Chain-Smoking and Breaking Hearts
“Only not to overestimate what I have written, for in that way I make what is to be written unattainable.” Franz Kafka, Diaries, March 26, 1912
They say, “Secrets will make you sick.” I have many secrets. The biggest secret right now is that I am slowly smoking a cigarette as I write. I am not a smoker in the true sense, but I love to draw on one and allow my mind to escape to a quieter place. As I sit here alone writing and smoking, it is a meditative practice. I hope no one reads this and then my secret is out. Another secret is that I fear that I must write. I fear that I must share my thoughts with you. Selfishly I am not writing to help anyone; I am writing to help myself. I want to say things that I can’t say out loud. I am not sure if I am worried about how you will react, but I am afraid I will find out who I am. I will write things that I won’t even tell my therapist. Are the thoughts I am writing worthy of your time? I don’t know. I don’t even know if they are worthy of mine, but I write anyway. I recently heard a brother in sobriety say that when counting the days being sober it is important to remember that 92 days ago I was at my worst. My bottom. My self-loathing was in the lowest pit and I had alienated those closest to me who loved me the most. I tried to end it all. End it all. That is such a euphemistic term. You know. I wanted to die and I tried. Alcohol can make you do many things you wouldn’t do sober. Me. Alcohol made me do things I wouldn’t do sober. I may want to do certain things sober, but alcohol was my escape and my license to let my secrets out. I said so many hurtful words and I acted in ways that hurt others. I didn’t think I was being selfish; I just wanted the pain to stop. What pain? Why? I had a happy childhood with loving parents. Why am I the way I am? I was given a memory box upon my mother's death in 2003 which she had saved for me. I recently opened it for the first time. In the box, I found a letter dated February 12, 1973. I was 10 1/2 years old. In the envelope which was addressed to my daddy and me, there was a letter to my daddy from my mother telling him to “be patient with her, because like that I see myself in her crying out so desperately for love, understanding and compassion.” My mother was away with my baby sister who was in the hospital, and my daddy was home with me. My daddy did as she asked and they both loved me, but I never loved myself. I know why, but that’s my secret. We all have secrets, but if we take the time to get to know ourselves and keep a sober mind whether we are alcoholic or not we can find the love we need. I didn’t love myself when I was drinking. I hated everything about myself. Everything. Today recovery is helping me find the little girl who needed love, and I am loving her. Me. I am learning to love myself. I am not unique. We all need to learn how to love ourselves; this is the only way we can truly love others. My secret is out, and this cigarette is really good.