Just Write {171}

January 20, 2015

On the Eve of five years of sobriety, I found myself considering making sugar cookies. They weren’t for me, which made me even more afraid to make them. I’ve never made sugar cookies from scratch. True story. I assumed it was way harder than it actually is, that’s what I did. For almost 40 years, I had not made sugar cookies for fear of a lengthy process with terrible results. Or something.

I suppose it worked like that when I drank for all those years too. Stopping was foreign and daunting and fear took over so many times. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t want to do it. But something took over, just like with the damn cookies. I simply threw my arms in the air and started getting out all the things I needed. Sometimes a little blindly, always with a recipe. Thank God.

Stay in the day. Be here now. Surrender, trust, let go. There are ways of doing this. Keep working those ways. Then do it again tomorrow. One day at a time…

I am a slow motion dichotomy of living sobriety and also not.  I have continued, on the most human of days, to grasp for other hole-fillers. To demand for life to be more comfortable.

Sobriety isn’t all about alcohol.

We do better, we faithful people in recovery, sometimes. We live serenity, hope and love, and then we don’t. Each day has some of both. We still hurt people, and we still get hurt and then we feel swallowed. The difference at these times is that we are not making it even worse, by drinking. And most of us are slowly learning that to feel swallowed is not the answer either. We are learning to keep going, while choosing how to look at things. A blessing or a curse?

Oh yeah, there is not a thing that is not a blessing, or about to become one. 

Five years later, I still have this astounding ability to forget the times that I have done the right things, loved well, kept going. I’m working on that now. There will always be something to work on, and that’s okay.

So I made sugar cookies even though I was pretty certain I was going to screw them up. I made them for a friend. He has loved sugar cookies for almost 87 years. I gave him the first one with some butterflies in my stomach, because that’s how much fear I have, I guess.

They’re just cookies.

There’s a mirror above the kitchen sink at my friend’s house. For so long I’ve avoided mirrors. It’s so cliche, but I have. It wasn’t the wrinkles and dark circles that I didn’t want to see, as much as the look in my eyes. But today I handed my friend a cookie at his spot at the end of the table, gave him coffee, hoped he wouldn’t be too disappointed. I did the dishes from the cookie-making–the baking sheets, the bowls, the beaters…–and looked myself dead in the eyes in that mirror. I thought about five years of recovery, and how it used to be, to always drink in kitchens, and everywhere.

Maybe recovery has just begun, I don’t know. I know that I don’t crave alcohol. I know where we stand.  I know that I am doing a lot of things I never imagined that I could, and I am becoming someone who can look in the mirror, slowly. I am closer to being Heather, and I think we’re all trying to do that here–becoming more fully ourselves and loving it. So I looked at me, and tried to keep looking, and while I did, my friend, he asked for a second cookie.

I said, Really? They turned out okay? 

OH yes, he said. And I stopped looking myself in the eye. I mean really, that was enough mirror-looking practice and enough focus on me for one day. I shifted my eyes to my friend behind me–to his reflection in the mirror–and there he was, hunched forward, pressing his finger to the crumbs on the table and waiting for more.



This is the 171st installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {New here? Please see the details.} 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. (Then link back to this post in your Just Write post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.) (Any links not following those two guidelines will be deleted.)

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Elaine A. January 20, 2015 at 11:59 am

Congratulations to you, my dear friend! One day at a time for sure. Someone I love says the same thing, every day. Love to you…

And I’m so glad you made the cookies, I have a REALLY easy frosting recipe for sugar cookies if you want to take the next step. ;)


alexandra January 20, 2015 at 2:57 pm

“We accept everything lovingly from your hands.”

I have taught this prayer to my children. We are grateful for all of it, Lord.

I love this, Heather.
alexandra recently posted..Why Your Children Need to See Selma

Corinne January 20, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Sending you much love…. I bet those sugar cookies were delicious, even if they went wrong a bit :)
Corinne recently posted..2015… shaking things off

Sarah January 20, 2015 at 10:04 pm

We are all working on confronting our reflections, aren’t we? And baking scares me too – I understand the butterflies.
Sarah recently posted..Reflections

Kim January 22, 2015 at 3:38 pm

I am so proud of you. Happy sober birthday my love.
Kim recently posted..Do Not Be Afraid

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