I have this vivid memory from several years ago, maybe eight or ten years back. I was in my car, driving to work, thinking about lots of different things. And I said to myself – my life right now really is perfect.
I had finally achieved some security at work and I enjoyed my job. I had the family I always wanted and everybody was happy and healthy. We lived in a nice house and had a cabin to enjoy in the summer. The list goes on. I was feeling very satisfied, content.
At that time I was drinking, of course, but I wasn’t really questioning it yet. I was hiding some parts of my life from some people, but I thought that had much more to do with them than me or my habits.
And, although I was totally unaware of it at the time, I was drinking to escape anything that wasn’t “perfect.” Invited to a party I don’t really want to go to? Oh well, there’ll be alcohol there. Kids cranky/needy? That’s ok, just have a glass or two of wine. Another long ride in the car to endure? Nothing a travel mug full of Chardonnay can’t make better. (I wasn’t driving, but still.)
And today my life is very similar – I have all the things I listed off that day, but I no longer feel that my life is perfect at all. Now I have to endure boring social events, crabby family members, and tedious wasted time. There is no escape hatch, no anesthetic, no consolation prize. My wine was all of those things to me.
And I can’t go back to the wine because then I’d have to contend with a whole host of other problems.
I realize the truth is that my life never was perfect and likely won’t ever be. But I still mourn a bit for the loss of that feeling. And, more so, I mourn the loss of the ease with which I was able to escape, to numb, or to treat myself. It was something I could count on.
So now what? How do we move forward from this place?
I could use a little metaphorical sunshine today.
Thanks for listening,