The woman I was four months ago was close to death. From her bed, she watched days pass, nights eclipse through the shadows. I see her now as I would watch someone moving down a long hall. Her contorted face forms a silent howl.
She comes to me when I hear a song, or remember a moment lost in a blackout. When someone reaches out for help from the grip of despair, I know that grip that constricts everything.
Being new again, to life, is more difficult that I can convey. Light and sound pierce me, like I was rescued from a mine shaft after spending days in darkness. Life itself seems too loud and too close, but I am learning to live with the fullness of it.
As a sober woman, I look at the past as shattered glass – and the fragments do not have to be my weapon. Each one holds a precious mirror of what moments are like if I choose to return to them. Instead, I hold them gently and whisper that something else is being pieced together.
I live my life by hours. Hours are easy. Each one is as full as I can make it, and made fuller when I hold my dog, or watch the Cooper’s hawks at the park, or talk to friends. The road to recovery is hard, but it is full of unexpected joys, small moments where I can actually be present and alive.
Not everyone gets to experience a complete breath without pain.
To be free from pain; that’s a type of happiness.
I want to return to the woman in that long hall and hold her until the howling stops. But for now, I live my hours and nurture them.
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