I don’t know what to write. I thought, then, that I wouldn’t write at all and not worry about it any more. I thought I felt no need or desire to feel demonstratively about all this stuff; I don’t need to feel it in public for me to feel it. then I thought back to how I felt ten years ago tonight.

I thought about how I felt watching the lady in the aa group that would become my home group take her ten year coin at the start of the meeting. I looked at her and I thought she was fucking impossible, fucking intolerable, a goddamn magician and a liar and oh, oh god, oh god how I wanted what she had. Yeah. Ten years?

I used to mistake attention for affection. I used to think I wouldn’t live to see 30 let alone 40. I used to think I would die alone and unloved because I was alone and unlovable. I used to be ashamed of being mentally ill. I used to be ashamed to all for help. I used to think I was on fire all the time. I used to spend my days pouring booze and drugs on what I felt because I didn’t want to feel it. Good or bad, I was on fire and wanted oblivion. I used to do that stuff. I used to.

Ten years. I am fucking impossible, fucking intolerable, a goddamn magician, and I swear its all true. I don’t know how but it started in a room with a bunch of old drunks and a shitty cup of coffee and hearing for the first time that attention and affection are two different things. I showed up. I listened. I didn’t get fucked up that day. That was how I started.

Lots of people get clean and sober lots of different ways. I’m agnostic and aa worked for me; theres other ways. What matters is: getting clean, getting sober, can will and does happen, even to those of us that confuse attention for affection.

It’s the dark time of year here. When the temperature moves the forest sheds a mist that comes up from under their canopy of branches and eats the daytime straight out of the sky as it rises. It’s okay. In the dark and the quiet we can see even the tiniest of embers. I’ll light a candle for you. I’ll save a seat for you.

attention and affection are two different things

this was one of the most excruciating things to learn. still working on it.

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