There are some days when you wake up and ask yourself “Am I an alcoholic?” Today was one of those days, for me.
I’ve woken up in strange apartments, a car parked in times square, naked and alone in my own bed, fully clothed and alone in my own bed and yes – in a pool of my own vomit. I’ve half ass-ed AA and NA. Gone to meetings until I feel better about myself. Isn’t that the source of most addictions – to self medicate into feeling better about oneself? Tis a selfish, selfish thing to be an addict.
Funny thing about addicts is they’re not only into alcohol, drugs or gambling. There’s so many other facets of addiction like the more socially accepted ones : food, shopping, smoking, television, internet, working out. I mean it can go on and on. It’s the replacement. If there is something in your life you use to replace what would otherwise be emptiness, loneliness, sadness or any other sort of gaping hole of negativity – that’s your addiction.
See, it’s not such a big bad word when you break it down to every day levels. Coffee even, people fiend for it. It only becomes a problem when it stands in your way. Luckily for me, I’ve curbed the majority of my addictions. That is to say, at least, spread them evenly across the board so they are not detectable. Sly. Another trait of an addict.
After piecing together the night I had last night. Knowing I got into a fight with a co-worker, not knowing exactly why or even with who. Waking up as sick as a 21 year old the day after their birthday. I have a bruised shoulder and skinned knee. I woke up at 9 am, couldn’t eat or get out of bed until after 4. There is no glamour in alcoholism. I learned this clearly as a child.
Why I must test my knowledge, to see for myself is a mystery. It is no secret that I’m not in a good place right now. I feel like my life has just gradually slipped out from secure and safe into this state of chaos where I’m constantly unsettled about my future. I believe, it is a sub-conscious plea to regain freedom. It seems like stability and freedom are always on the opposite side of the coin, for me. It’s an oxymoron stable-freedom.
I believe what happened last night was an outward expression of the chaos within. This is not easy for me to admit, to you or to me. This seems like a very superficial attempt at the fourth step. You know… the one about fearless moral inventory. But when you wake up to your left side in immense pain, you tend to want to take a deeper look at why you would do this to yourself.
I’m not in a place to fix anything right now. That’s not what is plausible as a next step. The only way out of where I am is up, and the only way to go up is to bring myself up. I want a stable job, so I don’t go to bed every night consistently worried about bill and food money. I have my mind made up about the next big step for me. To get to that step is a series of small steps designed to elevate me to a higher place.
I recently started taking care of myself again. Which sounds funny after all I just said, but it’s true. Started walking to work 2 miles instead of taking the bus, changed my eating habits, quit smoking… I’ve done all of these before, but I forget that it’s not a seamless transition into a healthy lifestyle. There’s one small thing that always stands in the way – Resistance.
As much as I’d like to believe I am my best friend, I believe at times I am my best enemy. Change? Especially healthy, good-for-me change? I don’t think so, misses. However, once it sticks then it’s stuck and we’re changed. So this is a phase of change, to get back in control, harness the resistance and change it into raw positivity.
Relapsing into a old state happens. It makes me sick to think that I could be making the same stupid decisions now that I once would have so many years ago. After everything I’ve been through, I drink a bottle of wine at a work party and leave in pieces? It seems like a stupid mistake. Then this afternoon, when I realized that that’s exactly what it was I felt a whole lot better. A weight lifted, so I splurged on some take out and cuddled up in bed to a Jason Statham movie marathon.
Tomorrow’s another day. Just as today was entirely different from yesterday and I decided to not beat myself up for what was done. My resolve is to lay off drinking for a while. Got to keep a steady focus – onward and upward.
2 thoughts on “Step One”
You’re going to be okay. This is so hard, but once you get yourself clean for a week or two things will start to perk up. Keep positive, make a final change. I fear that if you keep drinking you might keep getting back to this article. Thank you for being so raw, I to wish I had this quality. Keep writing…I’m listening.
One day at a time, Duffy. I know that sounds trite and yet, people I know in recovery say that is what it takes. Glad you are feeling more positive. It is going to take a lot of strength. You’re in my prayers.