My Relapse Years, by Sarah Hepola
“After months of trying to quit, I knew I’d be a drunk for life. Then I discovered how useful failing can be. ”
“I can remember the day I knew I would never quit drinking. I was sitting in my closet, contemplating the bottle of Cabernet I had just picked up at the liquor store and realizing I was absolutely, positively going to open it.”
“I had been trying to quit for months at that point. No wait: I’d been trying to quit for years. I would wake up on a Sunday, all cringes and stabbing pain, and I’d swear off the stuff only to crawl back on my belly in three days, maybe four. This time I’d made a formal effort, though. I was Quitting. Done. Finito. At some point, you must accept that the universe has granted you enough epic nights and drunken ragers, and I drew the line at roughly five bazillion.”
“My mind and my heart were at odds on this issue, however. I knew I had to stop drinking – the evidence was unambiguous – but I would find myself on a date, nervous and fidgety, or I would find myself walking from the subway to the Brooklyn brownstone I shared at the time, pulled as if by centrifugal force into the liquor store with the bulletproof glass, where the clientele bought Malibu Rum and lottery tickets, and wondering: Well, what would happen if I picked up that bottle of Cabernet?”
“And I would walk home feeling the weight of that bottle in my hands, a grenade not yet launched, and I would wave to my nice roommate as I walked past her on the couch, curled under a blanket watching TV, and I would step into my bedroom at the top of the stairs, close the door behind me, and think: You don’t have to drink this. You could actually NOT drink this.”
“But then I would go into the closet, and sit there for a while, and pour the wine into a small juice glass I stored there for such occasions, enjoying the glug-glug of the liquid as it poured, enjoying the sharp fumes of the Cabernet — drinking it before I was even drinking it, feeling my body hum back to life…” Click here to continue reading: My relapse years.
I could relate to so much of this article, I felt like she was telling my story! I relapsed for 4 years, on and on, and on, without the end in sight. I thought I was doomed! “I was never going to stop drinking. I was going to be a drunk for the rest of my life.”- yep, that’s exactly how I felt!
Then I get to this next to the last paragraphs and I am overwhelmed! Again, so very true for me too! Just love, love this paragraph!
But change is not a bolt of lightning that arrives with a zap. It is a bridge built brick by brick, every day, with sweat and humility and slips. It is hard work, and slow work, but it can be thrilling to watch it take shape. I believed I could not quit drinking, that people would not like me sober, that life would be drained of its color — but every ounce of that was untrue. Which made me wonder what else I believed that was untrue. What other impossible feats were within my grasp.
Sarah Hepola is the personal essays editor at Salon.com, where she reads people’s secrets for a living. She has written many stories about drinking and crying too much… as well as a memoir, called “Blackout,” released by Grand Central Publishing in June 2015. For more information on Sarah Hepola, please check out her blog at http://sarahhepola.com
What do you think about this article, and Sarah’s amazing journey to sobriety!? Can you relate?
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