Or, maybe it’s because it was 4th of July weekend, and I had nothing to do. It’s really weird when the death rattle finally stalls out. I had been holding onto the old facades and veneers for a while, thinking that deep down, the majority of people I invested my life in over the past years still cared for me. If I had held out any hope in that, this weekend pretty much put the nail in that coffin. Actually, not a single one of my Chicago friends, save one, reached out. I get it’s a two-way street. I get that I haven’t been exactly available because of the grind that my life has been, but it’s finally clear to me that I just didn’t make real relationships. Many people from the program reached out, though. It reminds me who I want to become and why I am excited to move my life forward, but it doesn’t make the shitty reality or grieving process hurt any less. I’m just glad I can finally move on. Maybe by writing this, I can do it a little more gracefully.
I’ve been thinking of moving a lot. I know that is not a viable option right now because recovery is number one, but I still just dream of starting over. I know running away won’t solve anything. Wherever we go, there Jeff’s illness will be. But this city had chewed me up and spit me out. Or maybe it is the other way around. I moved here because I wanted a certain lifestyle. And I don’t want to live my life that way anymore. I don’t know if I will ever look upon this place with happiness or optimism in the way I once did. Coupled with a miserable winter, I don’t know if I want to be here anymore. But that is not for today. Just for today, I am only concerned with this minute.
Today, I went to a family session at Jeff's in-patient program, and it was a very basic (but awesome) session about addiction, why it's a disease, and how it impacts families. Shit that I have heard, subscribe to, and take for granted at this point. But I still got a lot out of it. There were only 4 other family members there, and during the portion of the day where the patients left and we could ask questions, there were a lot of questions that I looked at as crazy now, yet a year ago, I faced the same turmoil. A few in particular hit home for me. Someone said, "I don't need help, HE has that problem." I discussed how Al-Anon has worked for me. A man said, "We used to cook and open a bottle of wine, go to dinner and have a few drinks, meet our friends at the bar afterwards - I didn't sign up for this, I don't want my life to change!" These words could have been straight from my mouth 9 months ago. It's hard to not want to face reality or acknowledge that everything in your life must change. I offered that I had tried to keep my old life, but it didn't work for me, and I ended up getting sober, too, just because I knew that was the only way for us. The facilitator then asked me, "But how do YOU feel now?" And my answer was that while Jeff may have been the impetus to stop drinking, I'm the reason that I continue to abstain.
The very real reality of this entire situation is that I am a changed person. Every time that Jeff is away, I have the opportunity to go back out if I want and no one would be any the wiser. I thought today that I could swing by the bar if I wanted, or text some of my old friends, or even have a drink if I so desired, but I didn’t reject those thoughts out of principle, respect, or anger; I rejected those thoughts because I simply just don’t want to be that person, regardless of Jeff’s situation, ever again. I like the new me. It’s just that I’m still very early in this new journey and I’m a work in progress. But that’s progress enough – that the going has gotten tough, and I’m still ready to get going.