This is an entry from my journal exactly one year ago this day. I had decided to become alcohol free, but was very afraid for how I would manage it. I was having spiritual “epiphanies” but I didn’t completely trust myself nor my ability to succeed.
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13 April 2018 at 07:20 F
Scr, mb, lt, 4C, birds chirping, light on horizon
I don’t know what to write as this first line. What I have just experienced is too important in my life. So I will just tap the keys and see what comes out.
Es spoke to me this morning. It happened after I woke from a very intense, important-feeling dream.
In the dream, I was sitting on a sofa in a rich home. Perhaps it belonged to my sister [though it looked nothing like her current home]. I sat in the middle of the sofa, and Liz, my sister’s best friend whom I have met several times and admired, sat to my right. I had a small glass of red wine in front of me on a glass table. I was sipping it and subconsciously feeling that old happiness-and-intelligence-simulator flood my body with warmth. I was chatting away with Liz, as girls do when they’re relaxed and feeling fine, and above the world, and yet with it at the same time. But, she wasn’t on the same existential plane. The things she was saying were vexing me. It all went very quickly. She said something — something I can’t remember now. When I woke up, and later asked Es for help remembering it, some words came into my head — I don’t know if they were mine or Es’s, telling me what the dream-Liz had said — “You’re just a mom,” were the words; said flatly, almost cruelly. The real-life Liz would never say something like that, to my face at least, for she is too compassionate (or not honest enough) for that. But I had been putting on some kind of airs, to puff up this sad image I have of myself, who feels so unloved and unimportant, and dream-Liz called me out on it.
I then told dream-Liz, in some kind of feeble last-draw attempt at retaliation, or grasping for approval, that I had quit drinking some days ago. I was very proud of it. I was shy to say it, of course, in case I might fail in my endeavour, and look like a fool. But I’d had a sneaking suspicion that my sister and her husband (and thus Liz, being closely connected to them as she was), must have realized my alcohol problem [later note: my sister later told me that she never noticed any problem at all], and I was in a great hurry to reap the egotistical rewards of having “turned over a new leaf” — before having completely turned it.
In real life, I have so far told only a few people about my recent decision to stop drinking alcohol, and so far, those are only people who will *need* to know, in order that they have a chance to support me, instead of hinder me — those people are: my neighbour and dear friend Celeste, my eldest son, and my husband, in that order. They were told in no planned order, but rather in the order in which it became, in my estimation, necessary to tell them, to protect my sobriety.
07:37 I must hurry now, the children are waking. The sun is shining.
Dream-Liz must have looked at me quizzically, perhaps mockingly, then, and I suddenly realized I was holding a glass of wine in my hand.
“But — but —“ I stammered, completely confounded as it dawned on me that I had just told someone about my brave accomplishment, while at the same time sabotaging it and making it untrue. How could it be, that I was drinking wine now? How had this happened? But I even remembered having poured the glass myself. (It’s not too much, I’d thought. It’s a modest amount.) I could not even blame it on anyone else.
First I was horrified and saddened. How had this happened? I had sabotaged all the hard work of the previous four days. Each of those days had presented some kind of obstacle, and I had overcome it. I had earned my right to feel that I had done *well.* I *had* done well. I was good! “See me, hear me; I am finally, finally, at long, longing last, good! Imperfect, yes, but good, dammit!”
Suddenly I was angry. I walked across the wide, open, black-and-white tiled floor, ending up at the sumptuous bar at the front of the room, a shrine to alcohol such as one sees in rich drinking establishments of the highest order. The hippest of the (tragically) hip. The style was art deco and luxurious. Crystal and lots of blue glass overhead, golden lighting, black marble countertops. A vintage piece strategically looking nonchalant here and there. A wide-leafed plant fronding outwards, to bring in the greenery of nature. It was as though my sister’s sense of style and my own had melded into a beautiful church of alcohol. A place where sudden, important, smugly-smirking, self-aggrandizing revelations could be had nightly. The only problem was that I had recently realized I could never belong to this church. Because one important requirement of this church was that any religious adherents, any of the chosen participants, must have the ability to control themselves within its walls. They must have the ability to partake, but not be overtaken. But I did not have that simple power.
