I am so grateful to be here on day six of being sober. I had an awful time sleeping last night, and the title of this post (almost made the typo "past" hmmmm) came to me.
For years I have sworn to myself I was going to stop drinking. Always scared to stop for good. I thought I could never give up the promise of a glass (ok, really bottle or two) with my husband on our nights off together. Or the reward of a hard week's work. Or what do I do at New Year's? How do I eat out? Good intentions, terrible results. That's my house of straw. Built out of and around empty promises to myself. It wouldn't stand, wouldn't last. I built the same one in my heart for years thinking it, faking it, lying to myself that I was sincere. I meant it. I wanted to quit. But when a powerful urge comes along, straw is no contest for the will to get drunk. In an arm wrestling match between straw and wine the straw loses every fucking time. I should know, I put money on that silly bastard for years. At least 20 of them.
Every once in a while I would change my blueprint and find some sticks.Shore those intentions up right! I wasn't lying to myself, that straw just wasn't what I was needing all along. Here was what I needed! This house of sticks. Now I can hide in here, cringing and wailing my way through almost a week beating the intentions away until I beat too hard and broke the stick and I was hungover again. And again. And again.
Lately I started making houses from bricks. From big ideas and big intentions. Tentatively reaching out and saying to my husband and myself out loud "I think I might be an alcoholic. I have a drinking problem. I need to stop." I felt it too, felt those bricks crushing my heart when my good intentions again got flooded by too much wine, too much guilt. I felt myself drawing that soft part of me back, back behind the bricks where there were no mirrors to show my aging face, my tired eyes, my defeated heart and soul.
Last Friday I built a house of bone. A house strong and pure. A house where I can open my heart and lay it all on the line and not care if it hurts or embarrasses me because being honest means I don't have to feel like a liar anymore. I don't have to be ashamed of who I really am anymore because I don't have to hide the way I drink, and I don't have to act like I feel fine when I'm really dying inside from being hungover and a loser. A house where I can be just me, and be safe, and not worry about being judged or forgetting conversations, or blacking out. In this house there is always enough even when there isn't any, there is always plenty, plenty, plenty. This house is made of bone: sturdy, strong, bona fide, honorable, unburdened backbone. In this house the door is wide open, and I always know the way to get there.