Show of hands: who else was really glad to see February 2020 fade into the rearview mirror?
Even in a leap year, it was still the shortest of all the months, and yet it felt like a never-ending slog through the muck. It felt like every time I try to run in a dream, and instead find myself crawling on the ground, clawing desperately to propel my body forward. (I’m open to all suggestions as to why that exact scenario keeps recurring over and over.)
If you’re watching “The Outsider” on HBO, it felt like that one cop Jack who gets body-snatched by the evil entity and then is continually wracked by random attacks that leave him looking like a walking corpse — and desperately looking for a way out.
So, you get the point. It’s been a painful month. I’m sure that was pretty clear after last week’s post, and without going into too much more graphic detail, suffice to say I got perfect-stormed by IBS, endometriosis and depression, and it sucked.
However, I sit here today with a sun-burned face after a glorious long walk at Tyler State Park and a relaxing few hours of sitting on my deck (wrapped in a blanket) listening to a new audiobook that I absolutely adore (“Quit Like A Woman” by Holly Whitaker) — and I have 238 days of sobriety under my belt. Tomorrow I took a vacation day from work to celebrate eight months without alcohol, and looking forward to a stress-free Monday fills me with a joy that no one except anyone who works for a living can understand.
I made it through the roughest month of my recovery thus far, and although I’ve been kind of avoiding the mirror, so for all I know I might LOOK like a Stephen King character, I feel much better. I feel hopeful — even a little enthusiastic! And for that, I am extremely grateful.
Whatever momentum I lost in my quest to “fix myself,” because I chose to pretty much do nothing outside of work — and the occasional therapy appointment and recovery meeting — except eat and sleep, I know I can regain. (By the way, you know those people who talk about losing their appetite or “forgetting to eat” when they’re in a funk? I’m not one of those people.)
The fact that I went to work and went to appointments and meetings, and only like three or four times cried in the presence of other people, when I didn’t ever want to leave my cozy cocoon of blankets and felt constantly on the verge of tears/meltdown…
Oh, and I also did not go to the liquor store, despite several times actually thinking I might have been MORE functional when tequila was my main food group…
I’ll chalk that up as a “W.”
Someday when I look back on my early days of sobriety — and I envision this being from the porch of my lakeside cabin in the shadow of mountains, while living off royalties from the book(s) I wrote — I want to remember Month 8. It was probably one of the least eventful, least joyful, months of my life, and that’s precisely why it should be memorable.
Health shit is going to happen. Insane thoughts are definitely going to happen. Depression has dogged me my entire life, so there will be times when it again starts nipping at my heels, and as much as I want to run away, all I’m going to be able to do is crawl and claw. What I know now, after surviving February 2020, is that no matter how long the night and bad the dream seems, I will wake up. And waking up without a hangover is one of the best feelings in the world.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey/laid eyes on this blog since July 3, 2019. You’re all invited to my cabin for pond skating and cooking out, some winter day, TBA.