Happy Friday to you!
The restlessness is making me twitchy, I just want to get going with the weekend now – head home, go for a manicure (how very Housewives of Beverly Hills of me!), sort Bambino out before he is off to his dad’s for the weekend, then go for a run and this evening make the apartment all welcoming and Christmassy for hubby who lands at 5am tomorrow morning. Drunk Me would usually sleep through (I think it was twice that I woke because hubby rang, stranded at the airport and wondering if he needed to get in a taxi – eesh, I cringe thinking about it), but Sober Me is very dependable so I’ll be drinking my morning coffee at 4am before getting in the car to go and collect him. He’ll no doubt be jetlagged after a week adjusting to being eight hours ahead so I’m going to tone down my over excitement and let the poor guy have a bit of peace. Joy to the world and all that. Well, he can be an exhausted hot mess for all I care – emphasis on ‘hot’ – as long as I get to climb all over him, steal his body heat (I’m always cold and he’s always toasty) and generally just smoosh him silly.
Yep. It’s more than enough to get me in a really brilliant mood!
For those of you who know me a little better, this might just get you a little worried – a good mood was always my biggest trigger – but let me reassure you that at this present time there is no part of me that wants to drink. Not one bit. Sorry to go all I’ve-seen-the-light evangelical on you, but every goddamn time I think about this it makes me feel so grateful and relieved I could just weep. I don’t want to drink! It’s magic. I don’t actually know how else to describe it. MAGIC.
Of course, this didn’t just happen. I’m at this point and found sobriety after the slippery slope of alcohol abuse had begun to get extremely steep. You know, it always only ever goes downwards but in my case it was so slowly at first that it was only when I was actually in trouble that I realised it. The line was so bloody fine! One day you can keep it up and the next you discover you’re too fucked up to function, yet you only did what you’ve done for quite a long time. You cannot keep going like I was though – eventually it’ll start to catch up with you and it did for me. Even though my extreme drinking went on for over a decade, it’s amazing what you can get away with for the longest time. Well. It got shitty and I got scared and I wanted to get off that runaway train. I consider myself lucky that I got to a point where I’d had enough, that this happened before I’d begun to really suffer irreparable and irreplaceable losses. PHEW. I’m also very grateful that my turning point was one I got to myself and not one I was forced into with a big fat OR ELSE.
It was me who’d had enough. It was my eyes that opened. It was me who wanted to stop. And it was me who did stop. And I stopped because I truly no longer wanted to drink. It was no longer a case of “I need to stop but still crave a drink” – the appeal of a drink all but died. Since then I have taken immense care to at least begin to unpack all the things that alcohol was to me and what I thought it did. I needed to inspect all of those pieces carefully, hold them up to the light and understand what they were. What I discovered was (and is – this is and probably always will be an on-going process) that it was all an illusion and that booze is nothing other than a filthy poison that never did any of the things I thought it did. It never made happy happier, it never made fun funnier and it never added even the tiniest benefit. I feel grateful every single day that I am free from its evil trap and consider myself so, so fortunate that I got to that point where I could walk away. Or rather – the point where I wanted to walk away. After all, it isn’t hard to stop yourself from doing something you no longer want to do.
When getting sober I consider this a luxury – God help me if I’d had to rely on will power or some sort of distraction, I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes. Well, just like previous attempts at sobriety had failed. Those attempts failed for one reason only: I still wanted to drink. Honestly, that’s all there is to it. I wasn’t able to stop (or at least I didn’t!) as long as there was the tiniest part left in me wanting to keep on drinking. Only when I reached a point where I felt done with it and genuinely had enough could I get sober.
From what I’ve learned so far, sobriety appears to be a very individual thing so I’m not saying my way is the best way or the only way. I know lots of people who got sober in lots of different ways. I have used the analogy of childbirth before – whatever results in the delivery of a healthy baby, I don’t think it matters much if it was with the help of an epidural, a c-section or whilst doing a bit of gardening and baby just gracefully popped out amongst the roses. Who cares? I see sobriety the same way and I do try to be respectful and not preach when someone does it in a way that I can’t understand or relate to. If what keeps you sober is running around your house naked three times at dawn every morning, good on’ya.
What I do try to do, is absorb all I can from other sober folk – the whys, the hows and so on. There are lightbulb moments on pretty much a daily basis. I want to know about the pitfalls, I want to hear about the struggly bits, I want to learn about all these stages we all seem to go through in sobriety – that’s the one thing we all do seem to have in common regardless of our methods. Stages. There’s the acceptance. Then there’s hope. Then there’s summoning up the oomph to make a change. Then we untangle and unpack all that stuff. We contemplate. We want to put things right. We seem to discover and get to know ourselves again. We find a better way. And perhaps the one thing I seem to find in every single person: the genuine, passionate and sincere wish to help the next person find their path too. That’s probably the most overwhelming thing I feel – I want to scoop up Drunk Me in my arms and hold her, tell her this life is possible and that it’s within her grasp to find it. And I regularly – as conceited and smug as this may sound – want to high five Sober Me. Sorry, not sorry – I like this version of me. I’ve got this.
And yet, having said all of that, the one thing I need to always remember and keep at the forefront of my mind is that relapsing is so, so easy. The more distance I cover between Drunk Me and the present day, the more the negatives of drinking are likely to fade. One day my brain could trick me again. And that’s why sobriety will always have to be my absolute focus and priority. It doesn’t have to consume me but it can never slip into neglect because the moment I lose sight of it I’ll be in trouble. Big trouble.
Today I’m not going to drink.