Living in Manageable Moments

Elise Forier Edie - Ellensburg, Washington
As heard on The Bob Edwards Show, March 4, 2011
Elise Forier Edie

Playwright Elise Forier Edie knows her recovery from addiction will be difficult as she battles feelings of arrogance and control, fear and helplessness. But Edie believes she has found a way to start her journey by focusing on this one moment in time.

Age Group: 30 - 50

I am an addict.

My addiction is the cornerstone of my life. I am never without it. Lovers come and go, wars are won and lost, tragedy and triumph gallop by in equal measure. It rains. It snows. Stars fall from the sky. Through it all, my addiction is there with me. Whether I am using or not, it is always there.

I attend 12-step meetings. I sit in a circle with other addicts and we listen to each other’s stories. We try to practice compassion, acceptance, honesty, humility and surrender. I am very bad at all of these things. As an addict, I have spent my life specializing in unkindness, arrogance and control. I am a skilled manipulator. I lie with frightening ease. I don’t want to be honest. I don’t want to be seen and understood. I want to feed my addiction. Sometimes, that’s all I want.

Movies make recovery from addiction look painful, dramatic but ultimately rewarding. The truth is, recovery—like a lot of life—is just really, really tedious. I make the same mistakes over and over again. I don’t know how to be patient. I have trouble even recognizing the truth, let alone telling it. I don’t like admitting I have no control. I can’t imagine living the rest of my life like this, feeling this helpless, feeling this small, feeling this inept. But I believe I have to try. I have to try to do better. I believe no matter how many times I fail and fall down, I have to pick myself up and keep trying to kick this. I don’t know if I’ll succeed.

I break my life down into manageable moments. I have found I can usually get through a moment. Right now, I feel scared, but it’s only for now. In a moment, this might change. Right now, my addiction whispers, “I know exactly what you could do to feel better, baby.” But in a moment, I might feel better anyway. So I wait until the next moment.

I believe this is the way I can create a better life for myself, one little moment at a time. I can make a good choice, right now. I can do what I have to do, right now. I can say the truth, just this once. In this moment, I can be grateful for what I have. In this moment, I can strive to forgive. I might do something stupid five minutes from now, but right now, in this moment, I can try to change my life.

In the end, I believe this is all I have, just right now. I have right now. It’s enough. It’s enough to make a difference. It’s enough to begin to become a better person. I am everything I need to be to get through right now.

Elise Forier Edie is a professional playwright and author. She and her husband live in Washington state, where they recently helped found a new theatre, called DogTown Theatre Company. When she is not writing, Elise teaches classes in stage movement and children's theatre at Central Washington University.