Monday, July 24, 2006

Is that available stitched on a pillow somewhere?

It's not a secret that I used to drink a lot and that I'm a former addict. What I'm not so open about is that no matter how short-lived or how long ago it was, things tend to carry over for a long time after you've let your life get out of hand. I'm commitment-phobic. I don't like to make plans for the future. I seldom answer my own phone. I shun. I evade. I avoid. I try not to Do Important Things so I won't Let People Down. Friends ask me to water their plants while they are out of town and it suddenly makes me feel very Sandra Bullock in 28 Days, taking baby steps like I'm fresh out of rehab.

Except I'm not. The last time I was in rehab, I wasn't even old enough to drink (legally) yet. Since then, I haven't gotten evicted or arrested. I've supported myself. And I think I've even proven myself in the tricky Keeping Creatures Alive department; I've had my high maintenance cat for six, almost seven, years. I have three plants that grow no matter what I do (or don't do) to them. I have a guest bedroom with a bed in it (as opposed to it's former use as wardrobe closet/dressing area). I've made some good choices (or not chosen, as the case may be) with regards to the relationships in my life. I feel my feelings, even when I don't share them. I'm probably healthier emotionally from having gone through a rough patch when I was younger than I would have been otherwise. I know what the damages are.

What's my point? According to the 12-step timeline, I'm running behind. I've passed the stage of being Caring Nurturer enough to: (a) water plants, (b) buy a bed frame and assemble it, and (c) sustain the life of a domestic housecat. I was supposed to move on a long time ago and (d) have a relationship with someone who won't turn out to be crazy and isn't 10 years younger than I am. Except there's that part of me that wonders what will happen if choose incorrectly, if I screw it up, if it makes me want to dig another hole for myself. I've had a few exceptionally wrong answers in the past 10 years. I want to make sure I'm asking the right questions this time.

Or I could just get another spider plant.

"There's a time when you can share and you hold hands and be on the same path. But there's always a fork in the road... at some point. And sometimes you have to go on one part of the fork and they gotta go on the other part of the fork. Or just down the back part of the fork while you go forward. And they're like *sigh* Or they got a salad fork and you have one of the big dinner forks and you have longer to go but they're like done because that's it, they're stuck on a piece of food, that they *sigh*. A dessert fork or like one of those, you know small little shrimp forks or crab forks and you're trying to get out a crab. They're like that and you're over here jumping to the huge serving fork or something like that, or a ladle, you know." ~Gerhardt (Alan Tudyk), 28 Days.


  1. (whistling nonchalantly) What's wrong with a younger guy? (innocent look)

  2. 28 Days was a cool movie but I liked the sequel even better - you know, the one that happened Later over in England with the infected monkeys and the rage.

  3. JLee - because 10 years younger for me means he's in his early 20s! And I'm too tired for all of that anymore.

    Jason - Me too. Or am I thinking of Resident Evil? Something about zombies, rehab, zombies in rehab...

  4. The thing is, whether you've been in rehab, or not, whether you've been a Caring Nurturer or a Killer of All Things Living, whether you're rich or poor, old or young, when you enter into a relationship with another person, there's a chance that relationship will not "make it".

    Everyone feels that thrill - the possibility of heaven or hell - everyone is on an even playing field where that is concerned.

    Relax and enjoy your life - you may meet a younger man who livens up your nights for a while, or you may meet "the one" - but at least you'll be LIVING!

    Once you're dead, none of this will matter whatsoever. Dead plants, failed romances, whatever... Make the best decisions you can, and see what happens.

    I like that Alanis Morissette song that says, "I recommend biting off more than you can chew, to anyone... I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time... feel free"

    - M

  5. I'll try to nab a leftover party favor tshirt from Mr. Benfield's birthday:

    "I've been in and out of Betty Ford more times than Gerald."

    Always good attire for yoga or an early morning bike ride round the neighborhood.

  6. Have you read "Drinking: A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp? It looks like "28 Days" was based on that book, only the book was good.

    Good luck. And 10 years really isn't so bad, is it?


  7. That's a nice way of looking at it Marcheline. I seem to have a little bit of trouble taking risks these days.
    I need that t-shirt! Please. Ida. Come on. Get me one.
    Bob - I read that book just a short time ago, and then followed up with a collection of her work. Really good essays.

  8. Listen, having a non-f'd up relationship may have more to do with the pickings then the recovering addiction. I'm not trying to be one of "those" women who say there are no good men out there but you can't rightfully beat yourself up when more than half of all marriages end in divorce and most people have to date many lemons to find a half decent orange. If you really think that this is a step in your recovery just realize that it may not be a step you have control over. And look? I'm giving out major assvice. Sorry.

  9. Kelly,

    First I'd like to say that I'm very impressed. What you have done takes courage.

    I'm not sure that age is an issue unless it is for you. I'm 37 and if I meet someone 50 or 21 and we connect intellectually I'm all for it. In the end it's that persons maturity that counts.

    Anyway I'd like to reiterate my admiration for your courage.

  10. Desiree - advice is always welcome, considered & processed.

    TJ - thanks for the nice words. You're right about the maturity. I don't want to lump all of the 20-something males out there into a single category because I'm sure there are some who read for pleasure, change their sheets regularly, and refrain from using "party" as a verb. I just haven't met that one yet. It was fun when I drank (even minimally and occasionally), but my tolerance level decreases every year.


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