I am nowhere near in the clear......
I am almost at the 180 mark, 6 days from 6 months booze free. And I am nowhere near off the hook. I found myself telling my daughter yesterday that “we’re not drinking right now”. My husband heard me and said “what do you mean right now”? I told him if he was thinking I had quit forever, I just couldn’t go there right now.
We had 3 doorstep deliveries yesterday: ALL of them had booze in them. There were also other gift bags laying around for my kids, also with bottles of wine in them. Holy Trigger batman!!! I found myself a little (ok a lot) angry. I was mad that I wasn’t “part of the club” anymore. Mad that I couldn’t just start my wine at 3 like every other year on Dec 23rd while I prepared the next day’s casseroles and such. Mad that I ‘couldn’t’ drink. I felt resentful, punished, negative, longing, woeful..... how many more pathetic adjectives exist in the human language?
Then my instagram friend made a post that made me go Aha! @something.sober says “your ideas are what brought you here. If you want to change something, you have to be willing to change your thinking. You can be uncomfortable and unthrilled and stay sober anyways - because what you want most, more than comfort and excitement, is a new outcome”.
Hmmmm what would the ‘old’ outcome have been had I drank yesterday? Well yes, I would have started at 3:00 pm (at least) and not had 1 glass. I likely would have killed almost 2 bottles of wine easily. We probably would have opened the expensive bottle my husband got and I likely wouldn’t even have tasted it. I would have passed out in my chair as per usual and dragged myself to bed. I would have opened my eyes this morning and absolutely hated myself. I would have felt groggy, headachy and loathesome. Instead, I am kinda pissed that I wasted my day acting like a 3 year old having a tantrum because I couldn’t pour wine over my head.
An incident has been at the forefront of my mind for days and I can’t shake it. It was a few years ago. Well into our drinking ‘career’, I was at a colleague’s house for a retirement party. My husband dropped me off because I was going to be having a few glasses of wine (shocker I know). He picked me up later in the evening and on our (short) drive home, suddenly we saw police lights behind us. They weren’t passing us and so we knew we were being pulled over. This was the busiest street in our community. The officer approached my husband’s window and asked if he knew why she had pulled him over. Well he just got his new car and didn’t realize he was driving without his lights on. Well, she then asked if he had been drinking. (Of course he had, it was 8pm and although he drove me to my event, he certainly wasn’t going to give up HIS night of drinking - I digress). He said he had had a glass of wine. I quickly spoke over to the officer saying that it was me she smelled the alcohol on because I was just at an event. She politely indicated that what she was smelling was coming from him. She then proceeded to politely ‘invite’ my husband to her vehicle for a breathalyzer. This whole time I am thinking “that asshole, how could he do this to ME?”, “How could he drink before picking me up?”, “How could he not know to put his lights on?”, “That’s it, the marriage is over”, “What if he gets an DUI?” Oh my God. I think he was gone all of 10 minutes, but that was the longest 10 minutes of my life.
When he got back to the car we were silent. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t keep my thoughts clear. I said to myself “we are busted. Our dirty little secret is out. He’s a boozer (not me, him), and now he’s going to jail, or lose his license, what a drunk”. We got lucky that night. It should have been the night we changed everything. But it wasn’t. He didn’t get charged, but she impounded his vehicle and we walked home. That’s how close we lived, that we could walk home and still, he got caught drinking and driving.
As we made the 5km walk home I seethed with anger. How dare he do this to me? Kept looping over and over. I was in such a rage, I didn’t speak to him the whole way home. I walked 10 paces ahead of him the whole time. I was drunk myself so my reaction was unreasonable. Like always. It was the biggest elephant in the room and I just couldn’t talk about it. If everyone found out he drank, then maybe people would figure out I drank too. This is a community that drinks, everyone drinks. But no one, NO ONE gets caught! If he had to quit drinking, or change his habits, then I would have to as well - and I wasn’t ready to dig myself out of the (wine) barrel!!!
Here’s the raw, honest embarrassing truth: I have been so god damned lucky all these years, I should be on my knees daily thanking God for not killing someone while driving impaired. For not killing my children, my husband, my children’s friends or myself. I cannot count the times I have driven after a few glasses of wine, telling myself I had spaced them out enough to ‘be fine’ enough to drive. The truth is, I wasn’t. I’m certain of it now. I am riddled with guilt at the thought of what I could have done.
I am not part of a 12 step program, but I am well aware of the act of making amends. I don’t know how to make amends for risking my family’s lives over and over again. I don’t know how to apologize to my husband not for just that night, but for all the nights I looked at him with disgust thinking he was such a drunk and that I needed to be out of this marriage so I could drink ‘normally’.
I am so full of sadness and regret today I desperately wish I had a ‘real’ person to talk to. I wish the internet could magically materialize someone who knows exactly what I’ve done and to help me move on.
Well at least I have this blog to put it out there into the ‘ether’.
How lucky am I that I don’t have to put quitting drinking on my new years’ resolution list. I’ve done it and now I have to keep doing it. My resolution will be to look for humans; real life flesh and blood who I can talk to about these things so it’s not in my head anymore.
Maybe then that will be when I move from “I’m not drinking right now”, to “I will never let alcohol attempt to ruin my life again”. I’m getting there........