On track, or off, how many tracks do we need? On the wagon, of off?
How many ask, but struggle answering?
This day matters more to me that any other day on the calendar – like so many anniversaries of important things in lives it isn’t the arbitrariness of the day, or any day, that matters as much as memory matters. Memory of the event, commemoration of that milestone – and personal measurement of self against a standard. It’s a big deal to me. It’s not a big deal to nearly everyone else.
I suppose other people have these days too – like the day anyone made a significant change in their life; where, in truth, it is what changes happened after that matter, what was different after what happened, happened. So, what happened? I quit drinking. There was no act or action – but rather the non-action that followed. Little else changed at first. And then much did. On this date 30 years ago today I put down a half-finished drink and ceased drinking alcohol. Not a moment in time that anyone else noticed and most people had no reason to care about. A nothing to 7 billion. Everything to me. Unaffected for 7 billion. Life saving for me. Life changing for me. And an easy date to remember. Most people of a certain age remember it as Pearl Harbour Day, anniversary of the worst day in American history. It doesn’t get as much play anymore – much like other tragedies of other places, of other generations – but I digress …
I recall as vividly today – a picture I could paint with my eyes closed, in the family room, television on, children playing, after supper and Jeopardy was on TV. I put that drink down and vowed, as I had so many white-knuckle times in wretched months before, to not take another. I don’t know what it was that day that succeeded for me that had not worked before. If I was wise I would say so, or give it a good guess, I have no way of knowing for certain. Maybe it was the mental teetering between wanting to end my life vs. extend my life. That resonates, but I often wonder if that is a convenient explanation I give myself but not the ‘real reason’. I’ll never know. What I do know for certain, and there is little that I do know with that much clarity, is that life is immeasurably better – even in its darkest moments – than death. Life is what I celebrate today. Alcoholics refer to this day as their ‘birthday’ as fervently as religious zealots recall being ‘born again’. White those are worlds apart, there is a commonality of something powerful about realizing that we have enormous power within us. We can probably save the world – because we save our own life from certain peril, so we know we can do anything. Not everything, but anything we set our minds to. Really. I can. So can anyone. It isn’t about drinking or not, but more about recognizing our own power to think, to do, to change. Every year on this day I celebrate that – as I do every day, but I like to shout it from rooftops.