3.4 The Sobriety Diaries
I have come to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.
Restoration work takes time. Restoration of a damaged artwork requires skill and concentration. I look into the mirror and see what destruction alcohol has done. More than a face lined and cracked, it is relationships laid waste, the hurt and anger of loved ones. There is a lot restoration work needed in this distorted reflection. This insane self-portrait.
Such a painting is sat for over an extended period of time. During this extended repair I need to display a range of traits, thoughts and emotions. All of this is revealed in differing lights at different times of day. As the restorer I must combine different glimpses of myself, choosing one aspect here – a tightening muscle there. A glint of light, a deepening of line. And so the healing process interweaves different portions of surface – never before simultaneously exhibited, to produce a much fuller portrait and a much deeper one. No amount of digital manipulation of a photo can ever hope to replicate this process. Each day sober is a brushstroke, each brushstroke paints sanity back in to a cracked and flaked psyche.
As I recover parts of my selfish and marshy mind – lost so many times to alcohol, I must try and concentrate a restored portrait of myself over an extended time and bring it into the presence of one single moment. Because so much more time is concentrated into a painting than a photograph I understand I must spend more time on myself. Restoration to sanity is slow, painstaking and detailed work. Over time I let my new understandings and my new habits unfold. And so it is with the examination of my life – it is a process much the same as understanding the complex portrait that I am.
Thus I critically stand before my own portrait to restore. More than the lines left by crushed reputation or unrealised prestige, I look for the faint smile that is the progress of my spirit. If I look hard enough I know it’s there.