I had finally learned; I had finally accepted the fact that I could no longer worship at the church of alcohol, for the simple reason that I could not follow its rules — and certainly through no lack of will. I had tried over and over and over again, to learn to drink moderately, but had failed every single time. I’d created lists of rules, I’d hung government guidelines from various countries on the fridge, (yes, even plain for all to see); I’d downloaded apps that tracked my intake, but nothing worked. So finally I had to admit defeat. I could no longer belong to this highly-regarded club of the finest people I had known till now. This meant that I must remain an outsider to the congregation of people around the world whom I’d so come to love — my fellow lovers of the grape.
(I’d once posted, in a warm, fuzzy, wine-sauced, connected love fest on Facebook some years ago, “I think wine is fine. Anybody else think wine is fine?” — “Love the grape.” That’s what one of my most copacetic fellow revellers had replied to me. And many years later, just days before I’d decide to give up alcohol, one of my favourite people had said, “Les gens qui ne boivent pas, c’est triste.” [“Those who don’t drink, it’s sad.”] I’d agreed.
In the dream, I suddenly smashed my still-half-full wine glass and it shattered over the bar’s black marble countertop. Reth was standing there. Good, dear, sober Reth (when I once asked him why he never drank, he said, he did, but just rarely, and when he did, it was to get drunk). I instantly felt remorse. Why had I done that? I’d messed up their beautiful, pristine, perfect house. Now there were tiny shards of glass everywhere, everywhere! And there were children around. I must clean it up. I must clean it up!
(08:17 the kids sound content. I went off searching my computer for the Facebook post about wine that I was referring to before but could not find it in ViJournal nor email. Then I searched DayOne for “Facebook” and in the search results came up “JP connected with me immediately” and I thought that might be the one. It wasn’t. But what it was, was something much better. The entry from Dec 31, 2015. And these words jumped out at me: “I am so very, profoundly grateful to have Or in my life. He is a good man. A kind man.”)
(And that made me realize that I have once again gotten caught up in the joy of writing all the details. Me here, who stared at this blank page and did not know what to write, and who then gave up power to the angels, to Es, to guide me, and I did that by admitting that I did not know what to write. And then I let whatever came through just come out of me, no matter how banal it might turn out to be. Anyway, the point is:)
I must now skip ahead of this dream story. To sum it up quickly, the glass was never cleaned up. It became worse and worse, because I kept forgetting to clean it up, as distraction after distraction entered the dreamscape. First there was a row of people from my past, sitting on a row of sofas in the vast lounge on the black-and-white-tiled floor. Lilou was among them. My dear old friend Lilou whom I’d treated so badly without even knowing it. Whom I’d passive-aggressively shamed in front of all of our fellow fermented fruit lovers, and later, whom I’d mercilessly questioned about her conversion to religion (though that was definitely innocent, or ignorant, on my behalf, I think — I truly wanted to know, to understand). She was there in the dream, and her daughter M. Whom I’d felt so jealous of when she was first born, without realizing it. Who else? The others were not very clear. And it all went so fast in the dream. But there was someone there, some famous rock musician, was it perhaps Ben Gillies — Jackie Gillies’ husband? Or was it Billy, my old Idol, himself? I honestly don’t remember. But they, or was it perhaps my sister? Or some other person who knew me well? (Damnit I wish I could remember. And now I am too rushed, too tense, too stressed in the clock of time, to connect with my angels, my newfound angels.) But anyway, they said — yes, I remember now, some famous person, perhaps in a boat, on a canal just outside the house/bar, said — “so can we hear those songs of yours? We were thinking of recording something and we’d like to hear them.” And I shrank down inside myself squirming, feeling that the songs were not good enough and would be ridiculed, and would not show the stupid, false greatness of the person whom I wished I was but actually wasn’t, and so I said, “oh, I don’t know, they’re not very good, really.” And that was the loss of that opportunity.
