This message was sent to subscribers by email september 25th.
from me:when i travel, with the absence of my real alarm clock, i use the alarm on my phone. i don't generally sleep with my phone by my bed, for obvious reasons (oh you know, the need to check things at 3 a.m. for starters). since coming home from travelling, i'd been letting myself sleep as long as I wanted, which turned out to be LONG. as of yesterday, i'm back to the alarm again, on the phone, and yesterday and today it has rung with the 'vacation' alarm, bedside. when i hear it, my mind goes to "oh you're in montreal, time to get up before the UK is done for the day" or "oh you're in australia, time to get up before everyone goes to bed back home." it's a small thing, the ringtone of my phone, but it sounds like vacation.
it rings in the pitch dark, cold. i get up and write at the table by candlelight (before you think that's romantic, it's because i hate overhead lights - always - and there's no lamp in the dining room). i drink instant coffee (also decidedly unromantic). i then move to the computer and start. quick check of email, start writing fiction and do that until i'm bored (5 minutes, 60 minutes). today after, i went for a run again, to the market this time, and came home with one sausage and mini asparagus to make some pasta (who knows, we'll see). husband gets up. we talk about the location of the word EXIT on the painting he's doing. he shows me two samples. i pick one. i ask for specific words on one new painting, and more like this and less like that. he says "but i like this one" and i say "fine, but it's orange and green stripes!"
he makes me real coffee with the machine. he goes upstairs to work. i answer emails, including ones from people who think i'm selling recovery (yes, that has started again) and i sort through the photos coming in of mrB's EXIT paintings landing in their new homes. then my eyes feel teary. oh they look so lovely! i mean i love them all when they're here, but to see the paintings out in the world is so amazingly touching you have no idea.
well, of course, you have no idea because i don't share all of the weirdness around mrB's job for the last 7 years. we've talked about having to move back to canada if things didn't sort themselves out. he muddled along, but he wasn't happy. he did the things that were required, but not with joy. so coming home from a run with a sausage and mini asparagus, and to have him right off ask about the location of the word EXIT on a painting... it's such a deep shift that it's hard to explain unless you've been here, watching him, for 7 years, get up, go to work, and not like it ENOUGH. he liked it fine, but not ENOUGH.
but now? with this sober exit painting project (long may it continue) now he has ideas in the morning, even before breakfast. i think i'll leave my ringtone set on vacation sounds. when it rings in the dark, maybe it's reminding me that in my sober regular life, today, right now, that this is a vacation from the life i was living before. i pick this. thank you for your well wishes and your support. it means so much.
from my inbox:
sobriety shingles (day 273): “I just got all four at once! The colors are so much more vivid than the photos ( not disparaging the photographer!). I couldn’t be happier. I’m going to look at them for a while and decide what kinds of frames they will get. And how they will be hung. I think in pairs. Or not. We’ll see. Thank you Belle and merci Monsieur Belle. I’m so pleased!”
ohnarn: "Next week I’ll be past day 82 which has been my longest no alcohol streak. I’m trying to remember how I was feeling around this time during my previous two “real” attempts to quit drinking and can’t really pinpoint it. I’m sure I was feeling desperate and tired of the “sacrifice” of not drinking. I have no fears of a relapse and know I’ll get past this hurdle. I’m nervous about the uncharted territory but also excited."
me: happy day 79 today. you can celebrate today. it’s the last day 79 you’re going to have...
ohnarn: "eek! Got all nervous and excited when you put it like that. and it also felt deeply true." [upate: she's on day 91 today]
Tom: "I took a few days off to do home improvement projects. Nothing big: insulation and installation of a floor outlet. Never cut a hole through my floor and brand new carpet before. In the past, I’d grab a beer (or 12), gain the liquid courage and dig in. Not yesterday. That was the first time in years that a home improvement project was NOT also a clean up all the empty beer can project at the end of the day. Wolfie was loud and proud. What the fuck? Where did he come from. I kept saying, not today, fuck You Wolfie, play the video forward asshole! No, you’ve never done anything like this project before, but you will do it without booze. Dig in, get going, there is no need to poor liquid courage into and already difficult project dumbass!
And I did! As soon as I drilled through the brand new floor, crossed the point of no turning back now, Wolfie went away. Just me, a back brace, knee pads, power tools and a replacement drink-orange poweraid! I feel like it was a major accomplishment, but the reality is most everyone else does it routinely without drinking. That’s sad that I had gone that far down the elevator and never realized it. Yesterday I was a normal do-it-yourselfer, not a stupid drunk fucking shit up ... I’m not sure what I’m trying to say. But I wasn’t shitfaced by 5pm, and I’m not hungover this morning. Sober as a new born baby. That is fucking awesome! Ready to get back at it, push the project forward, completely sober."
exit. if booze is an elevator that only goes down, it's ok to get off. and stay off. find the exit sign. it may be in chinese ...
(and then this art is perhpas more subtle to hang in your office)
original exit paintings here >