Anyone seen the movie All is Lost? It stars Robert Redford. There’s about two lines of dialogue.
That is how I feel right now. There’s no point in drinking, there’s no point in not drinking. I felt fine this morning. I got my kids ready to go to church, though I didn’t plan on staying for the service. I was going to group discussion at 10 o’clock and dropping my little one at the nursery and taking my oldest son to do crafts and have fun with other kids his age. I used to love gathering at 10 o’clock and taking part in deep conversations with people. No question was off-limits. My church is progressive and open to all, and as a result there are a lot of gay, lesbian, and transgender people who attend. Also, there are people from many faith backgrounds, including some agnostics and out-right atheists. I’ve never been to a church like mine before, and I was looking forward to going…
…until I go there. I dropped off my kids at their respective places, walked into the social hall where our group meets, and I froze. I knew most people in the room, and two weeks ago I’d told them I was in treatment and going to AA meetings. Two people walked up to me afterward and said they were recovering addicts and alcoholics, and I felt better.
Today, though, I freaked out. I sat my bookbag down and took off my jacket. I went to the bathroom to gather myself and looked at my hands. They were trembling violently. I can’t do this, I thought. I dashed back in the room, got my jacket and bookbag, and made a bee-line to my van. I drove to a nearby coffee shop and ordered a cup, feeling only slightly better. I sat with my journal and wrote a horrific poem about recovery and dealing with my addicted self. I kept sliding further and further down until I hit emotional bottom yet again. When I picked up my children from church, I dashed out with them for fear of seeing people and having to talk to them. I spoke to one girl who knows what I’m going through, and she hugged me. I appreciated it, but I had to get out of there. I made a hasty apology, grabbed my kids’ hands, and out the door we went.
As I type this, every sound is too loud; colors are too bright. I dread going to work tomorrow.
I keep thinking of the Emily Dickinson poem, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”:
I wish I had more hope. It’s fading. I’m doing the absolute minimum right now: not drinking today. I feel like an utter failure. This isn’t me on the pity pot, folks; I’m just recounting how I feel for my future self and for others wading through the morass of early recovery.