Truth be told, I don’t remember the good old days being all that good. All that peace, love, and rock ‘n roll may have seemed pretty cool at the time. But the black and white horrors of Vietnam were simultaneously unfolding on our TV screens. I remember the seemingly endless news coverage taking its own place at my family’s dinner table. Night after night. My mother wanted the TV off. My dad insisted it be kept on. And I just wanted to get back to whatever I had been pulled away from. Sure, I was still a kid without a clue as to the responsibilities and disappointments life held in store. But, even from that perspective, those days weren’t all that good.
With adulthood came the long awaited freedom to go where I wanted to go and do what I wanted to do. I left home when I was 19. I wasn’t all that young, but I also wasn’t all that smart. With no real idea where I was headed, I set out in search of the independent life I had dreamed of. My first place? A dilapidated hotel room with peeling paint and one electrical outlet. I remember having to sit in the dark in order to keep the stereo plugged in. Oh yeah. Those were the good old days, alright. Listening to The Rolling Stones by candlelight and eating beans out of a can. I might have had my freedom to come and go and do as I pleased, but I don’t remember those days being particularly good either.
As I got older and found I was able to keep a job, my living circumstances improved. I rented a third floor apartment. Collected furniture to put in it. Even went back to college. But a bachelor’s degree can’t magically transform mediocre days into good ones. And not every woman can bank on a husband and family in that order and before menopause. It seemed I was always looking for something. Looking for fun. Looking in the clubs. Eventually looking through the bottom of a bottle. I may have thought I was having fun, but it was probably just the wine. No, those weren’t good days—old or otherwise. Those were the days that eventually led me into alcoholism.
Fast forward to today. Finally, I am sober. Three whole months. That may not sound like a lot, but insofar as I think I drank every day for the better part of three decades, these past 90 days pretty much constitute a small lifetime. Have there been any good old days along the way? No. Not yet. Getting sober and staying that way kind of really sucks—at least in the beginning. But it hasn’t been all bad either, and I am hoping for better days ahead. Indeed, I guess you could say I am hoping for some good old days. Those are likely to be the very best days of all.