Fourteen years ago today I was blessed with a second chance. After having seven years of not-so-great sobriety I picked up a drink after my dearest friend committed suicide. The foundation that I thought was strong enough to hold me crumbled beneath my feet and suddenly my options were to drink or to drink. Prior to her death I was slowly cutting back on meetings and moving away from the friends I had met in sobriety.
The night before I made the decision to come back was not very exciting. It was the Saturday night earlier that had been disastrous and since then I was on the fence as to whether I could manage my drinking or not. That decision was made when I began to panic that there wasn’t any more vodka left. I had enough for one screwdriver and I knew by how my body felt that it wasn’t going to be nearly enough. My daughter who was three at the time, was sleeping in her room and I couldn’t go to the store to get more. Never mind the fact that I had a case of beer in the fridge, a full bottle of rum and a full bottle of tequila. What was I going to do without vodka?
I had been sober long enough to see what was happening and I knew that my little ‘vacation’ from sobriety was over. The next day I was let go from my job and I went home in tears not having a clue as to what I was going to do next. I went through the group phone list I had at the time and after calling at least 25 people (no exaggeration, big group) I reached an old timer named Smitty. I had known Smitty ever since I first joined the Airport group in 1993, and he knew I hadn’t been around for a while. After making a few jokes he walked me through dumping everything I had. His wife Sally picked me up that night and took me to the Jordan group. Our group had a commitment there and for the first time I had to decline speaking because I didn’t even have 24 hours.
That Friday I walked in front of people who helped me 7 years earlier to pick up my white 24 hour chip. I remember the look on the guy’s face who was handing out chips that night of complete surprise. Once again I had to start from the beginning. The cravings almost drove me insane, my sponsor at the time fired me because she felt that she didn’t do a good enough job with me and I had to find ways to get back to meetings with a small child. Night after night I sat in my chair holding on with both hands to keep myself from running out. It was humiliating. Everything I swore would never happen to me happened. My career in graphics was over. I was unemployable. My mother was contemplating taking my daughter for a while so I could get my head together. I had cravings that humbled me and had me scared to drive around alone. Alcohol kicked the shit out of me and the arrogance I had months earlier vanished.
Today here I am with twice the amount of years that I had lost and once again I am starting over. My emotional state has been all over the place just like it was when I first got sober again. People are angry with me just like before only this time i don’t have alcohol to blame for my actions. It was suggested to me to do a mini inventory to clean out some of the junk that is festering inside and after reviewing a few of the questions I knew this was going to be my hardest one yet. I will be holding myself accountable for the decisions I made and it is going to be almost impossible. But I need to do it. I need to clean house from the inside out so I can be happy. After all, a wise man once told me that happiness is the by product of right living. I want to live the way God intended me to.
My girls have been away with their dad on vacation this week. It has been the most excruciatingly painful week I have had yet. And I know that this is something people are hoping for- me not having them and it crushes me. I have cried every day, I have been looking at my phone constantly to see if any new pictures from the beach were sent. My ears miss the sound of their voices and giggles. My arms miss hugging them. Even now as I write this I am tearing up. It hurts to not have them with me and so this week has been challenging to say the least.
But here I am, sober another 24 hours and for another year. Thinking back to the moments I had clinging to my chair with my head down in humiliation, I can say that in spite of the pain I have right now, it beats looking at the floor in shame. I am not withdrawing today. I woke up knowing what I did the night before, which was making lemon squares for my meeting. I am going to walk in front of people who i have grown to love and accept my 14 year medallion with no shame. Huge difference I would say. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me this year and years past, especially my first sponsor Becky who taught me how to walk away from the drink not towards it.