Ever have one of those garbage can, bullshit, fucked up days where just nothing went right?
And you just couldn’t wait to get home, call it a day, and kick back with some sort of highly potent adult beverage…you know, just to take the edge off?
Yeah. That was me yesterday.
Fucked up day. Douchebags galore.
I couldn’t wait to get home, disconnect, and relax with a…
Straight. No chaser.
I’m a fucking alcoholic, thats why.
Three plus years sober actually.
No need for oohs and ahhs. I don’t really tend to make that big a deal about it…I joke around mostly. I mean, don’t get me wrong…I’m really pretty proud of making it this far, but sometimes — most times — I don’t really feel like a “true” recovering drunk. Probably cause I was fucking lucky enough to not suffer too bad when I first quit. And based on how I drank, I sure as shit should have.
I was a pretty high functioning lush. I didn’t drink in the morning (probably cause I was still lit from the night before.) I didn’t really let the alcohol affect my job. I never got mean or violent. I just always had to drink. Soon as I got off work I’d start. And I’d drink drinky drink drink until I was good and tired. I started to blame it on being afraid of the dark. Weird, huh? Like I was some lost little boy, afraid of the scary things that go bump in the night, and the booze was my security blanket. Funny, how in all reality, the only thing going “bump in the night” was me. Bumping into walls. Doors. Bed frames. The refrigerator…
Anyway, when I quit it wasn’t too bad. I had just had some kind of epiphany where I decided to just stop. Something just told me to knock that shit off. Maybe it was the fact I had just lost a dear friend to alcoholism. Forever stuck at 39…her body just shut down. Apparently, it was pretty bad at the end. Had a young son too. Sad, because on top of everything else, she never saw it coming. It was just drunken business as usual, followed one day by, “Ouchies! What’s this pain in my side?” Then dead…
Maybe it was the fact my own kids would associate going to the grocery store with getting me my booze fix. The oldest at the time was 6. The youngest was just barely 2. And they sure knew all right. Dear old drunken daddy. So, yeah…quitting was ok. I had some withdrawal stuff at first, primarily not getting one single fucking wink of sleep. And my mood was all jacked up for a bit, but I made it. And to make it even more interesting, about a week after I stopped, I broke my elbow. No pain meds for this guy. My fucking arm still hurts. But again, I made it. I’m ok. One month. Two months. Six. A year. Two years…I made it. And never really had any cravings or anything. It was almost like I was never an alcoholic. Hell, I can even suck down an O’Douls and not be in a bad place. I just like the taste of beer now, not the effect. I was cured!
And then I wasn’t.
Just. Like. That.
Out of the blue it hit me yesterday. Maybe it was my mood, maybe not. Who knows? But what I do know, is that all the feelings I had that made me want to drink…made me love to drink, came rushing in like the biggest, baddest, most out of control freight train ever. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t feel. Couldn’t do anything but so fucking vividly see alcohol in my life. Wanted alcohol in my life. Needed alcohol in my life. I didn’t think about my kids. My wife. Nothing. All I thought about was the booze. It was everywhere. I was sitting back at a bar on the afternoon of my 21st birthday. I was spending Christmas night at a dive getting wasted with the ghosts and vagrants that had nowhere else to go. I was in my truck getting pulled over, laughing to myself, thinking “the cop’s gonna get a medal for finally catching me.” I was drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking. Happy. Numb. Washed over with a complete nothingness. To me, as an alcoholic, this was pure bliss. Everything I loved about the high. But the everything was in reality, nothing. My everything was emptiness.
Fucked up, huh?
Well, we can’t all be like Norm from Cheers…
When I finally pulled myself together, was when I totally fell apart.
I got home, locked myself in the bathroom, and cried.
Like a big, dumb, tattooed baby.
The realization that you are damn near powerless against a monster like this is overwhelming. It’s like being caught in a rip current…no matter how strong a swimmer you are, you’re gonna get beat up…you’re gonna choke…or worse. I felt sick to my core. I felt bruised even though nothing had physically touched me. I felt defeated and deflated and worthless and broken and helpless and…
And then I felt ok.
Not great. Or even back to my normal self. But ok.
And ok is good.
Ok is still sober.
I made it through.
I never gave much thought to Alcoholics Anonymous. Didn’t really prescribe to a lot of their ideals. Didn’t really think I needed it. Especially after how far I’d come.
But now I truly understand “One day at a time.”
Addiction is a disease.
Every once in a while an article pops up online about the the so-called psychology of addiction. Or whether or not eye color makes you pre-disposed to becoming an addict. Or some blogger talking about how she doesn’t like the term “alcoholic” because she feels it adds an unnecessary stigma. People debate on whether alcoholism is actually a disease. And I get amazed every time at the number of soapbox intellectuals, with minimal or no frame of reference, who say it isn’t.
“It’s all in you mind…”
It is what it is.
But it is a disease.
A horrible, progressive disease that doesn’t ever go away.
It may affect people in different ways, but it always has been, and always will be a disease.
Don’t think so?
Try living with it…
Some may have an easier go of it than others. Some may live long, happy lives with no relapses or flashbacks. Some may die in a shitty hospice bed after their disgusting, rotted, pickled organs shut down…way too young. Some may fight like hell to stay sober. Some may fall off the wagon. Over and over again.
Say it with me…ALCOHOLISM IS A DISEASE.
It’s not curable. If it gets you, you’re stuck with that shit. Don’t get cocky or you can get bit right in the ass. Fuck, you might actually get bit right in the ass even if you’re not cocky. Alcoholism, once it as you, doesn’t discriminate. It is bigger than you.
But lastly and most importantly…
Don’t you ever…EVER…fucking give up hope.
Fight. Pray. Go to a meeting. Talk with someone. Write about it…