You’re always a day away

The movie Annie was seminal in my life for several reasons. First off, it was the launching pad for a game called “orphanage” in which me and my cousins would wait for nice people to adopt us. I’m sure a psychologist could have  a blast in analyzing why childhood me from the alcoholic home loved playing that game. Second, it was the movie that briefly inspired me to play the piano. I learned how to play “Tomorrow” which was a nice accompaniment to the only other song I knew how to play, “The Rose.” That’s right,  my entire piano act consisted solely of a Bette Midler song and a song from a musical. By the time I played those songs a billion times, I’m sure even our piano was ready to come out of the closet. Lastly, the film made me realize that I need to live somewhere where I could have servants, preferably ones who sang.

I’m thinking about Annie today because much like the curly-headed orphan, I’m thinking about tomorrow. I’m having a hard time being in the now right now and thought if I blogged about it, it would pass faster. It’s not tomorrow specifically but January 2nd that’s heavy on my mind. Unless I get kidnapped by terrorists or crushed by a speeding bus, I will celebrate 3 years of continuous sobriety on January 2nd! This is fantastic especially since year 2 has been a challenge. No one bothered to tell me until I was about six months in, that the second year of sobriety is notoriously tough and commonly referred to as the terrible twos. Thanks for the warning! Even still, I managed to overcome the self-doubt and struggles to say in the program during year two and I’ve stayed sober. My life is amazing right now. I just married the man of my dreams, I work full-time as a writer, and my first play opens in a month from today! My life is mind-blowingly awesome and I have the program and getting sober to thank for all of it. And yet… my alcoholic brain sends me shitty messages like “you don’t deserve any of this” and “you’ll never make it” and of  course that number one hit song played on repeat since 1972, “You’re not good enough.”

So I listen to that garbage for about ten seconds, do the things I’ve been told to do that always make me feel better and I breathe and give myself a break. I always get itchy before birthdays and I know that’s what this is. And maybe Annie wasn’t living in the future. Maybe the little orphan was saying it might seem crappy now but there’s always tomorrow. Or as they say in the rooms, “this too shall pass.”  Here’s to clearing away the cobwebs and the sorrow, indeed.

PS- I realize these are “quality problems” so thanks for indulging me.

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.