day 201: it’s always darkest before the dawn

This week my basement is scheduled to be fixed, after reserving the date in January. There have been two inches of water in it since August’s 100 year storm. The one thing I couldn’t fix, that I didn’t have control over, may finally be resolved.

I’ve stuck my right arm down into that sump pump well countless times, digging through two feet of ice cold water trying to fix the it when it breaks. I’ve scrubbed the walls while standing ankle deep in the flooded cement box trying to get ahead of the mold. I’ve played music louder, slept on the second floor, used earplugs, stayed outside while the windchill is below freezing just an extra hour longer, anything to not hear the motor of the pump and rushing water that constantly reminds me there’s something in my life I can’t fix. And it’s literally right under my feet.

I had to install a new sump pump after the demolition crew broke the old one. As of three days ago the new one has broken, stuck in constant state of sucking. As of last week mold has begun to grow on the staircase walls, meaning I’ve lost the last of the beautiful wood I was hoping to save. There is now three days of rain in the weather as well. I don’t even want to know what else can go wrong right before it’s all supposed to be right…

A half concocted plan of leaving for the three days the construction crew would be here, hotel and all, never solidified. Disappearing, only to come back to the problem gone, seemed like the best way to avoid anxiety. I suppose I still don’t have to stay home, but the whole concept of running away from the problem while they jackhammer out the floor and re-cement it has me questioning my motive.

Shouldn’t I be on the front lines? Shouldn’t there be solace in the sound of that rock breaking, knowing that by the weekend this problem will finally be gone? Shouldn’t I face the death of the demon that’s driven me to want to drink, constantly testing me these past few months?

And it keeps running through my head tonight to be prepared for them to call me and tell me it’s been postponed. And it keeps running through my head they’ll get here and not have understood the extent of the flooding. And they’ll tell me there’s nothing they can do.

Then the thought hits me: If all this gets fixed what will I turn to as my next crutch? What will I find as the distraction to focus on that I can’t fix, so I won’t have to focus on what I’ve done and the excuses I’m using not to finish The Steps? To finish my book? To go to an AA meeting? To apologize to the friends who should hear it most?

I really did run away from everything. It keeps setting in a little more every day.

If I don’t have anything left to fix here, will I just pack up and leave this behind too? Being able to identify the bad habit isn’t enough this time. I’ve got to move backwards a little to ever go forward.