Praying to the Neighbour’s Cat

A flat tyre and you didn’t drink, that’s a great result!” read the text from Red this morning. Well, she’d returned mine telling her of our misfortunes ahead of our Valentine’s dinner last night but I’m engulfed in yet another extreme tiredness tsunami so I was fast asleep when her text arrived.

I’m racking up a solid ten hours of sleep each night and still I’m so ridiculously TIRED. Hubby and I had a lovely date last night – despite the half hour in the cold and the rain changing a flat tyre on his car – and once again I’m thanking my lucky stars for this amazing human being I get to spend my life with, he’s truly amazing and he showed it once again by ordering me to a hot shower to defrost when we got home after which I just passed out. Not drunk. I passed out sober. It was like someone turned the light off and I struggled to even get myself into bed, so tired that even putting my phone on charge seemed like a huge effort. I’m booking an appointment to have bloods done as this is starting to feel suspiciously like anemia. I’ve been anemic in the past so if it’s that it should be easily corrected by a short course of iron tablets. Or, it’s what I also suspect it could be and just a simple case of my poor body recovering from over a decade of heavy drinking. Or alcohol abuse. Don’t mind which term you want to use, both are true.

But back to the flat tyre and not drinking. I think it’s probably true for a lot of alcoholics that the urge to drink might be triggered by mishaps or stressful situations. Although as a drunk I will drink regardless and use whatever is easiest to point to as my excuse for doing so, those situations are actually when I want to drink the least. Stress or negative events or emotions seem to have the opposite effect and had I still been drinking the whole tyre affair would probably have lessened my desire to get stuck into the vino. I would have been much more likely to crave a drink if everything had gone perfectly right and we’d had some excellent and unexpected news – like winning the lottery – en route. But I get her point and I do know that were my circumstances and disposition different I’d have other triggers – the triggers are secondary anyway as us drunks drink because we’re drunks and not because we’re happy or stressed or excited or angry….. ..or whatever we happen to be in that specific moment. For me it’s almost always been an enhancer but I suspect that’s circumstantial more than anything else.

Meeting with another AA friend – let’s call her Ivy because that’s what I can see out of the window in this precise moment – ahead of another meeting this afternoon even though I’d most of all prefer to go straight home for a nap, then stay awake long enough to have dinner before hitting the sack. Honestly, I’ve never felt this tired in my life! I have a “Super Green” smoothie next to me that I am going to pour down my neck in the hope it’ll charge my system a little and I’ve got my thick notebook with me to do some work on my novel before Ivy turns up. I tried to explain the feeling to hubby this morning (after telling him that if he wants to have sex at the moment he will have to assume I’m willing if I have a pulse and just hop on as I’m too tired to be much more than a sack of potatoes – poor guy), that my mind feels sharp and focused but my body is exhausted. So I do feel perfectly wired right now for creativity. Let’s just hope my hand has enough life in it to create notes.

Still figuring out if AA agrees with me as some of the spiritual aspects don’t quite resonate but it’s certainly (and somewhat ironically) been a godsend this far. The bits that make me hesitate are in essence two things:

1. The notion that alcoholism is a disease, described as “an allergy of the body and obsession of the mind“. The general consensus is that there is no cure.

This scares me for two reasons. Firstly, if it’s a disease that would mean that I am a victim in this and choice doesn’t come into it. That doesn’t quite sit right with me because I am such a believer in us all shaping our own destiny. Addiction is very real of course and I will concede that someone in its grip may not be able to help themselves, but I have never experienced physical withdrawal (unless that’s what this tiredness is of course) or found it hard not to pick up that first drink so for me it doesn’t apply in my case in the same way. It also passes the buck a little, like I had no choice or doing whatsoever in the matter. It kinda frees me of responsibility and I don’t like that. I got myself here, period. Secondly, it’s such a bleak diagnosis. AA offers the suggestion that to be successful in recovery and your sobriety you need to continue with meetings and all the (lovely) things AA entails. This is terrifying because that would mean that if AA ceased to exist tomorrow I would be truly and royally FUCKED and sideways too. So that’s hard for me to swallow, unlike Sauvignon Blanc.

2. Recovery and sobriety depend on us surrendering to a Higher Power. 

Again, this scares me for the same reason because it basically means I cannot possibly get myself through this. And for me, who still grapples with what this Higher Power might mean for me personally, this is therefore reduced to place some hope in how I pray – something that is still something I do because I’m willing to give this my best shot and trusting in the process rather than something I do because I feel connected to God or any other entity bigger than us. It worries me a little. Of course, it’s “God as you understand Him” and therefore could be anything at all that feels right, presumably even if it’s the neighbour’s cat you decide to pray to, but at the core it’s for me still putting the responsibility for my drinking someplace other than myself – along with the way out of it!! -and I just don’t know if that feels right.

***

But I will continue and keep an open mind. So for that reason I will head off to have coffee with Ivy, attend the meeting and follow Sparks’ suggestions as best I can. There’s nothing to say that my AA experience or journey of recovery has to follow an exact mould, is there? There’s a lot of talk of yoga and meditation and to be honest I can’t think of a bigger waste of my time than spending an hour in the lotus position and going ohhmmmmmmmmm. But perhaps I can find a way that works for me? Like sitting quietly on the sofa with my eyes closed and count my breaths? Like praying, I doubt it’s only heard and/or answered because you are on your knees and clasping your hands. Who’s to say that a prayer can’t be something you sing when you’re driving? Or a thought that passes through your mind when you press the snooze button in the morning? Well – you can probably tell that I’m not a great believer in rules and my natural instinct has always been to break them, which I realise makes me a pain in the arse but there we are. For the moment, however, I do kneel and I do clasp my hands and it’s “God” I address rather than the neighbour’s cat. It’ll either eventually click or it will turn out my path is a different one. All in good time.

For today though, I will strive to give myself the same gift again: I won’t pick up a drink.

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