On Sunday, September 23rd, I was sitting in a worn out TGIFridays in the Detroit airport. I sipped Sprite from a dingy, yellowed plastic cup, attempting to write about the significance of that day, but instead sat staring at the three measly ice cubes floating on the top. I managed to hack out these few sentences:
Twenty-five years ago today, my father passed away as a direct result of his alcoholism. Twenty-five years ago, he was the same age that I am right now, forty-four. I’ve only just started to scratch the surface on this life of mine and yet his was all over when he reached this point. It has made things interesting this year. I knew that this date was approaching, I knew what age I would be. I found some significance in the timing and the fact that I quit drinking. The tattoo I had imprinted on my arm was done in remembrance of him, as well as paying respects to my decision to quit.
My writing trailed off there. The piece I had looked forward to building for so long fell flat on the page in front of me. Something was missing, and it was missing from me. I didn’t have the words to fully describe how much the idea of being at the point in my life where it all ended for dad was sitting with me. I thought I’d partake in some sort of ritual on the anniversary of his death, and at the very least publish a meager blog post to honor his short life and the processes I’ve gone through leading up to this point in mine. Instead, I stared into my Sprite, boarded my plane and went home.
There was so much power in what I’ve done this year, and much like the trailing off above, the power has started to feel less so over the past couple of months. I had this incredible momentum, a drive to change, to grow and build something, to help others. Then that momentum crawled to a slow stop. Recently, I started to question if this website was just a silly idea and something to let go. I had thoughts that maybe my coaching training wasn’t really worth continuing to pursue. I wondered if there was any reason to start another sober women’s group like the Charlotte Sobriety Society when I move back to Michigan. I’m approaching ten months sober, and being without alcohol has gotten so much easier, but as that has happened, it’s almost like a sense of normalcy has started to settle in. Those things that were previously lighting me up seemed to be losing some of their power and magic. While normalcy can have its appeal, losing sight of my own power in the process does not.
After waking up at a criminal hour this Sunday morning, I opened my laptop with the intent of looking through some of my writing notes. I missed the urgency that possessed me in these wicked hours to get something down on a page and I thought I might try to find it again. What I saw first, in an out of place file, were the sentences above, written in that airport back in September. Every reason why this journey means so much shot right through me. Yes, I’m nearly ten months sober. Yes, things have gotten easier and that may be a big part of why some of my passions start to feel, well…less passionate. It is through challenges and struggles that many of my creative energies are awakened, but just because things are good is no reason for me to let everything that is important fall to the side.
On my birthday this past August, I had the sense that forty-four was going to be a big year. A year of change, as I call it. Dad didn’t have a chance to see anything beyond this year, but I do. While it may take a lot of work and pushing myself, just as much as it might also mean the occasional break for self-care and reflection, there is going to be brilliance in this new normal. I may slow down from time to time, but I will not stop.