6/7/10

Releasing

It's been nearly five months since we moved. Five months. This has been the very most surreal five months of my life, I'm pretty sure. I stopped drinking not long after we came here so everything was literally and figuratively new for me, for us.

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.



55 clicked right here to comment:

Nicki said...

Absolutely beautiful! Glad both you and the dog are loose.

Kimberly said...

I love the poignancy you find in simple things. After reading one of your blogs posts I look at my world, my life, and I see layers I never noticed before. I see sights that are suddenly rich with deep, beautiful meaning. It`s dizzying but it`s wonderful!

Andrea said...

Thank you for taking the time to take this in. I feel like I flash to a past life sometimes. A certain smell or a song on the radio and in that moment I am overcome with gratitude that I am not there anymore. I am here. And here is good.

deb said...

I want to give your dog a hug.

( and you too of course)

and that first photo is stunning. as is the size of your yard.

mostly I want to give your dog a hug.

CaJoh said...

I absolutely love how you take something familiar like a fence and a chain and relate it to your personal struggles.

Take your time and enjoy the view.

Jenn @ Like Swimming said...

Never, ever alone.

Love you.

Justine said...

Great post! Good fences make good neighbors after all. In more ways than one, as this case may be. Glad you're on a path that makes you happy.

Cameron said...

This might be my favorite post you ever wrote. Love, love, love it. Beautiful. :)

Lara said...

This is such a good example of how keeping "rules" that may seem limiting, are actually freeing. Sometimes it's when we don't keep the rules, and do whatever we want, that we are actually chained up. Of course, that sum up is not nearly as eloquent as your beautiful post.

I also loved the beautiful pictures.

Ann Imig said...

This is amazing. You are amazing. Keep writing. Keep breathing.

happygeek said...

Thank-you for sharing this journey with us.
This post was beautiful Heather.

suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter said...

these are near-biblical images! praise to God the Liberator for loosing the chains and for the cloud of witnesses who walk with us:)

kirsten said...

it is not often you feel the pressure to write well in a COMMENT but here - I always want to rise to the power that you seem to find in words, images, ideas.

the lesson in the quotidien - the parallel journey of our faithful pet friends to our own - this is what is extraordinary in our lives. That you see it, so often, so ALWAYS? Just...amazing.

Thanks!

maggie said...

Oh Heather, this is SO powerful. And helpful for me in understanding what you've been through. You are such an amazing writer.

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

awwhh!

Boy Crazy said...

I am blown away at your ability to keep doing this so beautifully. To keep writing about this with new metaphors day after day.

The way you see the world is your gift, my friend.

-elizabeth

Corinne said...

Wow.
And yes.
And holy cow, lady. You're good.
And that back yard!!!!!!!!!!

~j. said...

You're just...you're just so...

I love you.

Robin said...

This is my favorite post of yours yet. I love the comparison of course, but I am also guessing there was quite a bit of guilt from that night when you were unable to unlatch the chain. Guilt that I understand so well. Congrats on being sober and thanks for sharing your journey. It's so comforting to read it.

Hilary said...

I think that's a good reminder for moms. I often keep my kids on that leash....
Nice entry!

Ryley @ That's My Family! said...

Heather. Wow. This is one of those times I'm left breathless and don't want to comment because nothing I can say will convey how unbelievable I feel about this and you. This post is magic. I'm speechless. I love you and this and your sobriety. I will always be here to run through the backyard right beside you. Love.

LutherLiz said...

love this

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

love this.

alexis said...

it's always the little things that help us see the light, isn't it? clarity doesn't come in a flash of lightning or the boom of thunder but in the ghost of a whisper or the cry of an infant.

thanks for the beautiful words.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

This applies to so many things... I'm glad you feel free in your new boundaries.

And I guffawed about your husband throwing a party for his fence. Been there...

Mainly a midwife said...

That is a great post. I love the symbolism there. Shackles off but boundaries up. We all need those boundaries.

Bina said...

"The chains are gone and this is slow and I am not alone."

...wisdom, my friend.

Christine said...

Quite simply, this took my breath away.

Kaycee said...

Oh wow. I love this. It's wonderful.

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

Holy Crap, to put it bluntly. That seriously brought tears to my eyes. And I don't even really know how to feel the feeling you are feeling. You made that all make sense, and I wonder how you can possibly think in the ways that you think. You are like a mensa person or something.

This was quite possibly one of my favorites from you.

And your doggie? I love her.

Angie said...

