According to the sobriety clock I use, I’ve saved approximately $1365.81 and 1221.89 hours since I quit drinking. Those are really approximate, and I’d say I’ve saved ALLLL the hours since my last drink. By the time I gave it up, I thought about drinking alllll the time, no lie. I had a drink next to my bed and often refilled it at night.
The last 10 days of my drinking were a relapse. I had made it to about day 94 and suddenly I was drinking again. I’ve written about that relapse in the post “When We Stop Digging.” I went from wine the first night to bottles of vodka. It was horrible. I sobered up by checking in to a detox facility for 3 days. And that was 4 days after I got a DUI.
Since then, I’ve joined and graduated a 12-week Intensive Outpatient Program for substance use disorders, where I learned so much more than I ever thought possible; I’ve had an interlock ignition device put on my car; I’ve been to court twice, which was terrifying; I’ve done 3 days on an ankle monitor at home in lieu of 3 days in jail; I’ve paid part of the fine I have to finish paying in one year; I’ve started this blog; I’ve read a dozen or more books on addiction and recovery; and I’ve put several things I own on Craigslist to pay more of those fines and a few more months of the interlock (it’s paid monthly, and there is a fee for installing and for uninstalling it).
That’s a LOT of shit I would have said I’d never be able to handle. I had no idea the depths of strength I could find in myself once I took this whole drinking thing seriously. I’m not curled in a corner crying about my misfortunes. I’m not laying in bed, hiding under the covers, sure the whole world hates me. I’m not even hiding or pretending this didn’t happen. In 14 weeks I’ve gone from someone who wanted to die and who was certain she had to hide this portion of her life, to someone who puts it all out there on the INTERNET as well as in real life, hoping to help anyone who needs help. That’s fucking amazing.
I know a lot about myself that I never knew before. And I’ve taken steps to get help with things that I let myself be dismissed over before.
For example, I have a serious sleep disorder and a panic disorder. Both of those are commonly self-medicated with alcohol. I mean, if you can’t sleep, a “nightcap” is a common go-to. If you SERIOUSLY can’t sleep, like *every damn night*, you keep drinking. Drinking at least eventually makes you fall asleep (pass out), even if it screws up all the sleeping you do after that. If you’re terrified of what people are thinking or saying, or just of people, if you ruminate constantly on the past and worry constantly about the future, alcohol seems almost INDICATED. A lot of us drink to self-medicate. Sometimes we just need someone to take us seriously.
I was fortunate in that the IOP had a qualified psychiatric nurse on staff to deal with things like insomnia and panic disorder. She was able to find medications that work for me, and now I sleep very well and the panic disorder is under better control.
How I feel now compared with 100 days ago:
100 days ago I couldn’t go more than an hour without a drink. I was sweating but freezing cold. My fingers and toes were always numb.
100 days ago I had bottles of vodka hidden all over the house. My husband and kids found them regularly and put them out for everyone to see. They didn’t throw them away, they just let me know that they KNEW where it all was. I was demoralized, but it didn’t stop me from drinking what was in the bottles, anyway.
100 days ago I couldn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time. I tossed and turned and drank and sweated and drank some more. My dreams were scattered and scary and fractured and dark.
100 days ago I often could not eat. My throat hurt terribly from vomiting uncontrollably every few days, and bites of food felt like I was choking to death. My belly was distended and overfull of swollen liver bits, I expect.
100 days ago if I did eat, I did so drunkenly, gorging on too much food at one time, eating frantically. It was always greasy, like fried eggs or sausage.
100 days ago one of my elder daughters sent me a text telling me she was frustrated and sad. She said she was worried I might not be around to see my grandbabies through her. She said I was in danger of losing my family.
100 days ago, I put that daughter on “ignore.”
100 days ago I was shivery, scared, no-I was petrified. I didn’t think I could get sober on my own. I counted minutes until my next shot or drink or sip and never quite made it as long as I wanted. I felt like my skin was going to split, I was so tense and wound up and just plain unwell.
Today, I sleep very well thanks to medication. I have that medication thanks to the psychiatric nurse at my IOP.
Today, I eat much healthier than I did then. Confusingly and frustratingly, I have put on weight since sobering up. It’s normal, but that doesn’t make it any less hateful. Some of the meds I take have weight gain as a side-effect. I’d rather be big and sober than thin and drunk.
Today, I am still a little anxious, but I can deal with being in public, and take my kids somewhere fun every day. I can do the grocery shopping and the librarying and the swimming and walking and allllllll the things without ever thinking about drinking.
Today, I again have a beautiful relationship with the daughter I put on ignore. She is one of my greatest champions.
Today my kids are proud of me. My husband is proud of me. My counselors are pround of me. My friends are proud of me.
Today, I am proud of me.
Thank you all for your amazing words of wisdom and all your kindness.
Keep kicking addiction’s ass!