Sorry I have been kind of out of the loop for awhile- I have been crammed with school work, and I just accepted a new job! Finally, a sense of independence returns! 🙂 I am 97 days sober and life has been great. Of course some days are better than others, but sobriety has opened my eyes to a completely new way of life- and this life is fantastic. And, I have a boyfriend! I KNOW, I KNOW. I know the “old timer” rule is to not date for the first year of sobriety; but this just kind of happened- and its the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in. We all know how much time and energy that is needed in order to make a relationship successful, but for the first time in my life, it’s easy. And, we have similar goals and similar brains, if you catch my drift. My sobriety has let me heal from past relationship experiences and has allowed me to let (and trust!) new people in my life.
I was talking to my grandfather, (who has over 30+ years of sobriety!) and I was expressing how thankful I am to be sober and all the benefits that I am reaming from it. My Grandpa expressed his how much he loved me, and how glad he was “to have his Sara back.” He then asked me what I was most scared about being sober. I was silent for a good 5 seconds because I never really thought about it. I confused as to why he was even asking me this! Why in the hell would I want to focus on something like that? I took another 5 seconds to think about it, and I replied “relapse.” What if I did relapse? The following scenario would probably happen. I would have one drink and be off to the races. Immediately, my brain chemicals would alter and I would become a different person. “One drink” leads to 6, and 6 leads to daily drinking. I would begin to isolate, I would begin to put alcohol before all other responsibilities, I would drop out of school and quit my job, I would hurt others around me, I would stop going to meetings and no longer participate in therapy, I would begin to lie and manipulate everyone around me… the list could go on and on. At that moment, my palms started to sweat. My heart started to race. My knee started to bounce up and down. The thought of relapse made me physically sick.
The old me would have hung up the phone (with a few choice words!), gone to the store with a “F*** You!” attitude, and got a liquor bottle to cure my symptoms of anxiety and “fear of the future”, so to speak. It would be so easy! One swig and all of my problems would be temporarily gone.
After I hung up, I processed the conversation that I had with my Grandpa. I really, truly am terrified to relapse. I’m even more scared of the woman I become when I drink. One of my character flaws is that I am extremely naive and easily influenced. If I’m at a social gathering with friends that are drinking and didn’t have a sober support with me to keep me accountable, it wouldn’t take much for me to say “Oh, it’s just one drink, its not a big deal. Nobody will know.”
I know that if I relapse, I may not have another recovery in me. My disease spiraled out of control so quickly. That’s terrifying in and of itself to think about. Within the course of a year, I was drinking obscene amounts of alcohol on a daily basis and hurting the people around me. If I relapse, I may not live to tell the tale. I then got angry and called my grandpa back. I said, “hey, ya old fart! Why did you ask me that? Now you got me over-analyzing things that aren’t even happening!” He replied: “I timed how long it would take for you to call be back in a tiffy. Relax.” Of course I responded with an (annoyed) huff and a puff and replied, “alright, go on.”
He told me that it is important to recognize our fears and to confront them so that we ALWAYS have a “plan B” when life happens and alcohol may seem like the only cure; the fast cure. Whether that be at a social gathering, celebrating an achievement, grieving a loss, sitting at home alone, or when a strong craving hits.
Another one of my character flaws is that I tend to hide all negative/scary emotions until crisis occurs (and then I keep digging, like every stubborn alcoholic!). And that’s just it- until crisis occurs. This unsuccessful way of coping has been a repeated pattern in my life ever since I can remember. The point of my wise old Grandpa asking me this question was to come up with a plan to avoid crisis. I was annoyed at the time, because I didn’t understand what he was trying to do. Now, I have a couple of “plan B’s” that will ensure success in situations where relapse is possible.
I am happy, joyous, and free from alcohol. I am not alone. I am free from the chaos and the destruction that it causes. I am free from temporary solutions that lead to negative consequences. Of course some days are harder than others, but if sobriety was easy, everyone would do it.
One Day At a Time, fellow bloggers. It’s a great day to be sober.