There are two (at least) reasons I like to write every day in August. One reason is that I tend to get a little crazy at this time every year. Not only is my sobriety date in August, but my father's birthday is this month as well. The combination seems to knock me off kilter just a bit. The good news is that now I know it's coming. As I approached my first sober anniversary in 2008, I was a madman and I had no idea what the hell was going on (I suppose for those of you that insist it is wrong to end a sentence with a preposition I had no idea on what the hell was going).I was just filled with anxiety and had a knot in my stomach almost constantly.
I remember this one day I was out in Manhattan running errands but not getting anything accomplished; in fact, I'm pretty sure I was in a store in Times Square pretending to be shopping for a greeting card but only looking at the ones that had naked guys on them. It was then I realized that I was supposed to be at a meeting in 20 minutes and I was probably exactly 20 minutes away by subway. I frantically ran down the street and into the subway station, almost visibly vibrating as I tried to will the train to the station (that first year I was still hoping that I had a Charmed power – preferably Prue's). Of course it was not arriving soon enough for me. When it finally did show up, I got on and stared at the door and bounced until we finally got to 14th Street. At that point, I took off. I was flying through the station like O.J. Simpson in those old Hertz commercials (I'm old, deal with it).
As I got to the stairs, there was a woman – 75 years old if she was a day – cane in one hand, holding on to the railing with the other. I probably don't need to tell you she was not moving nearly fast enough for me. Now, it would have been bad enough if I had almost knocked her down the steps because I was so focused on being on time that I didn't notice she was there. That's not how it went down though. I remember seeing her and thinking, “Old woman, you need to get out of my way because I'm late for a meeting and I need serenity NOW.” It wasn't even until I got to the meeting (late) and sat down that I realized the absurdity of what I had just done.
That is pretty much a perfect example of my brain on August. It plays out differently five years later, but that's what it looks like behind the scenes. And writing is a way for me to channel that frenetic energy into something that can't knock anyone down the stairs.
The other reason is really a corollary to the first reason I guess. I love taking stock in August as the day approaches. What ridiculous crazy things did I do to myself back then? How did I survive it? Why did I survive it? There really is no good reason that I'm not dead or in prison. I did enough things that easily could have resulted in either – or both. And now that I have a little more time sober, I can even take stock of the crazy things I did in early sobriety. As you can see from that story, it took a while for things to settle down even to the extent that they have now.
I'm sure from the perspective of others, I still do and say some pretty crazy shit. But it's nothing compared to the way it used to be. It's really good for me to look back and see that shit. There are no guarantees in life. I don't ever want to take for granted how lucky I am to have gotten this second chance to have a happy and good life. Remembering is just one small way that I try to ensure all the craziest stories that will end up on this blog have already happened.