The Beginning of the End.

i am sitting here, in my all-time favorite mexican restaurant, in des moines, iowa. it’s april 18, and it’s feeling like spring, in every sense of the season. the air is cool, and spells like soft earth, new beginnings really, and tacos. they have the door propped open and the air is wafting in. i find myself in a strange mood, not angry. i just left my favorite AA meeting of the week, it was filled with a lot of raw emotion, and a lot from myself. so here i sit, my favorite place, no reason imparticular. the food is subpar, the help is kind but the memories that i have from this specific place echo through these walls. birthday parties, margarita parties, a place where my sister and i come when she travels home from University of Northern Iowa, where i told my dad i was getting a divorce, where i watched and watched through evening dinners, tenley, make her own special taco, with chips, broken into tiny pieces, melted cheese and roll them up meticulously. this place is home, in all of the broken and beautiful ways it could possibly be.

rewind with me a month ago, to the date, actually, which is semi ironic, that i actually opened my computer and started typing today. i have always held in my mind, in some facet that i would write. it came naturally for me, and turned into a career, very shortly after graduating college, but this, now, becoming me, and being honest. that is a huge. and really just quite fucking shocking. i should also point out i don’t really curse, but i think sometimes it just drives the point home.

i was arrested, march 18, 2015, i was arrested and charged with an OWI, and two counts of child endangerment. me. i did that. i stopped at the grocery store, like i had done so many times, the past two years, and purchased six airplane bottles of fireball. i drank them all, one after the next, no chaser, not chilled. i sat in my gray, ford focus, feeling capable, i would survive, i wouldn’t fall back into addiction, i wasn’t becoming addicted again, i was respected, i was a survivor, just drink them, don’t feel overwhelmed, you will be OK. If you are an addict, of any facet, or a member of any support group, how often those words entertain our minds. i believed them. i drove to pick my niece up from daycare, and then my daughter from her father. i am and will always have an incredible tolerance to alcohol, i could drink your biggest family member under the table, and then write a ten page article for a deadline, be a professional and drink heavily was my game, and i won it for years. what a blessing and a curse. i drove home, and got the girls inside and playing. within five minutes, the police were at my parent’s doorstep ( i was staying there until i could find the perfect apartment). i stepped outside and they were explaining, in the most blunt way possible, that someone had called and said they saw me driving, and that i was swerving, and on my phone. after, a confession, and blowing a .318, they told me i could say goodbye to my daughter, tenley. i was going to jail. me. i was shocked. how, did i lose all control of everything in two hours? how did i let five months of on and off again sobriety flush down the toilet. i digress. tenley bounced outside, letting the door, slam behind her. i didn’t know that would be the last time i saw that angelic face, her golden hair bouncing towards me. i flashed my biggest grin, hers mirrored, she was in awe of the nice policemen, and gave me a hug, i smelled her. i smelled and took in the deepest largest breath of that sweet girl, i could inhale. time stood still, and i closed my eyes so hard, i thought my eyes were going to fall into the back of my skull. i let every moment, every hug, the tears, the laughs, the late nights rubbing her legs from growing pains, the way her little hands would direct music when the office theme song would play, the worry that would flash across her face, when for the first time i was in the hospital, only to do that five more times, this girl, was gold, is gold, and i risked it. i couldn’t breathe. i couldn’t let go, but i couldn’t let her think things were bad. i kissed her little forehead, and watched her bounce into the house. they put handcuffs on me, i didn’t realize how much, they would hurt. i couldn’t control any emotion at that point. the next few hours where a shameful blur, i was stripped naked, given standard clothing, and was printed and photographed. i was ashamed and broken. this was what losing everything feels like.