Lost & Found Box.
Imagine, if you will, a box the size of the galaxy. … Or, at least as big as Time (Are these the same thing, physicists? I couldn’t say – I am an artist with an artist’s head through and through…). I am going to bounce around in here and grab a few things willy-nilly that I have left off the blog these past few weeks, thus the title.
First, the word Alcoholic. … I have been reading posts and articles and detritus from all over the place about this word. Some feel it’s a label and fight it, others think to embrace it is empowering because one is not avoiding or ignoring it any longer. … I don’t quite know how I completely feel about the word, but I know that it is uncomfortable. And embarrassing. And saying it out loud to my family and friend was good because it was difficult, and because it gave me a very specific idea to give to them. There were no bells, whistles, sprinkles, or whipped cream to make the conversations easy. I wasn’t able to hide because the word is one of those naked words – I just sat there completely bare and open to whatever the word brought in mind for them. I didn’t fight it. I didn’t explain myself. I just let it sit. For a director/control-freak, this was maybe the most difficult part for each conversation. … In using the word, I had a quick label (I know, not people-first language) to give each loved one, and that was helpful. The word, even though I don’t love it, gave us a starting point, which was good.
The place I struggle with the word is connected to the stigma and stereotypes associated with Alcoholic. The ideas and preconceptions I had kept me from identifying myself for a long time. I couldn’t be that because I didn’t look like what I thought that was. It took extra digging and extra reflection and extra work (woe is me) to really understand what the word could mean and does mean to so many of us. … One blogger made mention about making it her mission to address the stigma and widen people’s perceptions of it, and I seconded her. In my own world, I’m already thinking what I can do at my school and through my work to make this happen (I’m a teacher). Excited and really fucking scared to think what might be created and what might happen as a result of creating something bold and strong and supportive for these young, brilliant people and for our community…
Grab Bag #2… Two weeks ago, the show I directed opened. At the beginning of each season, members of the theatre company head to the founder’s grave marker in a nearby cemetery. It’s a really sweet tradition of standing in a circle and toasting (with a bottle of whiskey) what the company means to each of us, and honors the incredible legacy our founder has created (this year is our 40th season!). For me, it has given me a beautiful man to love with all my heart, two adorable and mostly-wonderful children, and an extended family who loves and supports me creatively and in my RealLife. (This company has given me a shittonne. Yow.) So, I knew what was walking into when I went, re. the whiskey. And it was fine. It was beautiful – as always. Everyone’s shares were from the heart and it felt so unifying. When it got to my turn, I shared what I was grateful for in my professional life this past year, and how so much of it was inspired by this company, and thus our founder, even though I never got to meet him (he died just two months before I joined the company). Then I poured a shot of whiskey out onto the ground for our founder to enjoy, while also telling my friends I wasn’t pregnant. I blamed it on my meds and the group moved on. Very nice. Funny. And good.
Connected to this, I’m feeling ready to get back out there. I’ve been laying low and blaming it on my young children’s bedtimes, mostly. But I think I’m ready to start socializing again. At least maybe once a week? Just to ‘try’ a party and see how it goes… I’m still not ready to tell the world I’m sober, even though I have wonderful friends, but I have the added bonus of having my meds to ‘blame,’ which is kind of nice. Even if I wasn’t on any medication, I think I would use it as my excuse. I don’t know, I just feel more comfortable owning medication than alcoholism (for now). And who cares? I’m staying sober. As riding on empty said, who cares how I’m doing it? And I am missing people. Funny, I get to be with people and work with them every day, but there’s something different when I get to sit back and relax and just visit and catch-up. That’s what I want. So, yes. My goal for this coming week is to get out there and walk on these shaky-strong gams of mine.
My third bit of potpourri is…. the AA meeting I attended on Thursday, which was a morning meeting in a suburb close to me. I wanted to try a change of scenery, so off I went. And wow! Was I surprised. There were at least fifteen women approximately 50 years old – 75 years old, plus two men, one about 50, the other about 70. I was floored. The other AA meeting I attended the week before, closer to my house, had about twenty-five men and three women, plus me. The way the suburban meeting flowed was far more to my liking. I told my husband it was much less linear, which I appreciated. Comments from members pop-corned through the room, rather than going down the line, expecting everyone to contribute. The women were very emotionally supportive and demonstrative of their feelings, and even the men seemed to be a little more in tune that way, as well. I sat next to the older man, and at the end of the meeting, he pulled out a sheet of meeting times and places and showed me which meetings he attended and liked. Very sweet. Very kind. The woman next to me was amazing. Put together, elegant, so articulate and kind. It was a good meeting to go to before I made my phone calls to family. I made myself share what was in my plans for the day, and at the end of the meeting, the woman next to me said, ‘Carry us all with you. We are with you and behind you.’ So lovely.
Lastly, I’m in my sober journey at a point where I don’t know what will come next. I guess that’s true of every day – sober or not, isn’t it? More pragmatic than nihilistic, with a little philosophy thrown in for good measure. I’m excited to see what happens as this road unfolds in front of me. I’m nervous and unsure, but I believe if I incorporate some sort of mission to serve others around me, I think some really cool shit is going to happen. So, yes. That’s my goal. Ha. To make the cool shit happen.
Day 34, one-third of my way to 100… Fucking awesome!