I haven’t been so great about putting these up every week. Sorry about that. If you have a story and you’d like me to post it, please contact me! Karen talks about the Booze Free Brigade board and you can find that here.
Now here’s Karen:
It isn’t my first “day one.” But I hope it is my last. I have reason to believe that it will be. I made it a week without drinking recently. I wanted to be sober, but I hadn’t completely given in. I left room for doubt, and all too soon I was back to the booze. I wanted to quit again very soon after I started the drinking back up. I knew that my drinking days were numbered. But I didn’t think I could face our two trips this summer sober, so I thought I would wait. I didn’t want to quit and be painfully dry for a couple of weeks between trips, so I thought it would be better to just keep drinking. And then last night I couldn’t get drunk. Not for lack of trying, mind you! It just eluded me. I must have been physically inebriated, because I had that numb sensation in my face that makes you feel like you’re wearing a warm mask, but I couldn’t get the precise feeling I wanted, that liquidity of my entire being that I once loved so very very much and had come to need. I really wanted to disappear into the booze last night, but it was like a mirage in the desert that kept receding. I only gave up because I didn’t want my husband to notice too much of the liquor gone and suggest that I cut back or take a break. I didn’t think I was done yet.
I woke up at dawn with a stomach ache, feeling shaky and sick. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. And in the bathroom with the first rays of light coming through the window, I came to the point of total surrender. I had come close to it before, had even partially surrendered, like testing it out. But I had left a tiny possibility open that maybe I didn’t have to quit forever, that maybe I was addicted but not alcoholic, and could break the addiction and be able to drink like a “normal” person. And that tiny crack widened day by day, until it was a wide open hole that I leapt out of when I drank again. But this morning I let go, and gave in completely. I thought about the first step, and as I turned the words over in my mind, I felt their truth. There is no doubt that I feel powerless over alcohol. I have demonstrated it to myself over and over again. And oh yes, my life has become unmanageable for me. From the outside it might not look it, maybe not yet, but for me, it is. And it had been getting worse.
I know with perfect certainty that everything is going be okay. I know it because sober women have been telling their stories online, in their blogs and on the BFB board. I started reading the blogs, and joined the BFB, and began blogging myself, and found incredible support and a safe place to explore what was going on with my drinking. I started to see what was possible if I not only quit drinking but went into recovery. I dipped a toe in that pool, and then freaked out. I shuttered my own blog so that no one could see it (but didn’t delete it – some part of me didn’t want to destroy it, and I’m thinking about opening it up again and maybe writing there again too, in case it helps me or anyone else). I fled the BFB and considered deleting the email account linked to it. I decided I was someone who just loved drinking, and unless or until it got crazy out of control or was harming my health, I wasn’t going to stop. And I stayed away from reading the blogs or the BFB for a while. But I couldn’t forget what I had learned. And so I wandered back. And ran away again. And returned. And read, and posted, and read, and posted and posted and emailed with those who reached out. And I know that it was all of this that helped me get to the place I’m in today, finally ready to do whatever it is going to take to not just quit drinking but to be in recovery and achieve sobriety. I’m sticking with the BFB, and the online meetings I’ve recently explored, but I’m also going to go to AA meetings where I live, because I’ve come to know that it’s the way for me to get where I want to go and become who I want to be.
I’m telling you all of this because I believe that it is critical to find a safe place to tell your truth to people who will completely get it. If you can find the courage to walk into some kind of recovery meeting, that’s probably the best way. But if you can’t, for whatever reason, at least keep reading these blogs and join the BFB group (you can do it anonymously) and read the posts and know that you can tell the truth there, when or if you are ready. (It doesn’t mean you’ll end up having to go to AA, if that’s a roadblock for you. There are other paths to sobriety, and some people find that they can learn to moderate their drinking. I’m choosing AA because I’ve seen it work for others, for people who have been where I’ve been and now have the kind of life I desperately want.)