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Location: Northern California

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Thoughts on becoming (perfectly) ordinary

Iceberg Rose
Originally uploaded by marytsao
In sobriety, you are given permission to be ordinary. --AA Slogan

I've been thinking a lot lately about what to write or what not to write about this process I'm going through of quitting drinking, of becoming a sober individual. Of course I would love to tell you everything, the whole sordid tale starting with my first drink at age 10 and ending with my last at age 38. I would love nothing more than to share with you all of the good times, the bad times, the reckless times. (And oh, what times they were!) I'd love to tell you stories from my life to shock and amuse you. It would make a great memoir, similar in some ways to Caroline Knapp's classic, Drinking: A Love Story except it would include lots more emotional abuse and drugs besides alcohol, too.

But here's the truth: People can use that kind of information--stories about your sordid past, your illicit drug use, and your alcoholism--against you. People like employers, husbands trying to gain custody of your children, people who want to deliberately hurt you, people who are looking for your Achilles heel and are more than happy that you revealed it to the world in a public, timeless forum.

I've already said too much.

The problem with blogging is that it feels safe, but is it? There are so many things I don't reveal on this blog that I wish from the bottom of my cold, black heart that I could. Oh, do I. Sometimes I feel as though I am constantly protecting and promoting the images of the people in my life. If I don't have something nice to say, I tend to say nothing at all. According to this blog, everybody I know is an absolute angel. Ha! In this case, the person I need to protect is me. It would be foolhardy of me to go into the details of my issues on this blog, and that's unfortunate because blogging is therapeutic for me in many ways.

So I don't feel comfortable writing about what brought me to this place, but what I do feel comfortable writing about is how great this place is. I was telling my counselor the other day (Oh brother, here she goes...) how happy I was to be living this ordinary life. Being at ease with the sheer ordinariness of my life means that I'm not constantly searching for that next great high to take me to another, less ordinary place. It means I can live this day--and the next and the next--as they come. It also means that I am dropping or re-defining previous notions of what it means to have a "perfect" life or to be a perfect person, a perfect wife, a perfect mother, a perfect daughter, a perfect in-law, a perfect employee, a perfect blogger. Here's another AA slogan I like: Formula for failure: try to please everyone.

So true, so true.