My treatment team met last week and determined that I needed one more week of the group setting from 9-4. I didn’t take the news well at first, because classes started yesterday…but they’re right. I’m not ready to go back. I’ve been to three AA meetings, and I’m going to one tomorrow (and getting a sponsor) and going to one Friday and Saturday. I need the support, and I recognize it.
Here’s the other weird thing: I’m starting to reconnect with people. I mean, folks I haven’t talked to in fourteen years. I agree with Charles, the director of my program, that I developed a deep, intimate relationship with alcohol. It became my passion, the ghost I chased, the love I couldn’t live without…and I let it consume me to the point that I didn’t care if I had friends. I had alcohol, and that was enough.
Or so I thought. My brain is slowly coming back online, and it’s bringing up some pretty nasty shit I did to people. I’m not skipping to Step Nine and making amends to folks I’ve hurt, but I’m reaching out. I’m telling some of my co-workers. I’m not big on Facebook these days, but I let some key people know what’s been going on, and 100% responded with kindness and empathy. They told me to call them anytime, and I believe them.
I’m not used to people caring about me, and I’m sure as hell not used to caring about other people…but that seems to be happening the longer I stay sober. My thoughts aren’t racing as much any more; I don’t feel like I have to control everything all the time, and I no longer have to hide in the kitchen and chug wine or beer or vodka and stash the bottles just so I can function until bed-time.
Don’t get me wrong; this is still hard. I mean hard. Getting loaded every night and throughout the weekend was easy; recovery isn’t. Committing to it isn’t. But I’m doing it, and when I start letting my addict brain whisper poisonous words to me–come on, man, just one drink…that’s not a relapse. That’s just taking a break. They probably won’t even piss test you tomorrow. One glass of wine, man, that’s it. One and done. You know how much better you’ll feel? You’ll feel fucking normal, man. Just say you’re running out to the store to get something for the kids’ lunch, drink some on the way home, and then hide that shit. You’re a master at hiding it–I know it’s a lie. It’s a miserable, complete, fucking lie. My addiction doesn’t want me to get better; it wants to feel that euphoria, that warm feeling that I got when I drank. It wants to drown out my kids fighting; it wants to be soothed, over and over, with drink after drink after drink.
The nurse at my treatment place got my blood work back and said my liver was inflamed. Then she looked me dead in the eyes and said, “You cannot drink anymore. Period. Your liver will heal over time, but if you drink again, that’s going to be it.”
I know she’s right. If I start drinking again, I’m going to do it until I drink myself to death. That’s a hard truth, but I feel it in my core. I can’t get that thought out of my head, and I’m glad I can’t.
My name is Robert, and I’m an alcoholic. I’m going on ten days of sobriety. It fucking sucks sometimes, but it’s better than the alternative.