One Year

Progress, not perfection.

December 9th, 2018

One year.

This is going to sound stupid, but at first I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to feel again.

When I finally started living in my own body full-time again, getting to know rooms and hallways I’d always seen but mostly avoided, I felt a numbness, a void. Like something had left me. Initially, I thought it was my ability to feel. Thankfully, what left me was something else.

When you’re under the influence of anything, you still experience the world, but under specifically-colored glasses. Everything is tinted by what you consume, and sometimes the shade consumes you. When I took the glasses off, for good, I saw and felt all of the grays, and I think that’s where my fear of never feeling again came from.

I expected a rainbow to burst through a stained glass window like a spiritual prism; I expected a lightning bolt from the cosmos to strike me instantly and show me the entirety of the universe, but instead I felt the vacuum and deep pull of space. I was me, but I was old, but I was new.

The singular color I was used to seeing in everything was the same thing that left me. Color was everywhere, but it all looked gray to me at first. Then — soon enough — every day, I discovered a new color. I learned a new tool, and there was blue. I apologized for something I did in the past, and there was green. I did something positive for another human being, and there was red. Slowly, and sometimes quickly, I was rediscovering the whole spectrum of the world, one day at a time.
There are no requirements for feelings. If you think I should go f— myself, you don’t really have to have a reason why. They are not a thing that need to be earned or substantiated. But to use something to feel something is a cheap way to feel, and I knew that, but I didn’t know that, too. It’s like furniture: if you buy an inexpensive piece and if it isn’t constructed well, it may look good and work for a second, but it will not last. It will fall apart. Whereas, if you invest in and build a good piece of furniture, you’ll not only have something that will last your lifetime and beyond, but you’ll find a feeling that will last, that will stay. I earn my feelings, like I earned my colors back, and they stay with me now. They’re richer and are rooted deeper inside me now.

In the Harry Potter world, the kids go to Hogwarts to learn spells. At first, they learn easy spells, because when you’re a kid the things you’re expected to fix are relatively easy. As you grow older, however, the complexity of the world reveals itself to you; because of this complicated world that adults create, you have to learn better spells, or suffer. I suffered, like I know a lot of us have and do. I had to learn better spells, and over the last year, that’s what I did. And that’s what I plan to do for the rest of my life, and if I can, to teach and cast any spells I know to help others.

So, I’m happy to say that my fear that I would never feel again was for nothing. It was a part of my past self that wouldn’t let go, not right away; like a miserable fish-person who is trying to drag your head back under the water with them. When I came back up, when I started to breathe the fresh, cool air again, that’s when I felt that loss; that dark thing inside of me staying behind, but still under the crystal clear water where I could see it.

That was my first year as a sober adult.

If you have ever been kind to me, thank you. If you have ever helped or tried to help me, thank you. If you have ever made me smile or laugh, thank you. If you have ever listened to me, thank you. If you have ever opened up to me, thank you. If you’ve ever said anything nice about me, thank you.

If you’ve ever said something I needed to hear, thank you. If you’ve ever shared anything with me, thank you. I owe everything I am to you, and I aim to pay that debt with every day I am alive.

Thank you.


Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

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