When I look back at the pictures I did not destroy of myself in my active drinking days, I often don’t remember much about what was going on in the photo. If my mouth was wide open over a beer bottle, was I singing? Was I shouting something offensive? Were people looking at me like I was strange? I look at it now, and I look lost. I look as if I’m playing a role. I don’t recognize that person today.
Addiction stole my memories.
I love that I can remember details about occasions of pictures taken in sobriety. There is one taken of me with a friends autistic son asleep in my arms. I distinctively remember having that picture taken. I remember who took it. I remember my friend’s autistic son feeling safe with me. He was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted from sensory stimulation at the party. He sat on my lap to get grounded, and then he curled up on my chest and fell asleep in my arms.
I was grateful she took the picture because I was full of gratitude because I was present that night. As I type about that evening, memories of the party we were at pop into my brain. Children were dancing, playing games, riding bikes, and climbing trees. There was a treasure box for kids to get prizes. I remember the food that was served and what my friend was wearing who took the picture. I still talk about this day because I enjoyed myself. And because I remember it. All of it.
I am grateful to have accumulated so many memories of good times with loved ones on my sober clock. Too many memories are lost from when I was in active addiction. It is as if nothing happened.
What is the purpose of intoxication? For me, it means absence of authentic joy. Intoxication is an eraser on the black board of life. Collected memories vanished.
I want to be a memory collector. In sobriety, that is possible.