It is harder this time.
I know that everyone white knuckles it sometimes, but it’s been days now. Weeks really. And my better intentions have been getting their asses kicked.
So last week I did what I never, ever thought I would do: I asked someone for help.
I called a friend in recovery. I told her my story: two stretches of sobriety; very little understanding from friends or family; overwhelmed at work; panicked about the state of the world; my love of isolation + couch; etc.
She listened without judgement. Asked a few questions. Clarified one or two things. Then she said: “You need a three-point plan.” And here is the plan she gave me:
- Engage your husband. Tell him. Make him see.
- Approach work slightly differently.
- Reach out to more sober people.
I love a plan. And a three-point plan, well, that is the best kind.
So: 1) Later that day, I sat my husband down. I told him I was hiding liquor bottles (I’ve never gone back to wine, tequila is my jam), sneaking drinks. I told him I needed him to SEE ME. (Just ask me what’s in my fucking glass, you know?!) He’s not used to me needing him. I am a military wife. Historically, I take care of all my/our shit, and he just shows up for the party/event/our life. When I told him I needed him, he seemed surprised (both at my request and at my admission), but not shocked. He is slowly getting on board. (This is a work in progress, for sure.)
2) Work is tricky. I am a consultant. I can’t ask for help – I AM the help. I am deep into a two-year project that is more complicated and nuanced than anything I’ve ever done before. (Lots of IT stuff that does not come intuitively to me.) The approach my friend suggested includes asking for clarifications, rather than explanations. (This is also a work in progress.)
3. Where to find more sober people? The truth is, my fear of people is fairly deep-seated. I am really unsteady around most humans. I fake it, but I hate it and do my best to find a quick exit. As for finding sober people, well, I don’t live in Canada, where all the cool sober people live. I know I need some local, American peeps. (But, I need them to hate Trump. This is a non-neogitable.)
I have been going to AA for a few weeks now, but it’s really only half-hearted, and I know I need to fully commit and engage a sponsor, work the steps, etc. There is a woman at AA who I think could be my sponsor. I really like her. I will contact her this week and ask her to meet for coffee. (Hopefully, she will like me and hate our president.) …. And then, last night, at an AA meeting, I ran into a neighbor. Someone who I have always liked in that neighborly way, and who I HAD NO IDEA drank alcoholically. This morning we went on a long walk together. She is as honest and as troubled as I am. (This did not seem like work at all. This was just nice. And, yes, she is also horrified by DJT.)
So, I am making it happen. As best as I can, trying to do the next right thing.
And there is also this hard truth; the one mistake from previous attempts I see very clearly now: I did not value my sobriety as much as I should have. I did not see it as the precious gift that it is. I did not treat it with the respect and protection that it deserved. No one in my established circle of friends and family seemed to care about it, so I decided their opinion was more important than my own and I drowned my sobriety gift in a bottle of tequila.
That is not happening again. This is fucking hard. Three times up this mountain is enough.