Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I've got rampant alcoholism and drug abuse in my family.  I'm forty-three and three-fourths now.  For a long time I was outrunning addiction.  I think it caught up with me.  When that happened, who can say?  I think I got drunk for the first time when I was 13.  I slept over at a friend's house and we got into her parents liquor cabinet.  We mixed an ugly sweet concoction of apricot brandy, bourbon, gin, vodka and various liqueurs.  I wet my pants that night and passed out on the lawn.  I woke up with weird clothes unknown to me soaked in throw-up, in a strange place with a strange permanent imprint on my brain.  Eventually I sobered up and made it home undiscovered.  There was drinking afterward.  But I had learned my lesson.  The lesson was:  don't mix your drinks.  The lesson wasn't:  don't drink.  I come from a drinking family.  We're not authentic.  We're not Irish.  We're not wine swigging Italians.  We're not gin-drinking aristrocrats.  We're drinkers.  I come from drinkers.  I come from bragging football watching beer drinkers from Minnesota.  I come from secret drinkers stuffing their bottles under couch coushins .  I come from people who pee in pots who are too drunk to make it down the stairs.  I come from embarassment and regret.  I come from ruined holidays and suicide attempts.  I come from death from neglect and squandered dreams.  I come from repressed emotions and stiff hugs.  I come from mistakes.  I think I was the only child actually planned and hoped for.  I have no children.  That is probably a blessing.  What godforsaken genes would I pass long to a child?  I have dogs instead.  I have dogs that I love like children.  I have not brought them into this world with corrupted, doomed genes.  I try to lift them up every day to fly.  I want them to fly like I never have.  And then I want to ride on their wings, their muscular flanks, their spit flying in the wind.  I want to live on that pure joy they have from the moment they wake.  I can't find that joy by myself, within my body without them.  I don't have the joy imprint.  But my dogs do.  

When I wake up in the morning I feel doomed.  But when I put my running shoes on, tether up the dog, unlatch the gate and start running, I feel protected and blessed.  I feel the sun, the drizzle, the breath of my dog's life, the absence of stagnation and addiction, the possibility of the future, the imaginable, the everything, and I feel something like joy.  And then hope glimmers in.  And that's the best part.

1 comment:

  1. This is incredibly sad and beautiful. and you are an writer. period.