Monthly Archives: December 2012
Last week i went to the office Christmas party. i’ve been working in the same company for 20 years and at the beginning i loved the annual excuse to get trashed, then i grew to hate the Friday hangover so severe death seemed the only cure so i stopped going altogether.
This was the first one i’ve been to in sobriety and the results were mixed.
- i was less comfortable than i’d hoped
- i ate way too much as i nibbled when i would have sipped before
- Several people went out of their way to let me know how glad they were i’d showed up (everyone knows i’m sober and in AA, so they’d expected me to blow off the party again)
- i felt more comfortable when my coworkers started getting drunk
- A drunken Irish girl vaguely flirted with me by daring herself to see how many Mince Pies she could fit in her mouth at one time
In a couple days, i’ll be flying out of Yeaman to spend around 10 days with my family. In the past, i felt a need to stay trashed throughout the entire holiday season. i believed the only way i could support the holidays was if i was leaning against it with a glass in hand. Now, i understand my drinking is what made the holidays so stressful.
To all my readers, thank you for your support this year. Your presence on this blog and in my life has made sobriety more fun than it should be 😉 .
May next year see your dreams reachable and your challenges surmountable.
Indie genius Hip Hip poet Macklemore is addicted to codeine based cough syrup. In 2008, his breakout hit “Otherside” put him on the rap map as he bantered about overcoming his addiction to “easter pink” or “purple rain”.
In October 2012, he released the truly inspiring album The Heist with Ryan Lewis. On it, the song “Starting Over” tells the very personal story of his relapse. In an intimate and eloquent song, he describes the pain of letting down both loved ones and fans he helped in sobriety, and he explains the reasons for his relapse.
Like so many others, I just never thought I would
I never thought I would
Didn’t pick up The Book
Doin’ it by myself
Didn’t turn out that good
i’ve been sober for over 23 months and 4 days as of today. i’m extremely fortunate that i have been able to stay sober so long on my first try.
That i have not relapsed has nothing to do with personal strength or wanting it more or trying harder. If i’ve avoided a relapse it’s because i recognize that i’m weak and will never be able to control my drinking, so i let my Higher Power and others do it for me.
My continued sobriety is also thanks to those in the rooms and here online that have relapsed. In each of their stories i see my own and, as i know i’m no better than they are, their relapses serve to remind me how vulnerable i am. Each harrowing tale, disappearing face and name that evaporates on my blog roll frightens me and forces me to rise up from my laurels and fight like my life depends on it.
Because it does.
For those of you who have relapsed, know that your experiences are not wasted but serve to aid others who suffer. And remember, it is never too late to stop for the last time.
Here in Yeaman, the drinking age is 18. My son turned 18 Friday.
Obviously, this presents some concerns for me. My parents are big drinkers, my mother’s parents were alcoholics and my father’s father was what he called a “skid row bum” (though my paternal grandfather eventually sobered up with AA). If drinking is hereditary, my son is stuck with used, hand-me-down genes.
He had a party at our apartment at lunch time (he lives with me while going to college and doesn’t have class on Friday, as opposed to me, who never has any class 😉 ). He made lunch for 6 of his friends before meeting me later that evening for dinner.
During our meal together we talked about his party and he described his friends and showed me some of the gifts he’d received and we discussed the spaghetti carbonara he’d made. He didn’t mention what they drank until i reminded him that he was now of legal age.
“You know I’ve already had a beer,” he said.
“Yeah, there was that one weekend you ran away to go to a party and came back home drunk. And once, i saw a photo you were tagged in on Facebook. It was a party and i saw cans of beer but i also saw bottles of water and Coke and orange juice so it seemed pretty responsible to me so i didn’t say anything. i trust you.”
“Well, we had a six pack today for lunch. Each of us had a beer.”
“Do you think I’ll be like you?” he asked, and i knew he meant about alcoholism.
“You’re already not. The first time i ever drank alcohol, i couldn’t stop until i was totally drunk. You’ve already proved you can have just a little. Plus, with your school work, you know when you’re in over your head and you ask for help. You already saw what i went through with drinking, so you know what it looks like if you start to have the same problems. If that happens, i’ll be right here to help.”
He seemed relieved after that, and we had a fantastic evening together.
That i’m worried abut my son’s becoming an alcoholic is normal. That he’s worried about it is reassuring.
When i was in university i didn’t wash my sheet during my senior year. At the end, it was a mural containing the stains that painted the story of my life.
Now, i make my bed every morning. i do the laundry weekly, iron my shirts on Sunday night and clean my sheets every other week.
When i was drinking, everything was a big deal. Cleaning was huge deal. Writing was a huge deal. Following through was a deal so huge there was no point in even trying.
In the past, everything was such a big deal in my head that i couldn’t even begin to begin. Now, because i’m not afraid to start, i understand that chores and articles and friendships are molehills and not the mountains i’d made of them. One of the things i’m grateful for in sobriety is that i can start things.
Being “right-sized” is not just a question of putting myself in correct perspective, but the life around me as well.
i’m a cat person, so it makes sense i have a cat’s life. i’m not very demonstrative, can be aloof, like to be on my own and am not a big fan of going outside. But i need to have a dog’s life.
Sunday was a super sunny in Yeaman, but i didn’t need to go outside so i didn’t. That night, as i lay myself down with my weekly Sunday blues, i understood that, like a dog, i need to go outside at least once a day.
In my drinking days i was able to live inside an alcohol bubble, cut off from the universe. Isolating, however, is dangerous for me because, when i withdraw from the world, i forget i’m part of it. When i’m not a part of humanity but apart from it, i lose touch with reality and, like a shipwreck survivor lost at sea with nothing on the horizon, i lose all sense of perspective.
i need to walk myself, like a dog, to keep myself grounded.
Sorry in advance if i pee on your shoes or hump your leg.
In Year 1 of recovery, i was so excited to be free of the disease that i did not care where i had come from. Now in Year 2, the sheer distance i’ve covered makes it impossible not to notice where i was.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
That quote is from the AA Big Book, more specifically The Promises. That quote is testament to the fact that i am not fully recovered, because i still disagree with many of my readers and harbor regrets about my past actions.
Lately, memories come back to me at random moments, like stepping on shards of broken mirrors hidden in the carpet. Memories of how i mistreated friends, hurt those that love me, and even damaged my children cut me to my core.
The further i distance myself from the asshole i was, the more i realize what an asshole i was. It hurts to see how i behaved. That i did not know better does not lessen the pain.
That it means i am far enough removed from that guy to be shocked, however, does take away the sting, if only a little.