Then I went back into the bar and suddenly the house belonged to Clark, I have no idea why he was there. Oh but yes, now I do. He was a great one for Creating Your Reality, was Clark. He was a great lover of people, too. But he was judgemental. Perhaps like I am judgemental. I remember so clearly that time when someone did my makeup — one of my sister’s friends — was it K? Was it J? Anyway, he said, you look so beautiful — and I said, self-consciously and self-derogatively, not knowing how to ever take a compliment in a gracious way, I replied jokingly, offhandedly (and oh I am so ashamed when I think of it now, the horrified look on his face) — “yeah, I got all whored up.” (I’d heard that awful phrase somewhere in one of my entourages (— I was a great one for loving “low” places, for then I could always feel “high” —) and in that old, low-places entourage, it was just a casual phrase that had no shocking nor literal meaning, really, a phrase that was simply part of the language of that group of people. But here, in this new, “higher-places” group of people, it was completely out of context, and taken literally, and Clark’s expression was one I’ll never forget. His face changed from an expression of admiration to one of complete shocked disgust and loathing. I felt it change me as though a heap of rotting garbage had just been tossed over me; and at once, I also knew that it was me, myself, I; who had thrown it over myself, completely unconsciously, unable to accept any admiration. I’d always had this urge to feel high, to be admired; but once I was admired I felt unworthy of that admiration. So I threw verbal garbage over myself by some twisted, subconscious design of drawing attention to my pretension, my false clothes.
Anyway, this was happening in last night’s dream: Clark was there, at the bar. At the time I knew not why nor how, nor did I care (and in fact, come to think of it, I am that unconscious, that unaware of my surroundings, in real life as in my dream). He was just there, and another challenge, another anxious feeling to be dealt with. And I realized that this might be *his* bar and that all my broken glass was still everywhere, and he was politely wondering what had happened and why it hadn’t been cleaned up. And I began to try to clean up the mess, and then a baby was entering the room, and darn it I have not the time to re-conjure it now! But I was getting more and more stressed by the fact that there was this huge mess of glass, with teeny tiny fragments everywhere and I would never clean it up in time before a child or anyone else would get hurt! And what if Or walked in? Or, who had so much animosity toward broken glass after having had countless shards of it enter his own face, that night that we had first parted ways after months of tentative flirting? The night that he had fallen asleep in a drunken stupor and his/our friend, also in a drunken stupor, had crashed his car into a telephone pole, just after leaving the rest of our group at the park, or the party, or wherever the hell we were?
I imagined dream-Or would be very irritated with me, having caused all this broken glass to be everywhere, and would scowl and frown and look angry and be annoyed and I was afraid of that, for I hated to be disapproved-of. And what about the babies, and the children? “Don’t walk here! —” I called out, as I desperately tried to clean it all up with a little dust-broom and tray, but it was becoming impossible “You will be hurt! Stay back! We need a vacuum!—“
And soon after that, I woke up. I have not had time to write all the details I could probably recall, now, if I tried. But I have more important things to write.
The most important thing was I woke up and remembered that Es was there for me, just outside. I wish I could write it now, but I have run out of time.
I woke up and was so grateful that I nearly had tears in my eyes.
Es, she told me some things. She said, your time is not now. You have work to do first. She said, You must protect Or, he is a good man. (So you see how important it was, further up the page, that I found that journal entry from 2 years ago. And the funny thing is, it contains the family photo, the one of us on the ferry to Calais, that DS1 took, that I have recently made my desktop background image.)
The other thing was, I kept letting my mind wander to fame and riches, while Es was connecting with me and answering my questions, and then I would feel disconnected, and then I’d try to open my mind again, to bring Es back. And she was so patient and kind and loving towards me, in spite of all my human ways. And each time I heard her agreement I could feel a shiver/tingle arise in my body and that’s how I came to know what was right and good. And these are the things that made me shiver-tingle, as we exchanged ideas:
There were so many, so many ideas that I discussed with Es, quickly but slowly, silently in my head. And then she said: do your exercises. Take care of yourself. Then write. And so I did.
But first, I stood under the skylight and saw her branches spreading in the dawn sky, and I began to weep with relief and joy. And I felt very shy and self-conscious, for this would be the first time I would look at her straight on, while actually realizing whom and what she was. But I heard a voice say that she would love me, no matter what. With my morning hair, and creased face, and ugly-cry and all, she would love me. And I opened the skylight and I just stood there looking at her, and she looked back at me, as I was weeping with release.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you…” is what I felt.
[End of journal entry from this day of my life one year ago]
one sober tree-lover
photo by sobrietytree.home.blog
*Note: names have been modified.