Thursday, September 22, 2016
Years ago I dragged my oldest brother to a huge party in our hometown, This party was a yearly event and half the town was invited and the other half spent the evening wondering what they'd done to piss the hosts off. My brother, Pat, had been sober well over 10 years at this point, he no longer lived in our hometown and both he and I thought it would be a great chance for him to see a bunch of old friends.
We'd been there about an hour when he sought me out.
"I need to go, " he said.
"Oohkay...just let me find so-and-so and say, 'Good-bye," I replied.
"No," Pat said, "I need to go. NOW!"
So, we left.
I remember wondering how the pull to drink could still be so strong in my brother who had never shown a moment of weakness in over 10 years.
I found out a few days ago.
The minute I got the word out that I'd published my book, I hitched up a rented airstream camper and headed into the depths of Yellowstone, far from internet and tv and all social media.
The Tetons and Yellowstone are slices of untouched paradise here on earth, mouth dropping beautiful,but when we were done with sightseeing every day and back at our campsite, with nothing but a roaring campfire and nature to distract me, I was at loose-ends with myself. I didn't have the book to work on, I didn't have my cycle of social media interaction to lasso me in, I didn't have the mindlessness of tv...
I was bored out of my gourd and that is dangerous ground. Because I knew the one thing that could end that boredom. I wouldn't have to do a thing but drink, and all of a sudden the enchantment would begin. The pull was strong. After five years.
This was my and the cap'n's first voyage into camping. I'd camped as a kid, but he never had, and two days in to the trip, I could tell he wasn't warming to my vision of our future spent in a vintage trailer on an endless ribbon of highway.
I knew if I'd still been drinking, it would have seemed so much more fun. We would have gotten drunk around that campfire and sang and danced and we'd would have convinced ourselves that the camping life was the life for us.
That's how we ended up on a boat.
That's how we ended up in Mexico.
Continually drinking until a new life seemed to hold all the promise that our current life didn't.
Now I don't drink and this life I have is my life, the life I've worked to build for five years. There are times it is boring, there are times I wish it were enhanced and more enthralling than it is.
It would be so easy and quick to make it so.
And totally devoid of any effort or value.
I'm done escaping, I don't need to go find a better life. I'm staying here where I belong. Maybe I'll hang some new curtains.