As another month of sobriety is coming upon me, I’m reminded of the quote I most recently posted to Facebook.
“There are two reasons why people don’t talk about things; either it doesn’t’ mean anything to them, or it means everything”.
As a recovering alcoholic, it is always the latter of the two. Of course it means everything to us, that’s one of the reasons we drink, right? And that’s also the reason we don’t talk about it. We’re hiding, we’re ashamed, we don’t like who we are, or we compare ourselves to society and what we think that society finds acceptable and successful; we have pasts and believe me, we all do. We put on a show for everyone else to see when in truth on the inside we are ourselves are desperately miserable. Making promises to ourselves that tomorrow we won’t drink, and tomorrow is a new day, only to be cracking the can of beer open at 9:45 to chase the hangover away from the night before.
Nothing changes if nothing changes, another favorite phrase of mine; but when you’re drinking you are fantastically superior! You’re not worrying about changing, you are in the moment. You.are.invincible. This powerful, cunning and baffling drink has crushed your inhibitions to set and achieve your goals and better yet, has allowed you to give up on getting the help you so desperately need.
While I don’t remember much while drinking, I remember 2 months before I took my last drink sitting in my chair at night. My girls weren’t home, the day was done, I wasn’t visiting family or had my sweet and loving man over; so of course I drank more than usual. I didn’t have anyone to care for, nor did I have anyone to monitor my drinking!
As I sat there drunk, scrolling through other recovering alcoholics posts online who had these amazing success stories, I started to cry. Not just shed a couple tears, I’m talking the kind of weeping that is from deep in your soul, the kind of crying and pain that comes up from the depths of your stomach and burns the inside of your throat as you choke out those gasps of air to catch your breath from crying-type-of-cry. Why can’t I just stop? Why is alcohol all I think of? Why can’t I get it together? Why? Why? Why?
It’s because you never talk about it.
The “whys” to our drinking are buried deep within ourselves, but we never face them until we hit bottom, and even then that “bottom” is still not enough. Our deep seeded hurt and pain gradually helped propel us into that state where alcohol was our only choice, our first choice, our addiction. And we have YEARS to untangle and try to understand. We now have to do the work.
I am amazed at myself as I go through my step-work and uncover things about myself I never even realized were the root of my problem, some from before I thought I even had a drinking problem, not to mention all the issues that come along and build on top of that from being an adult in general. What a tangled and complex heart we have to unravel. It has have been shut off and silenced as we were stuck in our addiction. What beautiful creatures we are underneath all those tiny cracks. If we all talked about it more, it might not have to be like that.
Step work is hard for me. I have to allow myself the patience to truly uncover all the reasons I am the way I am. Most importantly, I have to keep moving forward, one day, one hour, one minute at a time to hang onto sobriety in every sense of the word. When we’re sober all we have is time, we are no longer a slave to the bottle or it’s disposal of time; take the time, put in the work.
One day at a time.