In a Cold February



That was the artwork on my whiteboard in my little cubicle a year ago.  I thought it was hilarious.  Now I am in an office sort of tucked away.  I have a whiteboard in the outer office, but no one sees it.  I will occasionally draw something, but no one notices, or they just don’t “get” my ridiculous sense of humor.

It’s been a long 6 days since I had that tooth pulled.  I am still in pain, believe it or not.  It is not, thank God, a dry socket.  But it hurts.  I am sick of the stitches in my mouth and I am desperately tired of a soft diet.  I am however, grateful to not have that tooth in my mouth.  It was such a problem for such a long time, and I invested thousands of dollars in trying to save it.  It is now gone and I just have to figure out whether I want a partial or an implant.  I think I am leaning toward implant.  The only drawback is the tremendous sum of money it costs.

I am still marveling over the reaction to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. I agree, so sad.  I agree, tragic.  I agree, such a talent wasted.  What I don’t get is why he is so different from all of these news stories – maybe one a month?  An actor, a musician, a writer… dead of drug overdose.  And all of the un-famous people who die every single day.   Is it different because he had 23 years of sobriety at one point?  Probably that’s it.

If anyone is surprised at that, they don’t have a full understanding of the addict and the addiction.  Do we not say we are sober only for today?  Yep.  I don’t care how many years I have, I am sober today.  I can’t stay sober on yesterday’s sobriety, and today’s sobriety won’t keep me sober tomorrow. I have always said there is the “sword of damocles” (my alcoholism) hanging over my head.  Always.  I just get used to it being there, but I better never forget, or think it has somehow turned into a nerf sword that can’t hurt me.

This is where a full knowledge of my utter powerlessness and surrender to a higher power comes in.  In today’s culture, those are no longer palatable concepts and I believe we soft pedal them now.  To our own peril.

God bless Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I hope his suffering is over.  Maybe it is good that his death is raising addiction to the 24 hour news cycle once more.  I have become so cynical about modern “recovery” that I don’t have much hope that we will suddenly have a mass revelation of what recovery is or could be.

My own story is that I drank myself into a state so desperate that I became willing to listen.  I knew I was screwed and had no more good ideas.  I turned to AA and God and then did what worked.  It seems counter-intuitive, but it worked. I gave up.  I surrendered.

I sat in shabby rooms with terrible furniture, all surfaces yellow and sticky with cigarette residue, all air completed smoke filled.  The rooms might contain a physician, a bank-robber, several bikers, a house-wife, a business-woman, a prostitute, a priest, various construction guys, and truckers.  They were able to help me as no professionals in nice clothes and nice offices ever had.  Because they weren’t there to help me – we were all in the process of survival together.  We understood one another.  We were all in the same boat.

It still works.  And I thank God.  I thank God for my own sobriety, several of my siblings kids’ sobriety, and my own daughter’s sobriety.  All in AA.  It does work.

This entry was posted in Dental, Gratitude, History, Sobriety. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to In a Cold February

  1. daisyanon says:

    Amen to that!

  2. Annette says:

    I’m so glad your teeth is healing….sorry for the pain, but not dry socket! Yayy!
    Oh gosh, I wish we could sit down together and visit and talk about all of these subjects you brought up.
    For me it was the 23 years. It was that he was a regular rumpled man….not a “star” but a regular intelligent guy who happened to make movies for a living. As a mom, if I am honest, I do hope for the day she is cured and its over. That is my stuff to work through. I know in my head its not how it works, its unrealistic, but just from that “mom place,” I want it to be done someday. And not with her death. I think his dying with a needle in his arm, showed me that it will never be over. There will always be that “sword of Damocles” hanging over her head and as un-Alanonish as this is…..thus over my head too.
    I went to AA as a little girl with mom….and your description is what I remember. People smoking and swearing and all types of people were there. I loved going with her then, not because I understood the program, but I knew things were better when we were going to those rooms a few times a week.
    I LOVE my program, my recovery. It has changed me and I love being a part of it, I love the principles of my program. They make sense to me, they feel right to me. They comfort me. They have taught me new ways to live that take me out of those guilt driven, carrying the weight of everyone’s happiness on my shoulders, type of actions that used to be so natural to me. And I was miserable and so was everyone else who had to deal with me. I don’t see that in my girl. I don’t see many young addicts/alcoholics who throw themselves into their recovery. They go because they have to, either by court order or their lives have become such a mess, they have almost died, they are scared into doing “something” and this seems to be that something, but they don’t embrace their program. Not all of them of course….. but a lot. Its sad, because I feel like they are sitting at a banquet table starving but too blind to see the feast laid out before them that is available to them. For free. A gift, grace, redemption, freedom….but they keep looking around trying to find an easier way, a shorter path, something that won’t cost them total surrender. And there just isn’t anything like that I don’t think.
    Whew….long comment, I should have emailed you!

  3. Annette says:

    Your tooth…

  4. Kathy says:

    Wonderful post! It brought tears to my eyes, because I pray all the time that my son can accept and surrender, and keep going one day at a time. Philip Seymour Hoffmans death is so tragic and sad and filled me with fear for awhile, to think that after 23 years he would start up again given all that he had done with his life. Proof of how powerful and never ending addiction can be. Also, I have had a tooth implant, and I had a lot of pain and discomfort with it. Had to do it because it was a front tooth. Dont know if I would go thru it again. FYI

  5. Nuala Colman says:

    the similarities between me in Ireland and you in the USA never cease to amaze me. when I read about your tooth I had to comment. Its 7 days since I had a tooth filled and the pain has been pretty unbearable every since. I had it filled in an effort to save it and I hope I don’t have to have it pulled – ever. I am reminded of my just clean and sober for today when I feel that pain so bad I want codeine for it.

  6. Kelly says:

    For me- that is the thing that stands out about his death to me- he was sober for 23 years before relapsing into active addiction. It just strikes me as different from the addicts who use and quit for short periods of time and then use again and then die. I don’t know.

  7. Syd says:

    I think that any death from addiction is terrible–the relapser who dies; the suicide who can’t take relapsing over and over; the person who overdoses accidentally. Anytime, I hear of this, it bothers me. I can’t say that I am surprised though. I have become used to bad news and it seems that the happy news and success stories are few. Dying with a needle in your arm is just plain sad.

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