We're doing our fancy Valentine's Day dinner on Saturday night. That means I get to marinate some beautiful beef in my famous marinade. (Okay...it's famous around my house anyway.) It consists of brown sugar, soy, and lots and lots of bourbon. You put the steak in and marinate for as long as possible. The flavor of the bourbon and brown sugar combined with the soy is just marvelous after it cooks on the grill. And the bourbon breaks down the fibers in the beef so that it's fork tender when it's done. Yum.
I made a mental note to check the liquor cabinet (cabinet over the stove) to be sure we had bourbon and then I had a chuckle...what kind of alcoholic has a liquor cabinet that is stocked with all sorts of spirits and who never has even the slightest urge to imbibe?
And that got my brain going to how we, as alcoholics come in all shapes, sizes and psyches and so do our recovery plans. What works for one may not work for another. That is not a reason to give up on getting a life. It just means you have to find a different path.
I do not attend AA. In fact, the thought of having to go to AA kept me from getting sober for a long time. I have written about this before but my prior experiences with AA as a family member (not as an alcoholic) were not positive. But since I thought that was the only way someone could get and stay sober, I stayed drunk.
And then the pain of being a drunk was worse than the pain of getting sober so I quit drinking.
Eventually I did go to AA for awhile. I later decided it wasn't for me and stopped going. I think the organization is a miracle for many and it helped me move through recovery when I got stuck. For that I will always be grateful. But it's structure is just not what I need to stay sober.
I've also been told (by a therapist no less) that I had a "high bottom". (I wish he had been talking about my ass...but alas...) I'll admit that when I first got sober that made me feel really good about myself because I was feeling pretty shitty about myself and I grasped any self-esteem I could find. But as I move through recovery I realize that labels like "high bottom", "low bottom", "skid row drunk", really have no meaning. What matters is that alcohol has taken control of your life and you need to take that control back. It doesn't matter how you do that either...just do it.
And that got me thinking of how paralyzed with fear I was to quit drinking and that got my fingers to the keyboard. So for all of you out there who are...
- Sitting in front of Intervention on Monday nights with your glass of courage, watching the train wrecks and thinking, "At least I'm not that bad."
- Comparing yourself to friends or relatives who drink and saying, "At least I'm not that bad."
- Thinking, "I don't drink everyday! I just don't have an off switch."
- Saying to yourself every morning, "I am not going to drink today", only to feel your resolve slip away as the day goes on.
- Find yourself in the grocery or liquor store thinking up reasons that you deserve this bottle.
- Realizing how frightened you are of a life without alcohol. What would you do for fun for Christ's sake?
- Are tired of seeing the dissappointment in your family's faces when they see you with a drink in your hand or smell it on your breath over the toothpaste and gum. (You really aren't fooling anyone you know.)
- Are tired of waking up with that pit of despair when you think, "What did I say/do last night and to whom do I owe an apology?"
- On the phone first thing in the morning to call a friend, just to hear the tone in their voice because you're sure you fucked up but you just can't remember.
- Are tired of waking up at 3 am with a sour mouth, upset stomach, night sweats and an inability to go back to sleep because you are in the middle of detoxing.
- AFRAID OF ADMITTING YOU HAVE A PROBLEM BECAUSE OF THE "LABEL" THAT SOCIETY MAY PLACE ON YOU.
...I say fuck society. I don't care if this beast is a disease, a condition, a label or all in my head (as has been suggested to me...sheesh!) All I know is that it had to STOP. So just decide. Decide that once in for all you are going to stop this awful carnival ride with the scary clowns and the dirty carnys and you're going to take your control back.
And then do it BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
First be sure that you do not need medical help to detox. Detoxing alone can be very dangerous. See a doctor first. See one in another town. See one in an anonymous clinic. Just check with one first.
- Contact AA - just google it.
- Call a friend.
- Call a clergy member who you trust.
- Make an appointment with a therapist.
- Check into rehab (your insurance probably covers it).
- Call your employers "Employee Assistance Services". They are completely anonymous and very helpful. You don't have to give your name if you don't want to.
- Start a blog.
- Start a journal.
- Read recover memoirs. I recommend "Drinking: A Love Story", by Caroline Knapp to get you started.
- Just sit down and white knuckle it until you can't anymore and you need to do something else. Then do something else.
- And if all else fails, email me or one of my other blogger buddies - I promise we'll love you until you can love yourself again.
I know that this post may cause some to get angry, or defensive. Some are probably thinking, "Who the hell is she to dispense advice." Or, "Tsk, tsk...she'll relapse one day." Or maybe just, "Shut the fuck up Sherry."
That's okay. This is my blog and my thoughts and my attempt to help someone, anyone who might be struggling. Because I wish I had found these blogs sooner. And because I promise your worst day as a sober person will still be better than your best day as a drunk.
May you find your path and your peace.