When things begin to spiral downward in the months and days leading up to February 14, 2015, I was barely hanging on. The only reason I was still employed was because I worked for my stepfather, and even that teetered on the brink of disaster. I was in a 3:2 cycle where I binged three weeks and worked two. Binging and purging. Rising and falling.
Well never truly rising…
I hid from loved ones and regularly dropped out of communication, which kept them sick with worry. I suffered from severe insomnia and juggled Ambien prescriptions between two separate pharmacies which allowed me a 30 day supply every 15 days. I was experiencing black outs and memory loss.
I was toxic.
Occasionally I’d string a few sober days together, but these attempts proved futile and were simply brief reprieves that didn’t last. I doubted my ability to stop drinking.
After a particularly difficult binge, that resulted in about four days of serious recovery down time, I found myself facing a realization that lead me to make a frightening confession.
“Mom, I’ve got to stop this time for real. I just don’t think I have another relapse in me”.
“No, perhaps not, but I know I don’t”, tears streamed down her cheeks. “Every time you have one of these episodes I’m left wondering if this is the one that will take you out. I don’t hear from you. I can’t reach you. And I stop breathing. I can’t survive another relapse. It will be the death of me.” I slumped on her bed and she held me while we both cried.
And I drank that night … for the last time.
My dad died on May 31, 2015.
By God’s grace I managed to get through the nine days between his death and memorial. Some days I broke the time into 60 second blocks. I survived one minute at a time in this way.
I didn’t drink.
Then, my aunt (mom’s side), grandmother (stepdad’s side), uncle (dad’s side), mentor (all sides), and aunt again (dad’s side) died. All gone, five more, between June and November.
I still didn’t drink.
Some days I wept. Others, I faced with grit, determination and absolute defiance. But, I began to deal with life head on, and experience my experiences. Drinking shrank into the past.
In 2015 I just couldn’t bring myself to drink. It wasn’t the time. It didn’t seem appropriate. In the face of death, alcohol met its match. It was too irreverent to chase death with a cocktail. And since death was tireless, it left no time for drinking. There was time to grieve; plenty of time for that, but even that required clarity and presence.
2015 was a splattering of blacks, browns and grays that muted the loud colors of my wild and destructive past.
Now, when a crazy challenge arises, something I use to drink over, for, or because of? I silently repeat this statement of resolve:
I didn’t drink when my daddy died.
ME + love/divorce + abandonment + fear + 19 + drugs + alcohol + gender/society – confidence* lack – love + betrayal -dissapointment + 10 + 11 = 40 + regret (drugs + alcohol) + 11 + sobriety/hope/then 5/31/2015 = ?
The question mark is still evolving. The equation’s not completely diagrammed. But I like where this is going.
Todays Challenge: Make a word diagram.