I Did Not Jump Out: learning how to ride in a car with 4 other humans

Recently, someone commented on an Instagram post that she misses my writing. I never stopped — I have essays littering the internet — but I haven’t been writing here. I’m not sure why.

This site is a clear record of the crooked path I’ve followed over the years, something I regard with both a deep sense of sadness and a healthy dose of pride. Sometimes I want to wipe it all clean, hit delete, and start fresh. Sometimes, I’m too sad to come here at all. I don’t like to be reminded of the past, although it’s important for me to remember.

Making peace with who I am and where I come from is a bitch; the daunting task of acceptance, something so simple yet so freaking hard, reminds me on a daily basis that I’m better but still far from where I’d like to be.

Recovery is like removing layers from an onion. I may never reach the core.

My oldest, my muse, my biggest headache and source of inspiration. Maverick is the only one out of my three who remembers what I used to be like, before I got sober. Every so often he asks me a question like, “Do you ever miss drinking wine?”

I tell him the truth: yes, I miss it.

I might always miss it, in the way that a person misses a thing that might kill them, but missing a thing isn’t so bad if you have the right support. I take it in small bites. I miss it for a few minutes, a few times per day. But the day ends, and so does my desire to get plastered. I sleep, I feed myself properly — I’m having to learn how to do this, so I can continue to take care of myself — and I pray for the strength to creep forward a tiny bit each day.

“I’m proud of you.”

That’s what he says, when we talk about recovery. I’m proud of me, too. I’m also proud of him, and immensely grateful to call him mine. We have come so far since we were in that dark place two years ago, before his diagnosis, before we got the right help for him, and later, for me. The rest of our little family was being dragged along on a crazy — not the fun kind of crazy, the crazy kind of crazy — ride with no end in sight.

It was hell.

My hope is that the kids don’t think of that time when they look back on their childhood. The fire that burns underneath my feet to keep me moving is stoked by the knowledge that if we go backward, it would be so much worse. I don’t have the power to erase their crazy-not-the-fun-kind memories, but I can try like hell to create good ones.

This weekend was the first time I can remember when we all got into a car together and I didn’t want to throw myself out the passenger window. The screeching! The fighting! The kicking of the seats! The way Robbie cranks up the radio to drown them all out, but all it does is add to the chaos!

** INSERT GUTTURAL SCREAMS HERE **

I used to drink to take the edge off, and when I first got sober? No way was I getting in a car with everyone else unless it was absolutely necessary. THIS IS WHY MY SONS USED TO RIDE THE SCHOOL BUS.

But now, 14 months into recovery, I can handle it. The volume might grate on my nerves, but not unbearably so. I didn’t yell. I didn’t jump out of the car or call someone to come pick me up. I simply enjoyed my fun-kind-of-crazy family.

I count that as a win.

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3 thoughts on “I Did Not Jump Out: learning how to ride in a car with 4 other humans

  1. Had to laugh at Robbie. I turn up the radio to drown out the kids, too. All it does is make them scream louder. I have a hunch Maverick will look back and remember the era you weren’t sober but nothing specific. Whereas when he looks back at the fun times he’ll remember the laughs specifically.

    Like

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