Day 100: 100 Cigarettes, 100 Stories

I’m not sure what it is about smoking in the car, but, it brings me into the present.

Lighting up, taking that first drag, watching the smoke disappear in a steady stream out the driver’s side window.

I’m driving along, thinking all my crazy convoluted thoughts, singing along with the radio, or aggressively stepping on the pedal if I’m running late. But, with the flick of a Bic lighter, I’m there, in the car, and that’s where I am.

Suddenly, I’m in my own movie. Behind the wheel, cigarette burning, music playing. Somehow in that moment, it all feels neutral. Bad feelings, good feelings. They’re just feelings. I’m just in a vehicle, drifting. Not in one place or the other, just on the way. And, that’s kind of how I feel right now. Disconnected.

Each cigarette, a different story. Scattered pictures and thoughts of myself. I’m not at Point A or Point B, I’m in transit. And, I’m not too sure that I’m a fan. While it isn’t like Limbo, with no way out, it isn’t comfortable. But, it’s in that place of discomfort that I know there’s some kind of growth going on. All these fears I’m working around, and all these little quirks about myself and my behavior that I hadn’t really paid any attention to, they seem to rear their ugly heads. And, of course, right around the holidays.

Here I am wading, knee deep, in my own bullshit, and now, I’m headed home. Expected to be this new person. This pillar of sobriety. This thing of pride and joy. But, I’m pretty sure that all the big things that have changed in me, well, they’re not too visible. The tangible benefits of my sobriety are mine alone. It’s not a medal or certificate I can show someone. It’s not a twenty pound weight loss, it’s not glowing radiant skin. That’s not my sobriety. That’s not my recovery.

It’s 100 drives to an AA meeting, 100 mornings where I can remember everything from the night before, 100 multivitamins, 100 resentments, 100 opportunities to forgive, 100 cups of coffee with shitty powdered creamer, 100 tears, 100 days my cat had a buddy, 100 blog posts, 100 laughs, 100 chances, 100 hours on the elliptical machine, 100 early mornings, 100 prayers, 100 revelations, and way, way more than 100 cigarettes.

It’s 100 days. Only ten days more than three months, but, it’s a nice, round number. A number that seems almost appropriate to encompass all the moments that have transpired, big and small, in my sobriety and my recovery.

It’s all these loose moments, scattered and strewn about. But, it’s also me picking them up, all the many hundreds of them. Learning where they all fit. And, it’s not something you can see or measure. It’s not something you can tell by looking at me.

It’s me. Just me. withoutaglass.


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