The past several months I’ve felt captive to ‘what if’s’. What if he wins? What if he loses? What if this happens? What if that happens? I spent my morning on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, doing 3-4 simple tasks that I had planned to do that day no matter what the news. I wrote a report due later in the week; began an initial draft of the introduction for a research paper that I want to submit; participated in my home group AA meeting; exchanged texts with sponsees and a newcomer; wrote a gratitude list in my journal; meditated for 10 minutes.
The next day, Nov. 4, 2020, I participated in my home group zoom meeting; designed an ecology educational module that I’m working on for k-5 grade students and families to augment virtual learning; wrote a gratitude list; meditated for 8 minutes; raked the accumulated leaves in my yard into our raised garden beds to become nutrients for next years tomatoes. Later, I read a few news headlines after 2 pm and only the article if it felt useful (and none of the comments). Oh, and I made my bed after getting up both days.
Fast forward to Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, social media began to explode with celebrations and congratulations around the world. Others cried foul. But, regardless, it felt like the whole world sighed. For some, it promised a beginning. For others, it portended a feared and dreaded end. It reminded me of the cathartic release that I felt on 21 April 2007, when I first said, “hi, I’m Robert and I’m an alcoholic.” I accepted that I could never safely drink alcohol again without risking harm. I began to imagine the possibilities.
Though there was still much fear and despair, I can touch today, the relief I felt in that moment. I could finally breathe after years of holding my breath – trying to hold on. The past months, weeks, and days, I’ve drawn on tools that got me through early recovery – focusing on a few simple things that I can do each day no matter what is going on to give myself a chance today.
The Whole World Sighed
And it was as if the earth sighed
A deep mournful jubilant sigh
Finally aware of how long
It had been holding its breath
Letting go of yesterday
And all that came before
Today was a new day
Of things ending
And of things beginning
About the Author
Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety, and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.