Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day 249 - Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Wish I could say I've been off living a life of carefree sobriety, but I haven't.

I've been "busy" being housebound and quite ill with a syndrome from hell. After an incredible medical odyssey, including tracking down rare genetic mutations with a godsend of a geneticist, I have at last landed in a place where some symptomatic treatment has begun.

While my prognosis is grim and I don't know what the future holds, I'm sober. And there's a lot to be said for that.

And so I say to you, the one still stuck in the bottle - This is it. You have one shot, and when it's gone, it's gone. It often comes without warning. And when it does, I promise you that you will regret every single day you wasted drinking. I know I do.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 174 - Success and Challenges

I can't believe 180 is next week.

While I can't call sobriety "effortless" at this point, I can say that it flows. My triggers are few and far between, but when they hit I still have to wage a small battle. The difference is, they pass so much more quickly than in early sobriety. What previously took hours now takes just minutes. For that I am grateful.

I've been solidly in the grips of my disease and have become bed bound and quite ill. To have remained sober under such conditions is nothing short of a miracle, as my brain is my worst enemy and it's had ample time to raise it's alcoholic voice against me. Keeping hope alive is a daily struggle, so I have found a wonderful, positive support network of fellow sufferers online.

And so it goes. I plead with each of you - LIVE!!!! Live your life! Suck in all the joy you can! We all think we'll live to 90, healthy and happy because we are "doing the right things, such as diet and exercise", which was my case. Sometimes, however, the plan is different. There are too many things that I once loved but will never be able to do again.

So next time you go for a run in the rain, think of me and remember that we never know which time will be our last time!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 135: Stress and Vodka

A funny thing happened on the way to day 135. I forgot to count. I forgot to crave vodka. I forgot that I'm an alcoholic. Until now.

I've been pretty busy facing major life stressors - a move, a remodel, and final court after a 4 year battle. Court, as in witnesses and shit. Court, as in every aspect of your life trotted before a judge.... just to get what I'm entitled to by law and clear my name. A win hardly feels like a win. By the time an issue gets to court, everybody loses.

After a 4 year battle, it's hard to drop the rope. There's nothing more I can do or say. I feel lost and scared and alone and empty. It may be over, but it will be awhile before my brain and adrenal system arrive at that conclusion.

Needless to say, it's been a rough go, but I made it thru without drinking. Now, on the other side of all the crap that kept me awake night after night, I want to drink. Badly. I want a "reward" for getting thru hell. I want to be "normal" and have a cocktail to relax. But I know that it'll never be one cocktail - it will start out that way, but in the blink of an eye, it will be an every night pass-out fest.

It's good to remember how bad things got. It's also good to plant new seeds of hope and water them with something other than booze. Turns out vodka is toxic to hope seeds - I just couldn't see it while I was pouring the drinks.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Day 102 - No fanfare

Like Christmas in "The Grinch", my day 100 came without packages, boxes, or bows. It just sort of slipped by, unnoticed by even me. 

And so it has come to pass; sobriety has become (on most days) a habit. Tonight I think I'll celebrate with a new flavor of Ben n Jerry's. 

Onward and upward.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Day 92 - Hoarding

I have always kept a perfect house, even during my worst drinking days and my sickest days. Not just clutter-free clean, but eat-off-the-floor clean. I'm talking anal retentive, obsessive clean - to a fault. What I wasn't able to do, I hired done.

But as I slid into illness and alcoholism, I was on the brink of giving up. I drew the blinds and drank all day, completely isolated and desperate. And I knew I was in a very dangerous place.

As I drank what I now know were my final drinks, I watched an episode of "Hoarding: Buried Alive". And deep inside, I knew that was my future -  the isolation, desperation, and complete lack of concern about my surroundings. Facing empty nest alone because of divorce and disabled  because of illness, my losses were mounting and I had no hope to rebuild a life. I knew I was facing an abyss and had one last chance to step back from the edge. Mostly, I knew my children deserved better, even if I didn't.

I had forgotten the particulars of that night until today, when that very episode was on TV. I could only watch for a few minutes - it was too much. I am grateful that 92 days ago, in a moment of clarity, I stepped away from the deep dark pit. I am grateful that I never had to go all the way down in order to pull myself out. I am grateful that I had enough self-respect left to turn around. I am grateful. And I am rebuilding.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day 88 - Self-Respect

I had a beautiful conversation with my daughter today. When I got off the phone, I thought "Wow. She's really grown up in the past few months". And then I sat here thinking ........

I'm the one who's grown up. Many (most?) of our past phone calls were different. I was drunk. And loud. And angry. And depressed. And tearful. And full of self-pity. And yes, even verbally abusive at times. I was unpredictable. Enough of our calls would leave her so upset that she hated talking to me. I, of course, would blame her. After all, I was only "telling the truth". 

That makes me sad. Really, really sad. But today is different. Today, because I'm not drinking, I have some self-respect - and it's funny how self-respect turns into other's respect. I'm doing respectable things, like making decisions based on the reality of my finances and my health. I'm less into self-pity and self-destruction. I'm more into peace. 

Reality is really hard sometimes, but looking back, I see that ignoring reality just increased and perpetuated the stress, all the while making my situation more desperate. I have to wonder what the hell I was thinking. Oh wait..... I wasn't!

Onward to 6 months, my new goal. I kinda like this peace and self-respect thing.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 84 - Planning to Drink

As I approach the magic 100 days, my thought patterns are increasingly centered around drinking. My brain is busy making plans for when I can drink again. Like seriously making plans - what liquor store to use, what to say to the owner of the store (like he cares or believes my stupid chatter or has missed me), what it will feel like to have the vodka hit my stomach, etc etc etc. Ugghh.

Both of my self-imposed abstinence periods (100 days and 6 months) are near major life stresses - a move and a trial. There is a tendency for me to think that once I've "made it" it through these, I deserve a drink. I deserve a break. In fact, I deserve to get totally shit-faced. I really do.

So I'm trying to play the shit-faced scenarios thru to their final conclusions: Me, hungover and struggling to regain the momentum to start all over again. I'm not sure I have it in me again, so why do I toy with these thoughts?

The alternative to a wicked hangover after major life ordeals is a cup of warm morning coffee with a side of triumphant pride. Hold the self-loathing, vomit, and diarrhea please! (Yes, I just said "diarrhea". It's good to remember what a hangover really feels like!)

..... and so it goes.......