In my first months of recovery, there was a pull to the dark, to relapse, that resembled what I’d figure a tractor beam in Star Wars would be like. The pull was pernicious, though unlike a mythical tractor beam, it could be resisted with the proper amount of bleaching from the light – the source of the light was working the program and meetings.
Fear kept me straight. The fear of what was next if I gave in to the dark and drank again. For once that outweighed the fear of how boring and devoid of fun life would be without booze and drugs (as sick as that may sound to an outsider, that fear has pull – it’s inescapable for some). Thankfully, I stuck with it and stayed in the light.
Now, don’t take this next few paragraphs wrong; there thousands of wonderful times that made me grateful for choosing recovery between then and now. Too many to recount here. Those are what made working through the tough times worth it. The good times were why I kept coming back, and as I grew in recovery, the good times began to overtake the bad. That said, 28-years into recovery, the light is so pure and bright that it’s sometimes difficult to grasp why I ever struggled in the first place. Understanding this is rather simple, though; I didn’t know it could be this good.
I was sitting at my desk yesterday, preparing a job that will be starting soon. It’s a rather large job, with lots of “parts” to it. Good preparation will go a long way in making it successful, though. I’m all over that. So, there I am typing and a text comes in from my daughter down in college, asking if I wanted to come down and do lunch. You know how my heart leapt. Arrangements were made and I left a little early, arriving about 20 minutes before noon to her dorm.
It dawned on me on the way over that this may not be just a casual lunch, that my baby could be in trouble and in need of a shoulder… but I decided shortly after that dawning I wasn’t going to worry about any of that until the conversation went that way. As I pulled in, I called my daughter from a parking spot and she let me know she was on her way.
Now, for lunch, I’d assumed we would hit a spectacular burger joint we found a few weeks ago but when I asked where she wanted to go, she said she found a new place she wanted to check out called Poke Fish. I was less than enthused but tried to hide it, probably unsuccessfully. But off we went.
I’m going to skip all of the boring stuff…
We had sparkling conversation and the best lunch I’d ever eaten. It was that good. I had the salmon and spicy tuna – raw as it gets, on a bed of fried rice with cucumbers, carrots, seaweed (freaking spectacular), spring greens, jalapenos and spicy mayo. I can’t wait to go back! The important thing is that my worries were not accurate. My daughter and I, for the better part of 45 minutes, simply talked about how things were going for her, how she liked college, how she loved the marching band… and it was mostly fantastic for her on her own. There were troubles, of course, campus life is rife with those, but that she loves it was the main gist.
Now, there’s more to her story (that I know but probably shouldn’t know), but there was nothing to gain from bringing it up. It’s already been handled and I wanted my daughter to see that she could just call me up for whatever reason, including just to spend some time with her dear old dad, for whatever she needs. Including a free lunch and great conversation.
We headed back to her dorm, stopping off to pick up a care package her aunt had sent but was delivered to the wrong building, then it was back to her dorm to drop her off, and then back to the office.
I got a little misty as I pulled away from her dorm building… how blessed and fortunate I am to be able to have that experience. This is the good life. That hour with my kid made all of the steps and work involved in recovery worth the effort.
It’s clear, had I given in to the tractor beam pulling me to the dark and kept drinking all those years ago, I wouldn’t even have been on the right side of the grass to have had the experience described above. Because of recovery, I get to feel. And it is good.
Keep coming back. I’m living proof it works if you work it.