October 10, 1992, is a date that will live on in infamy for me. Many of you reading this may not have been born yet. That’s alright. It’s not the point. What is the point? The point is this: I lost something very precious and valuable on that day.
The problem? I was so f@#king clueless that I didn’t know it.
I was out of college but had a horrible drinking problem. Pure alcoholic and I knew it. And knowing that I did so, I performed that all-important first step, admitted that I had a problem and was now active in Alcoholics Anonymous. (By the way, I just celebrated 26 years of sobriety this year; that’s one thing I did not lose.) The problem there? I thought I knew the program better than my sponsor. What an arrogant bitch I was. What a freaking idiot I was! Forget arrogance here. Toss me that “big book” called Alcoholics Anonymous, the accompanying volume The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, (Often referred to as the “12 and 12”) and I was ready to rock and roll! I had this problem in-the-bag! 90 days? Done. HA! What a joke. I’ve sponsored many women through these first crucial days of sobriety and you’re still in a fog! You still reek of alcohol if you drank like I did – like a fish! The unwritten ‘rules’ of guidance are: don’t make any life-altering decisions the first year, no romantic relationships in that first year – and if you’re in one, your partner needs to ‘have your back’ and be in Al-Anon if they don’t drink. If they do? They can’t sabotage you, then comes the ’90-in-90′ guideline: 90 meetings in 90 days.
I got one down – the 90 meetings in 90 days. Yea, me. What happened during those 90 days? I was coming out of that alcohol fog and really trying to work with my sponsor. But what happened at that time was that my closest friend got married. The pangs of envy and loneliness were already hitting me. Classic peer pressure at the age of 25, if you can believe it. Peer pressure! Oh man, of all the things to have peer pressure over – marriage?!? My female friends were all sporting diamond rings, planning and plotting their weddings, buying their wedding gowns, comparing what their weddings were going to be like….except me.
Here we go. A recovering alcoholic, early in sobriety, who has no idea who the f@#k she is, tossing an ugly “woe is me” tantrum over not getting married at the ripe “old” age of 25. If you’re not laughing yet, you should be. It’s stupid, absolutely stupid. Now I’m at this wedding and guess who catches the bouquet? Yea, me again. (roaring crowd sounds are heard)
(roaring crowd sounds are heard)
And the garter? A tall, handsome drink of water I had never seen before but was a friend of the bride and groom, with whom I was close friends. We had a great photo shot of my rather exposed leg – I did that one on purpose, hey, I did it for the memories, and one garter going on high on my thigh. And no champagne, everyone! Woo hoo! But then comes the couple’s dance and who is left?
One man and one woman – I and this tall handsome man. He said to me, “Shall we?”
A year and a half later, October 10, 1992, was OUR wedding day. This man became my husband.
Ninety-degree heat in a beautiful church in Oakland California with no air conditioning on that day. I almost lost a bridesmaid due to the heat. But we got through the ceremony. But I did have an ominous feeling as I approached the narthex of the church, entourage in tow.
I wanted to run…desperately. I began to become short of breath and wanted nothing more to do with anything; I wanted out. I fought it and went through everything anyway. In looking back on it, it was an omen. A big one. I had no idea of who I was and little did I know I, my soul and my very being, all were headed into pure danger once I went down that aisle. What I had no idea I was doing was that I was trading my very self, whoever that was, to become someone I was not. I didn’t know who I was and was thinking that I would find that person – obviously lost – through my now husband. It was not just impossible for me, it was a horrendous burden to place upon him. It was terribly unfair to him. It was my responsibility to not just my marriage but to myself to know who I was and to find myself. But at my now-aged of 26, I sure wasn’t getting any smarter. I was now falling deeper into the well.
If I heard this quote at that time from the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, I have no idea what I would have said or done. But this is precisely what I was looking for – and I was hopelessly lost; it was lost. I was using marriage to find that happiness. Then it became…motherhood. Not long after came our daughter, now 22 years old. 20 months later came our eldest son, now nearly 21 years old. Our marriage was the traditional marriage – wife with kids at home, husband working full time and providing the income; two cars, a house that we were paying the mortgage easily and living within well within our means. That was “The Master Plan.”
Problem was, it wasn’t MY “Master Plan.” I had no voice – or rather, I had a voice, but then it was silenced as HIS voice drowned mine out. I came in lost and slowly, gradually, it became worse. It just makes Dr. Wayne Dyer’s quote so painful to read now about this time.
The true lesson I have to impart here, if any, is that we all have that “inner voice” that sings, speaks, screams, shouts…and sometimes says nothing at all but oh does it say things when it’s under threat. What happened to me is what happens to many who don’t know who they truly are. I was tossed like a toy boat rocked by the splashing water in a bathtub then tossed OUT of the bathtub. I had no true sense of self and that’s what was lost, rather, I’m not certain I had it. I was looking outside, beyond myself, for my true self. It’s not in another person, not in my job, not through my now-grown children, not even in things I can buy. It’s in my heart, my soul and in my mind – in the words I write as these are my ideas. This is ME. You’re getting my heart, my mind and my soul in what I’m writing. This is me. When you write, draw, paint, create in your blogs, that is you; your heart, your mind, your soul, your entire being. That’s your truth, just as these words, as well as the ones I express in my blog, are my truth. No happiness can be found from outside but from within.
If only I had known…and if only I had listened to that urge to run away on my wedding day. But then again, I would not be the person I am today, writing these words in total authentic truth.
Namaste, my friends.
(To be continued in Part II)