Today, when Ryan finished building a fence for our backyard, I thought about it all, again. The fence means that our boys can run in and out without so much worry and checking. And it also meant so many other analogous things, and I really liked that it also means that our dog can finally be free of this...
In our previous fenced backyard, our Tia Maria dog had free reign within the parameters of the fence. She was just fine with that. It was as if she knew the fence was there to protect her, to keep her home. Every once and a while she would get out, one of us forgetting the gate, and within minutes of sniffing around the neighbor's yard, she would end up sitting right back in her usual spot on the back steps. The gate would stand open wide for the freeing right next to her and yet every time, she was content to stay in the place she knew best, as if she understood she'd get lost if she left.
And then we moved and we had no fence and so we used the chain and she hated it and we hated it. And so today with the new fence and freedom from chains, I thought about the night I quit drinking, how it had to do with that chain. I thought about how I was too drunk to get it off of her and it was so snowy and slippery and I was bent down trying to release the clasp to let her in and couldn't get up from my knees. It was different than it had been before, I had maintained without being unable to get up before and so I knew I had to quit. I knew I had hit the spiral that alcoholics hit, the one that takes us to insanity. I didn't want to be the stumbly lady in the dark, drinking alone. I quit with that picture of me from that night in my mind.
I hope I never forget it.
Because the night of the chain is the night I was loosed.
Today I thought, We still need a fence, boundaries for safety, but the chain is gone.
When Ryan finished the fence (and practically threw a party for himself, just so you know), he ran for his favorite dog in the whole wide world, the girl he's been so diligently taking for a run every night because she's been so cooped up. He unhooked her chain and he said, GO!
She just stood there. Confused.
You're free, Tia, RUN!
She'd been loosed.
She just didn't know what to do.
Of course, I understood.
She walked over to a place she's been able to reach for nearly five months, ignoring all the new places to adventure, and lay down, close to what she knew, what had become familiar.
And I got it, right then. It made perfect sense to me why new sobriety is so uncomfortable.
It's a releasing from the chain and a new fence in a new home. And so I wondered if Tia was staying still because she was scared or if she didn't quite trust herself yet.
Or maybe she was still because she was just fine, for a little while, not expecting too much, just taking it all in.
We prodded and whistled and said with our high-pitched doggy-talk voices,
C'mon Tia, let's GO!
And she continued to sit still.
Until an idea hit us
and so we went with her
and when she saw us go ahead of her
running with freedom
she hopped up
and she sniffed and she explored
trailing behind a little carefully
She went as far as she could go, safely,
and she finally looked glad to be home.
The chains are gone and this is slow and I am not alone.