There are no words, friend. No words to describe the chords this post strikes in my heart. I cried for you... for your freedom from that chain, for the safety you have found in others, and for the beauty of His hand guiding yours over the keys as you write.

You have a gift. Seriously, so many gifts.

This is breathtaking.

Aging Mommy said...

I love that you are seeing the world anew, looking at everything and every experience and seeing what it means to you. This is a beautifully written post and you are right, we all need boundaries and we all need to know there are others there willing and able to support us on the road to finding ours.

Billy Coffey said...

God bless our fences and our loosenings. So happy that you can run free now, Heather.

Two Normal Moms said...

Amazing post. Beautifully written.
***Ally

Rach@In His Hands said...

Heather, when I read your incredible posts I often have to let your words sit and stir in me before I can even come back to comment to you. This post is no different.
All I can say is that I'm SO thankful that those chains are broken and gone. Freedom tastes pretty sweet after being bound by them, I'm sure.
Hugs.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

You have such an amazing gift to beautifully share your thoughts in your writing. I'm glad both you and the dog are learning to get back to a chain-free, fenced existence.

Travelin'Oma said...

This is such a beautiful analogy and applicable to those of us with a variety of chains, learning to trust ourselves, and our boundaries. Your specific challenge is a metaphor for many challenges. Thanks for being so honest.

~Mendie~ said...

you are awesome. great way to describe it...shaky ground that gets easier to walk on every day.

oh and your dog totally rocks too. ;O)

Allison @ Alli 'n Son said...

Such beautiful words. I love how you related your dogs experience to your own. Give it a whole new perspective.

Eva said...

What a big, beautiful yard! Kudos to your husband on the fence - those kind of projects are exhausting.

I totally get this metaphor of the fence and your dog, of freedom and fear. It beautifully conveys life - the challenges and opportunities.

warmchocmilk said...

I like how your mind works Heather :)

wendy said...

"and so we went with her"
wow, what a powerful statement.'
How many things there are in life that we need HELP and SUPPORT and LOVE and ENCOURAGEMENT
we went with her
I love that

Kazzy said...

Fences are good. Chains, on the other hand. Boundaries help us reach our real potential, ironically, but we still need to be able to run and stretch our legs.

bernthis said...

I felt similarly after my divorce. I didn't know what to do, where to go, who I was solo...

This is a beautiful post.

InkMom said...

Oh, how I love this imagery! It applies, so much, to the fear we all have of taking a step past the place we have been for too long -- that first movement into something new but unknown. I love it. And, though my experience has been different than yours, I live it, too.

God bless you, my friend. You are brave and I admire you infinitely.

(I also just noticed that your little message up there says, "Talk to me goose." That's what I always say to my husband when I know he has something on his mind.)

The Mayor said...

That was a wonderful, thought provoking illustration of what freedom really means, and how boundaries can keep us safe to explore.

Laurel said...

another classic.

and it doesn't matter what the chain is...drinking, eating, smoking, spending, hating...

this was a brilliant illustration of the freedom from chains.

LOVE IT.

debi9kids said...

what a perfect analogy.

I will never forget those first months when my father stopped drinking. My mom had kicked him out and he moved in with my family and it was...eggshells. For all of us.
I remember being very aware of his caution and I was glad I could be there for him.

I am glad you aren't alone.

TKW said...

This was absolutely stunning. What an amazing metaphor you weave here. My jaw almost hit the hardwood floor.

Marie said...

Hello sweet Heather - I'm a new follower of your blog! What a beautiful post! I am so proud of you for letting loose the chains that bound you at one time. You are so brave for doing so, and especially for sharing your heart. A blog is a powerful tool - I know your story will touch many and inspire those who struggle with alcohol.

Looking forward to coming back to visit again!

Blessings,
Marie
http://emmacallsmemama.com

Holly said...

BEAUTIFUL! LOVE it!!
(((HUGS)) to you & TIA!!

rebecca @ altared spaces said...

I am stunned by the imagery of the chain. And the fence. And your dog. And you on your knees unable to free your dog...which has lead toward steps of freedom for yourself.

I am so glad you're sober so I can read these words.

Rachel said...

Been lurking the past couple months after going through a similar journey over the past couple years. Thank you for sharing - you are not alone (and neither am I).

佩GailBohanan1蓉 said...

出遊不拘名勝,有景就是好的............................................................

Lee Vandeman said...

Heather -

I am finding some morning time to catch up on some words of yours and just wow on these words here.

Tears in my eyes and love in my heart for you and Tia and that big expansive green lawn of freedom so safe and cozy and filled with the safety of your family's love.

Awesome.

xo

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