I feel a bit emotionally exhausted. I tossed up all afternoon about going or not going and then I sat out front in the car literally quaking with anxiety. I think the hardest thing I have ever done was get out of the car, cross the road and walk into the church hall. I had to force myself for every step.
I listened for a while and had pretty much convinced myself I was in the wrong place. One guy had been to jail 17 times. SEVENTEEN! I don’t have so much as a speeding fine on my rap sheet. He was hilarious, though, and used “fuck” for punctuation, which is something that I always like in a person. Another guy came out of a blackout sometime a long time ago (because he has been sober as long as I have been alive) holding a shotgun in a city street. Anyway, I was invited to share and next thing I was a crying mess and all the scary dudes who weren’t actually very scary at all were handing me tissues and assuring me I was in totally the right place.
I don’t know if this is some kind of epiphanic, life-changing thing for me or not. What I mainly felt was an enormous sense of relief for taking a bigger step than I have ever taken before towards admitting that I’m not handling this very well on my own.
I don’t want to be sitting in a church hall in 20 years time, telling people about how I lost my family, or started drinking in the morning, or blacked out and hurt somebody. I know it doesn’t have to get that bad. I just don’t know whether I belong now or not.
It’s day 4, anyway. I had a nice weekend. Spent quality, outdoor time with the kids. Slept blissfully. Taught a dance class and then stayed afterwards to work on some choreography with more energy and creativity than I have felt in a long time. These are all the nice things I get to have when I am not drinking.
Because what I am doing/have been doing for the past 3 years is clearly not working. If it was working, I wouldn’t be fighting off an evil hangover at work on a Thursday morning with the barely-adequate remedies of mint tea and salty chips. I wouldn’t have gone out last night intending to have one drink with an old friend and instead having an unknown but assuredly enormous quantity of Pinot noir while at the very same time subjecting my poor friend to an emotional rant about how much my drinking worries me.
To that end, I have decided to take the advice you’ve all been giving me for years and go to an AA meeting. There is one on Sunday afternoon. I don’t expect this will be some kind of magical cure for anything, but it might be one thing to put in my (currently very empty) sober toolbox.
If I could just put some willpower and self love in there as well, I might not find myself full of aches and regret at my desk every week, promising that this will be the last time.
I’m back. It’s been a while. I’m still stuck in this cycle – binge drink, regret it, stay sober for a few days, binge drink, repeat.
Lots of good things have happened this year, aside from that. I’m working hard and feeling more confident in my abilities. The children are all at a beautiful age. My marriage is strong and full of laughter. We are financially more secure than we’ve been in a long time.
I’m still terrified about how much I drink. I worry about it almost constantly when I’m not actually drinking. I’m still horribly hungover for two days of every week. I still have regular blackouts. It’s still hard to reconcile the person I am sober with the person I am drunk.
I have not made any conscious, determined attempts to stay sober for a long time, but I am starting today. I’m not going to keep blogging about relapses any more. It’s not helpful to me or anyone else.
I desperately want to get past the struggle of early sobriety to a place where I am at peace with it. Throw me all your ideas for the coming weeks. Remind me I am cared for. Tell me it will be worth it.