Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No Place Like Home: Back from the Dead

IOP doodle from my journal, which has more doodles in it than it does words.
I guess the thing that I like about eyes is that you can turn them upside down
and have an eye with a completely different expression.

In no way have I finished writing about the time that I spent in Detox and the outpatient program: but there are Current Affairs that need some attention, too.

F'rinstance, it came to me early last week that I was Really Happy to be Home full-time at last.

I don't need to point out the operative word in that sentence.

It turns out that there's nothing like being away from home, to make your house feel like home. Certainly no one thing that I've done in the last year and a half went as far towards making me feel really settled as did the my two weeks stay in the hospital, and the month of the outpatient program

It hasn't been cleaned properly in -- well, I'm not even going to tell you how long. Beyond keeping up with the fur balls and the vomit sometimes left behind by the quats (and -- shudder -- I sometimes even fall behind on that), I haven't had the time or the inclination to bother. But, dirt and all, it's my dirt and my home.

It's not just where my cats are, it's where everything that survived my former life came to rest. It finally feels like my safe haven.

The day that I fished my spare key out from its hiding place and walked through the back door -- still somewhat shell-shocked from the experience, in need of a shower and a shave, a change of clothes and a quick breath of non-medicinal air before I had to run straight over to the IOP (there hangs another tale) -- it seemed like I had been away for months and months. The place was both familiar and strange. Pandy Bear, Patches and Whitey all came out to greet me, and there was no sense of "Who is this one?" -- they recognized me at once and really welcomed me home.

Honey was nowhere in sight. I called her and called her, and did not find her until I went upstairs and all the way back to the end of the house. Then she came out of the studio, looking disoriented and confused and frightened, tentative, as if thinking to herself, "I hear his voice, but is it really him? Can it really be?"

She came for a hug and soon enough she was purring away like mad. When I set her down her whole body language indicated disbelief and relief.

That's something right there: not having to come home to an empty space, but getting hugs from animals who have actually missed you.

That first night I set some loose ends to right (the good people who put themselves out to care for your pets in these circumstances don't necessarily do things the way you are used to doing them; this is not a complaint! It's only Right and Proper, and arranging things the way that you want them is a big part of home ownership, I have discovered; it's the way we leave our mark and define spaces as being specially ours), then settled down in front of the telly with two cats in my lap.

It all seemed unreal -- the moment at hand and the weeks just passed. In comparison to the Detox of two years ago, this was much more: bordering on a complete emotional breakdown. It's meat for another post, but my sense is that the alcoholic cycle could not have been broken otherwise than accompanied by the meltdown. Metal has to be proofed, and so do Humans.

I have to reference Disaster Movies again. It was just like that: you go through a horrific experience and then you sit down on the other side in quiet circumstances, and the situation you are living in either opens up to embrace you or it rejects you like a faithless lover. I was fortunate enough to experience the former. I was able to have one night in my home to catch my breath and wonder what hit me, how how it all came to happen, and where it would go from there.

For the month that followed I was on the go far beyond my normal habits. When I wasn't at work there were doctor's appointments and AA meetings and four hours at the IOP four nights a week (someone I met told me that they had been in an IOP for six months. How did they manage it?)

So it wasn't until last Tuesday that I really had a Whole Day to just stay at home and do what I wanted to do, not what other people wanted me to do.

That turned out to be: some laundry, some posts here on the blog (one was just a scanned drawing from my journal), some other chores -- and also a few minutes spent just walking from room to room, looking around. thinking to myself: Here I am. This is where I belong. Good. Good. Good."

-- Freder.

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