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?
Holly and I started HOME in July of 2015 when I was just a shaky few months sober. I knew nothing about podcasting (other than I loved Radiolab and WTF and On Being and that there was something special about the way we can experience this medium privately), but I did know I wanted to talk about this thing.
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 have been wondering if I have a problem. Drinking for me took the form of 1-2 glasses of wine every day with dinner. I recently, without much thought, decided to give up drinking for Lent. The first week was somewhat difficult. I was a bit anxious and had cravings for my dinner time glasses of wine but as the second week began, I started feeling a surge of positivity and felt more open to everything, also more motivated to do things. I am now a month into it and wondered if I could be an alcoholic if I could quit so easily.
The answers to the big questions are always both complicated and simple. There was a tipping point and there were countless things that nudged me toward it. I needed every person, every conversation, every book, poem, and word, every mistake. I needed the hands of thousands of others who'd gone before me, pressing gently on my back, lifting my feet, catching my falls.