At approximately 9:00 p.m. on October 30th, 2021, I had my last drink. In fact, it was the 2nd of two beers that particular night. I went to a dinner playhouse and had two Sam Adams Boston Lager’s that night. I remember thinking, as I finished that last beer, “Why the fuck am I doing this?” I was simply done.
I didn’t have some legally induced encouragement. I didn’t have some doctor approach me while I was wearing nothing but a gown in a hospital bed explain to me the dangers of continued drinking. I didn’t have to wake up in a detoxification center with pamphlets being shoved into my hands and encouraging me to get help from others. I didn’t have any intervention from family members. I wasn’t even under threat of losing my marriage because of drinking.
I have all of the yets, that I explained before.
Actually, that’s partially a lie.
I don’t have all of them. I have a few. I have been to the emergency room three times in my drinking “career”. Although, I have never faced any legal problems, I guarantee I had driven a car when I shouldn’t have. I have had family tell me that I drink too much. I have been to work either drunk or hungover before – a few different times. I don’t want to highlight my drunk-a-logs too much, but they are important to remember because they force me to look at what I don’t want out of my life. I also don’t want to minimize the so-called yets, because it’s important to remember the things that could happen. I think what I’m really trying to get at is that I stopped for some reason and I believe it’s because I was completely desolate on a spiritual basis.
Something needed to change.
It was obvious, I was at a stepping off point. I had come to accept my life was unmanageable and I had become powerless over alcohol. It ruled my life – as embarrassing as it was to admit. I was certainly at a place where one beer was too many and a thousand would never have made me feel better. I knew what I needed to do – embrace a spiritual program of recovery. I went back to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), because it was the only thing that seemed to keep me from drinking. I came to believe in a Power Greater than myself that could restore me to sanity. I have accepted that trust in God (whom I choose to call my Higher Power, and I may start believing in Jesus again, who knows? I struggle with this still) and turning my will over to Him would help me through life. I intensively considered my resentments and shared them with a closed mouth friend who helped me come to terms with my role in the conflicts of my life. I found the ability to ask God to remove my defects of character and I began trying to look at myself on a daily basis. I then set out to amend those things and people I have hurt in the best way I can without causing further pain. As I wrap this phase of my recovery up, I will begin to look towards a future of continued relationship with God and others.
But I won’t lie either about my feelings and emotions. By far, the most challenging struggle I have had is in being honest about how I feel and understanding when and where it is appropriate to share those internal thoughts and emotions.
And that brings me to where I currently am at within my recovery and sobriety.
I’m very aware that all of my struggles still exist. I’m still struggling financially. I’m still struggling in my personal relationships. I’m still taking on the problems of the world and trying to “fix” things I really can’t control. I’m still struggling with my self-image and my self-esteem. I’m still struggling with my system of beliefs. I’m still struggling with my marriage. I’m still struggling with my sexuality. I still wish I had been born female. I still with I had better health. I still struggle.
The difference: I’m aware.
And sometimes it just hurts.
Sometimes it just feels like the world is going to crash in on me and there is nothing I can do about it. Honestly? That’s the way it feels the past month or so. I feel like my emotions are all over the place and I’m not enjoying it. I’ve also had thoughts of drinking more lately than I have in the past 3-4 months. It’s almost like the early days of my sobriety. I feel truly disconnected from my “program” and it seems to be something deeper than that – I almost feel like I need something more. But that’s kind of the nature of my addiction – the need for more of what makes me feel good.
I’ve even come to realize that I’m not just addicted to alcohol. I discovered that I devour food like there is no tomorrow and I have probably been over eating for 15 years. I have also come to believe that pornography, or really it’s sex in general, has taken a precedence in my life – almost like binge drinking. In a way, I sometimes feel like there is this new discovery because I am sober. Almost as if I didn’t need to face it or think about it while I was inebriated.
As a result of all of these feelings, I felt that a light went off in my head last week: It’s physical pleasure I seek to fill the hole I continue to feel in my soul. I am finding that sex, alcohol, food are all being used as a substitute. And even as I make this realization, I feel a weird pain within me. There feels to be this wrenching of my innards as I want to break free from it all, but not really knowing what it is I need to break free from. There seems to be something hidden, far beneath the surface, that prevents me from doing what’s best for me.
I was having a conversation with someone the other day about this idea. That I know what it takes to get me where I want to be in life and yet, I feel like I am unwilling to make the needed sacrifices. I almost feel like the effort isn’t worth the reward at the end. And the truly scary part is that I can’t tell if there really is the reward I think I need versus the reward I physically desire. What if I simply can’t know that answer? What if I will be in a perpetual state of never knowing what it is my heart desires or needs?
These are my thoughts.
I’m truly grateful to be sober, but I am recognizing that I am no where near “recovered”. I believe that I will need to be ever vigilant for the things that pull me away from a spiritual way of living. I have re-learned some things, learned some new things and found a better way to be. But it is easy for me to fall into complacency and comfort.
God willing, I will celebrate a year of sobriety on Halloween! Boo!