Thursday, March 31, 2011
As I drove north, I kept one eye on the road and the other in my rearview mirror. I watched as everything I knew or cared about faded from sight.
I could have stayed, I suppose, found another women who wanted me around, but I was not into it anymore. They wanted to be in love, me, I just needed a friend.
I'd spent twenty-two years being somebody's lover or house guest for the most part. Only briefly had I ever had my own place and the means to pay for it. So I didn't stay, I left, but the trouble was that where I was going now, to my mother's place, was essentially part of the same old cycle: I would be a guest in someone else's home.
I had nine years of sobriety, but that, too, had had a price. In AA I was looked upon as a failure by most, because I was always in turmoil. Forget the fact that I had not gotten loaded over it, I was not happy, so I was wrong according to the conventional wisdom.
The harshness of that perception had left me isolated for the most part, and forced me to go it alone in many ways. "Hell, I know I'm fucking nuts," I thought, "and don't fit in anywhere, but I found a way not to get loaded over it. Shit! I never felt good in my life anyway, except when getting high worked."
Somewhere deep inside I seemed to know that as bad as it was sober, it would be a catastrophe loaded. This was the thought I kept close to me, not whether I was doing it right according to someone else.
I had gone where most of them had not, and I knew it. I had walked and crawled through a shit load of bad times that they may have never imagined or experienced. I had done it loaded, and now I was doing it sober.
In my view there had always been a few who understood it because of their own experience in sobriety, but there were too few of them in any given place to make much of a difference. They, like me, were floaters. Always moving and hanging on to one more day without drugs or alcohol.
For us it was the rock bottom reality of sobriety. "Just don't get loaded over it...just don't quit," we'd say to ourselves. "Just give me a pack of cigarettes and a cup of coffee and I'll ride it out."
Rock bottom days! That's where I was in 1985 as I sped up the 101. Rock bottom reality had once again come and challenged my every thought, every action, and all of my emotions.
Like Billy The Kid, I had accumulated a bad reputation. A personality that few wanted around. It had become common knowledge that I was subject to negative outbursts about everything, and had little to say that was positive.
I didn't understand much of anything that day. There was no way to reason it out at that point. What I knew for sure was, it was as hard as it had ever been, and that the single difference was, I was going through all of it sober. This I understood.
Whether I was doing it right or wrong, was something out of a fairy tale. I had already concluded that I was wrong, that wasn't even worth debating anymore. "I'm not out here because I did it right," I thought, "I'm out here because I completely fucked it up."