My (almost) Relapse

Day 98. It’s true.  No one ever wakes up in the morning and wishes they had drank the night before.  It’s 4:45am as I write this and, certainly, there is no way I could be doing so had yesterday panned out the way I convinced myself I wanted it to- with a drink.

Since beginning this journey, and specifically when I decided alcohol couldn’t be a part of my life EVER again, I have known that relapse was so close.  ONE decision or move away. One minute you’re minding your own sober business and the next you’re at the bar pounding IPA. One day you’re doing great and the next you’re sneaking sips of vodka. It’s something I have been overly aware of.  However, it isn’t something I have come close to pursuing- until yesterday.

Sure, there have been MANY moments where I have thought ‘I’d really like a drink’ and days where ‘this would be better with a solid buzz’ has crossed my mind, but nothing held a light to yesterday.  Yesterday as in the day I went in to a liquor store AND bought a 6 pack of beer.

It was over nothing and it was over everything.  There were no big events. No major happenings. No one died. Nothing happened to my kids.  But, somehow, everything was piling up. I had a fight with my partner, another with my mom, I have been sick so I haven’t worked out in a week (exercise is a MUST for me) and let’s not forget the feminine fuckery that is the Kavanaugh case.

I found myself in this terribly negative headspace.   Convincing myself that being sober is harder than being drunk.  Telling myself that I shouldn’t have brought children into this  no good, rotten world. I had a lot of negative self talk too, about being a terrible mother, awful partner and family embarrassment. For me, when I start to go down…I go WAY down.

I took my kids to the playground and watched as they played with friends, all the while dreaming of a cold, crisp pumpkin ale crossing my lips.  As we left, my kids begged for ice cream.  I told them we could go across the street and grab one.  I pulled my car into the parking lot of the small shopping plaza and searched for a parking spot. It was crowded, the only spot available was on the other side of the shops. I put the car in park, looked up and what would you know……a liquor store.  MOTHER FUCKER.

Anyone who knows me, or follows me, knows that I am a HUGE believer in signs.  I believe in them and I listen to them.  I think the universe has a plan for all of us and it tries to communicate the plan to us- we just have to listen.

So, I did the thing. I said ‘well, it’s a sign’.  I told myself that there must be some reason that the only parking spot was HERE on a day like today, where alcohol is on the forefront of my mind.

I got my kids their ice cream and I marched myself right in.  I stared- for what felt like a long time- at all of the colorful cans in the refrigerator. I figured if I was meant to drink, then my favorite beer would be in this cooler. (Although, to be fair, I have SO many favorites.). Nothing was calling to me, but I did see something. A 6 pack with a clean, white label and blue writing. The beer was called THERAPY.  Not only that, it was a session IPA- the most delicious kind.  ‘Well, must be a sign’, I thought as I brought it to the cash register to pay.

The cashier asked, ‘is that all?’.  And while I said ‘yep.’,   I wanted to scream ‘I AM AN ALCOHOLIC- TAKE THIS OUT OF MY HANDS RIGHT NOW’.

I got back in my car and considered opening one while driving home, before anyone could stop me. I thought better of it and made it all the way home. I parked my car in the driveway, let the kids out, sat in the car and cried. I cried and cried and cried. I cried because I hated myself for taking this step.  I cried because I can’t drink like everyone else and I really want to.

I sat in the car for a long time and I just felt it all. And it SUCKED. I reached out to a number of people who kindly tried texting and calling with the gentlest words of support, but when you’re IN IT, you can’t even see or hear the love. (Or, at least, I can’t.)

After what felt like forever, my partner came out, tapped on the window and asked the question every woman wants to hear in the middle of a mental breakdown and near relapse: ‘what’s for dinner?’.

So I did the woman thing.  I put on my big girl pants, marched my ass right into the kitchen and made my family a nice dinner. I told him that there was beer in the car and to get rid of it immediately.

It was a close one and I have the emotional hangover equivalent of fresh breakup proportion. But, what I don’t have is a real hangover.  And for that I am so grateful.



  1. The stress of “everyday life” is most assuredly a mofo sometimes. What a beautifully written piece, thank you for your honesty. And I love that you made me laugh out loud—“what’s for dinner?”!!!! You are a strong woman, clearly. Congratulations on your continued sobriety, so glad you didn’t drink!!!


  2. I listened to your interview on The Bubble Hour this morning and was so impressed that I checked out your blog and found this post. I’m very happy that you didn’t drink Renee! You are a gifted communicator — speaking and writing with such raw honesty and humor. Your blog is amazingly creative as well. If you haven’t thought of it already, this might be a good career path for you. I’m really interested to hear other women share about early sobriety. I’ve been sober 65 days this time around, and I think this time it’s gonna stick. Previously, I was sober 7 years until I moved to Germany and decided that I’d left my alcoholism across the pond! No such luck. Best of luck to you in your continued sobriety– I’ll be following right behind you! 🙂


    1. Hiiii Ginny. Thank you so much for this comment and reaching out. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement to share my message. And, as it turns out, I am starting to do just that by holding Sober Sister Circles. The first one is next month here in MA!
      Thank you, again, for your comment.


  3. I just listened to you on the bubble hour, you are a courageous, inspiring, thoroughly decent human being. Oh, and you ARE a writer.


  4. Wow! I am so glad I found your blog! I was running out of the good honest ones with F words! What’s for dinner hahah. I can so relate. I am close to you in days.. I’m since July 13 so I guess like 120 or so? Anyway please keep posting and I’ll keep reading. Did you read naked mind yet? You haven’t mentioned it yet although I’m not all thru your posts. That’s a key one.


    1. Hi honey. Thank you so much for your comment. I know the feeling of finding a blog that you connect with! I have read Naked Mind and agree, it’s a great one! Thanks for being on this journey with me.


  5. Just listened to you on the Bubble hour and I swear I thought I was listening to mYSELF! I have really been beating myself up recently over my drinking. It’s not everyday but I am a bad binger. Thank you for your frankness


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