2 years, 24 months, 731 days, 17,544 hours, 1,052,640 minutes, 63,158,400 seconds. No this isn’t the title of a musical theatre number but rather the numerical depiction of how long it has been at the stroke of midnight since I have drank alcohol. So much has happened in this time a lot of which I have documented here but there has also been a lot that I have kept to myself or only shared with those closest to me. Somethings we need to keep for ourselves. Some roads are partially walked. Some journeys are yet to begin. Some are too painful to openly share. Whatever the story, whatever the journey, whatever the pain the clarity I have now as a result of the freedom of the misuse of alcohol I had developed enables me to face life. Yes it can hurt, yes it can be acutely painful but in feeling it with all its devastation I am giving myself the chance to properly heal. I look back at my life from 1st April 2014 backwards. Self medicating with alcohol all too often when life became difficult or enhancing the party within me when life was good but never allowing myself to just feel. Scared I couldn’t live up to what was expected of me. Scared of feeling lonely in my fortress that protected me from pain. Scared of being me.
Two years on I am still on my journey. In many ways I might always be but then aren’t we all on some journey. It’s not about the alcohol or any other substance it’s about choice. It’s about choosing to leave an overly trodden dead end path and forging a different one. One that allows the light in. One that is clear, open and directional. I’m still me but when I think about me before 1st April 2014 one particular songs springs to mind. This song could have been written about me.
‘I want to swing from the chandelier’
Sounds very Oliver Reed. Bizarrely I share the same birthday as the late and infamous heavy drinking actor with a penchant for chandelier swinging. Swinging from the chandelier sounds liberating, fearless, exciting and exhilarating which are aspects of life too easily forgotten or suppressed.
Yes I still want to swing from the chandelier but if I am I sure as hell want to bloody remember it.
Nighty night xx
First Thing: Friday the 13th. Ooh eck! Well I was born on Friday the 13th so what does that say? I can never quite work out if it means my date of birth cancels any negative stuff out of a day like today or if I get double helpings of crap. Well time will tell. I just need to avoid clapping my eyes on any lone magpies which strangely is the only superstition I have. Considering my soulful bond with the wild things I’m surprised these beautiful birds freak me out when I see one on their own. How does it go again:
‘One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told.’
If I totted up the time I waste desperately trying to locate another magpie (usually in vein) when my eyes have seen the one I could probably add another year on my life. Well maybe not a year. Six months! Ok three.
Later: So far so good and no catastrophes thus far however the spillage of around 300 loom bands earlier (the latest child craze) did provoke a personality change. They are not the easiest things in the world to pick up off the pavement and a dozen trips or so into the middle of a crossroads is not ideal or particularly safe.
Before Bed: Anyhow I had made it back to my favourite place amongst the wild things whilst my two learned how to further their take over of the world by participating in taekwondo. Heaven help us! As I sat looking out over the water, my eyes heavy and frequently slapping some midgie (a down side of my favourite place) my mind wandered to a comment a friend said to me a few days ago. In reference to my not drinking alcohol they had said ” you need to get a life!” My immediate response being ” I’ve actually found a life!” Now it was said jokingly but it provoked a feeling in me that I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have felt before. Self assuredness. I didn’t feel the needed to justify my decision not to drink, or try to convince them that “I’m still fun!” or feel a sadness that I was missing out. I felt in control, content and totally justified in my decision.
So the time came for me to bid the wild things adieu and head back home to get the dinner on for the taekwondo twins return. So I made my way up towards the gate to return to the outside world and as I walked along the path a heard a fluttering commotion in the bushes to my left and before I could stop to take a look out it flew in front of me. It’s striking black, blue and white feathers, bright black eyes and shiny beak. A single magpie. You couldn’t bloody write it… well actually I just did. What did I do? Well I didn’t gesticulate madly to the gods for sending this godforsaken harbinger of doom my way like I usually would have done. No I looked at it, admired its beauty and said out loud ‘it’s a bird’. And it was just a bird, going about its business.
Just like alcohol is a choice so is superstition. I make the choices in my life not some lonely bird with a shiny object fetish. It’s all too easy to blame someone or something else when things don’t go how we would like them to and especially when we know it is in our power to change them. We can get so locked into defensiveness that we find ourselves stuck in the wrong choice when to admit we have misjudged something and decide to make a change can be both liberating and empowering.
Now touch wood and fingers crossed it won’t rain tomorrow.
Nighty night x
Ps 74 days