Writing! It’s Better than Happy Hour.

I’m currently researching and getting ready to write this play about fear, disappointment and karaoke and the other night it struck me how enjoyable the whole process is. I’ve been a giddy little kid watching karaoke videos, taking notes about characters, singing to myself as I write. In fact, for a brief minute I found myself thinking that I enjoyed my new creative life way more than I ever liked drinking.

This, of course, is insane. Like something more than I liked drinking? I loved drinking. Or did I? Okay maybe I loved it for a while but then it didn’t love me back. Regardless, I truly believe that my life today is more exciting and enjoyable than it was when I was a blacking out five nights a week. Go figure. More remarkable still, is the fact that writing and being creative is far more thrilling and satisfying than anything drinking could ever provide. I was talking to a fellow creative person in sobriety the other day and we we’re lamenting about how we weren’t those types of drunks who were more productive when they were loaded. From what I’ve learned over the years, me and my friend are in the minority. I’ve heard dozens of artists, actors and writers say they were afraid to get sober because they thought their work would suffer. I admit I’m kind of jealous when I hear tales of creative folks who create masterpieces while intoxicated. I could never write drunk. It seemed too dangerous. Like I couldn’t control what was going to happen and besides if I was writing I couldn’t exactly keep drinking now could I? So now writing, a gift I’ve cherished my whole life and one that has set me free since childhood, yields the same power as a really good cocktail. I’m free. I’m elated. I take chances. I face scary things. I speak my mind. All while writing. And all while sober.

It’s crazy that something so good for me can make me feel so good. Part of the high it provides, I believe, comes from finally doing what I’ve always dreamed. I’ve always written and always told stories. So to live my real authentic life doing what I love is totally exhilarating.  The best part is I don’t wake up after an evening of writing wanting to bash my head in or wondering what I said to whom. With this current cocktail I’m sipping from, I just get the joy of doing what I love and living a life I’m proud of. And to that I say, ” Make mine a double!”

Christmas Present

Depending on my mood, hearing things in meetings like “my alcoholism is such a gift” can really piss me off. I mean don’t get me wrong I see and believe myself in the sliver lining of having this disease. But a gift? I’m sorry I don’t remembering registering for alcoholism. Can I exchange it for a waffle iron?

And yet on this day that is merry and bright, I’ll admit being a drunken disaster whose life exploded has been the best thing to ever happen to me. One of the best things about being sober during this time of year is actually being present for the events I show up to.  Granted, I was never one of those drunks who would miss holiday festivities. On the contrary, I worked overtime to make it look like it seemed as if everything was perfect during the holidays. I’d have the delicious dip you wanted me to bring along with wrapped gifts for everyone in my hands. But I wasn’t actually there. I was either living in the hangover from the morning or living in the future as I tried to figure out when was the appropriate time to have some wine or beer or anything to help me feel more comfortable.

Now when I go to holiday parties, I’m really there. With no escape from awkward conversations or silences. Today, I’m okay showing up without gifts or working overtime to make sure everybody knows how happy I am. I do however still pride myself in bringing excellent potluck items. The world is filled with shitty Jell-o salads and I for one will not contribute to such culinary vandalism. More remarkably, I’m happy to be there to really be present and capable of having conversations. So, yes person at the twelve meeting wearing the reindeer sweater who introduces themselves as a ‘grateful alcoholic’, this disease and recovery are really a gift. And ones I cherish. Even if they can’t make crispy golden brown waffles.