Last week kicked my butt! My IOP is for three hours first thing in the morning from Mon-Thurs. When I’m done with group, I go to work until 9. I’m out the house for around 13 hours a day, and those first three hours are rough emotionally. By the time Thursday evening rolled around, I was ready to collapse. Friday morning I was admitted to a local hospital for a minor surgical procedure that I had scheduled a couple months before. The rest of my weekend was pretty uneventful: lots of rest, reading and icing my surgery site. Due to my recovery, I didn’t get to any AA meetings over the weekend. My counselor was aware of this ahead of time, and I will resume meetings this weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun).
My first day of IOP was rough, as it is for everyone. I detest being the newbie, and of course my awkward shy side came out in full force. By the next session on Monday, I felt much more at ease. I chuckled as one of my classmates told me he was “happy to have another alcoholic here”. Most of my group are addicts or addict/alcoholics. Who knew us alchies would be outnumbered? Later in the week on his graduation day, this same guy told me in front of the class that I was an inspiration for bouncing back from this horrific wreck, and having almost six months of sobriety under my belt (most of which has been all on my own). I was floored. Just a really great feeling. Never in a million years would I have believed that someone would call me an inspiration after all of this.
And so begins another week. I’m hoping to start sharing some of my drinking horror stories here, as I feel it’s important to remember why I’m here and why I’m doing all of this. Also, if it makes someone else feel better (as in, hey! I’ve been there too!) then great. Oh, and a quick word to all of you who have reached out to me since I’ve started blogging here a couple weeks ago. Thank you! It’s great to have such a large support system, online, in class, and at meetings. It really means a lot to me, and I hope you all have a great week.
My weekend was rather eh, but I did attend my first two AA meetings. It feels really good to be with others like myself, with people who get it. I even went through some of the Big Book on my own later at home (like a Big Girl!).
All week I had been looking forward to hanging out with a friend of mine. I used to do a LOT of drinking with this friend, but we also would have dinner/movie date nights when we never drank. Those have continued since I’ve been sober, though I have pangs of longing when I see via the dreaded Facebook that she is hanging out at “our place”, our Cheers bar. We had plans Saturday for lunch and possibly hiking, but she canceled. Part of the reason she canceled was that she was broke. I know that she dropped a bunch of money on her car that week, but thanks to Facebook I also knew that she was out drinking the night before. I was so angry, because it seems like alcohol still wins even when I’m not drinking.
According to my treatment counselor, I should drop her and all my former drinking buddies. Easier said than done, and I know that you’ve all been there. It sucks. This person in particular, she’s become like a sister to me. It’s hard for me to consider severing ties, especially since we do not drink together anymore when we get together. But I let her canceling on me ruin my day. In fact, the entire day ended up being a comedy of errors. Just one stupid thing happened after another, and soon enough, I was wishing that I could have a frosty pint of IPA or a delicious fall seasonal. Just sit and relax with a beer (which most likely will lead to many more). I ended up stifling the urge later with ice cream. That’s something else I need to work on, but fuck it, ice cream is so much better than undoing everything I’ve worked hard for these past five months.
That next morning I attended my first AA meeting, and was welcomed quite warmly. Sunday morning I attended another meeting, this one at the hospital where I am doing my IOP. It was a huge group, and my IOP counselor was also in attendance. Great beginner’s group. And holy shit, alcoholics are so damned friendly! I’m still not used to random people hugging me or just coming up and introducing themselves. It’s pretty great, and like I mentioned before, it’s great just being with like minded people. Though I squirmed a bit at the end of each meeting when we all held hands and recited The Lord’s Prayer. My best friend gave me a great idea yesterday. She told me to pick Joe Strummer as my higher power! I am a music fanatic, and The Clash are one of my all-time faves. I think St. Joe can handle being my HP, and it will make me smile to think of him watching over me and guiding me down the right path.
