Day 142: The ‘Monet’ Effect

With my graduation from treatment just three weeks out, I feel like my little traipse through this rut is ill timed.

Monday is my day to meet my counselor in treatment, whom I love. I love being able to go in and report that I’ve made some progress, even if it’s something little and unimpressive to the naked eye. I like to be told I’m doing OK, because in hearing that I’m OK from someone else, I’m somehow able to convince myself it’s true. At least temporarily.

This week, I wanted to go in there and make something up. I wanted to have some well-learned lesson, some newly acquired skill under my belt, some tale of recovery triumph. But, the best I had was: I didn’t drink. And, even as I write this, the reality of that statement doesn’t sound all too terrible. Because, while I may be void of emotion, floundering in frustration, stuck in place like a rat in a trap, I am still sober. And, that is, and has been, my main goal for a goodly amount of time.

With all the AA blah blah blah, and the treatment blah blah blah, and the excess blah blah blah from the masses of friends and family at large, sometimes the real message gets lost in translation. I have to remind myself that, even though I am turning into a totally different woman than I’d been at the get-go, that I am, in fact, still myself. That I’ve been honest here. With you, with the people in my life, and with myself.

So, as I explain to my counselor that my life has come to a screeching halt, AA enthusiasm is at an all time low, interest in people has fallen off the map, trust in some folks wavering, I realize that it could be worse. I’ve been in this place before. It’s fucking depression. It took a good friend and a counselor to diagnose it in me, but, it’s depression. And, it fucking figures too. The last time I was here, in this place of total numbness, I was ponied up to the bar with a rocks glass full of good ol’ Jim Beam White Label. Three fingers to blur out the mess.

Back in those days, while I was drinking, I was what girls back in my middle school called a ‘Monet,’ that’s to say someone who looks great from far away, but, up close, is a messy disaster. I was constantly managing how my mess looked to others back then. And, I did a pretty good job, right up until the very end. The only people who really knew how far down I’d fallen were either there drinking beside me, or the ones behind the bar pouring the booze. It was exhausting, hiding everything I’d destroyed from pretty much everyone in my life.

Today, with Alcoholics Anonymous and my treatment center, I don’t have to manage that mess any longer. Well, not in the same way I did back while I was drinking. Today, my mess is allowed to exist. It’s out there, seen in the light of day. It’s not something that I have to hide or shelter. It’s something I’ve got to clean up, but, I can do that as slowly or as quickly as I feel I’m able. I can show up at AA looking like a depressed sack of shit that hasn’t bathed, changed, or groomed myself in weeks and no one will really care. I can show up at my one-on-one session in treatment and tell him that I’m a blank page this week. That I’m down and there’s no end it sight. At least not today.

And, it’s strange. Strange because, in being honest about my inner void, I’ve come to the conclusion that being blank is OK.

Actually, it’s progress.


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