It’s great more people are talking about this because, frankly, alcohol is stupid. It was time for a change in the dominant paradigm of how we talk about sobriety. But not drinking and a cool IG feed isn’t a light switch to a better life—it takes a hell of a lot more than that.
Self-care is not a bubble bath. I mean, it might be, if you’re the kind of person who feels they’re committing a mortal sin by allowing themselves to wade in hot, lavender-scented water with a candle or a book for twenty minutes, alone. If that’s you, then yes. Please allow yourself a damn bubble bath. Regularly.
I don’t like what’s happening with women online right now, particularly in recovery, spiritual, and so-called feminist circles. It appears there is a growing contingent of people who I would assert even six months ago had no awareness of the word privilege, and now feel compelled to call out other women on theirs at every turn.
I was 28 when I got my first Ambien prescription. I'd just moved in with my boyfriend—the man that would eventually become my husband—and I sat in our bed one night holding half of the skinny peach-colored pill (I was too nervous to take the full one) in my palm. Both of us wondered what it would do. How long would it take to kick in? Would I remember falling asleep? Where would I go?
To your grief: the losses are real. To tell you they’re not would be disingenuous and untrue. Addiction steals our time and our essence and our ability to receive love, among other things. Feel all the way into the pain of what you know you lost, and also the unknowable things. But. But. Hear this: you didn’t chase weed and people and cigarettes and shiny things because you’re just “that fucked up.” You did it because you’ve been looking for love, like Johnny Lee did, in all the wrong places.
Can we pause for one second before we crack open the Rosé and think, Where am I going with this? Closer to life or further away? Why? Is this what it means to be alive? Is there some kind of connection to this—the wine, the food, the sex, the 500th Netflix show, whatever—and the disconnection we’re seeing in the world? Maybe?
I’ve been writing about the day in the spring of 2012 when my husband and I had the conversation to separate, the day I took the same run for the first time, when the sensation of running both towards and away from something was so urgent I felt I might spin right off the land into the deep, endless waters.