When We Stop Digging

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!


23 thoughts on “When We Stop Digging

  1. Oh my God, that’s an amazing post! I am so in awe of you for writing about it. It would be so easy to decide to just let it go until the time was right (or until this or until that). That’s the way I seem to operate. You’ve done amazing things. The fact that you went to an AAA meeting and confessed to having wine in your car is also incredible. With the kick-ass bravery and honesty that you’ve displayed in this post, there’s no limit to what you could do in the world. Once again, I am in awe. I was so much more concerned about hiding all bad news, and drinking to make it go away. Isn’t your way much more freeing?

    You rock. ❤️

    Do you mind if I add a link to this on my blog?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too had one of my bottoms with me be arrested after driving drunk (with my child in the back, by the way). Wouldn’t you know it that I drank a few more times after that. Luckily that they were the quiet, desperate drunks we often do. There was no more external destruction, but inside I was crumpled up like a piece of paper. It was then that detox and treatment came and that was over 6 years ago.

    Sometimes it’s okay to not be the “strong” one. I found that I martyred myself at the expense of *me*. I still fall into that trap, but I have found that self-care and being kinder to myself has helped me in many ways – and yes, one of those ways is that I can be more resilient to things in life and still not feel that I have to hold the fort. It’s tiring holding the fort!

    Anyways, I get what you say, and I also want to congratulate you on your 90 days!!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a learning curve!
    I drove drunk many times, and it was only a matter of time before I would have gotten caught.
    The worst time was when I drove being blacked out. Have no idea how I got from point A to point B.
    Be sure you take time to do some good self-care for yourself, too!
    Happy 90 Days from me, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s scary how common driving impaired is. I’m mortified that I did that, but I’m working to make it a learning experience for everyone in my family. (FWIW, I was in a blackout when I got in the vehicle. I have no memory of that. I came out of the blackout to find a Trooper talking to me through the window).

      I bought Rewired and the Rewired Coloring Book for self-care!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The continued destruction is inevitable if we keep letting alcohol back in. If we forget just how precious and fragile sobriety is.
    I’m sorry you had to experience all that. It must have been scary. And thank you for sharing your truth. You have helped me today.
    Keep asking for help. You deserve it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. Paws is a real thing and I know first hand how it can lead to relapse if you dont know its happening to you. Sobriety is really fragile and that used to scare the shit out me. It felt like there was a thin veil of saftey around me and family and that anything could pierce it and let the monster back in. I am starting to feel safer now in the knoweldge that I can only stay sober one moment at a time. The future never comes. The only thing we have is the present moment and all I need to do is not to drink right now. You are awesome, and the great thing about rock bottom is you have more of an incentive to stay sober becasue you’ve seen how far that elevator can go go. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s go great how we get to read and connect through stories. I think Paul? said something to the lovely Finding a Sober Miracle and then I could find you.

    Thank you so much for posting this. I don’t have any technical terms for what happened to me at around 5 – 6 months ( I am now at around 8) but I felt so close to just casually having a drink. It was nothing dramatic, it just crept in and I was OK with it and relaxed.

    How fucking scary. How close. Then I wrote about it and couldn’t work out how it wasn’t violent, how it was scarily easy. something you said here about thinking I’ve got this and get too cool for school about sobriety.

    “I’d have taken another fucking drink because that’s what alcoholics who don’t actively approach sobriety DO”

    What a great warning for us all right?

    Thanks again for this 🙂
    Michelle xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome!

      I am so glad you didn’t drink. And now you have a name for that insidious little fuckwit of a voice in your head. I hit 90 again today and I’m so much better prepared than I was then.

      Thank you for the very kind words!


  7. Thankyou so much for sharing this…..You have helped me. I completely get that experience of “and suddenly, out of nowhere, I’m drinking” and for all the same reasons you stated. This is exactly the same scenario that has led me to endless Day 1’s but until now, I hadn’t considered PAWS. It truly can be devastatingly overpowering but Next time “it” insidiously shows up, I can identify it! I’m only at Day 7 today and I don’t want to reset my counter again but I’ve been so afraid of “it” blind siding me again so Thankyou! And huge Congratulations on Day 90!!! xo


    1. ” Next time “it” insidiously shows up, I can identify it!”


      And day 7 is such an AWESOME place to be! Those first 7 days—they are incredibly hard, and you’ve proven you’re up to the challenge. Keep on keeping on! I spent my hardscrabble sober days inhaling sober memoirs, reading blogs, and journaling (well, and of course the whole kids and family thing–life just keeps on keeping on for some reason).

      I hope you find things to do that keep you constructively approaching every day with sobriety as a goal.

      You got this!



      1. Thankyou for your words of encouragement! I am so very appreciative! Next level for me is to start my own blog – journaling is the one thing I haven’t been doing. I see it has such important value from both sides of the blog! Lots of warm, healing thoughts going your way!


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