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’m not ready to call myself an alcoholic or an addict. My brother and I had lunch on Saturday, and I was catching him up on my life, that I attended my driver’s intervention program a few weeks back, that it was really positive, and that they recommended that I have a drug and alcohol assessment, that I wasn’t surprised by this since I attended the program voluntarily, knowing that I have a drinking problem. When I told him about the assessment he said, “But you’re not an alcoholic”. He was the last person to see me the night of my car crash. He asked me if I was okay to drive then, and of course I was vehement in my response that YES, I AM FINE. DUH. Famous last words. That I don’t even remember saying. But I digress. Today was my first day in my treatment program. The first question my counselor asked me was if I considered myself an alcoholic or an addict.
(hesitation on my part)
Counselor: “Okay, so you’re not there yet”.
I’m hellbent on getting better, on staying sober, but I’m not yet ready to label myself an alcoholic.
That being said, my first day of treatment was a little difficult. The program aligns with AA, and the whole higher power and religious aspect of AA makes me uncomfortable. I’m not an atheist, I like to think there’s something out there, but I just don’t know what it is. So everyone saying the Serenity Prayer together twice over the course of three hours was unsettling to me. This is going to be a long couple of months. Obviously I’m going to do what I have to do here, but I’m looking forward to dealing with my recovery without group prayer. No offense to those who take comfort in those things…it’s just not me.
I got my Big Book today as well, and I need to figure out where/when I will attend AA meetings over the weekend. One day at a time. One day at a time. One day at a time…
“Alcohol ruined me financially and morally, broke my heart and the hearts of too many others. Even though it did this to me and it almost killed me and I haven’t touched a drop of it in seventeen years, sometimes I wonder if I could get away with drinking some now. I totally subscribe to the notion that alcoholism is a mental illness because thinking like that is clearly insane.”
– Craig Ferguson
Maybe I should keep counting? That should be inspiring, right? I should be really proud of that number, but instead, I’m heaving the weight of what feels like the entire world on my shoulders.
I had a drug and alcohol assessment today, and I am beginning an outpatient treatment program tomorrow. Even though I want to do all that I can to prove that I am determined to not make the same mistake again, I was hesitant to do this. It’s so time intensive, wah wah wah. It is for almost two months, and will take up three hours of my mornings four days out of the week. I will also have to attend AA at least three times a week. With my work schedule, this will make for very full days. And will steal time from me during my favorite season, when I love to hike with my dog in the mornings before work. But it is better than the alternative. And should provide some blog fodder!
I really identify with the above quote. It does a hell of a job describing the madness that is alcohol dependence. I have lots of nagging thoughts in my head such as, sometimes I can have a couple and I’m fine! How will I survive a first date without a drink or two? Will I be able to drink again in a few years? It’s downright ludicrous to have these feelings. Alcohol has cost me so much money this year, I’m a walking miracle from my car crash, I have an arm full of metal…and yet it is still tempting. Not in a way that I struggle when I see people drink. It hasn’t been too bad. I’ve never had major withdrawal symptoms other than nasty hangovers (i.e. hallucinations), but still, that possibility still flits in the back of my mind like an annoying fly that you cannot kill. One drink, what’s the harm? Alcohol is a mindfuck for those who have no control over it. That’s the best way I can describe it. And like Mr. Ferguson said, thinking like that is insane. So now I’m at war with that little voice in my head. That voice is a bastard that needs to shut the hell up. Really, enough.
No, I don’t keep track of the numbers, but I felt it necessary to calculate the days I’ve been sober for my first post. A lot has happened since day one. Day one found me in the ICU unit of a large hospital, family members circled around my bed. I had no idea where I was or how I had gotten there. Turns out I was life-flighted there from another hospital. I don’t have memory of that either. Or of the car crash. And for that I am thankful. But still, 155 days.
My life has been turned upside down in that time. I’ve been scared. Lonely. Angry. Depressed. Have I mentioned I’ve been scared? But I’m getting through this, day by day.
Reading sobriety blogs and memoirs have been a tremendous help and a huge comfort to me. Because of that, I decided to start this blog so I can get some things off of my chest, to remind myself of where I’ve been, and to possibly bring comfort to others.
Okay, let’s do this.