Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shay Cheats The Reaper!

Every day I cheat the reaper. No, really, I do. And the jailer and Nurse Ratched, too.  Fuck yeah, as the kids say, get your hands offa me, witches!

In September of 1985, I was young, I worked in a little grocery store, and I lived in an upstairs flat in a hip little burb called Royal Oak. As soon as the air turned cool, I liked to wear a fake leather jacket I had, that a guy had bought for me in Texas. We were in a second-hand shop and I was coveting the jacket, but couldn't afford it. He said, "Put it on one more time," so I did, sad that I couldn't have it. Then he said, "Now walk out." He had paid for it while I wasn't looking. What a guy! How I loved that thing.

In September of 1985, I had been trying for a year and a half to get sober. I would get a few months, then relapse. It was no joke; when you find yourself standing on a chair in the middle of your bedroom with a broom in your hands, trying to sweep the giant bugs off the ceiling, it isn't fun anymore. Truth be told, it had not been fun in a very long time. 

I went to meetings, read the literature, did my meditations, used the phone, and still couldn't stay stopped, because....the craving, baby. In September 1985, I felt like I had been carrying a giant gorilla around on my back all month, a gorilla that kept chanting in my ear to take a drink. I resisted, fought, swore, lost sleep, and still, the gorilla. Finally, on September 29th, I caved and got drunk for what turned out to be the last time. I can't tell you how much I hated facing myself and my friends the next morning, having failed once again.

Earlier that year, I had prayed over a physical problem I had, that I couldn't afford a doctor for. Overnight--literally overnight--it disappeared as if it had never been. Don't talk to me about coincidence. So, the next time I felt that craving to take a drink, I prayed again. I prayed that Goddess would get me through the night sober. I did stay sober that night, and every night since, for the past 27 years.

Today is my sobriety anniversary. The jailer, the orderly and the undertaker will have to wait. I'm sober and sane and alive. Thank you, Goddess, for saving this girl.
_______   

20 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

How can your story fail to inspire others? I so admire how you use your blog and poetry to put so much of yourself out there in so fearless a way. You are a daily inspiration to me.

Sioux said...

If this is true, it's scary-good and chillingly moving. If it ain't true, it certainly rings true and is written so well it's scary-good.

So happy anniversary, Shay, if it's real. (I love the "jailer, the orderly and the undertaker's" presence. Some of us have food or mental illness playing those three roles.)

ellen abbott said...

You go girl! I'm so proud of you. True addiction is a terrible thing but you are strong and you have prevailed and in doing so you have given us all a great and wonderful gift...yourself.

Marion said...

Congrats on your sobriety anniversary, Shay. You're an inspiration. xo

hedgewitch said...

Every time I reflect on how seemingly insignificant one human life can be, I am given evidence that it depends totally on the life. I admire your ability to look truth squarely in the eye and tell it, no matter how harrowing, without any sense of victimization. I admire your strength in freeing yourself from the chains of addiction, (as you know, it gives me hope that a loved one may someday wake up and do the same) and most of all, I am just glad you are in the world, and have cheated all the negative forces that could have taken you out just by being your own fine self. Congratulations, Shay, on 27 years to be proud of.

TexWisGirl said...

wow, shay, such an inspiration. faith. resolve. strength.

Mama Zen said...

As you know, I don't believe in coincidence. Thanking the Goddess right along with you.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You are one of my heroes, Shay, and thank Goddess you ARE still in the world, wowing us with your many gifts. My favorite kind of stories are people transcending their situation by bringing forth the greatness that lies within them - yours is one of those.

I loved reading this. I'm grateful for every single year you have been alive, making your journey. Congrats on 27 years sober. I know a lot about addiction, and that is one MAJOR victory, kiddo. Bravo!

flipside records said...

Wow, Shay. You pulled out my tears again. This is beautiful. Congratulations. You are a lovely and inspiring woman.

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

Congratulations Shay!
~rick

Lydia said...

Happy 27th Sobriety Anniversary, Shay. Naturally, I love this post and feel all of it from the cellular level that only another sober alcoholic/addict can. In 1985, as you were baby-stepping your way in the first weeks of your sobriety I had my own night of reckoning and got sober on October 15. I absolutely think that your strength was a cosmic guide for me then, just as I think our sobriety now provides a kind of psychic ballast to those who are claiming sobriety for themselves. Bless us one and all. ♥

Lynn said...

Shay - I am so touched by your story and in awe of how brave you are. Thank you for sharing it and I am so glad you have stayed sober. Your are awesome. (((HUG)))

Roselie said...

Congratulations! You are an inspiration...

cinderkeys said...

Happy anniversary. Wish I could find a goddess like that.

Hannah said...

Tears of happiness and awe as you lay your story before us, so courageous you are, truly. I struggle with my addictive personality and alcoholism being hereditary I have had issues and always have to remind myself why I cannot enjoy beverages the way others can....it's too easy to slip into a pattern and be consumed by it. Any way probably not the response you expected/wanted for this piece but I'm so grateful for your honesty and so happy for your anniversary, Shay. ((hugs))

Daryl said...

adding my thanks ...

Helen said...

You ... are a goddess. Along with your many fans I congratulate you ~ none of it an easy feat.

myheartslovesongs.com said...

i will add my thanks to yours for saving you and keeping you sober and alive ~ i'm not so sure about sane...

Lolamouse said...

A little late but CONGRATS on 27 years sober. Keep telling your story and inspire others. You never know whom you may reach.

Mary Jane Bane said...

Congratulations. love love love this