I have a confession to make. It’s not an easy one.
I hit bottom. I hit it hard.
Not today, thank goodness. Nor yesterday or any time since my last post.
I hit bottom on March 14 of this year. 3 months ago. I had been sober for 90-something days, and suddenly, out of nowhere, I was drinking.
I didn’t slip and fall into a bottle of vodka. One day, I hated everything. I woke up pissed at the world, at my sobriety, at my face, my weight, my brain, everything. I wanted something different. I was sure I deserved a drink. Sure just a glass of wine would totally hit the spot, and besides, I knew now what I was doing, right?
Never mind that I’d recently stopped seeing the addictions counselor I’d been seeing. Never mind that I really did know better. I was completely irritated by life and the only escape I knew–the one I knew would *work*-was a drink. If you call it working. If it had been A drink.
I was deeply in the grip of PAWS. I didn’t know it. I’d never heard of it. I was sailing through that 90 days with NO clue that I’d ever, ever, in my farthest, wildest dreams, want another drink. I was riding a pink cloud straight into the mountainside.
So, smart and foresighted me, I buy a box of wine. And I go to my AAA meeting (agnostic/atheist AA). And I tell the good people of AA that I have a box of wine in my car. And I’m basically begging for them to tell me what to do. Because as an alcoholic, in the grip of this desire and this confusion and this bullshit that PAWS is (fuck PAWS!), I cannot handle my shit. I cannot be responsible. I want to be told. To be prevented. To be stopped. I want help but I already forgot how to ask for it.
So I took that wine home. And I was challenged about it being in the fridge. And (while a tiny voice said, “You IDIOT!”) I stared my family down. And I drank that wine. And I bought more.
Because that’s what you do. You buy more. And so I drank that, too.
And within 10 days I was at a bottle of vodka a day. And I drove my car to the end of my driveway and into a ditch. And my husband, my poor, dear, frustrated, loving, patient, angry, sad husband, called the Troopers on me. And I was taken to jail by an Alaska State Trooper. Handcuffed in front of my children.
I went to detox 4 days later. I put myself in the Intensive Outpatient Program at my counselor’s office. And I have learned something new about myself and my addiction and my life every day since.
I will wish, for the rest of my life, never to have hit that bottom. And I will be grateful, for the rest of my life, for the opportunity to experience that and to grow from it. I will forever be grateful that I didn’t kill anyone. Had I left our neighborhood and gotten onto a main road…
I was able, finally, to pin a name on all those mixed-up, messed-up feelings I was dealing with when I started drinking again. I read a post at sixyearhangover about his experience with PAWS and *boom!* I understood.
That was what happened to me. That was how I felt when I bought that stupid, cheap, sucky box of wine. There was a name for it, and I had even heard the name in IOP; I just could not connect the dots until I read the *clinical* symptoms in a *personal* way. (He’s a great writer, anyway, you should totally read his stuff).
So now that I’m approaching 90 days again (Saturday), I know what to look for. I’m more mindful and centered, more aware of my feelings, able to file things correctly in my brain, able to not freak out (!!) about the little things. I can sit with a drinking thought and figure it out–without taking a drink.
I didn’t mention this before because the legal stuff only got wrapped up today. I lived through that, too, without fucking up my life with alcohol. And truthfully, that would have been my solution to a problem that stemmed TOTALLY from alcohol: I’d have taken another fucking drink because that’s what alcoholics who don’t actively approach sobriety DO. We relapse. We drink. We get sucked into that cycle if we don’t watch out for the wolf at the door.
If you’d told me 9 months ago that I’d *ever* have to stand up in a court of law, without any familial support, and admit to driving while intoxicated, and that I’d *survive* it, I would never have believed you.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
We are experiencing a medical crisis in our family right now, and I realized something today: I usually carry everyone through crises very well. I sort of kick ass at the real shit. When it involves my kids, the world better watch out.
But once that crisis is over, I have a tendency to crumble and give in to those cravings, to that request for detachment and fuzziness. That’s where the danger is for me, and thus the potential for havoc-wreaking in my family.
So this time, I’m going to carry my load, my kids and my husband and the family unit as a cohesive whole, and I’m going to be ready for the denouement, armed for the battle against craving. I know what to expect. And I am showing up for my life.
90 days, here I come.
Keep kicking addiction’s ass, everyone!