The first wave shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it still knocked me off my feet. I’d seen it coming, and with all the confidence of a young boy, I stood and faced it head on, fully expecting that it would be no match for me. Quite the contrary, I was no match for it.
The second and third ones seemed to come out of nowhere. Gasping for air and trying to stand up again another wave crashed on top of me, driving me into the sandy ocean floor. I don’t remember being scared, but I’m sure I must have been — I was probably around 9 or 10 years old, and the Atlantic was having it’s way with me.
I suspect that most people who have grown up going to the beach know this story. Most of us have thought that we were stronger than we were at one point or another in our lives. And kids who’ve grown up going to the beach have certainly had experiences like mine where they were caught in the breakers and were getting pummeled by the ocean.
At some point, I realized that I needed to stop fighting. That the only way to escape, was to let the surf carry me further in toward shore, where the waves would be less forceful and I’d be able to stand.
This year I’ve felt like I’m that little boy again. Month after month there have been challenges in my life that have hit me hard. It’s begun to feel like things may never get better, like there will be more and more waves with no end in sight.
I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m ready for a break.
Perhaps, the key is surrender again. Perhaps, I need to stop fighting the flow and just go with it. But that feels impossible at this point.
So, I persist.
I do the things that I know work. I go to meetings. I call others who I trust. I talk about what’s going on in my life and how it’s impacting me. I tweet to the #recoveryposse. I And most importantly, I don’t drink.
I don’t drink.
Its a fucking miracle, but I haven’t picked up a drink through all the turmoil of 2019. And I don’t do that because there’s nothing happening in my life that a drink won’t make worse.
Sooner or later, these waves will come to a stop. Sooner or later this too shall pass. And when I’m through it, I’ll know that Nietzsche was right.
“That which does not kill me, somehow, makes me stronger”