Last night my almost 4 year old wanted me to rock him to sleep. He’s not much of a cuddler these days, so I jumped at the opportunity. I was sitting there holding him in the dark, trying to stay present and grateful, but my mind was fixating on a headline I saw come up in my Facebook feed days ago. I didn’t click it at the time, but the beast was thirsty and I found myself there in the dark reading this article on my iPhone. I first thought that sounded like a fun time, but they describe it as a “nightclub on wheels.” I remembered that I hate clubs and the douchebags inside them. Pretty sure this will be a train full of alcoholics and douchebags. Anyway, my brain instead went off on a fantasy where I abandon my family to get drunk by myself in some seedy off-strip Vegas motel. It’s especially strange because I’ve never even stayed off the strip. I’d usually end a night in Vegas by vomiting in a bathroom with a plasma TV.
Just before I went off on this imaginary nightmare of a relapse, I was thinking, “How the fuck did I get here?” How did I end up in this house with this husband and these two amazing kids? I suddenly felt like I didn’t choose any of it. I don’t remember how I got here. I got kind of pissed off. I’m an alcoholic and there is a part of me that wants to slowly kill myself in Vegas, but here I am in charge of raising these two little ones instead. It’s often said that alcoholism is an elevator heading down and you decide what floor to get off on. In early sobriety, I honestly felt like I wanted to ride that fucker all the way to the basement just to see what’s down there. I was actually angry with my kids for interfering with the self-indulgent trip to hell I had planned.
I want to understand what makes me want to drink myself to death in Vegas when I have an enviable life. I think the easy answer is self-loathing, but when I think on it, that doesn’t sit right. So I’m sitting here thinking about the fact that right before I fantasized about running away and numbing out, I was feeling like I had been delivered a life that I didn’t choose. I don’t understand how I got to be holding this sweet little soul in a dark room on a Sunday night in the suburbs. It’s not what I thought my life would look like; not what I planned. That means I’m not in control. Oh crap that means I’m REALLY not in control! The ego rebels.
My plan was to end the post and put up this Talking Heads song, but I looked up the lyrics and they’re even more apropos than I thought. Today I actively turn my will and my life over to God. I wasn’t doing that before, my life is what it is regardless of what I had planned. In self-will, I fight the currents of the ocean making myself exhausted and miserable in the process. No matter what I do, I’ll eventually find myself on the shore asking, “How did I get here?” When I surrender to the currents, let the water hold me down if it needs to, I might not have to arrive tired and bewildered.