20 Years Booze-Free

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November 15, 1997 was my first day without a drink. I haven’t had a drink since.

There will be no celebrations. No cake. No friends singing. No applause.

See, I’ve relapsed twice on drugs. At 9 months, I did a whip-it. It was a knee-jerk reaction to seeing my roommate’s can of glorious Reddi Wip in the fridge.

(I still can’t have a can of whipped cream in my house as I don’t trust myself with it. I blame my first job at Dairy Queen. More on that later.)

My last relapse was at 15 years sober on a hit of pot. Yes, just one hit, but that one hit gave me a yearlong obsession to drink again.

And I was suicidal at the time so I know I wouldn’t have survived a drink.

A drink.

That’s hilarious. I’ve never had a drink. My goal was always four. Just have four and leave the bar.

I succeeded maybe twice.

People ask me if I can have just a glass of wine. I see no point. That would be like waiting in line for a roller coaster for two hours and then going down a kiddy slide instead.

I want to ride the roller coaster. And once I’m done, I want to ride it again. And after that – well why stop at two? And then I don’t know where my clothes are and why my boyfriend just broke up with me.

I’m a member of a 12-step program – it’s how I got and continue to stay sober. I’m very grateful for the program. But a lot of members are very wrapped up in “sober time.” As in how many days, weeks, years IN A ROW you’ve been sober.

I was proud of my years. My friends threw a huge 10 year party for me. My mom came into town. It was a big fucking deal.

By the time I turned 15, I was so depressed I could only stand for 5-minutes. There was still cake, less friends and celebration.

The problem was I became more impressed by the years than grateful for the days.

And the only amount of time any of us have is today.

That’s it.

Just today.

And that’s how I live my life now. My sobriety date is the same as any day sober, but I reflect on where I was mentally, physically and spiritually however many years ago the decision to live (yet again) was made.

And the reflection brings gratitude, as it should. But here’s the flip – now it brings humility of how powerful alcoholism is in my life instead of a feeling of accomplishment.

I’m not proud of my sobriety. I’m fucking grateful and humbled by it.

That was NOT my attitude when I had many years sober. (Even saying “I had years” sounds weird to me now. I have today. I don’t “have” yesterday or the guarantee of a tomorrow. It just seems cocky to “have time.”)

Remaining sober for many years made me cocky and complacent. I believed all those the years “I had” were a safeguard against relapse. Alcoholism is very patient and it waits for us to think we’re safe, immune or above a relapse.

I thought I was safe because the most common reasons people relapse are:

1. They stop working with other alcoholics.

2. They stop taking commitments at meetings and then stop going to meetings.

3. They think they no longer have alcoholism.

Here’s why I was totally fine:

1. I was sponsoring four women and had a sponsor. And a grandsponsor. And so on and so forth.

2. I went to four committed meetings a week (all while I had a baby at home).

3. I have never, ever – for the past 20 years – ever thought I didn’t have alcoholism. I’m so clear that my body and brain chemistry does some funky shit when I ingest alcohol. And that ending up naked and peeing in public is not what normal drinkers do after a glass of wine.

Why did I relapse then? I was in year three of a four year battle with crippling postpartum depression and I wanted relief from the pain. Every waking moment was pure torture mentally and physically and I was at my breaking point.

I ended up taking the wrong medicine for my ailment. And it wasn’t prescribed to me.

But I didn’t drink. And I wanted to with every molecule of my body. And I wanted to die. All of the time.

What I didn’t know was that I didn’t want to drink or die – I just wanted relief. For me, when my pain gets so great for so long, I want out.

I am celebrating quietly today. With every breath. Because I’m alive. I have today. It’s all I have and I’m so grateful for it.

Because we all just have today. If we’re lucky.

About courtrundell

Total Weirdo.

Posted on November 14, 2017, in Sanity & Lack Thereof - Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Happy today my friend…..

    “but at midnight”….omg how that has helped me over the years!
    xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “We only have today,” A very touching story…

    Like

  1. Pingback: When Hormonal Rage Meets Mental Illness | Court Rundell

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