Friday, August 13, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

‎"We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate --- thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising." ~Maya Angelou


I dreamt I watched the Perseids meteor shower last night. It was so real that I actually had to convince myself this morning that I didn't get up in the middle of the night and go outside to watch it. That's another thing I sacrificed to my years of drunken slumber, all those fantastical dreams. All those nights I could have spent in George Clooney's arms in Dreamland wasted. (sigh!)

Started out my walk this morning with a positive attitude (relax, it stayed that way). I decided to imagine myself as I would like to be. I pictured a slender woman with flowing silver hair dressed in a gauzy cotton, brilliantly embroidered peasant blouse and long skirt. Tan bare feet with a beautiful pedicure and a little silver toe ring on the little toe of my right foot. I'm sitting at a ornate wrought iron table on the shady veranda of my casa in Mexico. And I'm busy writing the follow-up to my number one bestseller.

Now here's the real me. A generously proportioned woman with sweaty artificially enhanced blonde hair pulled back in a haphazard ponytail with smudges of yesterday's mascara under her eyes. She's dressed in one of the capn's (the husband. We lived on a sailboat for 12 years. 12 very long years) old t-shirts with a fraying collar and a pair of Walmart shorts that have a hole worn in the seat. The toenail of her big toe on the right foot is black and the other toes look just about as bad. She's sitting at a faux cherrywood laminated desk in a Best Western hotel in central Kansas typing out a blog about alcoholism.

Obviously, I've got a good imagination. But one thing I know. I can become that other woman if I really want to. There is nothing impossible about that. Well, maybe the bestseller is out of my hands but I can write a book and try. Here's another thing I know. I will never achieve that if I continue to drink the way I have. I may have an okay life but I will never have everything that is within my grasp is I don't let go of that bottle and its grip on me.

I think it was on a Day 7 during one of my other recovery attempts, I was out walking (Surpise! Hey, at least I wasn't stumbling, or even worse, tumbling) and I was getting to the end of my walk. I don't know if the sun was shining just right or there was a certain smell in the air (so many triggers out there) but I really wanted a glass of wine waiting for me when I got home. So for the last few blocks there was this argument going on in my head, "I'll just have one glass of wine" and "No, you can't have any wine." Back and forth. Back and forth. Finally I stopped and said, "Okay God, I'm shutting up and handing this over to you." I silenced the argument in my head and just quit thinking about it. I walked a few steps and God said, "Don't you want to see what happens?" It stopped me in my tracks. I could see my future pretty clearly if I continued to drink, it looked exactly like my past. But I had no idea what my future would be if I didn't drink. That route hadn't been programmed in yet. I did want to see different scenery. I did want to see where that road ended up.

Did I fail? Yes. But I got a little further down the road. I could almost see what was around the next curve and it made me want to try it again. I haven't reversed all the way back to the starting point and that's a good thing. 2 steps forward and one step back.

As you know, I'm letting myself have that glass or two of wine now. It seems to be working out. I've been doing a pretty good imitation of a normal person. Several nights I've actually dumped the second glass out. I'm drinking red which I don't like so I sip it. Only another alcoholic would understand why you drink something you don't like just so you'll drink slower just so you still get to drink even though you have no intention of getting drunk. Makes perfect sense to me. Hey, I'm trying the best I can and I know you are too.

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