Counting chicken scratch

Tomorrow will be my 5 month anniversary.  It’s actually already been 154 days.  154 days without a drink.  Or 154 days of sobriety.  One way of counting marks days of deprivation.  The other is more a calculation of accomplishment.  Either way, it has been a long time.  Not really that long though.  At least not in the context of my entire life.   I’d have to live to the age of 94 before I could start claiming having been sober more days than not.  Guess that’s possible.  Unlikely, but possible.

This whole counting  thing is a strange phenomenon.  I’m sure there were other occasions toward which I ticked off the days.  Days until my birthday.  Days until Christmas.  Days until graduation.  Days until Spring.  But such counting is the anxious pastime of anticipation.  Counting days since something happened, in this case, days since my first sober day in rehab, is of a far different sort.

Nonetheless, whenever the 21st rolls around, I share with my home group how many months it’s been.  AA lets you get away with keeping track of months for the first year.  After that, anything less than an annual anniversary is inconsequential.  But, for now, I make my monthly announcement to the only people who could possibly muster up any enthusiasm for my days since. Certainly no one else is counting.  Just me.

I try to imagine a much older more decrepit version of myself still marking the days.  The thought amuses me.  Crooked fingers making chicken scratch.  Let me see.  Oh, will you look at that.   Isn’t that something?  It’s been 7,454 days.  But it sure beats not having lived days to count, so I’ll take it.  I still think this this whole time-keeping thing is rather odd though.  Especially for someone who always hated math.

There is, however, a part of me that believes all these days are actually bringing me closer to something.  I’m not sure what that day is going to look like, but I don’t expect being disappointed.  It will be a day that will mark the beginning of the rest of my life with such joy and contentment, every single day leading up to it will dissolve into a numerical blur.  Maybe I’ll even stop counting and start living.  Oh, now that would be something.

But, since I don’t know when that day is coming and there’s no way I can even be sure I’ll take notice when it gets here, I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing: not drinking, going to meetings, and counting my sober days.  It truly has been quite the incredible journey so far. And I suspect life is just going to keep getting better.  I dare say I’m sure of it.  154 down.  God willing, another few thousand to go.  All one day at a time.

Snow Day

snow flake


My heels are dug in.  Today is January 4th and I do not want this day to end.  Tomorrow will be the 5th and Epiphany comes after that and the tree has to come down and the decorations need to be packed away and that darling little clock that plays carols on the hour must be replaced with the ordinary one, the one that silently keeps time during the other eleven months of the year.  I don’t want to do any of it though.  I’m not ready for Christmas to be over.

Perhaps if I had been less self-absorbed and more focused on gratitude and good will, I may have enjoyed it more.  In all fairness though, I did the best I could and that has to be ok because I’m still sober.  The soundtrack played, gifts were wrapped and given, I even went to church on Christmas Eve.  The entire holiday was perfectly lovely and absolutely exhausting and I all I want to do today is watch movies and eat popcorn and wait for it to snow.

I really need a snow storm.  Snow is the great procrastination enabler.  It falls.  The world slows.  Nothing happens.  At least for a while.  How I love those blessed mornings when I wake up to non-negotiable snow, when there’s really nothing that needs doing, or, more precisely, nothing that can be done until the plows come through, and it’s perfectly alright and totally appropriate to stay in my jammies and drink coffee well past noon.

That’s precisely what I need:  a nice long do-nothing hibernation sort of day.  I want to curl up with buried promises and anticipate the warmth and color of spring.  I want to take some time to sort through the clutter of past mistakes and conger up new dreams.  I so need new dreams.  I sometimes wonder if it’s too late, but I know better.  To breathe is to dream and I will again.  There will be possibilities and purpose and plenty of reasons to shower .  Just not today.

Today I’m going to plug in the tree, watch a couple movies, and listen to the clock chime its carols for every hour I refuse to let pass.  The world can stop or carry on if need be, but I’m staying put.  Yes, my heels are dug in.  Now that I have successfully negotiated the holidays, I need a little Christmas now more than ever, an entire day to sit amidst so many stacks of blessings and admire and treasure each one.  Nothing else is necessary.  Today is going to be a snow day.  I am sure of it.