There is what can only be described as a “bunny infestation” in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cute, little rabbits are living in the middle of the city. Like foxes in London or baby alligators in Jacksonville, these creatures are lovable oddities until you have to get out of your car after a long day at the office and shoo them into the bushes.
Because bunnies don’t move…
The bunnies in Grand Rapids are either dumb or careless. (Something that could have been said about me in my drinking days.) Because, they scamper into the driveway at closing time and don’t move. The old house, where we work, is quite the microcosm. Birds tweet from the eaves troughs and chipmunks dive under the porch when I approach. Squirrels dash up tree trunks. Admittedly, I work odd hours, but these creatures seem to have a healthy respect for humans and a healthier fear of my impending Malibu.
Bunnies – not so much…
A few nights ago there were three bunnies in the drive when I left work. When city rabbits are confronted with four-thousand pounds of metal, they sit down. In front of the car, with big eyes staring into the rhododendrons, ears upright and whiskers twitching. So, I blew the horn and eased slowly toward them. Nothing. A hop or two, they looked at each other like, Did you hear something? I rolled down the window and shouted, “MOVE!” to no avail.
What’s the point of those big ears?
And more importantly, what does this have to do with alcoholism?
Nothing I suppose. But, last night a friend of mine (who is on the cusp of quitting) asked me, “Did you quit drinking more than once before you finally got sober? What made you quit once and for all?”
I answered in the usual way. I tried at least ten times to quit. I’d stop drinking for 30 days or two weeks or a long weekend. And then it would be a holiday or a birthday or it would rain and I would find an excuse to have a drink. You can’t have Thanksgiving without a glass (liter) of red wine, right? And I quit for good, because I disappointed my daughter one Christmas Eve. I didn’t quit then. I wasn’t quite ready, but I filed away the look on Lauren’s face…
And six months later, I had to pick my son up at the airport at midnight. I didn’t want to have to perform the usual machinations – get drunk early so that I could “sober up” enough to drive a car after 7 at night. I felt like an overly-wet sponge. And I was just done with it all… It took a while, but it stuck.
And I keep thinking of those bunnies and my drinking. For two reasons:
- In my drinking days I would have been a bit less tolerant of woodland creatures, inconveniently in my way. That is not to say I would have mown them down… But, I popped a lot of mailboxes with my rear-view mirror, because I was in a rush and distracted and careless. So, I’m just saying I don’t see myself getting out of the car and carefully herding rabbits to safety. More like Cruella, screaming out the window, “SCRAM!” and gunning it.
2. I also can’t get it out of my head, that the bunnies sit in front of a moving car with those big eyes. Resigned. How even though they must be programmed to respond to danger, they ignore me. And that’s where the alcoholism metaphor comes in… (whew). We see the peril, we ignore the signs and we try and try again to talk ourselves out of something our brains have been rewired to do. Drink and drink and drink…
Now that I’m sober, I am kinder and gentler. I want to help. I get all the way out of the car and say, “Come on you guys, move out of the way. Take care of yourselves.”
Think about it. You wouldn’t stand in traffic, right? You wouldn’t deliberately run over bunnies….
Today I’m not drinking because I am herding bunnies.
How come you’re not drinking?
E2E – can we protect you?