Saturday, July 17, 2010
My male friends have different reactions. Many are envious, equating my present with their youths when they were single, childless men with few responsibilities other than planning their Friday nights. Many think I have a life far more active than it really is and I don’t disabuse them.
I’ve mastered most household chores from doing the laundry to waxing the floors. I can iron a shirt, shine shoes, sew a button, mend a hole in jeans, change a vacuum bag. I cook adequately, take care of the yard, house and cars, pay all the bills on time, take the cat to the vet when necessary. I’m somewhat lax about the content of my freezer—there are items there from 2008, but hey, isn’t that what freezing is for?—but by and large I run a tight ship. More than one person has said I would make an excellent, old-fashioned wife.
The major problem, of course, is that it gets lonely at times. My house is often quiet; I rarely play any of the 400-or-so CDs I have. The phone weighs a thousand pounds, and I don’t like admitting to loneliness. I prefer to call it solitude. Still, it’s too easy to isolate, to refuse invitations under one pretext or another, thinking that when I am by myself, at least I’m in good company. And that, of course, is not necessarily true. Within addiction circles, it’s often said that a mind may be a terrible thing to waste, but it can also be very dangerous territory, a neighborhood unsafe to travel alone.
I have rituals based on the days of the week. I exercise, write, compose songs, shop, cook, eat. I go to 12-step meetings. At times, these are often the only contact I might have with others and when that feels OK, I know I’m in trouble. Lately, isolation has felt OK too many times. I’ll make the necessary changes because one of the boons of recovery is a nascent awareness of what is good or not good for me. I don’t necessarily abide by this knowledge, but at least it is there.
Which means at this time, I should go to a meeting.