Sometimes I pack the earth down so hard that weeds can’t even grow up through. I try to make nature inert. I try to kill my alcoholism. I confine my disease to this tiny path of compacted dirt and wear blinders as to warn off distractions. I forget there is a garden to be grown in the fertile ground of my recovering mind. Losing the compulsion to drink is a gift; stopping my mind from thinking is soul murder. I can sink my toes in the good brown soil and look to the lilies and the Queen Anne’s lace for inspiration. I can stop giving myself such a hard time.
Let art talk.
FIVE FINGERS THAT GOBBLE
It only takes five crayons
to turn a tracing of my hand into a turkey
and it only takes a few things to change
my drunken life into my sober life.
Looking back I am amazed
how little it has actually taken to transform my life.
My drunkenness looks about as much like my sobriety
as my hand looks like a turkey
but the transformation has taken place.
The red, the yellow, the brown,
the meetings, the steps, the sponsor, these basics are the bulk.
Sometimes it’s the small extras
that help push this work of art into the realm of believability.
Accents of green, up and down the fingers,
or a few bonus phone calls to women outside my network.
Anything can be the thing that kicks it over
into a plausible and convincing reality.
I can never be more than I am, a drunk is always a drunk
and a hand is still just a hand,
but within each of these things are unimagined
possibilities waiting to be explored.
Michelangelo believed that sculptures lurked in chunks of stone.
I have come to see that a sober woman
prowled inside this drunk
and every Thanksgiving my hand yearns to put on feathers once again.
You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault