Day six of snowed-in-ness and the plows JUST arrived. Side streets all over Petersburg were caked with snow and ice, long after the storm had passed. Snowzilla–or Storm Jonus–swept Virginia last Thursday night, right on the heels of news that I’d be my school’s new permanent science class substitute.
I haven’t been to school yet.
But I now know a hell of a lot more about plate tectonic shifts, velocity, photosynthesis and convection. I saved about 100 articles on Facebook from I Fucking Love Science, too. I’ll do myself the favor now and tweak that URL for the kids, out of common decency.
Kids love snow days. I have never much cared for them; I don’t do cold weather, nor do I revel in snow play. I’m sure that teachers appreciate them a whole lot, though. These snow days were different for me, however, because they were my first ones spent sober. I was grateful for them, but with a caveat: I fear loneliness. And, irony/pun intended, I am not alone. Isolation of any kind is a big cause for concern in the recovery community. The same can be argued for those experiencing depression. Often, individuals dealing with addiction qualify as dual-diagnosis cases (myself included) facing the double-whammy that is mental health issues AND addiction. Generally speaking, isolation makes me feel kinda bleh. This means that I have to get out to meetings where other humans are; coffee, dinner and movie AA dates are nearly non-negotiable (trust me, I’ve tried). I’m not a fan of contrived socializing, any more than I am a proponent of Netflix for a week straight with no outside interaction.
But now that I love being in my own company, otherwise-isolating snow days are a blast. I did online AA meetings, I spoke on the phone to my recovery and non-recovery friends and I blossomed within my at-home 30-day yoga practice. Thanks to a few hours of intense yoga sessions–with candles burning as I wore my skivvies–I can now do headstands. I have been practicing yoga for NINE years without ever achieving such a thing. The best part of all of this is what I discovered: isolation is not the same as spending time alone. Being snowed in was not my choice, but spending quality time with myself very much was.
Not every person in my very (very) small circle of AA friends out here agrees with my opinions on alone time. I don’t blame them; alcoholics in a snow storm is like a set-up for a bad punchline. Setting aside the pleasant shock of seeing snow for the first time since 2008, I had a few reservations myself. At the slightest glimpse of a storm, I would be the first one in the liquor store line to stock my shelves with “provisions.” But the closest I came to that kind of self-sabotage were the relapse nightmares I had for the past two nights. As scary as it is to imagine a life back in active addiction, a dream is just a dream. (I had one exception: I dreamt three nights ago I went to space with Rob Lowe.) My reality is much sweeter, albeit quite cold. Altogether, free of any Rob Lowe not on a screen.
I’m not saying it’s good to hole up inside your home and tell the world to go fuck itself. I’m merely pointing out that it can be nice to take a break from constant socializing. I think we could use a little more of that. What is most important for me to remember is to jump back into face-to-face interactions as soon as possible. I’ll do so, with snow boots on. Maybe some flannel.
Enjoy the sun, Cali.
Photo courtesy of ToppixGallery