Reality check

3 Apr

10:22 pm

I got a big gush of “whoa” tonight in my attempt to re-read some of the past year’s worth of journal entries. I’ve journaled my entire life, but over the past decade, a lot of it has consisted of miserable, self-hating rants about how horrible I feel to be hung over, what a shit I am to keep doing this to myself, and how lame I am, in general. However, this past year takes the cake: my journal entries were so rambunctious in just how GRUELING it is to get and keep sober, I had to stop reading somewhere around July! It was tiring and confusing and downright tedious going in and out of it all–I mean, the physical and mental stages of withdrawing, and craving, and fearing, and doubting, and wondering, Can I really do this?

For me, that analytical mess has passed, thank God(dess). Yet, I’m not that self-delusional (anymore) to note that, yes, while I’ve changed and somehow managed to outgrow (or, outrun?) all those thoughts, the bottom line is, I still have the tendency toward compulsion. I appreciate all your comments, but mostly, I appreciate the ones who’ve said, A slip IS a big deal because of what it allows you to think, which is, Oh, sure, I can drink! I’m healed!

That’s the voice of compulsion. It’s more like, I give up my autonomy for a prison of the mind. That prison is the need to drink, the compulsion, the wanting, the belief that it’ll work this time. And the door to that locked cell is booze itself.

Confession: I bought a bottle of red wine the other day. (Remember when I said I spent ahem, a “while” staring at the shelves and shelves of cheap, good red wine at a big box store? Well, yeah. I took down one of those bottles, then put it back. Then, took down another, with .5% less alcohol content, and bought it. I know, that .5% is really going to make me SO much less drunk.) It’s been a few days, and I’ve had it in my desk drawer. Well, I finally uncorked it this afternoon and poured it down the kitchen sink. Along with a half-bottle of Stoli and two mini-bottles of Jager (purchased in a near-blackout state; obviously, one almost NEEDS to be unconscious to want to drink Jager).

No, I hadn’t had any of the hard booze these past near-6 months, but…I never dumped it. I guess I never really committed to being sober. DING DONG. Reality check.

I have to say, I was shaking as I opened the bottle of red. I mean, I was nervous. What if my hand suddenly turned and started pouring it down my throat? What if I licked my fingers and just couldn’t help myself? As I watched it drain, I realized I still don’t have much control over my compulsion–it still affects me. Of course, I had no intention of drinking any of it, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure that somehow, it wouldn’t end up in my mouth.

I took a few sniffs of it as I poured, two or three really big whiffs. I thought it would give me the sensation of nausea, but it gave me what felt like my drinking life passing before my eyes in a series of images/memories, most really horrible but some good. And then, to my surprise, came the slightly panicked thoughts: Holy crap, what about all the good times? Am I really giving them up forever?

With the hard alcohol, I was like, Pfft, whatever, don’t let the door hit ya on the way out! Yet…as I proved to myself last year, I would SO totally drink that shit if I was already drunk on red wine. So Totally. And, I know it. DUN DUN. Reality check number two. (I NEVER did that prior to last year, ever ever ever. I wasn’t a hard booze person. Yet, I must admit, as my alcoholism got worse last spring, I WAS hitting the tumblers of vodka, often (depending on how drunk I felt) skipping the mixer entirely.)

What’s the lesson? I’m a bit scared. I thought I had this licked, but yet, I was shaking with an actual fear that I–my physical person–was not one of mind. That somehow, I might lose my head and in a flash, start gulping down wine! And, that this is a compulsion that I can’t seem to manage.

In all my journaling and thinking over the past few days, I can sum it up in a few sentences: I like living without a crutch, without having the option of running home to wine. Drinking is a prison; outside of this, I learn–mainly about myself, what makes me tick. And, it’s a given that, regardless of how I FEEL about not drinking, when I don’t drink, my life moves forward and when I do, it doesn’t.

So, September 14th, folks. My 180-day mark. I feel relieved. And, strong. Happy to be (back?) inside what appears to be a clear bubble, in which the entire world is reflected back at me. And…one last thing:

*glitter ball* times two, heading right at me!

(*glitter ball* means, my unicorn has spit one out of her horn, and it’s flying your way in a tiny flame-tail of explosion and firecracker and goodness)

10 Responses to “Reality check”

  1. Lilly April 4, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    Oh thank fucking Christ. I’m really happy to read this as I’ve been pretty worried about you. Just as the slip seemed to be on its way, you drinking again (and again) seemed potentially on its way too from your recent posts.

    Yeah, sure, maybe you could drink briefly then come to your senses and get back on track but… y’know… maybe not. Maybe you’d drink once more, twice more, then plunge back down into that pit. I feel like I’ve read too many stories of people this happened to and it took them months or years to come back out and it will only get HARDER to.

