There are basically two kinds of deadlines, those that YOU MAKE and those that LIFE MAKES FOR YOU. Agreeing to be an advocate for HIR was a big thing for me. It was the first real commitment I had made in sobriety— except for the time I promised Sallie Mae Henson on the playground that I would be her best friend forever. I think I was six years old; I was sober at six! Recovery is what I’m passionate about these days. I took my position and my deadlines seriously. The past 2 and a half years were filled with everything I had ever wanted to do but didn’t have the time to do before. The days were filled with leisurely strolls through my neighborhood, hours at the library, lunch and dinner in the same day with different friends, driving downtown watching the river run, and on and on. I could stay up as late as I wanted, sleep as long as I needed and play all day. The point is that there were no deadlines. So with all my free time, I felt I could easily handle a couple of deadlines.
When I left for the HIR Summit on January 19th of this year, my household and life were in complete order. I had cleaned my house so it wouldn’t be messy when I arrived back home. I did a great job of packing—didn’t pack too much or too little. I had what I considered a sufficient wardrobe that included new boots (two pairs), new jeans, new black pants, new purse, new jewelry and a fabulous black blazer—AND my grey roots were freshly colored. This togetherness was a new feeling for me and I liked it. I envisioned myself arriving back home to my orderly house, full of orderly HIR excitement. I would walk in sit at my new orderly desk and set the world on fire with my new orderly self.
Nothing could have prepared me for the DEADLINES LIFE MADE FOR ME! I won’t go into detail, but LIFE’S DEADLINES have included, but have not been limited to, the following: a faucet that ran like Niagra Falls while I was away, becoming very familiar with the many, many services that I actually needed from Service Master, refinishing hardwood floors, repainting, replacing baseboards, being stranded in midtown, a rental car (by the way, did you know most rental agencies are closed on Saturday and Sunday ?) a tow truck, a mechanic, another tow truck, another mechanic, and a trip to Mississippi to convince my brother that it’s time to get his affairs in order. He has cancer and he’s dying. These are unexpected events with immediate deadlines.
I tell you all that to say this: With sobriety, I can deal with life and life’s deadlines in a responsible, mature way. I don’t need drugs and alcohol to be my daily buffer. I have become comfortable with life and the unexpected. What used to knock me into a heap and bury me in fear and anxiety now makes me glad to be alive! Bring it on! I know why I felt like I did, and I also know why I don’t have to feel that way again.
“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feelin’ good.” – Nina Simone
What has this new life of recovery brought to you?