Not long after starting my blog, I relapsed. I knew I was going to relapse. It was more certain than if I’d seen it in a crystal ball or seen a wine glass in my tea leaves.
I won’t go into too much detail behind my relapse, other than it involved a long lunch, an old friend who has cancer, and I couldn’t bring myself to say no.
The situation offered up the perfect excuse to drink and I started drinking the day before in preparation.
My evil twin shouted in my brain,
Are you sure about this? Yes, nothing surer.
What about your blog? Nobody reads it anyway and it’s anonymous.
Well you go for it girl and make it worthwhile. Roger that evil twin, you’re a push over.
I glided like a ghost or a heavy ladened hover craft into the kitchen and started on a chilled bottle of Chardonnay. Where had the bottle come from? Were my thoughts so powerful that I had performed a miracle and turned water into wine? How could this have sat in my fridge for so long. Such will power. That was mistake number one, as would be outlined in the Beginners Guide to Sobriety – WARNING – do not have stock piles of alcohol in your home.
The following day went as expected. It was a beautiful day with a beautiful friend and my sobriety took a back seat.
However, after my guests departed, my day darkened. After an afternoon of restrained drinking I turned into a sniffer dog at an airport. I sniffed out our cabinets for anything alcoholic. All the wine was gone, so nothing now was off limits – old cooking brandy teamed with a ginger cordial and sweet cooking port. I sat drinking my concoctions next to my tee-totaller mother, who was staying the night, and watched a movie. My next conscious moment was when I woke up dazed by the overhead lights at 5 am. A black out. I resembled a suspension bridge lying over two parts of our couch that had separated during the night. I made my way to bed.
Did I feel guilty the next day? Yes along with a whole spectrum of feelings – shame, horror, disgust, embarrassment.
I pretended to be bright, awake and upbeat as I prepared breakfast. I convinced myself that physically I felt okay.
Much later in the day I took my mother to a doctors appointment. As I waited for her, I started to get waves of sickness. Surely, this can’t be a hangover? I rode the wave as I drove home. As we drove passed our busy local cafe, I weakly told my mother ‘I’m going to be sick’. I leaped out of the car and ran to find some privacy behind a tree.
I had hit my rock bottom.
Vomiting under a tree wearing a brand new shirt, Ray-Bans slipping off my nose , a kindly neighbour offering tissues, and my 75 yr old mother hobbling on crutches trying to administer help.
My rock bottom was humiliation. I was too old for this shit.
I knew in my heart that I had thrown up because of alcohol. My family got the tidy version – it was a tummy bug. I was a good actress. I was too ashamed to tell the truth.
Luckily, the shock of my unchecked behaviour restarted and recalibrated my brain.
I started my day one again.
I forgave myself.
I was kind to myself.
Yes, I drank with a thirst of someone finding a watering hole in a desert. But the good news is that I didn’t drink the following day or the day after that or after that….
I don’t usually keep a daily tab on my sober days. But today I checked my sober days calculator.
1 month tomorrow or 31 days since my recalibration date. But who’s counting.
I feel genuinely proud of myself. That is the biggest reward in itself.
I relapsed and I recovered. Or, should I say… recovering…