This experience of emergency–our family crisis– has simmered my outlook on life down to the essentials: I am thinking these days only of things that are of true import. I feel like I’m looking at the world through a porthole, and I can only see what is important. There is a small, a very small, slice of life that truly matters in the end, and that is where my heart is.
The smaller things like whether to worry about my weight, whether to have a yard sale, whether my pants match my top: none of them seem important. Even sobriety seems slightly silly. Of course I won’t drink, it would cloud any needs my family has in this moment. And today, in crisis, sober, this moment is all there is.
I wonder what this would have looked like if I were drinking. Chances are, I would not have been the one in charge of the emergency drive to Anchorage and back. If I *had* had to make that run, I would probably have stopped for a beer at dinner (on the way to an emergency hospital admission!) andI probably would have had wine before bed and liquor during the night. I probably would have been in hiding from the full meaning of this medical situation. I would have been thinking of me, me, me, because in our cups, in the tragedy of our addictions, we are unable to encompass the wider world. We shrink in our bubbles until we are alone, awash in sorrow and confusion and terror, not knowing it’s just a bubble, we can pop it. We can share it. The world is out there, waiting for us to see the rainbows.
If I hadn’t done the emergency run, my husband would have had to miss work, which is difficult and tumultuous because he’s the only one who can do his job. He works in Emergency Services and is a 30+ year veteran of the fire department, and is also a Battalion Chief. So leaving on the spur of the moment means a lot of people have to pick up the slack. He would probably have felt completely unsupported and scared of how we’d cope back at home. It all seems so avoidably tragic. I am so glad I am not drinking.
I went to my AAA meeting tonight, and I chaired, which means that I pick the topic. This time, even though I had a topic from Living Sober, I really just told this story. I told them that last Wednesday’s meeting– about the little demon in our brains that tells us we’ll be okay if we drink– probably saved me from a relapse. I told them that I pulled out every relapse prevention measure I could, because I know that hotels have always been a trigger for me. (The husband and I always used to go to those little wine and beer, cheese and crackers “welcome guests” shindigs they have from 5-7 at most hotels. This time, I was leaving the hotel to go to dinner with my sober friend when that wine dealie was going on. I just held Little One’s hand tighter and we kept walking. )
I talked in my meeting today, which is usually so hard for me. But I have been buoyed in that ability by the voices here, on these blogs, that remind me over and over again that our stories matter. My story matters. Someone in that meeting might take away something from that discussion tonight that helps them, the next time they’re in crisis and need a little help. I could talk tonight because all of you have helped me step out of my bubble. Or maybe you’ve joined your bubble with mine so you still feel safe. Maybe you’re not ready to let in the whole world. Thank you for sharing your bubble with me, anyway.
So we are still in crisis, and we probably will still be in crisis for a long time. That’s okay. There is nothing I could be doing AT THIS MINUTE that I am not ALREADY doing. I have covered all the available bases.
I am sober. I am showing up for my life. I am available to my family. I am being present and aware and I am so grateful for this space.
Have a wonderful Monday, everyone.