The Window Played Host to The Scene of Me


Early in my recovery, about two months in, I found myself  living in a basement apartment.  I was separated, only seeing my wife and young son once or so a week.  I wasn’t working, and my days consisted of meetings, looking for work and trying not to drink.  I was trying to settle into that apartment while trying to settle into a turbulent emotional life that was foreign to me.  I lived on a perpetual roller coaster – one minute I wanted to hug everyone on the street, the next minute I wanted to strangle them.  There were days I hated meetings, I hated the people in the meetings and I hated AA.  I hated myself, and for where I had brought my life to.  I hated me for me and sometimes wished I didn’t have to deal with me any more – sober or drunk.  It was like living on a Mobius strip where I couldn’t live drinking and I couldn’t live without drinking – I existed on both sides of the coin.  My outlook was optimistically bleak.

It was on one of those days that I was taking the bus to an early morning meeting.   I sat on the left side, single seat, beside the big central window.  The bus was about a block or two away from the station and was in queue to make a left turn.  The line was long, so there was a few minutes wait.  As I sat, I had this overwhelming, unexpected and astonishingly firm resolution that I would commit suicide at the subway station.  The thought landed on me as if a pinata was batted down from above me.  Suicide.  I couldn’t think of my wife and that young boy – I was so self-absorbed in the pain of not being able to live the way I was, or thought I could, that ending my life in a horrific and absolute way only seemed fitting and logical.  Needless to say, when I got to the station, something persuaded me from following through with it.  “Coward,” I thought to myself.

The next day, I was on the same bus, going to the same subway station.  I sat in the same seat, by the same big central window.  The bus was in the same place, stopped and waiting to make that left turn.  Outside that window was a bright blue sky, and a church.  And about six feet from me was a casket being hoisted into the back of a hearse, family members wailing and flailing, smacking the palm of their hands with their fists, and children watching, blank faced. I looked directly at that casket.  I pictured myself in it.  I saw my wife’s face on one of the women curled up on the sidewalk, legs splayed out like a newborn foal, yellow heels on.  I saw my son’s face planted on the little boy wearing a tie that was too tight and not knowing why he had to dress up nicely only to cry.   Needless to say, when I got to the station, something persuaded me write about it.  And then call my family.

About six months later, I was living back home.  I was back in the big bed.  I had done a lot of work in my recovery.  I still wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I certainly was where I didn’t want to be.  I had made some progress, and the mental obsession had been lifted.  Alcohol wasn’t on the menu for me anymore, and hasn’t been since that time.  I was on the mend, and my emotions had started to even out.  I felt like I was almost normal, whatever that meant.  My son was actually happy to see me.  My wife wasn’t worried about me as much, and we started to live life in a new way, a real way.  My chances of actually living a decent life was started to swell a bit.  I had hope.  I had something possible going for me, and I was starting to just be instead of running away from me.  And around that time, I was on a bus going home.  I sat in the same seat I always try and sit in – on the left side, by the big central window.  It was snowy and overcast out, and the windows were caked with salt, grime and frost.  I couldn’t see anything out those windows.  The bus was waiting to make a left turn.  And as we waited, I caught a movement on the window beside me.  It was swift and deliberate.   I watched it unfold, bemused.  Someone had drawn a happy face.  A simple happy face, looking at me.  And just as the smile swoop of the face left the person’s finger, the bus was on it’s way out.

I watched this happy face, seemingly random in it’s time and place, and thought of where my alcoholism had once taken me, and where I had been taken to at that very point in time. Faith and love and God had taken me there.  That window had cataloged me in two short scenes over many months.  One had shown me the darkness that could come from light, and the next light that could come from darkness.  I was shown that there are outcomes and choices and ways of being.  I felt the power in both scenes. I felt The Power.

The window played host to the scene of me.

smiley face water drops window panes dew rain on glass 1920x1200 wallpaper_wallpaperswa.com_9

13 responses to “The Window Played Host to The Scene of Me

    • Thanks Amy – it’s funny how these things really came up often for me (and still do), these not-so-subtle messages I would get from the Universe or God. I guess this thick-skulled alcoholic needs these blunt moments! But yes, you’re right – I do feel that they are gifts. Everyone here in this sober blogging community is yet another basket of gifts too.

      Paul

      • Yep, our sober community rocks. Big time!!!

        And I like that the universe doesn’t always give me what I ask for, since sometimes my dumb ass doesn’t know what’s right. Or wishes for the wrong thing. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Sherry. I am just blessed to be able to be here, in the present, and sharing experiences with you and everyone else in this little community of ours. Have a wonderful day!

  1. Great post man. I really enjoy your writing in what I have read so far. I used to write a lot before the beer took over and I hope to get back to it. Thanks for inspiring me.

    • Hi Teal – thanks for the props. I was the same – writing was my thing – had lots of short stories done, working on a novel…then *that thing* got in the way…ya know…the thing that gets in the way of *everything* in our lives. I hope that both you and I get back into it. Ever consider a blog? That’s gotten me back in the game 🙂 Thanks for visiting…hope to see you here again kind sir 🙂

    • Hey Celeste – I too am glad we’re both here. It’s frightening to think that so many of us have gone down that very dark path…alcoholism or no alcoholism, it seems to be final escape. There is so much out here for us to do before we check out. I didn’t care if I lived or died, but now you’ll find me fighting tooth and nail before you get me out of here. Thanks for writing, Celeste – mean a lot.

  2. Oh what a great post! I related to all of it. I was separated from my husband and kids this last time too. The plan was to separate for 3 months but we went 10 days. I had thought about suicide, too, but a few weeks before when I was still drinking and couldn’t stop. I try to remember that feeling.

    • Thanks R – amazing where the booze takes us…away from everyone we love most and into a place where suicide seems like a likely and sometimes only way to ease the pain. God has had different plans for us, and I am glad to be a part of this community and this human race again. It’s like I had a 15 yr pit stop. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Great post, and very powerful! I can relate to so much! I was also stuck in that middle for a long time, the jumping off point, as I believe they call it in the BB. Ugh. And the suicide…yep thought about it alot, never had the nerve to actually do it either. And the hating of everything. ugh.

    AND I could also relate to the amazing changes that came into your life after only six months of sobriety! It made me think about this one morning, I vividly remember going to work at 7am on Saturday and not being hungover for the first time and I was in absolute aww about how wonderful that felt! And in total disbelief that people were actually up this early! – lol! Just amazing!

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Yup – that’s the jumping off point! So many of us have been there. I actually shared at that morning meeting I was going to on the bus about my suicidal thoughts, and I had a few people come up to me after and very casually tell me that it’s happened to them. I certainly didn’t feel alone then…or now. And yes…what a great feeling not being hungover…you can actually do what normal people ought to do – concentrate, have actual conversations rather than grunting through the day, not worrying about when the next drink will come, etc.

      Thank YOU for sharing as well – I love hearing from others in their experiences too. 🙂

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