I had a very nice day this week - my brother’s kids were up from North Carolina and they stayed at my Mom’s house to visit their LI cousins. On Thursday we took our kids out of camp, summer school and their bed (she’s a teenager) and we all met up at the beach. The waves were rough and we saw a rescue. The cousins ignored us parents and just played and goofed around in the surf. It was wonderful and it reminded me of the days I would spend at Robert Moses with my brother and two sisters. Nothing had changed except we use sunscreen now instead of baby oil. (Good Lord!)
I had a thought while watching the kids play: What would this day be like if I was drinking? I knew the answer right away: miserable. It would be too bright out. The beach bags too heavy and the sand too hot. The kids’ squealing would be too loud and the ladies in their bikinis would not be to my critical liking. (Really, hon? Well, I guess your tattoo artist had a big enough canvas.) But most of all I would be scheming to sneak off to the refreshment stand and down as many beers as I could. To kill the hangover and find my sea legs. My drinking was full of scheming back in the day: Finding the money, making sure I always had a bottle, trying to pretend that I was sober, remembering to throw away all evidence that I was plowed by 2pm on a weekend.
Now I don’t have to scheme or be a miserable jerk. I can enjoy a few moments and be grateful. I remind myself that I almost threw this all away: kids growing up into wonderful young adults, a teenage girl who is starting to look into colleges, a special needs son who is thriving when his future seemed so dark, and the ten year-old baby who seems to be equal parts brash and shy depending how you approach him Oh, and a really nice marriage. Wonderful. Now I don’t want to be dead - I want to be alive and sober and present for these moments. Even if these moments bring too much sand in my shorts.
Happy Sober Saturday, gang. What are we doing this weekend to stay sober and celebrate our hard-won sobriety? Whatever it is, take a moment to be grateful.