It helps when I wake at 3am and can’t get back to sleep and sit reading James Frey’s hyperbolic Million Little Pieces and then lie in the cold darkness feeling diminished and belittled and angry and useless, it helps to know that I am sober and haven’t got a hangover on top of all the uncomfortable feelings. Which are just feelings and nobody ever died from just enduring the feelings. On the other hand, many have died from attempting to avoid feelings, especially when the escape turns into a motherfucker of an addiction, as James Frey would put it. (What a pity he didn’t just tell his story without exaggerating, lying and playing for extra sympathy.)
September is getting underway, the beginning of spring and my natal birthday month, a Libra air sign of a month. Looking out of the study window I see that some of the snow on the mountains has melted, although it is still very cold.
I’m making a large white-and-blue pot of grated ginger tea, which is not tea at all but grated fresh ginger and boiling water, with a squeeze of lemon. For lunch I shall have some lentils with cumin, garlic, chilli and fresh rosemary. Is rosemary the right herb? There’s some origanum but no more coriander. When I’m not reading Frey and wanting to go out and sit over coffee wth suffering alcoholics, I’m also reading Julie/Julia, which I first read as a blog. Julie spent a year saving her sanity by cooking every single recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one day at a time. She saved her marriage, her sanity and landed a publishing contract. I wouldn’t choose Julia Child myself (Elizabeth David or Maddhur Jaffrey or Claudia Roden maybe) but the therapeutic value of cooking is nothing new to me. I see that lovely cookery writer Elisabeth Luard has also just published a memoir recounting how living with her brilliant charming adventurous and philandering alcoholic husband, Nicholas, made her take up cooking in order to survive the terror and misery and shame of his chaos. Cooking is a metaphor for so much in life…
So I am going to spend a couple of hours working, then go for a walk in the frosty spring air, then make lunch and do some more work. And hopefully the bloodyminded mood will lift somewhere along the way.
And that the alarming new twinges of toothache will resolve themselves quietly because I can’t afford a dentist. Dentists and therapy tend to be crucial at those times when they are out of the question. The dentist may not be optional and I am going to have to ‘make a plan’ as we are so fond of saying here in Africa.
But in the meantime I can browse my recovery bloggers and borrow a little es&h (experience, strength and hope) because, well, it could be worse and any day sober is a miracle. Whether or not it feels that way.