When she was 5, my daughter desperately wanted to jump in the swimming pool. With her hair pulled back in a ponytail and her blue “Frozen” swimming goggles over her eyes, she repeatedly held her nose and her breath, only to step timidly away from the pool. She’d been in the pool before, but she’s never jumped in before.
I stood patiently in the water ready to catch her thinking “what’s the big deal, just jump.” But to my daughter it was a huge deal. No amount of coaxing from me could lodge her free from the side of the pool. She had to make up her own mind to take the leap. So I stopped encouraging, in fact, I tried my best to act disinterested. A short while later she did it. She held her nose and closed her eyes, despite her Frozen goggles and jumped in the deep end of the pool. Not just once, nope. Once the ice was broken she did it over and over again. To the point where she quickly couldn’t understand why she hesitated at all.
This is where you’re meeting me. In my case, it’s not a pool. It’s sobriety. Not a dip in the shallow end of sobriety (I’ve done that before, a day here a week there), but a plunge in the deep end of lasting sobriety. Like my daughter and the pool, I know rationally the risk is low and the reward is great, but also like my daughter, I cannot bring myself to do it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not naive to where this metaphor breaks down. Being sober, at least initially, won’t be as simple as treading water in a pool. I expect it will take work. I hope to write many stories about my plunge into sobriety, with the goal of helping myself stay accountable to this amazing community of like-minded folks I’ve discovered online. But then again, I expect that it will bring me the joy of a backstroke on a sunny day. I want the promise of weight loss, simplification and freedom.
A word about my logo.
I’m a graphic designer, so the selection of the logo of image for this blog was important to me. And to some degree I am hoping to keep this whole thing semi-anonymous — hence the pseudonym, The New Me, and the logo, rather than a profile picture. The logo I chose is a single-line drawing of a rooster. Why? Well, two reasons:
- A rooster heralds a new dawn. The sound a rooster makes, “cock-a-doodle-do” is the sign that things are beginning again. Looking to avoid the clichés like sunrises, eggs hatching and butterflies, I like the unexpected nature of a farm animal signifying my transformation.
- Simple, not easy. I’ve heard this phrase countless times in the AA meetings I attended. The program is simple, but not easy. This particular illustration of a rooster exemplifies this concept. Simple, not a single line is wasted in the depiction of a rooster. Not easy, try it. Take any item in your house right now, use a blank piece of paper and, not lifting your pencil off the paper, use a single line to convey that object to an audience. The artist here clearly had a gift for illustrating a form in a minimalistic way.
I don’t know where this journey will lead me. But I can already feel the cathartic sensation coming over me as I write this. I’m blowing the whistle on myself, and I want you all to hear it.