It’s been a long time since I’ve had something to say, or since I’ve been willing to say anything. I’m not feeling as optimistic or as ‘strong’ as I was in my early sobriety. I was warned this would happen, that the glow would fade. I would describe it more as a swift ghosting than a ‘fade’. I woke up one day and felt exactly like I had in the worst of my depression- like I wanted to disappear. And now I (once again) struggle with this feeling every day.
I am still sober, though, 671 days to be exact. It is difficult to maintain the lifestyle even on my best days but I’m still grateful that I made the decision. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had continued to drink I wouldn’t be alive anymore. I will be turning 30 in March, thanks to my decision to quit drinking.
An update on my life, for those of you that were around before, or perhaps those who are nosy and interested (haha)…… My father lived through his cancer treatment, but he lost his leg, his hip and half of his pelvis. For a little while he also lost his sanity. My mother said it was delirium due to infection in the wound from his amputation. I got a phone call from her mid shift at the restaurant, she was quiet and I had to strain to hear her. He wouldn’t be conscious, she led with, but I had to show up, that night, to say goodbye. He wasn’t recovering from his surgery, he was in a coma and it was the end of the line. I flew across the country on that warm evening in May with a near-stranger (this story I’ll get into briefly, later). But my dad lived and he’s still alive nearly a year later. He doesn’t remember me being in the hospital with him on his birthday (May 24th). He doesn’t remember my mother and sister fighting over money or their importance in his life. He doesn’t remember me trying to take the high road, and me searching for meaning in every twitch of his weak body or the flickers of the many machines in his room. He doesn’t remember shakily asking me in whispers for help getting out of the hospital because he didn’t like it there and he didn’t think he was safe. He didn’t understand where he was, what had happened. The time I spent with him I had to continually push him back down to his bed because he kept trying to get up and leave, not realizing he was missing half of his body. It still devastates me to think of his time in the hospital, even though he never has to know how terrible it really was. My family is full of people who pretend that things are better than they are and this experience was no exception.
The plan had been for my dad to give me his car post-surgery and I would drive it back to BC and keep it. This had been planned for many months, and the timing of this trip back to Ontario was around 10 days shy of when I had planned to fly back and do the road trip with a friend (who I had not picked yet). This is where the near-stranger who accompanied me comes in. I met him mid-April at my restaurant. He seemed a bit strange and a bit sad, but he was polite and funny, even though he was clearly preoccupied with heavy things going on in his head. He seemed weird but in a quirky way. He was certainly a bit unconventional, in the way he dressed, the way he spoke, his general attitude. He showed up at my work again the day after we met and wanted the exact same thing, which I remembered and recited to him before he could finish ordering. We shared a laugh and eventually he asked me to a show that night and I shocked myself by saying yes. I was still nervous about dating/sex/relationships and I was in no way looking for a partner (or a date, really). Every person who had expressed interest in me I had kindly turned down, but I decided to do it this time. Fuck it. We had fun seeing his friend’s band play, he came home with me that night and we started a casual kind of relationship. We spent a lot of time together. We got to know each other, slowly. We had wild and uninhibited sex, often. He showed me many parts of the city that I never saw while I was drinking. He was in a few bands of all different genres and I was smitten with that, since I grew up around musicians and shows (I am not musical at all, however). He’s part surfer-dude and part philosopher. He’s smart and thoughtful but he doesn’t care to show either of these qualities off. He is masculine but without machismo. He’s open to so many things, he doesn’t give a fuck what people think of him or his behaviour (this is a blessing and a curse). I was nervous and afraid of where our ‘thing’ would lead. He’s spontaneous in a way that can be intimidating. He disappears for stretches of time on a whim, just on adventures by himself or with strangers he’s met along the way. Not to mention, his life is a total disaster as well. We met in the midst of his physical breakdown from stress. He had a bad breakup with the only real long term girlfriend he’d ever had. He owned his own business which quickly crumbled when his body decided to seize up and prohibit him from working. His mental health swiftly deteriorated. It was a crazy time in my life, too, so we kind of fit together in an idiosyncratic way that I liked.
While we were out for dinner celebrating my 1 year sober I asked him if he wanted to go on this road trip with me and he agreed. We had known each other for a little over 2 weeks. I booked our plane tickets, and then the above happened. When my mom called to tell me to change my flight to that very night, I told him that he could just meet me in Ontario on the day we had planned originally. Obviously there was going to be some crazy family shit going on and he didn’t need to be involved in it. He scoffed and said he’d pack some clothes and be at my house shortly and we’d go handle this together. So that’s what we did.
It’s been nearly a year and we are together. We fell in love on our cross country road trip, and it’s been a mix of wonderful and really fucking hard. I’m working to get over my past life, as is he. I’m working to get a handle on my depression, as is he. It is not a perfect relationship and the mental illnesses we both have get in the way, a lot. I’m noticing more and more the amount of effort it takes to keep myself balanced while I’m in a relationship. It’s a fuck ton. I’m learning a lot about myself and about my heart, most days I think he is, too. I don’t know what’s going to happen between us but I do know I am grateful to have someone in my life that I can love and that I can share my time with.
That’s all the update I can muster, right now. I look back on what I wrote in this blog one a year ago and I’m embarrassed and annoyed but I’m resisting the urge to delete it all. There was a part of me that felt all those things and a part of me that still does. I know this is true. I see my wonderful therapist tomorrow (the very same I found in my early sobriety) and I plan on unboxing some of the feelings I’ve shared with you all today.
Sending everybody warmth and positivity (though I don’t have much of it these days) xoxoxo