After my struggle with what I guess some might consider a relapse, or maybe it was just a hiccup to an already slow start without alcohol, I’d like to bring you up to speed on the past 24 hours.
After my post yesterday morning, I spent some time on the phone with my husband, E, where I opened up and told him about the hidden swig that I took out of the vodka bottle on Monday when he was in the other room. I confessed the shame that I felt on Tuesday and the obsessive thoughts to drink again that day and all of the struggles that came along with it. I told him that I was starting to wonder if I ever really could drink again or if this needed to be a forever thing. I shared my fears with him that he might find disappointment in me if I decided I had to live a sober life, that he might think I wasn’t fun anymore and that I would hold him back from having a good time with our drinking friends. Besides being nothing short of supportive and reassuring, he did something that I needed to hear. Instead of telling me not to worry about the drinking and that maybe it was just more of a habit that I could work on moderating, he agreed that my acts of hiding my drinking were definitely not good. He confirmed concerns that having alcoholism run in my family (and his) was just one more reason to take this seriously. He then even offered to remove all alcohol from the home if that is what I needed. Let me tell you, there is a lot of alcohol in this house. On top of having a beautiful built-in wine fridge installed two years ago, we have a full home bar. Not just a piece of furniture, but a bar room with shelves of pretty whiskey bottles all in a row, a perfect setting for entertaining. For him to tell me that he would wipe it all out in an instant spoke volumes that he was taking this seriously. Now, I don’t feel the need to do any of that, at least not in my current state, but there is some relief in knowing that this option exists if it should ever come to that.
I next reached out to an old friend who made a Facebook comment on Tuesday about celebrating an anniversary and how it has been the best few years of his life. Now, he has never outright made the statement, but given the fact that he essentially fell off the radar with his drinking friends over the past few years and also left his job in the alcohol industry, I knew what this meant. Something about the timing of his post compelled me to make contact. In my message, I congratulated him on his success and told him I thought he was very brave and how proud I was of him. Then, I confessed to him that I had been struggling with my own issues with drinking and was starting to work on figuring out the next steps. He gave a very warm and grateful response and offered to help if there was anything he could do. Just saying the words to someone else that knows me was help enough in that moment, and still is in this one.
Later in the afternoon, I gave a full recap of the past couple of weeks to my therapist. I barely let her get a word in as I rattled though the all of the highs of my not drinking and the lows of my falling back into it, but the self-discovery in the process. Then, through gritted teeth, I found these next words escaping my mouth and it was too late to take them back: “I think maybe I just can’t be someone can drink.” As noncommittal as that might sound, just making that statement is maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever said. It seems much easier to admit that I have a problem with alcohol, but this is on another level. This meant that this will be with me for the rest of my life. After poring over all of the positive benefits of not drinking, she called me out and wanted me to tell her about any downsides I might have considered. Downsides? Hell yes, there are downsides I’ve considered! I like to drink. I like the way it makes me feel when I’m in the midst of it. I love, and I mean love the taste of a great glass of wine, and there is nothing quite like a good scotch or bourbon. I would miss the hell out of it and can’t fully picture my life without it, it’s ingrained in me. Most of all, and this is the biggie, I hate the fact that this is the place I have come to. I hated that my dad had an alcohol problem, so how in the hell I did get here after knowing how awful that was? While my situation is not as severe, it’s still a situation. Alcohol has become an issue for me and damn that makes me mad.
I came home at the end of the day feeling wiped out and with no appetite, but still with the urge to walk in the door and say ‘fuck it’ and pour myself a drink. Instead of walking to the wine fridge, I walked to the sofa and fell asleep with my cat. A boring evening to some, but one that I supposed I needed. This morning, when I reached into the cabinet for a coffee mug, there was one staring me down like it does every day. It used to be a favorite, but I didn’t feel right about using it over the past few weeks. Today I took action and into trash it went.
I’m not comfortable with it yet, but I’ll admit right here, right now, that I believe the days of filling up my wine fridge are over. Yeah, I just wrote ‘are’ over and not ‘might be’ over. Talk about big.