To Love and To Fall

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I can’t believe how great I feel. It is a glorious day in May, the sun is shining, life is grand. I am three months sober today. I know, I came into the program last November. I had a two day binge in February because I was feeling sorry for myself. I’ve been sober ever since my twenty-ninth birthday, February eighteenth. I am driving to a meeting where I am the feature speaker, the first time for me. Seven months ago I would have never been excited over something like this. But life certainly has changed for me.

I have just come from a meeting with the academic committee, and I have been officially re-entered into the program; I start again over the summer. Artie vouched for my sobriety; I never realized what an influential person he was. When I got sober the first time he got me a job in the bookstore where he had his signing; I was glad to be out of K-Mart, to be back in my element. But it was weird doing it without a drink. It was like I had to relearn things all over again. Now I will be back with Arbuckle, back in academia, which is a scary thought in itself. I have a new spin on the dissertation. Instead of focusing on women’s alcoholism in society, I am looking at how people viewed alcoholism over the years. My former dissertation was reminiscent of the days when I looked at Denise’s and Serena’s drinking. Now I look at my own.

Speaking of the women in my life, I am on very amicable terms with Denise now. She is coming to hear me speak, and she is staying over with me. The woman who didn’t want to bother with me will be staying in my house. I am grateful for this small thing. Family get-togethers might be routine for most people, but when something like that is lost, once it is back it is not something to be taken for granted, much like many things in my life nowadays that I never even bothered to notice, like sunrises and even the very fact that I have lived another day.

Serena sent me a Christmas card. She is living somewhere in Cobleskill, is still single, going to art school for painting, still sober. I miss her. We send each other letters every week. I would like to see her again, but there has been a lot of hurt on both ends. It is like neither of us is willing to make the first move, so I called and left a message, saying I was speaking. The crazy thing is that if we ever got together again it would be like a totally different relationship; we never knew each other sober. It certainly would be a new experience. Artie yells at me, says I’m not ready to get back with Serena, that I should wait at least a few more months. He’s right; I’m not ready. Today I’m not willing to drink over her or anyone else, my life is too important.

I’m on a lunch break right now, in between classes. You know, I still can’t get over the novelty of actually eating lunch at lunch time instead of liquid fare. Many everyday things that I either didn’t bother with or ignored are taking on significance for me. I am learning to live again even as an adult. Maybe I had never learned in the first place. Regardless, I have loved wrongly, but can love rightly now. I have fallen, yet returned once again. Nothing is more important than this moment now. I am grateful for finding the clarity to learn that.

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