I have kept some sort of journal since I was around 11 or 12 years old. Most of those old spiral notebooks I still have, squirreled away in a safe place where no one will find them. I doubt they would be of real interest to anyone but I have left strict instructions to destroy them when I die.
Most are filled with the kind of random goofiness - an attempt at a first novel when I was 11 for instance, which reads suspiciously like The Outsiders - one would expect from an over wrought and extremely dramatic tween and teen. Some of it, however, is really sad and really dark. The fact that I kept writing during the depth of my alcoholism is amazing to me. I am, however, very glad I did.
I got sober in 1992. The program I use to stay sober emphasizes the concept of 'one day at a time' - in other words, don't act all happy over something that has not happened yet because anything can change in a split second. I agree with that philosophy. I am, after all, a woman who hung up the phone at 4:15pm after telling her husband she loved him and then found him dead an hour later when she got home from work. I know how fast life can change and I appreciate that I am not going to celebrate something today that did not happen until it does - and it did not happen back in 1992 until 12 days from now.
What I am celebrating today is the journey that took me on the last big bender, the giant drunken rage and tantrum that, by all rights, I should not have survived. I think back on why I decided that 'those people' didn't really have the answer and were too mean for a delicate flower such as myself. I wrestle with the emotions - gratitude, shame, dark humor and outright amazement - I feel around this time of year. It is a tough time for me. It is one of those things that I love and I hate.
I am sad because today a woman's body - naked and abused - was found in an alley in Modesto. Someone's daughter is dead. It could have been me. I do not know what killed this woman, but I know that it could easily have been my mother mourning my death 25 years ago because of the way I was treating the disease of alcoholism.
I love that I found the answer. I hate what the disease did to me, the time I wasted and the relationships I destroyed. I hate that the answer to the disease did not make me so wonderful that I have not destroyed other relationships while being stone cold sober. I love that I found my way Home to Rome. I hate that it took me so long. I love the life I have today....I hate how much I had to shed and change and give up but in all honesty? The reward has been infinitely wonderful. I wish I could package it, give it to everyone. I know so many who are lost - including those who don't know it - and I weep that I can do nothing for them but pray.
Gratitude cannot begin to describe the way I feel when I think about where I am today and where I was on April 21, 1992.
I am overwhelmed.
Now if only Madbum had stayed the heck off that dirt bike.....