Two years ago tonight I went to bed stoned for the last time. Tomorrow morning will be two years since my last hit. Friday I will count two years clean.
So much has changed. Here I am. I’ve moved two hundred miles. I’m in a new city, me and my kids and my cats. I’m still half living out of boxes. I can do stuff like this now. School is going well. I checked out a new church Sunday. We’ve met some of our neighbors. I’ve visited a few new meetings and made a few new friends.
Two years ago tonight I went to be stoned. I don’t remember anything about that night, specifically. They all looked the same. I got high. I slept on one edge of the bed and my ex slept on the other. I lived trapped in a spiral of doing dope to replace the intimacy my life lacked and lacking intimacy in my life because I was always high.
I never dreamed. Drugs have a way of turning off dream sleep. I went years without dreams. Today I had a nice nap through the hot part of the day and had a frightening, if beautifully symbolic, dream. I was trying to cross a raging river on a bridge that was only half built. And I was moving.
I hate moving. I like roots and stability and routine. I really haven’t done all that well with the stress and disruptions and changes. I need to get really settled in and not be up and down the road and on the go all the time. I need to find a church I like and stick with it, to find a few good meetings to hit regularly, to get back on a school-based sleep schedule. I’ve been letting the kids stay up to late. I sleep at odd hours. I’m stressed out and exhausted. Some days I barely eat. My BFF says hell looks like moving forever. Clean. Pack. Clean. Load. Clean. Unload. Clean. Unpack. Clean. Repeat. I told her if I go to hell and it looks like that we’ll be OK as long as we go together.
This moving thing has been the ultimate inventory for me. No wonder I’m so tired. It’s some serious emotional and spiritual work to make a change like this. But I’m doing it. I’ve really done it. I didn’t chicken out. I didn’t completely flip out (only a little…). I didn’t go use. I didn’t even celebrate with a bottle of wine. Not one drop.
I’m going to bed with a clear mind tonight. Maybe I’ll dream. I’ll wake up to rejoice in a new day. I’ll make coffee and eat something small to get my self woke up. I’ll get breakfast for the kids. We’ll work some more on getting our house transformed into our home. We’ll probably go grocery shopping. When it gets hot we’ll have some quite time and maybe naps. We’ll eat dinner. It will be another ordinary day. Even when moving most days are mostly ordinary life.
And this is today’s tiny piece of enlightenment. What defines our character isn’t crisis or change. It’s how we cope with the endless tedium of ordinary life. Most of life is wash, rinse, dry, repeat. It’s packing the same lunch boxes everyday, driving the same route to school or work, cleaning the same litter boxes, folding the same socks and t-shirts. Are we still present with and loving toward these tiny tasks and the people we do them with and for? For this is what defines our character. Do we say “Good morning” like we mean it everyday forever? Do we stay tuned in with and compassionate for the people closest to us, to those it’s easiest to take for granted?
I lived a lot of years trapped in that cycle with few or no real connections. A huge part of love is how we live when life is ordinary, boring, dull. I can’t wait for my life to get more ordinary again. I like dull and boring. I’m too old for all this excitement. But I think I’ll pass on the dope if it does.
I’ve learned something terribly, miserably, beautifully important about the power of relationships to define who we are and bring out either or best or our worst. These days I stick closest to those who bring out my best, the people who really get me.
I love this new life I’m assembling, one empty box at a time, and I’m also a bit of a mess inside right now. The condition of my heart and soul mirror the condition of my dwelling. There’s a lot of chaos at the moment. I totally get how it is that so many people hit a milestone and twist off. I know that feeling. This isn’t the first time and it likely won’t be the last. I know I’m in a bit of a vulnerable and precarious place right now. And it’s OK. I know I’ll be OK. Everything passes.
It’s been a really busy and stressful two years. A lot of huge changes have happened. But here I am. Alive. Clean.
I can’t really seem to believe that two years is really here. Only eight hours separates me from the two hear anniversary of my last hit. It seems unreal, unnatural, impossible. And I guess it is. Maybe I was highly functional as a drug user. But all the same when I wanted to quit I couldn’t. Which is what really defines addiction. It’s not weakness or laziness or rebelliousness – it’s helplessness, powerlessness, illness. And it is a miracle to live 731 days in what is an unnatural state for me. My natural state is stoned. It is only by the grace of God that today I am free.
Today I can pack up and move 200 miles.
Today I can say how I feel and ask for what I need. And I know that there should always be real give and take, honesty and emotional communication between any human beings who interact with each other.
Today I can be in the moment, here, now with the people I most love.
Today I can sleep without “help.”
Today I can know that the next eight hours will be won just like the last eight hours, that the next day will be another miracle just like the last day. Seven-hundred and thirty-one days.