I am not hating this somewhat break from our usual lives. I’m sure that won’t last, but this past weekend I had an experience that I haven’t felt in over a decade.
In my twenties, I had a substance abuse problem. I don’t call it an addiction, because I didn’t have that physical dependency that people who use that word describe. Drugs and alcohol were how I got in my own way to avoid all the things and feelings I was so scared of. What those fears were (and are) are for therapy, not blogposts, and this blogpost isn’t about the substance abuse, but what happened when I got sober.
I’m not going to describe this right. I’ve written and rewritten and thrown so many words away trying to capture the feeling of possibility after I got sober. But it’s not possibility like the sky opening up and the heavens singing down glory, lighting the way to your new, sober life. It’s possibility because an obstacle is clear. Time is clear. Time I used to spend drunk or high and then hungover. But there’s a cutting edge to it. It’s not just about the time I now have, but the clarity of all the time I lost and this persistent, aching feeling of being always behind. Behind on career, goals, life. Irretrievably behind if I don’t fucking rush to catch up.
And that’s what I’ve been doing for a decade plus. Trying to catch up. Trying to undo the damage I did to my life, my possibility. And for me, that means rushing. From one thing to the next. From activity to activity. Every minute stuffed beyond what it can handle. Guilt and shame riding shotgun down a dusty road I’m drag racing against no one.
I’m working on it. I take days off. I go for hikes. I travel. (See also supra re: therapy.)
But it wasn’t until this past weekend, when there was no place to go, nothing to do, and I had reached my limit with Twitter and the news and basically the whole of the internet, that I made my way through what I wanted to do and found myself with day leftover. And not just an hour or so. Like four entire hours before I would even think about going to bed.
And it sucked. And it was fucking wonderful. And I want more of it.
Because I felt like I had my life back. Time had finally decided not to rush me through these years. And I don’t want to let that go.
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