{How I Wish I Were Different: After Four Years of Sobriety}

I go to the garden. My reasons are messy and fluid, resembling the task.

The 95 degree temperature hits me in the face as I sluggishly climb out of my car. Searching the field, I identify three backs bent. I see them from afar. Why am I here? There is no turning back as the heat punches then catches in my throat.

There are things growing.  I am amazed my first night by the thought of food coming from somewhere.  I pull up dirt covered onions, cutting of roots and tops.  I learn quickly and try to be efficient.  Drop them in the bin, but not too rough.  Not enough to bruise.  My hands reek of onion and I wipe the moist liquid from the onions on my perspiring arms.  I’m hoping this keeps the mosquitoes at bay as twilight approaches.  I did not spray myself before coming, though in a type A moment I had come prepared.  I didn’t want to come off as a novice stinking of bug spray.  That night was my first in the garden.

I am nervous, as I am doing anything new.  Intensely shy, I do not like meeting people.  I can carry a conversation fine but more often than I like to admit, I’m just too lazy.  Self-centered even, I suppose.  Showing an interest in someone, even when I care about them, even when they interest me, even when I know someone already takes so much out of me.  There is a price.

This is a quality I hate about myself.  How I wish I were different.

I wonder, after getting gussied up for a wedding yesterday, why being with people so hard for me?  I was drained and tired afterward.  Some people relish parties! Though happy for the bride and groom, all I could think about was being exhausted.

Partly this was for the fact that there was an open bar.  That brought up all sorts of unexpected feelings. Damn it, I think to myself, I still resent  that I cannot drink. Being a drunk (former drunk, of course) this is more than a little ironic to me.

It’s just not fair kept echoing through me, whiny and complaining.  Deep and pulsing, a humming in my soul.  Not fair, not fair, not fair!!!  I was feeling deeply sorry for myself. And this is how I know, how I knew, even then that I cannot drink ever again.  I know even now that I am a drunk that doesn’t drink.

I wish I were different.

Four years ago this week I quit drinking – it was for good this time.

I should go to an AA meeting and get a four year chip.  But I don’t do AA.  Not absolutely sure why.

I guess, I like to act like I’m not really an alcoholic.  I just “don’t drink” and when I’m not around it I’m “fine.”  But I don’t think I’m happy not drinking and this scares me more than you could know.

I am finding joy and peace, learning to feel the abundance of my life.  But I need to find out why other sober people are happy even at an open bar. But not me.   

I realized last night, sitting across from a young gal from my church who was kind of sloppy from drinking three giant glasses of wine, that I am not a happy sober person.  I watched her enviously as she made at least three trips to the bar and brought each one back to our table.  And I knew. There are some things that I need to sort out.

I wish I were different but maybe that’s the thing.  I am me.  I was a crazy falling down drunk, once upon a time.  It was no fairy tale. And I am no princess. I am a drunk, I may be sober, straight and clean, but I couldn’t have a good time last night mostly because I forgot who I was.  And I felt deprived.

I wish I were different.  But I am me. 

Trudging through the cauliflower and tomatoes and watermelon plants today, lugging loads of weeds, carrying hefty loads of hay I worked hard.  I worked to help.  I worked for penance. I worked to forget.  Who knows? Perhaps all that and more.

I know this – I am grateful to sweat, for my health, to be here, to be alive.  Yes, even to be sober.

I may wish I were different but I can only be me.

I can only live this one life.  Oh I have regrets.  Watching others last night brought up plenty of regrets, touched a well of sorrow, a deep recess carved in my soul, but in the end as I embraced the truth of Christ’s grace this morning at church, singing gratefully, I was more thirsty for more of Jesus,

You see, I know I’m a sinner.

I know I’m forgiven.

I need to forgive myself.  And perhaps, even give something back.  Four years sober I don’t know much.  I have no great wisdom about how and why.  There is more I don’t know than what I do.  But this is me.  This is who I am.

I have to stop wishing otherwise.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Very moved by your words and your honesty. And your willingness to be you. Thanks for this.

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    1. Thank you Dorothy, for reading.

      Like

    2. thanks for letting me know, …

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Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

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