textiles · exploration · misadventure


My Letter/His Letter: Early Sobriety Mayhem

San Francisco Mission muralDear Asher—

Okay. I’m back. WOW.

I’m SO SO SO happy to hear that my first letter was read and read and shared and re-read. And as for yours, as usual it’s a complicated trifecta of YOU CRACK ME UP and OH, FUCK THAT NOISE, THAT’S AWFUL! and WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE BRING ME A BOX OF TISSUE?

Thank you also, so much, for your willingness to let me share this stuff with the blog. God willing, somebody will read it and it will strike a chord for good. You are very generous to tell me that I can share your words as well; I will try to be judicious when I do so, but some of your rants are painfully hysterical and there’s part of me that just wants to post them entire. Like this one:

I feel like I started a fire, burned down my house, the walls are down so the firefighters know my business, and the eleven o’clock news can make it a cautionary tale of how-not-to-be-a-fuckup.

This is a brilliant condensation of early sobriety, my friend. Humor and pain, together. I hope you are on the receiving end of some of the hilarity, which is the inevitable and healthy response to the ridiculousness of some of our choices, a means of healing and coming to terms with them. I know you’re getting the pain.

I’m honored you shared my letter with your roommate. He sounds like good people, and I am so glad that in a situation that could have thrown you into complete idiot company, instead you have a thoughtful, intelligent, inquisitive person to share your personal space with.

I hear you when you say meetings are repetitive. When you get out into the wider sober community, they will still be repetitive, but not as badly so. Issues common to early sobriety are commonly aired, as new blood is constantly coming… and going. But new people do lend variety, and those with longer-term sobriety often have very different viewpoints as well. I think you’ll find it a relief.

You said your sister reminds you repeatedly why you chose to be there, and therefore why you MUST be there. She sounds FANTASTIC, and wise in so many ways. Funny how we both turned to our sisters when we needed help and understanding, and that they have been our rocks in different ways.

It sounds like you landed, post-“shitstorm extraction” from San Francisco, in exactly the right place, and not only because she’s now got a bitchen new balustrade (our back door lock and the towel rack in the bathroom are still fixed and PERFECT, yay and thanks!).

Clearly while you were building that elaborate piece of carpentry and drinking yourself stupid, there was construction going on in your head as well. So much happened here, before you left. Not only the excruciating romantic relationship stuff, but the other personal, friend-based stuff. Spring Ride fallout, both negative and positive.

You had so much to come to terms with, a lot of new information to incorporate, so many questions to ask yourself and try to answer. It’s odd how we come by the important questions in such different ways. My question was, “Am I an alcoholic?” For you it was, “What if there was a beerpocolypse and the taps ran sand? Would I be ok?” And when the true answers to those questions finally break through our weakening barriers, we break.

The breaking is horrible, and painful, and it’s oh, so frightening for us isolationists to turn to another human being and ask for help. I always told myself, “I can do it myself. I’ve always done it myself.” But nope, not this time.

The image of your hair hitting the ground, pieces of you falling away dead as your sister cut it from your vulnerable neck, was so fucking sad and metaphorical. You are a deep-thinking motherfucker, and I can totally see how you would sense that, and how it could rip you wide open. How, when she handed you the mirror, you saw not a new haircut, but yourself, who you were, what you had done. [tissue, please] Oh migod, my heart. You dear thing.

My own look in my own mirror flavors my reading. Your pain was my pain.

I knew that I was headed towards the loneliest, darkest place I could walk—the valley of the shadow of self. I am all alone on that rickety carnival train, though I ride it surrounded constantly by two dozen man-boy addicts with dull knives and damaged souls. ~asher

[[to be continued…]]

(For the rest of my Letters to Asher series, click here.)