I grew up in the Caribbean, so weekends were spent at the beach. During hurricane season the waves were extra big. Sometimes we’d be swimming and see a big, big swell, a way far out, on its way towards land and we’d try as hard as we could to get to safety on the shore, but the undertow would already be grabbing us and sucking us down like the strongest vacuum cleaner ever and we couldn’t escape from it until we were sucked down and our faces were smashed into the sand way beneath it and we couldn’t breathe. Finally, when we thought for sure we were going to die, the wave would tumble us out on the shore and we would look up at our mothers with sand up our noses and they would still be laughing and talking away. I had nightmares for years, feeling the suction pulling me down, no matter how hard I tried to pull away.
As I was awakening this morning I had the old familiar sickening feeling in my whole body, my whole being. This time I’m trying to pull away from the clutching, clawing grasp of alcohol. I’m not sure I can escape. I’ve been trying for 40 years. This time though, someone is watching. My love is standing on the shore yelling, “I love you, I love you.” He’s desperately wanting to save me but he can’t swim. He knows it’s all up to me. He’s waving something up high for me to see. I catch a glimpse of the photo of my boys. Now, he’s pointing to his heart and gesturing as if to open it to let the love flow out to me. I can’t leave their love. I have to make it to the shore.