I have been inspired and fundamentally in love with Alice in her Wonderland since I was a little girl. She has a cat (named Dinah (!!)) and a fantastic blue dress (not pink (!!!!)). Those were two big ticket items that I could really relate to. Felines and lack of girlie colors. Sign me up. But the central reason I loved her so much was because she didn’t ever apologize for being herself. She was lost in a world she knew nothing about. She shrank to an eighth of her true size. Then she grew taller than a redwood tree. She was almost ‘smoked out’ and she was thrown out of a garden of very snotty flowers for ‘maybe’ being a weed (bitches). She was constantly confused and led astray by a clever, ever disappearing, floating cat. No one seemed willing to help her in any kind of rational way. Everyone else’s Madness was thrust upon her but she still remained clear headed and strong willed. Surrounded by all kinds of obstacles and unknowns; she was Alice. She is Alice. She will always be Alice.
I dig that. I dig it so much I’m putting it into my blog. Probably more than once. The idea that you are the only you there could ever be is something I find intensely comforting and gratifying. I’m Annie. I will always Be Annie. I’m the one who is in charge of my place in the world. I’m the one who calls the shots. It’s up to me. Same for her. She makes her way through and eventually out of Wonderland. Another reflection of Alice that resonates year after year. The only way out is through. This latest era of wandering around, challenged and alone has nothing to do with anyone but me.
There’s a slogan in al-anon that says ‘Let it Begin With Me’. I never adhered much to that one because I always felt the reason I landed in al-anon meetings (at least in the beginning) lay at the feet of my angry alcoholic boyfriend. My need for community and support did not begin with me. It began with him. I know now that the slogan wasn’t talking about where fault lies, it’s simply saying if you want something to change you have to start with yourself. Look to you and your own behavior and choices first. Period.
It took me years to figure that one out. When I first started going to meetings – the day after I drove my ex to rehab – I was very angry, very afraid, deeply codependent and lost as fuck. I figured, he was the one who drank, so I was the victim. He didn’t drink because of me, I knew that. But he didn’t stop drinking because of me either and I took that very personally. The patterns of his addiction had nothing to do with me, but it intensely affected the fabric of our relationship. It framed everything we did, said and experienced together. It was a part of us as a couple – his drinking and eventually his anger. Whether or not he drank 30 beers and punched holes in walls and broke things and ruined parties and terrified me was where is began for him. Not me. It took me years to figure that one out too.
Nowadays, I’m sincerely my own woman – in many ways, I’m my own Alice – walking tentatively through the jungles of my own Addiction Wonderland. I encounter lots of temptations, lots of triggers, lots of reasons to drink. For now, I’m lost in the thick multi-colored trees of daily drinking, not exercising, feeling burnt out and that FEAR I talked about before. I’m stumbling around blindly right now, but I have not fallen. It’s going to begin with me, Goddamnit. It’s going to. It’s only a matter of time before I figure out how to run with what’s inside my head.
As before…thank you for reading.