there is no right way
Recently MysteryGirl hit a bump in the road. She was just about to reach 30 days of sobriety, and then she emailed me and asked that I restart her counter to day #1 for the 100 day challenge. I asked: “for everyone who is thinking of relapsing, and is trying to avoid it … can you say a few words? Did you know right when you drank that you were going to enjoy it, or was it a ‘fuck-it’ moment, or was there any thinking.”
And — with her permission — here’s what she wrote to me:
[underlined bits are my emphasis added]
My recent decision to drink on my 28th day of freedom from alcohol was completely a FUCK IT moment. I simply had a few glasses of wine to “take the edge off.” Not in any way, shape or form did I feel better or relieved. The only relief I can think of is that once I had my slip, it was over. I was relieved that I did not continue to slip the next day/night/week. I simply put my big girl panties on, went to my regular Monday morning meeting and got back with the program …
Not once did I even CONSIDER calling one of my AA buddies. This is probably the most frustrating part of all this. I had been so proud of my upcoming 30 days … and I know for a fact that if I had not been able to reach the first person I called, I could have moved on to another. I KNOW for a fact that someone could have talked me through the whole process… from pouring the initial glass to what the consequences might be.
That will be my number one change for the next time that I struggle. They don’t have to be AA buddies – they just need to be people who understand you because if you are not someone who has struggles with alcohol, they will NOT get it and they NEVER will.
Why didn’t I think of the puppies and kittens as I went to buy that wine? Why didn’t I reach out to someone to talk about things? WHY did I let my brother’s drama turn into a reason to escape? Still some unanswered questions, and all I can do is dust myself off and start again.
I think sometimes people relapse ‘without’ thinking. It can be a weird, compulsive, spur of the moment thing. Like “ooops, i tripped, fell and drank.”
And other times i know that we plan to relapse. we think “i don’t like this feeling, i’m sure my problem isn’t so bad, i’m sure i can handle a drink or two or nineteen.”
I was curious if MG had either of these thoughts, or something different. I personally have ‘planned’ to drink, but have always managed to postpone actually doing it and later I felt better and the urge passed. I personally have NOT had the compulsive “fuck it” thoughts and then found myself drinking.
But look. That doesn’t mean anything. It could happen to me tomorrow (god i hope not!). i’m not special. i’m not doing sobriety better than other people. i am perhaps temporarily lucky. and i thought that if MG wrote out what happened to her, then it would make more sense to me (and to her, and to anyone else reading).
This reminds me of Al’s post about ‘ugly sobriety’. In case there is any misunderstanding, my sobriety might look ‘pretty and rosy and divine and twinkling’. But it isn’t. Your sobriety might look heinous and difficult and shitty and not worth it. But it isn’t.
We’re all doing the same thing. Trying to get and stay sober. And we’re doing the same thing in our own way.
My way is to put a positive spin on just about anything. Yes, i do that. Yes, it’s irritating sometimes. And yes, just like everybody else, sometimes i go to bed and cry about how dramatically shitty my entire life is.
Mostly i’m optimistic. About life and about my sobriety. And I’m optimistic about yours, too.
There is no right way. Your way might be cheer-leader-y like me. You might blog or not. You might email me with your real name or not. You may want to date guys who drink, or not. You might be like MG, where you stop and start a bit, while you figure out how to get your sober car on the road. It doesn’t matter. There is no right way. There is only your way.
And frankly, drunks tend to isolate. That’s just what we do. Maybe in reading other people’s blogs you’ll find someone who ‘does it like you do it’. I hope so. Cuz you deserve to be sober. And, to misquote Paul (MIAB), “the more sober cats, the better!”