“We didn’t wait to hit bottom because, thank God, we could see the bottom.”
Big Book pg. 278
I tell people I haven’t been writing because I’ve been busy with school, but that probably isn’t the whole truth. I’m processing so much internally and each day is so different that I wouldn’t know where to begin and I may be different tomorrow. School is taking up a large part of my energy, but the truth is focusing on recovery is taking a larger part. I ask myself, ‘Recovery from what?’. I still have the voice that says ‘It wasn’t even that bad!’ But the further I get from my sobriety date, the quieter that voice becomes. I don’t really have a topic so I’ll just check in and babble a bit.
Memories from the 20 years of marriage in which I barely drank have been coming. I didn’t drink that one or two beers with my husband, ever. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t want just one. I never saw the point in just one drink! The handful of times I drank in that 20 years, I noticed I drank faster than anyone else, always wanted more, and ended up passing out and/or throwing up. I always blamed it on my teenage years, thinking that’s just the way I learned how to drink. There is some truth to that.
I spoke at a women’s meeting for the first time the other night. I said what got me to stop drinking was ending my fourth relationship in five years with a man who I thought drank too much, so I decided to take my beer goggles off for 30 days. It took that 30 days to realize the problem wasn’t them, it was me. A lot of women laughed, knowingly. I think back to the beginning of each of those relationships, remember consciously trying to stay one drink behind them, and being relieved to find that they drank more than me. Well this is a good match, I would think.
I got a sponsor this month, and started the steps. We flew through 1-3, and were going to begin step 4, which is the hardest. As I wrote in my last post, my 30th day was emotional. I had 2 months this week, and once again found myself unsteady. Grieving. Wondering if it really is going to be forever. Being critical of AA and the word ‘alcoholic’. She said we should stay on step 3 a bit longer, and I felt like a step-failure, but she’s right.
I don’t wonder if I’ll ever be able to drink like a normal person again because I never did drink like a normal person, and I never wanted to. I don’t think I will ever experiment to see if I can have just one or two drinks, now that I took a break, now that I proved I can quit. At this point if I decided to drink again I would want at least a bottle of wine. And that’s what is keeping me sober.
I realize that even though I didn’t get a dui, go to jail, lose my job, drink every day, drink in the morning, get the shakes, or any of the other stories I hear in meetings or read about in the memoirs and blogs I’m immersed in… doesn’t mean I don’t have alcohol use disorder (that’s the clinical term for alcoholism, which I prefer). I was/ am definitely in early to mid-stage alcohol use disorder. And I’m grateful I decided to get off the elevator before it got to the basement.
Last night I went to a beautiful women’s group, only 12 of us and led by one of my oldest, dearest friends. I went with my mom, and we both got chips: mine a 2 month chip, hers a 3 month. She spoke about her relapse in December which landed her in the ICU on a ventilator and then in a Behavioral Health unit. We went to dinner after, and talked about my maternal family line: my aunt, my grandma, 3 out of my 4 great uncles, my great grandfather and most likely my great grandmother, all suffered from alcoholism.
I feel like this post sounds negative and depressing but it is not meant to. It is not easy to face all this, it is serious, but above all hopeful. I’m doing good in school, my mind is becoming clear for the first time in years, and my life is no longer on pause. I can see the future, and a whole world of possibility opening up in front of me. This can be scary at times after so many years of denial and the option of numbing my fears and anxieties. It’s scary to know there is no turning back. But it’s also an incredible relief.