The Well of Loneliness

‘What’s it like? The new place?’

I struggled to find the words. Cold. Alone. I wanted to show her the riverbeds drying on my cheeks, leaving a trail of ashes and salt. I wanted to play a film of the last six weeks and have a lightning flash of understanding tear through muscle and electrify bone. I wanted to say the unfamiliarity is killing me.

Picture the scene: I’m sitting in my room – my strange, alien room – having just been released from a rehab facility in September. I was there for a month and a half, sleeplessly walking the fluorescent corridors and drinking black instant coffee – sharp and sour and necessary as breathing. I’m grateful to be sitting there sober and drawing breath, but I’m also terrified, despairing, curled up in the hollow of God’s palm like a spider caught in a match flame; small and spindly and breakable. My life collapsed in on itself in those six weeks. I had a fiance, a home in a beautiful part of the country, a good if stressful job; then I flipped my life like a penny and it landed tails up, single and jobless in halfway housing in Luton. I wanted to say: What do you think it’s like?

‘Yeah…It’s alright actually.’

I’m a coward. I sipped my thin, watery coffee and remembered standing on the warm concrete of the clinic yard watching the stars come out, like spots of bright rain on the other side of the glass. I remembered the feeling of unexpected cameraderie and togetherness of all us troubled, lonely addicts walking those familiar halls; listening to the sound of the kettle boiling; hugging and laughing and scuffing our shoes against the red brick of the flowerbeds. I remembered the aching chaos of my first couple of weeks there, lost and frightened and hurting. I think about the aching chaos of now.

Thinking about it, right from the first time the glass lip of a bottle clinked against my teeth, I was swallowing escape from loneliness. That magic elixir that could make me like other people – that could tailor the awkward suit of my own skin more neatly around my transgressive, psychedelic watercolour soul – that opened a door to anywhere but here. I used to think the miracle ‘Drink Me’ was about lifting myself out of that sad well; but drinking, I realised during Step One, was about crawling right inside the broken ribcage of my loneliness and dying there.

tyres-invert

I’m still afraid, to tell you the truth. I’m afraid of all these newborn hours with no escape. I’ll get on my knees and talk to my Higher Power in a minute, but right now I am deep in the well, listening to the sound of my own breathing echoing off the stones.

And….You’re Back In The Rooms

I’m Hours, and I’m an alcoholic.

It’s a shame to start out this way. I wish it could be ‘My name is Hours and when you meet me I am 24 years old and dancing precariously on the hard, thick snow of a Prague winter’- Or, ‘When you meet me I am 17 years old throwing my body around to Girls Not Grey’ on the stickiest pub floor in Weymouth’. I am 16 and losing my virginity to a mohawked punk peace activist called Gordon on my bedroom carpet. I am 22 and sleeping on the floor of a famous Irish poet. Almost any other time but this one.

When I was a little girl, I was the kind of child who wanted to climb trees in my princess dress. I wanted to be a mermaid as much as the next Disney-addled child of the 80’s and spent ages one day making a tail out of green tissue paper. I loved thunderstorms and history classes and stories about magic and witches.  I hated maths and geography and watches. I refused to learn how to tell the time before the age of thirteen, because in my silent, solitary land of make-believe time was irrelevant and still is. I imagined that I would grow up to be someone who could speak all languages and travelling the world as an archeologist – working on desert digs and uncovering lost Egyptian cities; unearthing a giant head of Hathor or Sekhmet, a gigantic carved queen peering out of the dust.

coffee_zpsf0e07becI wandered these imaginary landscapes in my white flannel dress embroidered with little flowers. Now I wear ripped jeans and bargain t-shirts from mall sales, still gazing around like that little girl, starstruck, fragile, and prone to violent escapism. The name of this blog is The Hours God Sends;  I understand Time a bit better now, I learned what it meant in the treatment centre where I turned my whole life on a dime. Salient facts: they tell me I have Impulsive Borderline Personality Disorder, I also have a thing about applewood smoked cheese, I diagnosed that one myself.

So that’s the beginning (again), I started a blog of the same name in early recovery but it fell, as I did, by the wayside of life. Now I’m back, wearing my crown of salt, trying to write my way back to the wild water.