20 June 2013
Last Sunday, I celebrated 23 years married and 25 years clean.
"If I had a blog," the Captain said, "I would probably write a post about this big anniversary so your readers could have something new to read on the bus as they commute to and from their stressful jobs in the city. You know, if I had a blog."
I agreed. Twenty-five years clean is significant. Amazing, if you look at the chunk of time as a whole. Inconceivable, when one is newly detoxed and rehabbing at a facility housed on the grounds of a mental institution. Daunting, when you're clutching a styrofoam cup of bad coffee in the back of a smoky 12-Step room.
I imagine this is why time is broken down into smaller bits. What seems insurmountable in the long run can be managed for a minute, an hour, and eventually, the twenty-four hours in a day. Before you know it, life's moments become years.
I follow two calendars: the Gregorian Year and the School Year. The School Year is a little like pregnancy-it lasts nine months, there is great anticipation, struggle, and pain, and at the end you just want it to be over. Nevertheless, in June--as with all my births--there is sadness mixed with joy, a profound sense of time passing, a finality untempered by the shimmer of hope that softens the blow of the true year's end.
This School Year has been particularly grueling. My mother's health deteriorated rapidly in September, she passed away the day after Thanksgiving, everyone got some version of the flu in December, Five's anxiety bloomed in March, he was hospitalized in April, and Two had his appendix removed in May. If ever there was reason to celebrate the end of June, this would be it.
Once you know that minutes become hours and hours become days and days become years, what is a blessing in recovery can be a curse in life. Grinding through, gutting it out, pushing on--these have been my survival skills this year, and in the beginning of my recovery it's how I stayed clean. But now I know it's no way to live.Time is a gift taken for granted, full of moments to be savored, even when they're painful. This School Year has left my heart sore and my soul battered, but I wouldn't wish any of it away.
Because twenty-five Junes ago I couldn't even imagine it.