Well I’ve decided once and for all to start this thing. I’ve given this a shot many times in the past. As a writer, naturally I’ve started blogs. As an alcoholic with anxiety and depression, out of fear I have deleted them. I’ve edited posts. Half written poems have flooded through my posts. I’ve posted entires that sounded like pages out of my journal. Prior to WordPress, I’ve used Tumblr where I got lost in the world of gif’s and sad girl quotes.
So Here I Am.
Where am I exactly?
in, at, or to this place or position.“they have lived here most of their lives”
Well I’m currently 19 months sober, living in Portland, going to community college where I am writing fiction and working on a transfer degree. I’ve been able to stay sober through a 12 step program. I am on something called the 4th step. Now for those of you in recovery who have practiced this step I need not say more. You know where I’m at without me going any further.
For those of you who don’t know a fourth step is done on paper and you write down your resentments.
bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.
There are four columns, one column you write a person who you hold a grudge against. Now I use grudge loosely. You might fucking hate this person. Maybe it’s some motherfucker in your gender studies class who makes uneducated misogynist comments. Maybe this person wronged you in someway and it’s personal. This person could be your mother, your best friend, your enemy Shit, it could be a stranger who looked at you wrong, but the Who and the Why hardly matter. What matters is that you write them down.
The next column you write down why. Why did they upset you? Did they steal from you? Did they humiliate you? Maybe they practiced some sort of racism towards you. They owed you money and never paid. In my case, the reason doesn’t have to hold much weight for me to hold a resentment against you.
The third column you write down How it affected you.
The fourth column is arguably the most important and that’s the area you write down what YOUR part was in it.
Growing through the program I heard many times that the 4th step was the monstrous task. A fearful shadow of a haunting tidal wave waiting to swallow you whole. A place where demons come alive and drove folks to drink again.
My own experience on it has been IT’S NOT THAT BAD PEOPLE. You write names down, you write why they were shitty, how that affected you, and ultimately why you’re a shitbag too. I’ve done three fourth steps in the past. I can honestly say that I never felt very different afterwards. That is, until this round of steps.
What I am experiencing is a physical reaction to a mental exercise to expel myself of a load of heavy burdens. Burdens I’ve been carrying around since I was 12 years young. I can only assume that the reason I’m finally feeling something out as a result of doing a 4th step is I am ready to look at the truth. I can no longer afford to runaway from myself. The pain of blocking out memories from my early teens is making me rot all the way down to my roots.
I carry fear in my heart like a locket around my neck. Fear controls the way I approach my life. The action I take as a student, as a friend, and the way I take care of myself on a basic human level. I’m ready to let go of fear as a form of motivation. Hell, I’m fucking sick of it. I’m breaking up with anxiety, I’m breaking up with depression, and I’m certainly breaking up with fear. We have been in a horrendous relationship for years. What I’m left with is…myself.
It’s hard to recognize how far I’ve come without looking back. The further forward I go the clearer the memories get. It’s insane how much comes back to me on a daily basis. I’ve been able to remember childhood memories I wasn’t able to before I got sober. I remember laying on the grass and looking up at the stars with my parents before their divorce. I couldn’t even remember them being married before getting sober. I remember crushing soda cans with my dad in his Jeep Wrangler. I remember being pushed by my father in my red wagon and holding on tightly to the black handle steering along the sidewalk, I remember strawberry soda in the fridge. I also remember my dreams when I wake up, which was one of the many motivations behind me getting sober.
Some of the memories are quite haunting. These are the experiences that I drank over. The belittling lectures from my dad about my poor grades in math, when he didn’t visit me in the behavioral center in 2013, the shitty friend I was, the way I would gossip about the people closest to me, the abandonment I felt on a daily basis, the way I was escaping through people in intimate relationships, the many times I enrolled in school only to drop out half way through the quarter, the way my mother would avoid my eyes when I was high, the screams from my father and step mom when they were high, the shame I felt when I didn’t show up to my own birthday, and the image I see in my mind of my 5 and 9 year old sisters waiting there in the kitchen to give me the homemade birthday cake they made me.
In fiction writing, you learn about unreliable narrators. That’s what I was. I was an unreliable source and you couldn’t believe what I said. Shit, even I didn’t believe the shit that was coming out of my mouth. What I find today is I am a reliable character. My words are more than ideas, they are actions. This is the rebirth into a life I’ve always wanted.
I was able to move out of San Jose and into a more gentle pocket of the world. Portland has let me revisit the girl that has lived inside of me. It’s been patient with me in ways I never could have done by myself. The pace in Portland, you will find, matches the weather you find here. Most days it’s grey and there is something about that color that sort of lets all the lines blur into each other. You’re okay to be whoever you want out here, even if that’s nobody. No one pressures me about what I’m doing with my life goals and no one doubts me when I say I am working towards my dreams of becoming a fiction writer.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I have to get to bed. I promise this blog won’t be all about sobriety. Trust. There’s much more to touch on.