Ok, I was there yesterday. The edge. It was a very hard day. But I survived. And I didn’t do anything horrible to myself or others. I just put one foot in front of the other and walked through my life. It was actually quite a nice day even though I felt like shit for a good part of it.
Thank you to all of you who reached out. I appreciated all of you, the support, the love, the compassion. I needed it and thank you for providing it to me. I especially appreciate the reach out from a few from my past. People who I haven’t seen in literally decades who took the time out of their day to make mine a little brighter, to offer support and love. Thank you!
I was on the edge yesterday and if I am being totally honest, I thought about drinking for the first time in a very long time. It was just a moment, but it was there and the desire to self destruct present, familiar and seductive. I have been sober long enough to know that these thoughts will come every so often, most especially when you think you are well encapsulated in recovery. Drug and alcohol addiction is a tricky bitch, always waiting for just the right moment to catch you off guard and whallop you good!
I am going to describe it for you because I hope that my experience yesterday will help someone else. Also because I have to tell on my disease. Otherwise, the secret I keep will be the secret that takes over my life.
I was driving to SLO and I was overwhelmed with my life. All of it. The responsibility, the solitude, the lack of any real solutions for my son, the lack of answers or ideas on how to do any of it differently. I just felt defeated. I did feel desperate and that feeling did cause me to pray a good deal of the day. But one of the things that happens with me, with my addiction, is that I allow the circumstances of my life to cut me off, to separate me from humanity. I begin to feel alone, sorry for myself and helpless, powerless to change anything. While this is not factually true, means little to nothing in the moment of an alcoholic in despair. All I could see was the pain, the never ending pain. And I wanted relief. NOW!
So I, of course, thought about drinking. About how just for a day I could escape it all: my job, my kid, my home, my life. I could be someone else who did not have all this responsibility. I could be free…
And that sounded really, really good.
But…then I thought some more…
I would be free for a little while, I could unwind the spring inside my chest and all the little birds I feel are captive there could fly off and out of my fucking body. That feeling of holding back fluttering wings, beating against my insides would be lessened. And for a moment, I wanted that release more than anything.
So I granted myself the license to allow the fantasy to play all the way through. All the fucking way to the end. I could probably have a fun night. I could go out and make bar friends and probably hook up with some random man. I could be released from this responsible life and forget it all for a little while. But then what happens the next day when I wake up with whatshisname and I have thrown away 26 years of sobriety? What the fuck then?
And I knew what the fuck then…I knew that I would keep going. I would just keep drinking. And I would keep doing it until the job was gone, the house gone, the kids gone. Everything would be gone. Because there is no one night of fun stupid drinking for me. No, there is only the abyss at the bottom of the spiral. That is all there has ever been.
And then I would spend the rest of my life trying to get back to where I am right now. Fighting to see my kids, struggling to maintain a roof over my own head, going to court to see my kids. I would spend so much energy trying to get back to where I was yesterday.
Well that seemed pretty fucking pointless. And I am not a fan of pointless.
So I didn’t drink. I didn’t pick up whatshisname. I worked. I met my responsibilities. I called my sponsor and was honest. I went out to dinner. I went to bed at 9:30. And I survived myself another day. And that is sometimes an amazing fucking feat for me.
And how did I know all of this? Because I have seen other women walk this same path a hundred times before me. Men too. Working so hard to get a life, then in a moment of weakness taking that drink or drug and throwing it all up in the air, except lives do not exist long in suspended animation, lives are subject to gravity and they come crashing down when they are carelessly tossed upwards in reckless disregard of the laws of nature.
I have watched for years the men and women who have succumbed and then dragged themselves back from the edge and had to work a million times harder just to get back to where they started. And to be honest, with the level of exhaustion I feel right now, it was just too much work to take on. Which is kind of funny if you think about it. Of course it begs the question of whether or not I would have been lucky enough to make it back. I could have been like so many I have known that go on one last run and are killed, overdose, die some tragically awful death. I could have made it back only to succumb again and again and again until there is nothing left of me or my soul. How many times can one get into the fucking ring and get KO’ed and keep returning. No one really knows…it is different for each of us. Some try for years and never make it back. Some go out on one last go and are gone forever.
So in the end, it was my own sloth that caused me to chuck the self destructive superhighway. I just don’t have the energy to leave and start all over again. I just do not. The futility of having to claw my way back to where I am right now was just too much for me. It never ceases to amaze me at how the universe will use even my most useless attribute to save my stupid ass from myself. So I guess I owe a huge thanks to the universe for not removing my character defect of sloth. Who knew?
I haven’t felt the way I did yesterday in a long time. And it was scary just how quickly my mind trained on this annihilation of self. How easily I slipped into this old groove. How much the most important things in my life ceased to matter. It was truly amazing and terrifying all at the same time.
And as I sat at dinner last night as beautiful cocktails were floated past my table, I was not tempted at all. I knew that they were just pretty poisons passing by. And they were meant for other people with stronger constitutions than mine.
And as I slid into bed last night, sober and alone, I was so fucking grateful. Grateful for all the days before yesterday that I practiced and prayed and stayed with hard feelings because yesterday that practice of pausing saved my life, again. Giving me another chance today to live this life, painful as it might be at times, staying with the decision that sober life is the only life for me. Because to drink is to die and I have already spent way too much of my life living to die and dying to live. Today, to the very best of my ability I want to live to live and leave dying for another day.
So I wake today, blogging from the edge of my beautiful hotel room bed. Sober, sane (well as much as I am any day) and grateful to have another chance at living my best life no matter what my circumstance.
And thank you to all of you who loved on me yesterday. You cannot ever know how very much it saved my life…again.