It’s been one year since I started this blog. Despair compelled me to write that first post. Ben was on the couch – as he is right now – except today the detritus at its foot is a mug of hot chocolate. And a bowl of chocolate digestives. The digestives are the one thing that hasn’t changed.
Five things I remember about last year:
1. My futon‘s progressive ruin. Ben frequently wet the couch, occasionally soaking it right through so that I’d find him some mornings mopping up the mess with an old rag.
2. The car. Ben crashed it on his way to a gig. He was arrested and charged with a DUI. He got away with a community service order served at an Oxfam shop, where he’d sneak a drink throughout the day and pretend I was mad for smelling it on him later.
3. Olfactory overload. Like a haunting, the smell of beer pursued me everywhere, transforming me into a human bloodhound, sniffing out beer stashes. Or a clairvoyant – struck by that telltale odour in unexpected places, signalling another relapse (Ben’s) miles away.
4. Detox-relapse-withdrawal-despair. There’s that word again. Despair. Caught in its all-encompassing grip, we careened from week to week, he in a blur of beer and bile, me on tides of rage and desperation, Rosie trapped in an eddy of confusion. There were detoxes, pockets of hope and the inevitable trip and fall.
5. Recovery. A fantasy then, tenuous even now, but somehow more and more real. Ben and I are two satellites orbiting Rosie. Our family feels cobbled together but strong. Ben finds beauty in the everyday. I find it in an incremental calm. And Rosie draws it from fairy-mermaid world – this place she roams as freely as the wind.
And so it continues. Where once we plundered despair, today we exalt in glimpses of sunlight and colour.