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?
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at email@example.com.
You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.