The New Year looms.
I washed back 2014 and I toasted 2015 with a glass of Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider. It tasted good.
I sometimes wonder if I’m experiencing some strange form of reverse insanity where, somehow, I no longer find myself missing booze. And, as my life starts to settle into some semblance of stability and comfort, I find myself searching for it — not the bottle — a feeling. The thing that’s at the core of what I believe my alcoholism to be — some unnamed emotion that won’t let sleeping dogs lie. I’ve had this feeling before. I know this feeling. And — drinking is the cure. A cure that, in the past, facilitated an allowance of brief moments where I happily let myself be taken off guard. A cure that became a kind of permission I granted myself. And, without it, something feels untapped in me.
I still lace my boots too tight. I still have trouble giving myself away. But, I want to feel it — happiness. I know it’s there. But, it shies away from me like a nervous child, disappearing behind her mother’s knees. And, I don’t blame her. She’s had the rug ripped out from underneath her before. And now, my movements play out like an old song — one where my happiness sings out the melody and my caution keeps the beat.
It’s not that I want to go back. I don’t want to go back. Sobriety has offered a liberation that I could never take for granted. And, the freedom I enjoy today, far exceeds the freedom of Jim Beam White Label. But old weight is still weight. It holds me an inch too close to Earth. I find myself wondering how to recreate the trust and untethered hope that years past have stolen. I want to feel without losing too much. I want to let go. I want to learn how to keep my head in the clouds and my feet on the ground.
The more present I become, the more I see how this strange and ambiguous feeling can rule me. Alcohol was the great equalizer, equipped with it’s own system of checks and balances. And, without it, I still struggle to even the scales. Inaction has held me back for as long as I can remember. And now, sober, I am making up for lost time.
I’ve tasted happiness and I know that it’s a cure more potent than any other. I remind myself that it’s attainable. But, more than that, it’s something we are all worthy of — our birthright. So, when I feel it in my stomach — that need to disappear behind my mother’s knees, I decide to step forward instead.
It’s a New Year, and, my song may sound the same, but I am choosing to hear it differently. I focus on my melody while the cautious drummer keeps time. Because, if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that when I adjust my perception my reality adjusts too. So, with some hesitation, I make the decision to let go. And when I do, I find myself where I’d always hoped I’d be.
Head in the clouds. Feet on the ground.