Friday, February 19, 2010

Life Goes On

Well, this has been a dead blog for a while, except for the occasional video or horse racing picks post. Truth is, I had a rough year. I won't burden you with all the gory details, but my problem with alcohol got the better of me. I made poor choices; I hurt people; but in the midst of a blackout one night, a voice whispered in my ear: "Get help." I woke up the next morning not remembering a thing EXCEPT that I'd made the decision to check myself into rehab.

My partner had gotten home late from work and found me, soused, on the couch (as usual), and yet, she says, for once I actually spoke articulately and made sense when describing my pain and fear and how I had realized my life had spun out of control.

Don't remember it. But something intervened that night.

I didn't flake on my intention, and three days later found me at a rehab center in Sonoma County. I had a last little bender the night before I went in, went to bed around midnight, arrived at rehab around 11:00am, and blew a .04. And I wasn't even hungover; the night before had been a mild drinking episode. So...imagine how I must've been those nights I guzzled down 3-shot margaritas, a bottle of wine, some bourbon as a last resort when every other bottle was empty.

On March 2nd, I'll have been sober for exactly 6 months.

I finally feel that I'm starting to reclaim my life. I'm remembering who I am after, basically, a three-year bender that commenced when I moved to Spokane, Washington. Of course alcohol has been lurking in the shadows as a problem my entire adult life, but it never whipped me down the way it did this past time. I'm done with it. Done.

I look around now and realize how very blessed I am. I have a loving, forgiving wife. I have friends I wasn't very good to who have welcomed me back with open arms, relieved I'm okay, one of whom, 23 years sober herself, has graciously offered to be my sponsor and is helping me see when my thinking is muddy. I have a great boss and coworkers who have not uttered a single judgmental word and are pleased to see me losing weight and feeling better. I have classes full of students who drive me nuts sometimes, but of whom I can genuinely say I have a real affection for, each and every one of them. They descend upon me after class sometimes, full of questions and full of stories to share about themselves...and I feel that old deep unfillable void in me finally filling for the first time ever.

It's not all sweetness and light. I've had to drop people who've proven toxic in my life, and in some cases that's made me deeply sad. I'm trying to be better about setting boundaries. I'm not inviting into my life others who would threaten my peace of mind (read: sobriety). What seems to be simple isn't, and it's taking constant vigilance to stick to the wisdom of the Four Agreements (profound in its simplicity, if you don't know the book). Being impeccable with my word is something you would think would be easy. Just recently I had to step away from a dear friend because I couldn't bring myself to conspire in a falsehood. It sucks. I try to end every day thinking back over the decisions I've made, whether they were good ones, or if I need to set something right. But one excellent thing I've figured out is that whenever I, for whatever reason, do something that clashes with my own values, that's precisely the thing that will make me pick up.

So, this is my excuse for my long absence. I really have no clue what this blog will turn into, other than I know I want to share me again, the good and the bad and the hilarious and even the nonsense. Hi, y'all.


lhahn said...

One day at a time, that's all you can do. And congratulations on your 6-month birthday!

Joyce said...

Thank you. :-)

Anonymous said...

Joyce, my husband has been sober for nearly 18 months. It is really wonderful to see you put it all out there for people to see. Also wonderful that the people who you care for are the ones who care about you! Keep up the strength! You can do it!

Joyce said...

Thanks, Molly. I have a rule nowadays about not keeping secrets. It makes life a heckuva lot easier! :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Joyce, what a joyous announcement. And what a joy to have you back in form, and back in our lives where we can love you. You are always present to me. love, Amy

Joyce said...

Hey Amy! Good to see you. Catch you on Facebook some morning?