In the first part of “How My Relapse Years Got Me Sober,” which you can read HERE, I was desperately looking for the third option in my battle against alcohol. I still didn’t really want to be sober, I mean I did… sort of… just not all the time… maybe some of the time, but the rest of my life!? Hell NO! What I really wanted was a third option.
Soon after rehab I relapsed. It was a complete disaster; the house was a total mess and I was struggling with a horrible hangover. I was lucky that nothing really bad happened. Once again I vowed to not drink ever again. I went to a 12-step meeting and proclaimed to devote my entire life to the program.
Three months later I was drunk again. Why? I just couldn’t understand why! What was wrong with me? Why the hell couldn’t I get his!?
…. and then it came to me, I found my third option – I decided to move! A fresh start would be great, I thought! I new place where the memories were not around every corner, and the shame and guilt would not mount into a huge pile and drive me to drink. It was time to move on. I needed to put all that crap behind me – that was just a rough patch of life that I had to get through! That’s all. Nothing wrong here.
I found an apartment next to a shopping center, and in a walking distance to a beverage store, a grocery store, and a convenience store! Life was finally coasting along just fine. I continued my controlled drinking while I still attended 12-step meetings which kept me somewhat grounded. It took lots of work to keep this charade going, but I honestly though that I had finally made it! I finally had figured out how to drink like a “normal” person.
Then, I got horribly drunk again, and again I swore to get sober.
This continued for a very long, two years. I couldn’t stay sober for more than a few months, and I couldn’t drink safely! It was an absolute insanity. I was angry, resentful and self-loathing. I was constantly looking for new ways to manage my drinking because I did NOT want to be an alcoholic! I was constantly waiting for my life to get better, so I could get sober. It never dawned on me that if I got sober, life would get better.
It became harder and harder to keep up my charade. I was written up and given a warning at work due to my tardiness. So, I decided that I needed to change careers and go back to school to get an IT certificate. Then… I actually got fired for getting completely shitfaced at a company event. But that was OK too, because now I could focus solely on my studies and have unlimited time to drink.
That idea did not turn out so good. Things got out of control quickly, and I was not able to keep up with my school work. I quit drinking again and again I proclaimed that this was the time, for sure! This time it was going to be forever.
Several months later it seemed that my life was getting back on track. I had a new jobs and school was done! On a sunny Friday afternoon, I decided to get a nice steak for dinner to celebrate. As I walked into the grocery store, I found myself in the middle of the wine aisle. I stopped and started to rationalize – maybe one bottle of wine wouldn’t hurt? I reached over and grabbed a bottle off the shelf. But one bottle was really not enough… so I grabbed another… then another. Perfect! One of each flavor! But then I thought that this was going to be ridiculously expensive, and possibly appear like I might have a problem – maybe a box of wine would be better! Yes, of course… and with my luck, the boxed wine was also on sale, so I got two.
Armed with 2 boxes of wine and a steak, I went home to celebrate my life. Next thing I remember was waking up, face down on my kitchen floor. I could barely move. There were several boxes of wine around me. I reached for my phone which was near by – there were 50 voice mail messages. I managed to get up – I noticed that the steak was still in the pan on the stove – burned. Then I realized that it was Monday morning. I freaked out.
My last drunk was not something I planned, there was nothing wrong I my life, it was a sunny Friday afternoon when I started drinking. But when I realized that I just spent the entire weekend in a blackout… that was so absolutely shocking to finally see how out of control my life was when I was drinking. Then, I had a moment of clarity! I finally came to the realization that I really could NOT drink like a “normal” person!
The truth was that everything that was happening in my life and every decision I have ever made was directly tied to my drinking. No amount of moderation could ever change the fact that I was addicted to alcohol. No amount of willpower could keep me safe! No child, no job, no success and no failure! No sun or rain! No good mood or bad! It did not matter. I was still an alcoholic despite all of the circumstance in my life.
This was my turning point, I finally saw it all clearly. Alcohol was not my solution, it was my problem.
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