Another thought dawned on me after I had posted yesterday’s unabashed bragging bonanza of a post. It might now sound like I’m beating myself up or trying to down-play how happy I am about the good things that are happening, and that’s not the case at all. Bear with me – I’ll try to explain.
A counselling placement, some translation work and rain – those were my three reasons to jump for joy. The rain is of course nothing to do with me and it’ll fall when it wants to, regardless of how sober or drunk Anna happens to be. Always has, always will. But the other two – the placement and the translation stuff – let’s look at those….
I haven’t actually heard of many Level 4 students who fail the Diploma because they just couldn’t find a placement. These things do tend to work out fine in the end. NOT down-playing it, honestly!! I got the one I wanted and the one I saw as The One to go for. That IS good going any way you look at it. Of course it is and I SHOULD be proud and pleased with my efforts – I have worked hard and I’m as good a candidate as the next person. There is no reason why they’d reject me sooner than they’d reject anyone else – my chances were as good as anyone’s. So yes, I’ll happily pat myself on the back. *pat, pat*
However, it’s not that big of a deal. I’m 44 years old and have only just now begun to find my path in this life. Work placements and qualifications are usually the things you do in your early 20s, not mid-40s.
No, no – hear me out!! Bear with me, OK…
BUT. Coming from where I was in the deepest darkness of my addiction, from an increasingly hopeless existence where I on some days couldn’t even leave the house, this truly is a miracle to me. I never thought I’d get out, never mind do anything useful with the wreckage my life had turned out to be. And so to get a placement – AND The One, at that – is to me the stuff dreams are made of. And that’s why I feel about it the way we might feel when winning the lottery or landing a publishing deal or winning the X-Factor or getting a lead role in a blockbuster movie or finding the cure for cancer or climbing Mount Everest or winning the Olympic gold medal.
The translation stuff.
Before I sank into addiction, I actually did a fancy Masters degree at one of the best universities in this country. Sorry, not sorry – I did that and that’s great, right? Anyway, the general consensus was always that the stuff you want to take on would be “decent” literature – the classics, anything considered high brow and so on. This stuff is something most people fluent in two languages can do. It’s the sort of books you’d possibly be a little embarrassed to cop to reading. Honestly. To get me on the right track I’m reading one to get a handle on the tone and the language and it’s genuinely so shit it pains me to endure it.
I don’t want to down-play it, but Shakespeare it ain’t.
But that’s not the point.
The point is, I couldn’t do ANY translation work when I was drinking because I was barely functioning and couldn’t get my brain to engage. And so, this too, is a huge miracle to me. A massive, wonderful, breathtaking miracle.
I don’t have any issue with whether it’s considered this or that type of literature (but OK, I can absolutely hear the judgemental asshole in me speaking loud and clear in all of this…) and I love it. I made a start yesterday and it’s so much fun. I don’t have to worry about all that stiff, poncy and pretentious stuff where I have to ensure I’m invisible in the text as a translator and faithfully stick to the source. I can have fun with this. It’s just a bit of fun! And I get an income from it, albeit not a big one. It’s super positive and for all the snooty and snobbish stuff I just said about this type of books, it’s SO much more fun to work with than some dusty high literature tosh!
Fact remains though, these doors open because I’m sober and all these things are like winning the lottery for me. Over the past couple of days, I’ve just occasionally “paused”. Stopped what I’m doing, closed my eyes for a moment, taken a deep breath and just allowed myself to feel grateful for what I get to have now.
When I say “is this really my life?” it’s not because my life is some sort of unattainable dream that others can only fantasise about. These aren’t things that’ll change the world. But they are things that happened because I got sober and recovery changed MY world. These are mind-blowing achievements for ME. These are things I never thought I would have. And I know so well why I now have them – because I am sober.
When I say “is this really my life?” it’s not because I’m looking out across Lake Como from the terrass of my 20,000 sq ft mansion. I say it because I’m not hungover today. I say it because I don’t regret yesterday. And I say it because I have my life. Just my life. I’m breathing. My heart is beating, not palpitating.
Happiness isn’t a Ferrari or millions in the bank. Not for me, but OK, I’ll have the Ferrari 658 if you really twist my arm. But I don’t need it to be happy, those aren’t the things that count. This is my happiness right here. A nice life. A simple life filled with simple things. That makes me so happy. So, SO happy. I went from knowing my addiction was killing me to living my life again. I will die one day, of course, but first I’ll live.
And when we live, we can take shots at those REALLY spectacular things too – like attempting to write a book! Wouldn’t that be something? And why not?
Today I’m not going to drink.