There’s a first for everything.
First word. First step. First piano recital. First day without a drink.
All those firsts, some big, some small, but, all important. Telling of something. Who you are or who you’ll be. And, I guess the same idea applies to couples. First date. First kiss. And, oh yeah, the first fight. I forgot about that one. But, tonight, it happened.
Some things are really, really fucking strange for me in sobriety. And, my relationship with Lars tops that list. Not because it’s bad or good. But, because I’ve never done this before, sober. I’ve never had to deal with situations that make me uncomfortable, angry, confused, sad, baffled, you name it, without a drink. And, tonight, I wanted a drink just because I wanted to feel something.
Lars and I had a confusing exchange in which I’m not even sure what exactly happened. But, after attending a friend’s birthday party, we ended up in the car, silent, and fuming. I drove in the dark, dry Portland night, Lars in the passenger seat, trying to dissect in my head exactly what had gone wrong. And, when I came to the conclusion that I’d honestly had no part in this “fight,” an ease washed over me.
We pulled up to his apartment and I got out of the car with him to get the overnight bag I’d left on his bed earlier. And, as I walked into the apartment, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I thought about how I used to be with my ex. How, even if I wasn’t at fault, I’d take the blame just to smooth things over. I hated ending the night in a fight. I couldn’t sit with that discomfort. But, tonight, I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to lay down and get walked on. I was going to get my shit, and go. And that’s what I did.
On the drive home, I couldn’t listen to music. There wasn’t a song in my CD collection or a hit from the radio that came anywhere close to being the soundtrack of my life in that moment. It was a feeling of simultaneous triumph and hurt. Feeling like Lars wanted to punish me for something, only, I didn’t feel punished. I felt absolutely blank.
When I got back to my apartment, I changed into pajamas and climbed into bed. I sat there, sleepless, staring at my iPad. Occasionally allowing my mind to return to the night’s events. How it had gone from just fine to epically wrong in what felt like three seconds? And, it dawned on me.
AA. The Promises. “We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.” (pgs. 83-84, Alcoholics Anonymous).
The drama, gone. I always used to meet situations that baffled me with drama. If I couldn’t fix it, I’d blow it up, drag it out, talk, talk, talk, talk, until the words didn’t matter anymore. But, sobriety has given me something that I hadn’t expected. The gift of knowing when to shut up and duck out. When to say, I don’t have a part in this, so, I’m not going to take a part in this. And sure, I was pissed, but, I knew I had reason to be. My reason was honest. I mean, holy shitballs Batman, I’m honest now. So rather than drag it out, I accepted that it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t going to fight that battle. So, I left. I walked away.
I know it’s a good thing. Drama never did me any favors. But, this feeling of nothing…now that’s getting to me. The fact that I feel like my emotions are flat-lining is more upsetting than the actual event. And, for a split second, I kinda miss the old me. The me who was fucking crazy, desperate and loud.
But, here, as lay tucked in bed, alone, emotionless, guiltless, and confused as fuck, I think:
Shit man. One of the promises just came true. Now that’s pretty fuckin’ baller.