Yesterday, the boys and I took a VIP bus from the Hard Rock Hotel to Lollapalooza, and on that bus there was (among other things) a fridge filled with vitaminwater. And alcohol. And through a series of mistakes, B grabbed a bottle of vitaminwater which, apparently, had some vodka added to it. He only had a couple of sips while on the bus, thought it tasted weird, and didn’t say anything before putting it aside.
I grabbed the bottle on our way out of the bus, and after we’d set up camp for the first part of the day, I gulped some of it down. Then realized it tasted funny. Then realized WHY. And proceeded to freak out a little bit. But I threw away the rest of the bottle, made a few phone calls, and realized it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t continue drinking after I realized what happened. I made sure B was okay. It didn’t feel good, either. It made me feel yucky. I had to rest for a while to clear my head. But it all ended up okay.
I also saw D for the first time since Sept ’07 last night, as he was leaving the Green Day show at Lollapalooza. He looked different, but I suppose I do, too. I don’t know if he saw me, but I’m guessing he didn’t (though I have run into friends of his several times, both this weekend and at Pitchfork, where two of them were directly behind Mr Big and I for the LCD Soundsystem show).
It doesn’t really matter, though. The person I was three years ago is someone even I barely recognize. I didn’t feel anything — positive or negative — when I saw him; it was more like seeing someone I’d seen in a movie once. I feel the same way when I think about all of the mistakes I’ve made over the years — including not only dating D in the first place but getting back together with him to try to make things work despite all evidence to the contrary. The events of the past three years, while riddled with mistakes (albeit different ones than from the previous 34 years of my life) make all of the previous wrong moves seem more like a path to redemption than anything I need to beat myself up over.
I know today that the summer of ’07, while filled with pain, was what led me to the place I am today. I would never have met Jack, never known what true love — and deep loss — felt like had I not been driven to my knees by my behavior that summer. Some days, it feels as though I haven’t moved anywhere from the beginning of sobriety, but that’s just me feeling sorry for myself. In reality, I’ve traveled a long, long distance — one I doubt anyone outside of the recovery community can truly appreciate. It is true that there are days, now, when I feel sadder and more lost than I did three years ago, but it’s a different sort of sadness and loss. Back then, I didn’t know which way was up, much less how to get out of the mess I’d created. I felt damaged, broken, irreparably messed up. In comparison, even in my moments of deepest grief today, I feel capable — albeit ill-prepared — of making it through to the other side. For the most part, I feel whole and confident and healthy, just significantly dampened by grief from time to time.
Just as I enjoy re-watching movies to see what new things I can notice in or learn from them, it wasn’t a bad thing catching a glimpse of D. It’s a reminder of all the things that have changed. And while it did make me sad and wistful, it wasn’t about D. It was about Jack, and how much I wish things could have been different. That’s a long way from where I was three years ago, when my wishes were focused around making things work with D, an abusive and dysfunctional relationship if there ever were one.
I’m grateful for times when I can step back and see how much things have changed, especially when I’ve been stuck in a place that makes me feel I’m not moving at all. I need to keep this in mind… as well as be kind to myself about mistakes, both near and far. We’re all just doing the best we can, myself included, and sometimes “the best” gets better as time goes on. Or at least that’s what I’m counting on.