    I am really, really glad you are owning up about the wine and that you ditched that shit. You don’t need it. I know it’s hard – we all know it’s hard. But, really, is getting/being sober *really* harder than being a self-loathing drunk? I don’t think so and I don’t think you think so either. Get back in that unicorn saddle babe. And keep riding. And keep posting.


  2. Lisa Neumann April 4, 2013 at 4:10 am #

    I sometimes still have that feeling over things. That “who the bleep is living in my body” feeling. I don’t have it with booze, but I have it with other stuff. And it can still be totally scary. Excellent awareness for me tonight. Getting in touch with the fact that I need to be of sound mind if I want to keep moving forward in life (and I do). Good stuff. You are way cooler in early sobriety than I ever was. I was a dork who asked too many questions. OMG … I still ask you too many questions don’t I????
    ps thanks for the definition

  3. risingwoman April 4, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    Ditto two. Thank fucking Christ.

    I remember about 6 years ago, when my postpartum depression was at its absolute worst, I went out to a bar and ordered a glass of wine. I sat there and stared at that thing for an hour – just stared and stared. Then I got up and walked out, leaving it on the table.

    The urge to drink is SO HUGE. It’s like a wave, pulling us in, beating us down. I am so happy that you managed to extract yourself, and walk away. Are you proud of yourself??

  4. Belle (Tired2012) April 4, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    ditto three, thank fucking christ. yes, there are compulsions … but there’s also the madness of having the bottles of temptation hanging around the house, waiting quietly for you to have a weak moment. i personally sucked at pouring out booze, i got my husband to do it. i knew i didn’t want to drink it, but i wanted him to dispose of it … it gets easier. you learn to count on your ‘new’ self to deal with the compulsions. but until then… be safe and happy and running and risk-free πŸ™‚

  5. Amy April 4, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Ditto four. πŸ™‚ TFC.

    The other day husband and I were at the grocery together and he said, “I was thinking of getting a bottle of red wine…” And I immediately felt nervous, and could see myself worrying over it, pouring it straight from the bottle into my mouth then grabbing the keys to go buy cigarettes, a twelve pack of beer and two more bottles of wine. So, I said: “No. I’m not ready for that yet.” It’s funny how, in my little sober cocoon I don’t see what’s really going on sometimes: I’m still really scared I might drink again, even with my never planted firmly in my head.

    Just don’t drink sister. Just don’t. Start just randomly running around if you feel like you have to. You can’t run and drink wine. πŸ™‚

    • Just Some Woman April 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      Ditto five. It used to not bother me when I was “holding” beer or something in my frig for someone. I had no trouble with it at tempatation for years. It’s a different story now that I “tested” my alcholism and got progressively worse. There can’t be any beer in the fridge. Not ever. Like you were thinking, maybe my arm would have a mind of it’s own and the shit would jump into my mouth instead of the sink. So yes, I have THE FEAR. What the works for ME! Proud of you DDG.

  6. Semi-sober momma April 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Ditto 5 – TFC. I tried moderation and I suck at it. Suck the big one. Suck-a-ruck-a-ding dong. It’s annoying to think that other people can drink moderately but oh well…life sucks sometimes. But it’s also awesome…especially when you’re not hungover. Good for you, GF.

  7. carrythemessage April 5, 2013 at 1:47 am #

    Good for you on telling on yourself. Makes a big difference, doesn’t it? not holding anything back? Honesty, willingness, open-mindedness. The holy trinity of getting a good start on things. Letting go of what doesn’t serve you. Removing old thoughts and ideas. Seeing that you’re not being deprived of something, but you are getting relief of it. You are gaining something in return. You are no longer carrying a weight that burdens you. So throwing that poison down the sink – a symbol for what we do. And like you, I remember the good times. But you know what, those days are done. For good. That is, the day that I had a few glasses of wine and it felt great and I was one with the Universe, etc. that day is done in the books. I will never get that day again. Like I can’t get the day back where my first son was born. That day is done. I will never get that day again. Like I can’t get the day where I got arrested for driving drunk with that same son in the back seat. That day is done. I will never get that day again. So, no matter *what* kind of day I have had in the past, it’s DONE. I look at today, what can I do today to make my life better, and more importantly, how can I make someone else’s life better? Booze does not enter into the equation any more. Period.

    Your post was like a volcano bursting forth what it no longer needed. I hope this is the change and the time you see where you need to be.

    Great to be alongside you on this journey – and all your friends above and beyond wish you the best as well.


  8. Mrs D April 5, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    can I jump on the ditto bandwagon???? Ditto 6! I felt nervous when I read this post and when you wrote of uncorking the bottle nervously.. then ‘phew’ when you poured it down the sink .. then nervous again with the big wiffs. That nasty fucking booze.. it is NOT OUR FRIEND!!! You are doing great, really. xxx

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