To set the record, I was drunk on Christmas again. I have been, to varying degrees, for years. I’m never drunk in the morning (though I certainly tie one on Christmas Eve), but I usually start sometime after lunch. That’s not my M.O. when I drink at home, but with so many people around, it certainly is. I had a bottle hidden upstairs in a corner covered by a pillow. Every thirty minutes or so, I’d dash upstairs and a have a cup of wine, and then pop downstairs, more relaxed and able to put up with insanity.
Also, I realized the Christmas Eve post may have led some to believe that by “changing my life,” I meant I was going to stop drinking immediately and self-detox. Nope. I’ve done that before, years ago, and it wasn’t pretty. I’m leery of doing that again. But I did take a step in the right direction today by speaking with my addiction counselor.
Well, I tried to…and I eventually, after several dropped calls and no signal (I’m in a remote area of Florida for the Christmas break, and I have a crappy phone). The whole thing was frustrating, but when I finally spoke to Lindsey, I felt better. Initially, that is, until she administered a checklist to me about my alcohol consumption.
“So according to your answers, I place you at moderately severe in your alcohol dependency,” she said.
Moderately severe? I thought. That’s not good. Of course, it’s not severe, so that’s something. Still, shame washed over me. How had I let it get to this point?
Lindsey went on and asked me about depression, and I told her it was untreated and I’d just kind of accepted it. I was being treated for anxiety with Lexapro, but that was it. “You don’t have to live with depression,” Lindsey said, sounding like a commercial, but her tone was sincere.
“I know,” I said. “But I have been.”
Lindsey told me I should seek out a therapist. I agree, but I’m worried about money. I’m worried what detox will be like. All I have are images from books and movies; I’m afraid I’m going to be locked in a room and a mean-spirited nurse will come in every few hours and grudgingly check my vitals. “Still alive, I see,” she’ll growl and kick me on her way out. I’ll be covered in sweat and shaking, desperate for a drink, and I’ll start making deals with a god I don’t believe in.
But I know that’s not what will happen. That’s my imagination running wild. I don’t wake up shaking in the morning and thinking Boy, if I don’t get a drink in me soon, I’m done for. I can handle this. I’m not going to have a seizure brought on from withdrawal like a cousin of mine did (more on that later).
It’s 4:04 on December, 26. I’ve had four mixed drinks already. I’m an active alcoholic until Monday, and I don’t even want to think about what happens after I go to a treatment center at one o’clock that day. Drinking to get through life is what I know. What I don’t know is how to live sober. But dammit, I’m going to find out.