I downed another shot. I tried to listen to it that night but she was drunk and I couldn’t stand her voice when she was like that, because I was the same way. I didn’t delete it, but I couldn’t listen to it. I went back to ordering my shots and beers, and the next few days nursing myself with just more of the same. I never did get to hear that message…
It was a week after her 46th birthday when she passed a few days later. It always haunted me that I could have done something… anything. That call was the last chance I had to talk to her… Afterwards I kept myself in a blackout, numbing with anything I could find for so much of the next year, that the message was somehow erased, the phone carrier bought up. She was the next oldest, or the second youngest, this wasn’t supposed to happen. After going to treatment, in attempts that numbered somewhere in the mid teens, it had all taken its toll, my sister was gone, and her suffering complete.
My sister was four years older than I was, and I was headed in the same direction. Drinking and drugging was my motive operandi. I was in the restaurant business, it’s what we did. But even that industry doesn’t want a stone cold drunk, and within a few short years my life was also hitting its self created road blocks. With the help of the local police via my first DUI, and an already sober brother, I started the process of trying to get sobered up, and getting my life into a responsible order. When I turned 46 and one week old I looked around the outpatient group that I was graduating from and told them this story. That I was celebrating 90 some odd days, and expressed the feelings that although I did this for myself; Every day that I live sober was also for my sister too, who had such a hard time with it all.
As Thursday marked eleven years of sobriety for myself, I reflected on the beginnings, and the raw emotions that they still bring. The years since have been just as challenging and filled with all the things my old reasonings would use for drinking and drugging, but without the desire or need to use them to get through, or get by. They have also been the most rewarding of my life, being able to be present in mind and body, being able to be an example of success. To have the ability to pass this along to others, to have the experience to share has also become part of me I never thought could come about when I was out there, numb and dumb. I was trying to make life pass by more quickly before because my endgame was self destruction. It’s sad in hindsight because now the pace of life is faster than I find comfortable with at all.
In finding myself, in finding my good parts and my bad parts and finding myself with some disorders that I could not have known about before, I’m more humbled and whole. In being able to see my history fall together in this manner, it helps me with those memories of my sister’s story, and it somewhat rewrite hers a bit too in my mind, and my memories. The depths and extremes of my gifted emotional being could well have been a shared condition. My sister and I could communicate with each other, she didn’t shut me down, nor I her. Later on in life when so many could not understand her, somehow I still could. The years of sobriety that allowed me to see these things are just eleven years old, and each passing year has brought something I could not have imagined before. I’m grateful for another year of opportunity for growth, and for those who came before me and taught me along the way. I hope these pages have helped someone with their journey, or at least made them pause to think.
These are the cornerstones that I have moved onto a new foundation. They include the parts of self that come from a rich life of self recovery. The psychological understandings, the life experiences, and the wisdom I have picked up along the way help shape this time of opportunity. The program and it’s many teachers have shown me how to see myself and in the processes, and through time itself, I have found the process of real lifelong learning. I have found a new trail to explore on these pages, that of building a life with what I know now. I can’t wait to see my mistakes, and laugh at my discoveries, and disassemble the fears that all too often arise. It’s life, and I will always be overthinking… it’s my superpower. I can be secure in doing all of the above because of the foundation I have found, and the importance of placing inside, the strongest cornerstones.