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.