This will require some thought because the last thing I want is to use someone else’s bad situation to polish my ego, but sobriety has once again delivered and it makes me feel really good. ‘Good’ is perhaps the wrong word, because it’s not in any way ‘good’ that someone I care about is hurting, but it does make me feel solidly content that I can be the person who’ll come through for a friend in need if she needs me. Let’s call her Kitten because she’s quite small and cute. Kitten messaged me this morning and asked if there is any way that I can get to her and be around for a week. She’s suffered depression and anxiety for years and is right now going through an especially rough patch. Dark thoughts are creeping up on her and she needs someone around, to talk and for company but also to help with every day things like cooking and stuff. Someone to lean on.
First thing to conclude is thank God she reached out to Sober Me. Reaching out full stop is something to be grateful for, obviously, so regardless of to whom it’s a huge victory. But what if she’d reached out to Drunk Me of say, a few years ago? Because I – like most people – care about my friends, I would have wanted to help and I would have had a huge emotional reaction and promised the earth. I would have wanted to be there for her with all my heart! But I wouldn’t have been able to follow through. I wouldn’t have been able to make arrangements, take that flight and then a train to get to her, never mind be around for HER. If I’d made it there…. HAHAHA! Sometimes I really do end up writing utter fucking bullshit before I catch myself! TWAT! What a ridiculous thought – let’s face it, I wouldn’t have because when I was drinking several friends got married and I was too wrecked to make it to weddings just across town, let alone abroad. That fact never stopped me from promising anything though and every single time that I did make promises I genuinely wanted so much to keep them. I think I felt I’d manage somehow but of course when push came to shove I never could.
But even if I’d miraculously made it over to her, I wouldn’t have been able to be present for her. A week without drinking? Oh, I think not. So if I, against all odds, had managed to fight my way through Heathrow, a flight and all the anxiety this entails with a hangover, the airport at the other end and getting myself on to a train to a town I’ve never set foot in before, I would have been useless for Kitten. What she needs is someone to be there for her and how could I possibly have been when the Beast was demanding my full attention? So if anything, I would have made it worse for her because suddenly she would have had a drunk person in her home. Oh that’s a lie – I wouldn’t have made it there! Being there for her would have meant helping her with things like food shopping and how is that EVER going to happen when I’m too hungover to even get out of the house? No, Kitten’s hopes may have been falsely raised by my over promising and then this friend would have failed her by under delivering and left her in her hopeless loneliness whilst I sailed off into another black-out.
Again, this isn’t designed to show what a great friend I am – what I’m trying to tell you is what great friends we’re all able to be when we’re sober. I’ve not made a single promise I can’t or won’t keep. I told her I’d get to her if I can. I told her I’d have to check hubby’s schedule (he travels a lot and the coming few weeks are MAD) because Bambino can’t be home alone over night (although he’d LOVE that!). I’ve done exactly that. There is a stretch of days I can give her. I’ve checked flights and I’ve checked trains. I gave her the dates and asked her to think it over.
“I want you to come over,” Kitten told me without skipping a beat.
“OK, then I’ll go over the details again with hubby and check with my boss if I can have those days off,” I told her, “it might be a no but I’ll do what I can.”
I’ve not said to her that I’ll be there because I don’t yet know for sure that I’ll be able to. I’ve told her I will be there if I can. If my bosses say no, then it won’t work but I tried. It won’t be because the Beast is busy killing me. I won’t let her down because I’m too fucked from a hangover. And being unable to drink won’t be what stops me going either. If I can’t go I haven’t broken any promises or let anyone down. And if my bosses let me have those days off and I can go, then I get to be someone who is of help and can focus her full attention on a friend who needs it.
That’s Sober Me. A solid, dependable person who will calmly do her best and not make promises she can’t keep. Maybe I need to get this ego of mine in check, but besides feeling worried and sad for a friend I care about, it also made me feel calm and secure to know I’m the right person to reach out to. I can now be the person who won’t just answer a text message but who will actually show up too. This is who I am, this is who I was all along but drinking stole it from me. And that’s how sobriety is once again delivering and giving me a life I am so privileged to have – no, this isn’t about me, but WOW how amazing to be able to be there for someone who needs you and I am more grateful for that gift than I am able to tell you. I don’t go around thinking I’m this super amazing person, but the fact that I am now able to be the best version of me is something I’m grateful for every last fucking day. Talk about life changing. With sobriety I’m suddenly in a position to do myself proud once in a while. Be USEFUL. Be the person who will catch you if you fall. Finally.
I’ve sent the e-mail asking for those days off.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is how amazing it is that Kitten has reached out. Perhaps as a veteran of war in the depression stakes she knows the ropes, who knows, but I am so proud of her. I’ve not experienced it myself so I don’t know or understand what depression feels like, but I know very well how much it takes to say those words: help me. No matter what we’re up against, in my opinion that’s the biggest, scariest and most important step we take.
Today I’m not going to drink.