Monday, 12 January 2015

Just A Yellow Cup.

At 5am this morning I sat up in bed to take my hoodie off and WHACKED my head on the top of Roccos bunk so hard it woke me up good and proper. He's sick and a bit clingy and wanted me to have a "sleepover" in his room.

So I padded out to the kitchen and skipped the tea, straight for the coffee. In one of my favourite mugs - I call it my recovery mug. I sat there with warm socks on covered with the blanket Megans nanna specially crocheted just for me because it's freezing - summer seems to have gone flaccid.

And I thought about that mug.

About fifteen years ago I was in the most DUD rehab in Sydney where they wouldn't even let us out for recovery meetings, and took us on visits INSIDE PUBS to get used to our triggers. I'd been to good rehabs before so I knew it was bad but I did the stupid 28 days just to show my perseverance. The group therapy was SO BAD. A joke. It was sterile in there, like a hospital. And in the kitchen, every mug was beige - except this mug, this bright yellow mug with flowers. So I took it into my room and used it every day. It was the only bright thing in the stupid joint.

I remember the people in there - the guy who was obviously high EVERY DAY and scratched emo poetry on the outside table with his knife. The dude who was a fireworks expert and was in trouble with the law for trying to blow up his ex. And a woman with blonde hair whose name I won't say but she was in so much pain because the court had ordered her to go to rehab because of a custody battle with her VERY angry husband over their son. She loved her son, cried about him all the time. She was really gentle, softly-spoken woman who looked older than she was and she just couldn't stood drinking and her husband was threatening to take her son away from her, back to Germany.

She would sit in the chair every day and silently weep, and weep. And the rehab was so dumb it wasn't doing her any good at all so I took it upon myself to counsel her, talk with her about her options - safe houses, halfways houses, DIFFERENT rehabs, drug and alcohol therapy, the immense value of meetings. Jeez I tried to help her.

"I just cannot stop drinking, Eden." In her thick accent.

And on the last day, the final day thank GOD my time was up and I proved something to myself by staying ... I was saying goodbye to my loveable gang of misfits and my beautiful blonde friend pressed something into my hands wrapped in newspaper.

"Hide it. Don't open it until you drive away."

I hugged her and drove away. Opened it and there was the cup, my yellow cup with flowers on it. I've had it all this time, fifteen years with a houseful of dysfunction and children and it has not ONE chip on it. It's so, so precious to me that I treat it like any other cup as if it's not different. Sometimes if you treat things all special they break anyway.

So. I thought about her today, wondered what became of her and if she ever found sobriety. It's a real hard path. Her son would be a man now. I wonder if she's even still alive. I hope so. Recovery is hard and when you get it you gotta treat it with the care and the respect it demands because if people like me don't have recovery? We don't have anything.

I haven't stayed sober since I was given that cup - but since my brother died I have not had one drop of alcohol or any drug. To use now would be deadly. I can't express how hard it's been, to feel such feelings and have no magic numbing potions. I can't drink like everybody else. And the people who pressure or question me the most about the "strangeness" of me not drinking are usually people who have drinking issues themselves. Somebody stood at the dancefloor watching Dave and I do our bridal waltz at our wedding and shook her head. "So she can never drink again."

Like it was the saddest, most awful news imaginable. Most people don't understand that the freedom and the riches that recovery gives to people like me. It's such a gift, if you work at it ... you can live your life beyond your wildest dreams like Willy Wonka says. I have relapsed a few times after ten years clean time up and it has not been pretty - no damage done to my boys or family, and very quick stupid one-nighters, but they have been disgusting and useless and left me feeling so incredibly beyond awful DON'T DO IT. I have done it for you. The party is over. It doesn't work anymore. You get a headful of recovery and a bodyful of poison? Fucks you up.

It's hard to come back. The other night I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic like I usually do and for some reason I had my car keys on my bedside table - I've gone old-school like the good old days and put my recovery keyring on it showing my time up. AND THE KEYTAG WAS GLOW-IN-THE-DARK. And I was panicking but suddenly realised the metaphor, like Obi Wan Kenobi was there.

"Use the keytag, Eden. It will light your way."

And I laughed out loud, in the middle of the night, chasing the bad away.

So after my coffee this morning I tiptoed into Roccos bedroom and tried to go back to sleep but Mr Hawk heard me, up like a rocket. We sat there together and I showed him the pilot episode of Mork and Mindy and his laugh tinkled around the room at Morks crazy antics. And while it was sad, watching Robin Williams perform so many years ago without knowing that one day he would end his life, there was joy there too. Because he is FUNNY.

I have never been so proud of my recovery as I am these days, these dark horrible days. But the clouds are lifting and I have things to do and see and a life to be lived and maybe, well, I think I'm going to be ok after all.

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