Chalk Outline

She sets the tall glass of club soda down in front of me and immediately I hate that the glass is tall and I hate that the particular lime wedge she has limply skewered onto the rim looks as if it has spent the last three months of its pathetic existence rotting in the back of the refrigerator. It’s literally not even green. Or yellow. It has no color it’s like the ghost of a lime gone by.

Have you ever seen the John Mulaney bit where he talks about going to a party where people “Know ya don’t drink!” and so they offer him like a fucking turnip or an old NuvaRing from the freezer? His delivery is hilarious and so on point. I think about this and laugh to myself as I shove the offending slice of sad citrus into my napkin. Everyone else downs their wine and beer.

Life is very sharp these days. I am very aware and often feel very naked. I think it was Catherine Gray who said early sobriety feels like you are a de-quilled porcupine and I must say I feel that for sure. I’m cool in my own home. My husband still drinks and I don’t sweat that, it’s fine. But the outside booze-drowned world is super loud to me for some reason. Even talking to other sober folks online feels like I’m a tiny awkward newborn foal on brand new legs trying to take a couple timid steps.

It’s funny though because those vulnerable images of tiny quivering animals in their shivering unprotected nakedness also burns a deeper feeling inside of me that I am not sure I have ever known this viscerally. Compassion for myself. Not like sappy pity but the actual solid feeling of a desire to treat with extreme care and fierce protection. Compassion for the me that is just trying to re-emerge in a way which isn’t paranoid or self-sabotaging.

As I write this right now (and please forgive me I have no idea if this is any good I just need to write because I don’t know wtf I’m doing) a mangy blizzard is pummeling the area, white whirling snow is rushing sideways past the window to my writing room. It occurs to me this must be what it would look like if you were looking out from the inside of a snow globe. All shook up and softly blinded by the muted grayish light. Kinda magic. Kinda disorienting.

Out there it’s harsh and brutal. But in here I am warm and safe with my coffee and keyboard and a stack of quit lit towering on the bed. And I don’t know how but I know I’m gonna be okay. I can feel it because I am so aware of every little thing now. I was never grateful enough for all that I have. I couldn’t see it clearly enough. I was very busy numbing it out and then nursing my sickness after it was too late to stop it from crippling me.

I guess sometimes it takes staying awake when there is a storm raging all around to really get to know the unshakable calm at your center.

The soft-strong-self-calm my addiction tried again and again to convince me didn’t exist.

For twenty-two years, it worked.

18 Replies to “Chalk Outline”

  1. Once again you so perfectly describe a beginning of a new journey that feels like it’s into the unknown yet as it unfolds it just may be a journey that leads to a complete self that as you so poignantly described we so craft-fully bury or hide away from ourselves. It is so inspiring to each brave step you take and share so refreshingly honest (no matter how raw and brutal it may be). You don’t beat around the bush, instead going for the heart of the matter. And that is most probably the best way to get to not only step into the real you but also to see how fucking awesome “complete you” is. I’m too much of a wimp or a coward even to face myself and my demons but seeing (reading) you and your experience of tackling your demons, angels or whatever you call them just may be what I and probably quite a few others need to do the same! Much love, respect, and gratitude to you, dearest Allison. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so scared, my sweet beloved friend. That’s the fucking truth of it. Every day of sobriety I’m scared I’m gonna fuck it all up. That I can’t trust myself, that I’m broken and weak and shouldn’t talk about it out loud because I’m just gonna drag everyone else down with me when I inevitably fail. And yet. There’s a small flame of hope that gorgeous you fans with your perfectly gorgeous words to me like breathing oxygen onto a small struggling fire. To thank you for that…. There are not enough words or hugs. You are life. I’m so so grateful, D. 🕊🤍🌹🤍🕊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry it took a little longer to respond. I understand your fear of failing on your journey, however, in many ways you already are richer and better for the experience so far. I used to be obsessed with absolutes to the point of choking the life and love out of everything I held close to in my life. Eternity is a concept that lives within romantic souls and hearts. I’ve learned that forever exists “here and now” and rarely “somewhere else and tomorrow.” Please do not burden yourself with how long this journey of yours will last, dear Allison. You are on it here and right now. Why think about the failure that might happen tomorrow? It puts unnecessary burden on you. Same goes for worrying about the others that are inspired by your current journey. I find it amazing and motivating, however, if and when I will again embark on a similar pilgrimage I will not fail because you might at some point falter and perhaps (temporarily) fail just like I won’t succeed because you most probably will succeed. The rise or fall lies on ourselves and not on others (sure there are circumstances when it’s more complicated). Your mind, your soul, your heart are all poured into your creations and many of us benefit greatly from every sentence, every paragraph, every piece that comes from under your pen. So, I am happy to see you (re)discover yourself in a different light and am keeping my fingers crossed that it brings you closer to you and your wild. Our support will not end if you falter or decide to change your course. You are worthy of the best and more, dearest Allison. Here and now. Always. ❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Also, I know exactly which lime wedge you are talking about! I’m pretty sure I had the other part of that same lime put into my club soda yesterday. Now, if we were in the same watering hole that wouldn’t be strange… however!!! I got it in a coffee shop in Europe! 🤮🤮🤮 Why do they always pick the worst ones for club soda?!

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Hahaha. Perhaps there’s an epic story of the sad sick lime that travels around the universe connecting people through her miserable appearance! Who knows, lime’s appearance just might be a disguise… 😜

            Liked by 1 person

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