Tomorrow is the anniversary of the surrender at Stalingrad. Today marks ten years since my last drink. Hard to believe, eh? Someone like me not drinking for that long. Imagine my own disbelief. It’s almost unnerving. Upsets my whole paradigm. Not drinking for ten years. In a row.
It’s fucking nuts.
Seems like only yesterday that I punched out the glass of Spike’s front door. Because I forgot the keys and didn’t want to wake him up.
So I did the polite thing instead. Put my fist through one of the panes. And then quietly let myself in.
Turns out it was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had (at least while in a blackout) because that little episode was the final straw for Spike. He dumped my ass off at rehab the next day. And I’ve been sober ever since.
Punch out glass. Save my ass. Pretty sweet deal. I knew there had to be some magic to punching stuff out. I just never got the timing right. All those times. Before.
Of course, I had to have a few other good ideas along the way. Non-blackout ones. Not drinking anymore was up there. So was hanging out with other alcoholics who weren’t. Observing what they did to stay that way. What others did not to. That’s seems to have been a good idea.
Trying to be the complete opposite of what I had become. Was another.
Big job. That one. A lot of headaches. Goofus wasn’t going to hand-over his decision-making authority to a sissy like Gallant. Unless he was zip-tied and held at gunpoint. Which early on in my recovery he was. He had to be. We needed a revolution.
Gallant became shot-caller and pretty much made Goofus his bitch.
He had us making our bed. Pairing socks. Separating whites. Opening bills. Working at a job. Showing up at events we said we would. Getting people’s presents sent out on time. Writing thank you cards. Keeping dental appointments. Scrubbing soap scum and tile grout.
It seemed to never end.
Goofus and I remember it as The Terrible Times. A sad epoch in the history of our brotherhoodship. But we endured.
We weren’t going to let staying sober kill us. We would trudge this tundra together.
“Chin up,” I’d tell him, “Turn your thoughts to Stalingrad and sing the sadness from your heart. Remember that somewhere a pretty girl mourns your loss. Warm your hands on that small fire. Besides, it’s not like it was any cake walk before. Any gulag has to be better than what we’ve been through. Alright then, one foot in front of the other, my glum chum. Don’t look back. Don’t look front. And don’t make a break for the woods. That’s certain death. ”
And so I marched out of captivity. Into a new life.
One decade at a time.