the silver lining of fucking up

I feel like I just failed an exam that I studied really hard for and now I have to retake the entire class.

That’s how I explained this feeling to my husband this morning. I managed to stay sober for all of November and most of December. Then Christmas happened. Christmas can not be blamed. I caved long before I got there. Although I don’t think I was fully conscious of it I know I wasn’t oblivious to it either.

I stopped writing posts. I stopped talking about it to anyone. I started thinking about it more and didn’t try to do anything to slow my descent into the inevitable. I didn’t come up with an action plan to stay sober on Christmas. I left it until the very last moment and subconciously (hindsight is 20/20) collected a pile of excuses that fell in line with why it was a good idea and why it would be different. I relapsed before I even drank. My desire to drink and to feel at ease shadowed and completely obscured my goals. I could barely remember why I wanted to be sober in the first place.

I barely had 3 drinks on Christmas but they completely drowned out my resolve. My husband said he was worried about the slippery slope and he is a smart man because I slipped real fast. Last weekend I said there must be ground rules. No drinking on week days and only for special events on the weekends. Well last night was a Tuesday and that didn’t seem to be an issue to this defeated brain.

I’m ashamed that my desire to drink has shaped my morals and goals into suggestions. I’m nervous that I’ll never not want it or that I’ll have to live without it for always. But here I am anyways, starting over.

A very smart man told me that “Retakes have value. Like rereading a book, you pick up on things and perspectives you didn’t have the first time.” I don’t know how many times I have tried to re-read this book but I know I probably shouldn’t try to re-read it on my own. So I am starting here.

Any advice?

xoxo

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6 thoughts on “the silver lining of fucking up

  1. How much do you really want to stop? In AA there is an axiom that we pretty much have to hit rock bottom in order to be serious about stopping. Don’t know how I really feel about that, but I do know that “place” is different for everyone. I never got fired, got a DUI, had my house repossessed, wrecked my car, got divorced, slept under a bridge, all the things I’ve heard people talk about in their stories. But things were bad enough in my own little world I knew I had to stop. I really knew. So I did. And I started going to AA. That was almost 9 years ago.

    I don’t think healing happens in a vacuum. See where I’m going here? It’s your choice. I’m certainly not saying AA is the only way. Of course, it isn’t. I just think this is difficult — not impossible, but certainly much more difficult — to do without others around you who are on the same journey.

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    1. It would definitely be nice to know more people who are going through similar things. I’ve been in and out of AA for a few years and I started going to a different group in a different state and connected more in that setting but you’re right, I think I need to at least try to find a physical sober community around because it does get pretty lonely.

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    2. I don’t agree with the notion that rock-bottom is required to quit. I was a bottom dweller twenty some years ago, got control and settled into a reasonably mellow balance with a steady stream of alcohol. I quit because I was tired of the internal conversation “another drink? is that a good idea? am I spending too much money? am I setting a good example for my kids? i can’t wait until work is over so I can have a drink… etc” It was definitely sustainable, I sustained it for over a decade, but it nagged at me constantly. I’ve never been to a meeting, even though it was reading about a character in a book going to meetings that gave me the push to quit. AA seems to have too many absolutes.

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  2. A few weeks of drinking doesn’t undo the months of sobriety. I wouldn’t think of it as starting over. The typical alcoholic way of tracking sobriety (“I’ve been sober for 3 days”) is dismissive of your effort. I prefer “I quit drinking 3 months ago.” My guess is everyone’s experience is different, but one constant I’ve heard (and experienced) is: it does get easier. My post drinking life is sort of a shambles in terms of friendships, so I might not be the best person to listen to, but from earlier posts I remember reading about a bit of hanging out at the bar with a club soda. I can’t see this as a good strategy. You need to make the decision not to drink too many times (like constantly), and I’m sure you hear a lot of “one isn’t going to do any harm.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve got up on 9 years under my belt and the only token I ever kept is my 90-day token. It’s the only one that really had an impact on me. I’ve given every other token back to the club so they don’t have to buy one more.

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