Dreaming and Driving
by Jeff T
Last night I dreamt, vividly, and woke with a start and a deep feeling of gratitude about what hadn't happened. In my dream I came out of a blackout to find myself behind the wheel of a car speeding down a two lane road. I had no idea how long I'd been driving, where I was coming from, or where I was headed. I even had to look to my right and then check the review mirror to see who else was in the car with me. In the front passenger seat was my partner, but in the back seat were two guys I had no recollection of ever meeting.
While I was trying desperately to put the pieces of my fragmented memories of the night together, looking for answers where there were none, the road we were traveling on merged into a wider four-lane highway. As I merged onto the new road I could see a bridge and the outskirts of a city I thought I recognized but it took me a moment to realize where I was ... I was fast approaching Kansas City, Missouri, from the Kansas side of the Missouri River ... someplace I hadn't been in over 25 years. As I came to this realization I turned to the other occupants of my car to ask how in the world we came to be in Kansas only to find that I was now the only person in the car.
This was the point that I woke up, back in my own room and, blinking to clear the sleep from my eyes, hit the night-light on my alarm clock to find that it was 3:30 AM (guess I was too late ... we always left the bars in Topeka and headed for the other side of the border because the bars on the other side of the river stayed open until 3:30 in the morning). I got out of bed to answer the call of nature and tried to make sense of my dream while I stood in my darkened bathroom taking care of business.
It slowly came to me that what I dreamt wasn't just a creation from the dark recesses of my booze-addled brain, rather it was a flash of memory, actually a combination of a number of memories, mixed and muddled as dreams are. It struck me how very fortunate I've been that for whatever damage my drinking has done, to myself and those I've cared for (and who've cared for me), at least I'd never taken another life. Considering how many times I'd driven after drinking, even when, as in my dream, I'd come out of a blackout to find myself behind the wheel of a car (which happened on more than one occasion), I have been damned fortunate, far more fortunate than I deserve.
How the hell did I get here in one piece? I'm not looking for an easy answer to that question ... just something to be mindful of as I move forward. With that I'll close for now.
This is me, another 24 hours sober.