Just Write {65}

December 10, 2012

I pressed the coin into his glove-covered hand. I want you to have this. It’s the first one I got. It’s the 24 hour one, they give it to you even if it’s been more than 24 hours. 

It had been a month when I showed up for the first time. I was white knuckling it. I was terrified. Not drinking for the rest of my life seemed like a bad idea. Turns out it really is all about taking 24 hours at a time. One sober person told me at the beginning, don’t think. what are you doing thinking? You can’t think about it! 

That’s like telling me to stop breathing, that’s what I thought.

I suppose he meant something about not thinking about this being for the rest of my life. Just for today.

I can do anything for one day, right?

Today was no joke, almost three years later. I had listened and known I needed to give him something that mattered. He looked up at me and I saw the teenager I used to know looking back, Really? NO. I can’t take this. NO.

Yes, you can. I have to give it to you. And you can bring it back to me when you get to a year. If you can face me, I said that last part like I was joking because I was laying on the pressure but I was also begging him to come back sober.

Then we laughed and talked about Baptist guilt.

If I’m not in a recovery meeting, I have a hard time knowing what to say to encourage someone who is close to the start. I want to take them by the arms and shake them while I shout how much better life is going to be, but I don’t. I don’t because at first those are just words and sometimes people go back to it because it doesn’t feel better at all and they’re just thinking about making it through until they can somehow drink again, at least subconsciously.

I want to say, You can’t go back because there’s only down from there. But I don’t because that’s not my life and what do I know? I can only say what has happened for me and that’s why I can’t go back. No, it wasn’t that bad, but there’s only worse from there. I want to say that at first I thought my drinking was just a result of something else, something spiritual or psychological, and that’s true, partly. But my drinking was also a result of my having always been an alcoholic, even before I took the first drink of my life.

I’ve said it from the start–it waits for you to find your weakest parts and it eats you after that. Even if I put myself in a strangle hold and kept it to the weekends or out of the house, it still held me tighter, pulling on my thoughts and sliding around the room, strutting out its sexiest walk and whispering promises it can’t keep. The click. How it wakes up my brain. And then, moments pass and….nothing. I only need more, and more and more until I hate myself more.

So I’ll take this 24 hours and keep it safe and then I’ll try to do the same tomorrow and maybe that will add up to another year and another after that, all those days, shouting and not whispering–I am alive. I can feel this. I can find joy again. I can be free. 

My friend, put the 24 hours in your pocket and when it hurts, find it there and grab on because it will remind you of courage that is not yours and the serenity that only comes when you remember to press your fingers into the prayer on one side and the butterfly on the other. It won’t feel as safe as a flask, at first, but it is dry and solid land and you are surrounded there by grace and people that won’t leave you. You can’t soak your organs in alcohol there, in the only 24 hours you have to worry about. Wake up and say, Just for today, God. Just for today. You can even let yourself think that maybe tomorrow you can drink again…because then tomorrow will come and you will wake up, sober and clear, to say again, Just for today.

The flask was just a life raft with a hole in it anyway.



This is the 65th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.} I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page, and please don’t link to posts that are not freely written in the spirit of capturing moments–you know, don’t link to how-to lists or sponsored posts. I am far from a jerk, but I want people to remember that this is about writing and not about traffic. If you’re linking to everything you’ve found to link to that day, you probably are not fulfilling the requirements of each link-up. Also,  please link back to this post in your post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in. (Any links not following those two guidelines will be deleted.) (Please don’t make me delete stuff because it feels mean.) 

Also. Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word? Thank you!

SPeCIaL NoTE! PLEASE READ CAREFULLY FOR GREAT BLURB DEALS–You guys, as it turns out, I made my Just Write-actual-hold-in-your-hands Best Of Just Write book, softcover. It just looks better that way, trust me. It’s available tonight (Monday, December 10th) through Monday of next week for 20% off if you order yours directly through Blurb with code THEEOBOOK  (If you plan to get one for a gift which I humbly suggest would be good for a mom, order it today! The 10th of December is the final day for a low price on shipping!) After this first week, you can get them through me for the full price of $14.95. 

P.S. If you’d like to make a Blurb book of your very own for 25% off, you should take advantage of their final holiday sale. It ends 12/17, so go go go—Blurb 25% off – use code FINALHOLIDAY (remember that today is a great day to order to get a better deal on shipping! The holiday shipping prices are done as of today!)

fine print: *get 20% off books in the blurb bookstore up to a maximum discount of $150 USD & CAD. This offer may only be used once by each person and expires on Dec 16th 2012 at 11.59pm local time. This code may not be used for adjustments on previous orders nor on volume orders, gift cards or swatch kits. Also, I was given a credit to the Blurb store in order to make my books and tell you about them. I love them whether that happened or not. True story.

you can click on the book to get to Blurb!


Stephanie Precourt December 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Thank you.

And oh the ties that bind with Baptist guilt. :)

Stephanie Precourt recently posted..Use Your Light

Kerstin December 10, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Beautifully written.
You are so humble, my friend. I am sure you are a rock and inspiration with your openness and strength.
Kerstin recently posted..Above that

Ami December 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Beautiful and moving.
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love December 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm

you are precious. and wise.

i talked myself into doing something today with the thought that i could at least do it for another day. also-that i never want to quit on my worst day. i’m hopeful it will look much more doable in the morning. i think most things do.

love recently posted..shop with purpose.

Keryn December 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm


Jennifer December 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

You are so eloquent.

Brook @ Redhead Reverie December 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Oh, friend that’s how I feel when I’m trying to guide friends who have eating disorders, I want to shake them. Make them realize that life is more than just a number, and that their heart will find the answer. It’s so hard isn’t it…each and every day. You think your vice will make you happier, it will take away the sting of the day. But really it’s just a ruse. I hope he finds his light in the darkness, because you my friend {even though it’s day-by-day} You have found the light and you SHINE!!! Keep on shinin’.
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Kate Hopper December 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Lovely, and so powerful, Heather. Thank you for being who you are and helping others be who they are meant to be. xoxo K
Kate Hopper recently posted..Comment on writer’s workshops by Kate

Michelle December 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Beautiful and honest!

Gianna December 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Wow, Heather. (I almost just called you Sara. I have NO IDEA why! I’m having one of those bad memory of names days! I called my friend whose name is Jill Rachel.)
Sometimes I get lost in the meanings of the phrases and I have to go back and read it and see if I missed something because quite honestly I usually do. But not always. Sometimes its just the emotion that is coming through and that’s all that matters.

This did that for me today. I didn’t really understand it all, but I got the powerful emotion behind the word portrait!

You writing is beyond words.
Gianna recently posted..Hide and Seek

Julia December 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm

So beautiful and powerful. I love the last line about the flask being a raft with a hole in it.
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Elaine December 12, 2012 at 10:58 am

Oh that last line.

Heather, you’re amazing. In SO many ways.

Elaine recently posted..Like Forest Gump Said…

grace at {Gabbing with Grace} December 13, 2012 at 11:07 am

It’s always incredibly humble to come here & see how beautifully you’ve written something in 5 minutes?! I have no concept for how to do that. kudos to you, sis! So beautifully written, so much redemption and courage that shines through. snaps snaps =)
grace at {Gabbing with Grace} recently posted..$15 Traveling Mercies

Rachel January 8, 2013 at 10:53 am

It’s so hard not to think, yet it’s our brain that usually gets us in trouble…thank you for the hop. I am new here. I’ve put your button on my pinterest page.

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