Disclaimer: This writing is actually just one essay of a 40+ chapter book which is in the works. The working title is, Finding Sunshine in an Otherwise Gloomy Life. The writings are from all angles of depression and the various reasons one dips into depression. This particular writing addresses what can happen when we blot out our past instead of actually addressing it. This is never a good thing. This was at a particularly low time when the past decided to make its way to the present. I cannot share any more on this, but please know this: I am alive and well. Well, maybe not well, but somewhat healthy!
Not entirely too long ago, while sitting in the middle of a church meeting, waiting for its end, my mind drifts to home, where I envision the bottle behind the dark kitchen cabinet, and my mouth waters in anticipation. If I figure the mathematical equation correctly, I have enough Cabernet to have a glass after the meeting, and another one the next night.
Since hubby is out of town, and I refuse to purchase wine at the store, I must make do with this minuscule amount. Because, what if someone at church sees me in the alcohol aisle with their small child in tow across the way in the deli section? I cannot have this happen. So, the plan is to entertain myself with either Chopped or House Hunters and enough of the precious dark liquid until I feel my head begin to relax.
Actually, if I am being entirely honest with myself, and who is going to read this anyway to not be completely authentic, I think I may have a problem with alcohol. Possibly even the beginning stages of an addiction.
Why? Because, every time I have a drink, I am pained by guilt. Now, this may be heightened by the fact I was raised in a Baptist household, and good Baptist girls do not drink anything stronger than grape juice. But, this time it is exasperated when I didn’t sip my wine, but drank it as one would a glass of orange juice after a morning meal, before heading quickly out the door.
That was hardly the problem though. I wanted the second glass. I didn’t want to wait another night. So, I told myself it was okay to have Thursday’s glass on Wednesday. I mean, this is good, rationalization concludes, because I can prove I don’t have a problem by getting rid of it right then and there and going completely without the next night.
Right about this time of irrational thought, an unexpected dilemma unexpectedly arrives in the form of a toothache. The specialist believes I have a fracture, even though it has yet to show up on an X-ray. But, since there is not 100% accuracy on this diagnosis, I will continue to hold out on dental work and just baby it. This is a great idea when all is well, but at the moment of intense throbbing, I second-guess my decision.
What I’ve discovered, when it does erupt in unexpected agony, is if I brush my teeth and down some Aleve, the pain will eventually subside. But, I already poured this second glass. Now what? It will hardly be enjoyable after a brush with Sensodyne. So, I sit in the uncomfortable leather chair and push the limits on pain by applying pressure with my fist to the gum area, mentally begging it to alleviate.
Ahhhh–it refuses to leave.
This is where I make an unwise decision. I chug the contents as one would a bottle of Gatorade at the completion of a marathon– in Phoenix. As a result, blood-red drips make their way down my chin and onto my clothing. Ashamed, but slightly numb, I place the near empty glass in the polished stainless sink, convincing myself that I don’t have a problem because I left a small amount in the bottom of the glass. And, if I really have an issue, I would not leave a drop, let alone an entire sip.
Still, my conscious accompanies me to the bathroom sink as I brush the remnant from my taste buds.
Now, entirely alone with gnawing guilt and throbbing pain fighting for attention, I override both as I make my way to the pantry and pull out a box of cookies—organic chocolate chip. I down five round, slightly dry circles of sugary delight in under a minute. Ah, much better.
Guilt-ridden, slightly intoxicated and partially pained by gluttony, I enter a numb slumber, only to awaken with a pang of conscious—or maybe it is just a hangover.
What is wrong with me? I think about drinking all the time. I can’t wait until it is 5:00pm because that is an acceptable time to have a drink. I know one glass of wine is not a big deal. Heck, I would guess many people even have two. But, the other night I broke the mental line in the sand by having three. And, I could have had more. I feel as if alcohol is taking charge of an area I have always had control.
That, and I used to be intoxicated enough with Jesus that I didn’t need anything else to fill me up. But, that was before the journey through the valley of my past occurred. Now, I am disoriented.
I don’t like this version of me.
Yesterday, while on my morning run, a phrase from a while back infiltrates my meandering spirit:
“My will needs to be stronger than your desire.”
Yes. As much as I desire to numb away anything and everything, I need to focus on His will for me. He doesn’t want me stumbling around in a superficial, self-medicated effort at momentarily relief from all that ails me. No, He wants me to be fully awake. Fully alive. Even if the pains from the past hurt. It is okay. They will not hurt forever.
God, I don’t want to seal my heart off from feeling hurt through the temporary numbing of myself. I don’t want to end each evening by entering a slightly comatose condition. I want You to awaken me again. I want You to sear my heart with the passion of being fully alive like I was before I knew what was wrong with me.