Angels, if they show up at all, will show up in varying states of sobriety.
I learned this over the weekend while helping out a friend who is laid up at home, recovering from ankle surgery. If you decide to show up for someone who takes prescription drugs like a normal person — you may end up getting more than you bargained for.
Being of service to an immobile, normal drinker meant that I got to pour whiskey. Because, as the best of us addicts know, the fastest way to kick start your pain relief is to chase your pills with liquor — straight, strong, and brown. So, I did what any good alkie does — I employed my somewhat questionable nursing techniques and administered the good stuff.
When I pulled the cork from that bottle, it made the squeak-pop-ah! sound I remember a little too well. That spicy perfume — it burst into the air under my nose like a vapor firework. BOOM. Happy Fucking Holidays! Glorious whiskey. It’s been years. Years. But, it comes back to me like an old lover — that wood, fire, and sweetness. I poured 2 fingers into a small glass and carried it out to my friend — feeling like I was one of the 3 fucking kings.
There aren’t many people that will remind you of who you are while they are miserable and writhing in pain. And, there aren’t many angels that will show up when you actually need them. But, somewhere between episodes of various HBO series and cheesy holiday movies, something happened to me. I went from trying to be someone else’s savior to being saved.
Since getting sober, showing up for people means something different. It means owning the woman I am when I walk into the room and offering what I actually have to give — knowing it’s enough. Somewhere along the way, I forgot how to do that. And, apparently, it took a hopped-up Christmas angel to remind me that the person I am is a helluva lot better than the person I’ve been forcing myself to be.
So, it turns out, I did get the angel I’ve been praying for — but even better — I got a totally badass angel with a bionic ankle that has a steel plate, 2 pins, and, like, 10 metal screws. And, even after 5 rounds of Oxycodone and 4 fingers of whiskey, he still managed to find kind things to say to me, even though it was me who was supposed to be the moral support. I guess I forgot that the broken bits inside our hearts need just as much care as our shattered bones. And, as fate would have it, that winged Christmas junkie with an elevated leg and a taste for Stumptown cold brew, he did all the fixing — my fixing — all from his horizontal position.
So this year, I’m ringing as many bells as I possibly can in hopes that my crack-baby angel gets his ankle back soon, and you should too.
This holiday season, lose the bows and the little black dresses. Show up to the Christmas party in worn out jeans with a stack of rom com DVDs. Because, sometimes, pouring the whiskey is far better than drinking it. And, if you find yourself bar tending for the right angel, you may be reminded that — you were always enough.
Gloria, In Excelsis Deo.