"Writing fiction is like being an alcoholic. You create a crisis and immerse yourself in what happens next."
There was collective laughter yesterday when I shared that piece of information before the AA meeting started. My home group is being incredibly supportive as I slog my way through NaNoWriMo. When someone added that fiction couldn't hold a candle to the real life experiences of active alcoholics more laughter followed.
Being able to laugh with others about what fuck ups we've all been is precious to me. We've all been there, same story, different description. You know how uncomfortable it can be when you're in a group of people where someone is not embracing their humanity? (I'm talking about myself here). In recovery the key word is all. Our sanity depends on us not pretending we're unique, not set apart as other than human. What a blessed relief.
Letting go of creating a crisis in real life, not being a drama queen, looking at situations as they really are without minimizing or inflating their impact; that all takes practice and intention in recovery. As my recovery progresses I find it easier to accept the every day, revolving nature of life. It's a sign of health for me to not go looking for the drama, to accept life on life's terms, and to be content with what is. Of course I do all of that imperfectly but as I said later on in the day with my family doctor, there is no going back to that place where denial trumps awareness. Sure, some days I wish it would, and some days it does, but thank God it's only momentarily.
Take yesterday. I'd had my shower, was cleaning out my ears with a Q tip, when instead of seeing the normal wax build up there was dried blood on the end of the cotton swab. I went from oh, that's weird to OMG my ear drum must have burst and I didn't even notice it(as if that is possible) in a nanosecond. Then rational mind kicked in and I realized it really was no big deal, I'd had no ear pain at all, at the worst a tiny bug got squished in my ear, and I went on with my day. When I related the whole thing to my doctor he smiled and humoured me with looking in that ear only to reiterate what I'd come to earlier. It was no big deal. My ear drum was fine.
Writing a book is, in part, about keeping the "what ifs" coming. Today, when I try to add a few thousand more words to my novel, I'll dream up a crisis or two, wonder about the impending what ifs, and write down what happens next. I'm just grateful that it's work to dream it up, that drama is slowly finding its rightful place in my life, between the pages of a book, not the pages of my life.