It is common knowledge that I am a recovering drunk. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I am seduced all the time by the “perhaps this time” syndrome of addiction. This time is what every drug addict and alcoholic thinks before they pick up.
“This time it will be different.”
“This time it won’t almost kill me.”
“This time I won’t lose my job.”
“This time I won’t sleep with someone who I don’t care about at all.”
“This time I won’t hit my significant other or kids.”
“This time I will only drink vodka, and I won’t be violent.”
“This time, I can do what I have always done, and things will be different.”
I think pretty much every addict is born with “This time” hard wired into their DNA. It is like a constant refrain that plays in the backdrop of our lives. Over and over and over again to our increasing detriment and peril. "This time" is so fucking seductive. "This time" has claimed a lot of families, a lot of jobs, a lot of lives and a lot of hope.
What I learned yesterday is that the perils of “This time” do not only apply just to drinking and drugging. “This time” applies to pretty much everything I do and care about. I seem to have this hard default to believe, completely contrary to all the evidence before me, that “this time” will be different.
I hit that place again yesterday with my son. I want so desperately to believe that”this time” we have done things differently enough so therefore I am guaranteed a different outcome. But unfortunately we are not there yet. More different needs to happen. A lot more different.
And I do not want that to happen. I do not want to have to let go more. I do not want to have to send him somewhere else. I want him to come home and I want “this time” for things to work out the way that I want. I want my child back under my roof AND I want us all to be happy and loving and not conflict laden. I want “this time” to be different with all that I am even as I stand on the precipice of doing the same thing I have always done.
I was sitting at dinner last night with a great, long time friend. We have kids that are similar and walked a very hard motherhood road together. She gets my path and pain like no one else. Really. We talked of our kids and how life was going and it was in the middle of that conversation that I realized that I was doing the “this time” thing again. And right there in the middle of Cafe Nouveau it hit me...”this time” runs my life. I am constantly chasing "this time." I avoid the different and I seek the “this time” to my own detriment and heartbreak. I see the same familiar coming down the pike, and I do not think “fuck, here comes the same old shit dressed up in different clothes.” No, I do not do that. Instead I say “well look at that, that looks like the same situation I have had before, this time I know it will be different.”
And last night I saw my own fatal flaw. I saw how much I am married to the “this time.” How much I have sacrificed for the “this time." How much I have suffered under the delusion (and believe me it is a delusion) that “this time” anything other than what has occurred before would or could happen now. I have hated the before, the consequences, the pain, the anguish, the heartbreak. But last night I totally saw why “this time” still rules my life on so many levels...because I am still willing to believe that “this time” it can be different.
Healing and forgiveness required that I give up the idea that "this time" things could or would be different. In order for me to heal and move forward, I had to forgive myself and others and every time I met myself or them, I had to let go of the subtle violence to us both that "this time", things might change. I had to walk away from the notion, belief and illusion that as the relationship moved forward that this other person would or could be different. That is my own working definition for forgiveness: “giving up the wish that things could be different.” Forgiveness, for me, means moving forward with that particular belief smashed, but being able to go forward anyway.
Apparently I have a lot more work to do about giving up the wish that things, people, relationships and even myself can and will be different. I have to give up “this time." Because I now have enough life experience (I have actually had enough life experience for a long time now) to know that “this time” things are going to happen exactly the way they always have and I will fall for it every time because I am chained to the idea that if I just do ____, I can and will make “this time” work out better.
Fuck it. I quit. Fuck “this time.” I accept right now that “this time” is going to be the same old crap it has always been and that my only choice now is to pick the different, even if it is different bad. Different bad is better than suffering under the delusion one more second that “this time” things are going to work out if I just hang in there, if I just give it a bit more time, if I just am kinder, or more patient or more loving. Because I know now that whenever I am saying “this time” I am already screwed.
So now I will change it up for my own sanity. Whenever “this time” enters my mind and heart, I will know that the most important thing I can do is to “this time” do it differently, and it matters not at all if it is different right. It just has to be different. “This time” has to change from the wish that it will be different when I do the same shit over again. “This time” has to change into a very clear and ardent idea that “this time” is occurring so that I may give up my long held belief that things are going to change if I am still doing the same things. “This time” is in fact occurring so that I may try something new. And I learned yesterday, that I am terrified of the new. And I will go to great, great, great lengths to avoid being sad.
Well “this time” I am sad and it sucks and it hurts and there is nothing I can do about it except accept that the different will come if I stop doing my same old shit. “This time” is here to show me where I am stuck and to give me yet another opportunity to change myself in the face of the same shit, different day. And I can do it differently, the only thing required is for me to surrender once and for all my long standing commitment to believing that “this time” when I do the same thing, that anything other than what has occurred before can happen.
Sigh. It is going to be a long damn day.