September 27 1995 started like many of my days that September. I woke with my heart in my throat, head full of wet cotton, a sense of impending doom and free-floating anxiety. I had thrown myself at a neighbor and he had to have a difficult conversation with me about how I was pretty much imagining more between us than there was (and I was) but not clearly enough to completely make me feel like he wasn’t that into me. I imagined there was some kind of interpersonal struggle that kept him from being emotionally available to me but didn’t stop to think about how I was a mobile raging dumpster fire skidding along mental/emotional/spiritual rock bottom, and how that might not be appealing to many men, including pothead underachievers.
I had been bumping along the bottom ever since Labor Day weekend where I didn’t leave the house before dark, smoked pot until I was straight again, but didn’t feel good, happy or even high. I hadn’t felt deeply good in a long time, so I kept looking for fun at the best and oblivion at the very least.
Smoked a bowl before work, smoked while walking to work, smoked while at work. The day went by, I don’t really remember details other than having a bad conversation with my neighbor on the phone and it hit me that he didn’t know how to blow me off so he was just being kind of a dick until I got the point. I finally got the point.
It had rained so I walked home crying and stomping in the puddles and yelling into the void of the crowded New York City streets, “I AM NEVER FALLING FOR A SAGITTARIUS EVER AGAIN! NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!” all the way home alternately raging and plunging into despair. I knew there was so much more wrong than whether or not Joe Blow liked me.
All was lost. I was toast. I knew I couldn’t go on the way I was going but had literally no idea how to live any other way. I felt trapped and started thinking about taking a Final Exit so I could just stop FEELING so horrible. I was in a 12-Step Program for food and had a sponsor in that program who had been a great spiritual teacher to me for about 7 months so I called him and told him everything. How I was heartbroken. How I felt fundamentally broken. I couldn’t live and I couldn’t kill myself and I didn’t know what to do.
He said, “There is another way. There’s an AA meeting a block or two from your apartment that starts in 15 minutes – why don’t you check it out and see what you think and call me when you get home?”
I didn’t want to think I needed AA, I just needed HELP. He also told me it was full of creative types and hot guys with long hair and tattoos (did he know me or what?) and that I would feel right at home and should just go and then call him.
So I did. WTF, I did.
I look back at that BRAVE messed up kid and am SO grateful to her. She was terrified but did it anyway. She didn’t want to change her whole life, she just wanted to stop hurting, but she went and changed her whole friggin life. I know that God was working behind the scenes for me. I know that a confluence of terrible things culminated in that one moment where I was hurting enough and desperate enough to do the unthinkable.
This is the astrology from that day — my chart is in the middle. Looks like Transiting Chiron was exactly opposite my Natal Chiron. Chiron – the wounded healer. Jupiter was exactly opposite my Sun. Uranus was opposite my Moon. Saturn was exactly opposite my Pluto. Pluto was conjunct my Neptune. Pluto was also exactly Square my Jupiter. Venus was opposite my North Node.
Holy crap, right? I mean, it really could have gone either way. I could have gotten serious help or I could have peaced out.
September 27 1995 was my first AA meeting, but it is not my sobriety date. I went to that meeting stoned, and smoked when I got home, but a seed had been planted. I woke up the next morning and decided that for just that day, I would not smoke weed, drink, or use any mind or mood altering drugs. I had a week or so and then went to CT for a visit and when a joint came my way I didn’t say no, but I wish I had. Seconds after the high hit me and just heard myself thinking, “I want my head back, I want my head back” over and over. I knew that I was truly done. And I was also scared about how easily I slid, so I knew I had to take sobriety seriously if I were going to really heal.
On October 8th, I will have 24 years clean and sober. I am beyond grateful. I’m grateful to my higher power, the rooms of AA, and I am very grateful for 27 year old messed up me. She had NO IDEA how good her life was going to get eventually. No clue. But she started swimming up towards the light from the bottom of the sea, terrified, but doing it anyway. All of us who reach out for help don’t feel brave and radical when we are doing it. We feel chewed up, spit out, broken, hopeless. But brave we are and our tiny glimmering hopeful life force is what saves us.