When I was growing up my mother observed a tradition about the bells on New Years Eve. She would say to us, “Where you are when the bells ring on New Years Eve is where you will be for the rest of the New Year.” As a kid that meant that our house was clean, that our school work was done and our rooms were “red up” (meaning straighten in Pittsburgh-speak). Later it meant that who you were with or how you were emotionally was how the future year would unfold, so we watched funny movies and went out at midnight to toast the neighbors.
I carried this idea all of my life and New Years Eve has taken on great significance. One year when I knew that the relationship I was in would end soon I made sure that I was locked in my room alone at the very strike of midnight. Another year when I was trying to making my commitment to writing stick I made sure that I was at my typewriter and typing words when the bells rang in that new year.
This year I am home with the man in my life. We have had a lovely lunch and went to see the movie “Doubt”, with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Tonight we’ll have a lot of chocolate and salt and watch The Wire. I don’t know what this year will bring but the most important thing that I am now and that I will be when the bells ring in a few hours is Sober.
What I want most of all today, in 2009, and beyond is a life of sobriety. I like this sober life and I am grateful to be out of the woods.