On good days, I get calls and texts and messages from women in recovery or ones who want to get sober.
I show up with smoothies.
I say put on your running shoes.
I say that we can walk together.
In this arena, we make mistakes.
In this arena, we're learning what messages to open, and what messages to discard.
In this arena, we are learning who to listen to, and who to gently bless as they go on their way.
In this arena, perfectionism kills -- if not our physical body than our spiritual walk. Our creativity. Our hope.
In this arena we make mistakes, and we know from our mistakes a power much greater than ourselves makes miracles.
This is what I think about as I walk down the same street as the one where I learned to stuff my feelings, to bury them so deep. I could be a 20-year old stumbling out of La Lomita, where the server brought us underage drinkers pitchers of strong margaritas. But I am not. I'm a 41-year old mother who stuffed everything down for 20 years, who built a career out of telling stories for everyone else: the newspapers, non-profit, the magazine, the advertising agency. Slowly and slowly on this career and life trajectory, I did things that took me farther from the truth.
For my part, in 2018 instead of just writing response pieces, I want to have a more intentional approach to examining the alcohol + media narrative. This year I am asking people to send me examples of where media can do a better job telling stories about alcohol -- and sobriety/recovery. I'd also like to see examples in which media is doing a good job in this respect.
If you see an example -- good or bad -- please send it to be at:
"This series has featured brave, kickass, beautiful women who have chosen to embrace an alcohol-free lifestyle. The light was dimmed for these women when they were struggling with alcohol (either a little or a lot). I wished to honor them for their brave choice to ditch alcohol, rediscover themselves through sobriety + shine bright in the process."
This year has challenged us — as a family, as individuals, as citizens. I will admit that as I write this, my hope in many systems has failed. But, at the same time, I just got a shipment of Advent candles. Placing them in our family’s wreath, I am reminded that putting our hope in the world is precarious at best. If this was the year where we collectively lost faith, it’s also a year where we remember that true hope is everlasting.
‘‘Twas the Friday before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring especially not an elderly pug mouse.
The child was happy because he got his Nintendo Switch
And we were all ready to part with 2017, what a bitch."
I finished the notes and gave my talk about drugs (er, one drug in particular) and felt the cool air on my cheeks in the church parking lot.
Books about addiction, the fall of the patriarchy, and an insane Alabama storm (snow, political)
I hardly recognize the girl in the photos, except for one thing: the look in my eyes then. "Help." No one was coming to help -- I would have to save myself. And I did. And I do.
I have the power to do things that I don’t want to do.
And so do you.
That's right: you are a decision maker. And you do have the power to respond differently to the things you do have control over. This includes the holidays.
But my happiness -- or contentment it's coming at time when the world is on fire. Another friend who is in a great place now after years of grief said it's an odd place to be. To feel like you have arrived in your life and feel so much joy, while also simultaneously trying to process the institutional violence that rears its head every single day.