by Tokio (Munro 2009)
I AM an alcoholic … and my name is Tokio … and while I was a Renascent resident I was a PITA … Pain In The Ass.
Still am. But I’m working on it. And this article.
My writing and recovery have a lot in common … I will go to ANY LENGTHS to avoid both. Because they are hard work . Scary work. Poking around in the intestines of my personality and responsibility kinda work. So I will do things like delicate laundry and move the stove to mop behind it and buy the ugly fruit because I feel sorry for it to avoid the truth. Because recovery and writing have a habit of doing just that … bringing out THE TRUTH.
And asking an alcoholic like me if they want the “truth” or something else is like requesting what I would like to drink … water or vodka? One is life-saving and the other will kill me … but make no mistake … both are CLEAR.
As is the right choice. And I showed up at Renascent thinking I would discover what “right” was. Only, I became convinced that “they” had it all wrong.
We got up TOO early and went to bed TOO early and travelling like a herd of sows to slaughter to ALL THOSE MEETINGS was just too much to ask … TWO hours a week to see the family that was scared to death of me … are you kidding? Getting the picture yet? I can WAX poetic or even RIPLEY’s if you want … or do you need me to PAINT MORE PICASSO?
I think more picture …
I didn’t like the artwork so I brought my own. I didn’t have the tastebuds for the cuisine so I offered to cook. I brought my little CD-playing alarm clock (although the “concierge” did an excellent job of making sure we hit the breakfast buffet on time) and played YOGA music and posed in various pouts to sitar played by the seaside. I had my family bring my books and offered to start a library. I converted the shower into an aromatherapy sauna and found sky blue flowers and mini Buddhas in Chinatown to decorate my window that looked over the garbage dumpster. And a funny thing happened … the more I tried to separate myself from “this” place and its people … the more they came to my room.
I was a COMPLETE and utter and perfect and relentless and whining PAIN IN THE ASS.
And still they came … both staff and fellow suffering sister … they came and offered me comfort and friendship … the friendship was fleeting but it served its purpose … a little sad, but necessary in its brevity and bravery … it’s like we were passing each other on this trek up the Himalayan-sized job of getting SOBER … on the way there the path is narrow, the snows are chest deep and the pass is closed behind us … for even in the cold isolation of the beginnings of recovery we have burned all the bridges in our past and can only move forward one foot and ONE DAY AT A TIME.
The list of why I DID come in to Renascent is a shorter than the WHY I DIDN’T … I DIDN’T enter a rehab because I had it all goin’ on, because my family was thrilled with my behaviour and I was the picture of health and happiness … TRUTH be told I came in because of ART.
ART is more important to me than food. I can live without food. And I did when I was drinking and drugging. But the Bonnie and Clyde combo of painkillers and wine stole all the art from my life … and I wanted it back.
For the record , the ONLY reason I even walked through the doors was because the MUNRO house is right across from the ART GALLERY of ONTARIO. My Dad found Renascent and did all the research… he is very tricky. And the universe has a sense of humour because I was never ALLOWED to set foot in the AGO during my stay … as soon as I found that fact out I wanted to bolt. I’m an EXCELLENT BOLTER.
But I Stayed. And it wasn’t easy. Because I’m a hardcore PITA … even to myself.
The reason I stayed is simple … KINDNESS … kindness fixes people places things and even PITAs … it fixes more in my world than anything else I’ve ever tried or experienced … even love. Kindness is marshmallow-soft and pie-in-the-sky easy for me to give but diamond-hard to near impossible for me to receive … but with patience and love they, Renascent’s staff and inhabitants, chipped away at me. And didn’t Da Vinci create one of my favorite pieces of ART with love and patience and chipping?
So now I pick up those “chips” … and let the chips fly and land where they may … I can’t win if I don’t bet and I can’t bet if I lose all my chips (my Gram told me that!) …and I can never have just one … I can TRUTHfully say I am happier chipping than being a PITA!
I’m an ALCOHOLIC, and my name is Tokio …. I wish you all a HAPPY and SOBER 24!