Holy cannoli – no sooner do I blog (last week) about having a new type of drinking dream – one in which the choice is mine and I say no – than I go right back to the original kind where it’s already too late. Yep, woke up and felt relieved but I also realised something that’s actually a little scary: I have steered and organised my life in such a way that if I were to slip and fall off the wagon, everything would fall apart. OK, so this is always the case no matter what my life looks like because inviting alcohol up to dance again would obviously mean I’d be destroying myself again. Booze will only ever mean darkness and destruction and eventually death. But the lines have been re-drawn.
I work at a rehab. I abandoned my old “career”. I first contacted them in the summer when I was about eight months sober. They took their time to see me and talk me through what possible paths into this industry would be, but they don’t even allow you to volunteer before you have one year of sobriety under your belt. Hence it wasn’t until the end of January this year that I quit my job in order to pursue this. I sat tight and waited things out for months and it felt like forever.
Not to blow my own trumpet too vigorously or anything (but OK, a little), I think my actions from the beginning underline how much I want to be sober. Almost immediately I told my family and friends – if I’d still deep down had ANY desire to keep drinking I would have left myself with several emergency exits. Nope, I plugged all of those gaps and holes and announcing my decision to those who love me was such an act – because I wanted out of the swamp of addiction so desperately, I figured the harder I made it for myself to sink back in the better my chances would be. If everyone around me knows I’m an alcoholic wanting to stay sober, it’s going to be pretty difficult (or MORE difficult at any rate) to go back. It was my way of putting out life lines all around me. No one in my life now would sit and watch me pour a glass of wine because they all know where it took me. I’ve made it painfully clear to everyone that this is something I will never ever be able to do. If I were to sink back now, they’d all spring into action. That’s a comforting thought. No one can keep me sober but ME, but having those you love aware of your situation means they’ll have your back and call you out if you stumble. There’s nowhere for me to hide now. No I’m-on-holiday excuses to my family when we visit Sweden.
In last night’s drinking dream, it was already too late. I’d been on a massive bender and was going to work. At the rehab. And I woke up just as I had in the dream been hit with the thought “oh shit, what happens now?“.
If I were to drink now, I’d be fucked. Not just because I’m an alcoholic and it’d kill me but because I’ve also decided to dedicate my working life to helping others find sobriety. That would all immediately be ruined. I’d no longer be able to pursue this thing I feel so passionate about. Well – not for another 365 days, anyway. I’d have shot myself in both feet and both kneecaps too. Wowsa.
It’s hard to describe how that feels. On the one hand it makes me feel really good because I’m so serious about this and want nothing else. On the other it’s terrifying to know how I’d wreck my life if I were to drink again, but having said that, it’s not exactly news! That’s always been the case and perhaps the EEK part of it is just the realisation that I’ve structured my life in a way now that means all those outs are well and truly blocked. That’s really just fantastic news, isn’t it? Yes, the desire and strength to stay sober will always have to come from me, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with adding some safety features around me. Like a lovely picket fence along the edges of my Pink Cloud.
Today I’m not going to drink.