Copy this scenario every day of the week and you'll have a pretty good glimpse of the last 5 months of my life. That is, until I broke. It wasn't one particular event that broke me, but a culmination of things that sent me flying over the edge into a pool of despair. The wine became my quicksand, and the harder I tried to cling to the edges, the quicker I fell.
Alcohol has always played a big role in my life. Every event, gathering, good mood, bad mood, celebration, holiday; all of it centered around what amount of drinking was involved. Over the years there have been multiple instances of Do I drink too much? Do I have a problem? Chances are if you have to ask, alcohol has too big a grasp on you. Once I realized I couldn't remove myself from that grasp alone, I knew it was time to ask for help. I checked myself into a rehabilitation facility in a last-ditch effort before I ruined my life completely.
Never did I think anything would supersede the terror of asking for a divorce; as it happens, rehab is that thing.
Someday when I'm ready to relive those 13 days, I might write a blog about it. For now, I'll just say that it was a necessary evil to allow me to actually change. Gone were the days of convincing myself that I'd only drink for special occasions or weekends or when there was a full moon, only to throw in the towel a week later; I was finally ready to admit that I just. couldn't. handle. alcohol.
And you know what the hardest part was? The hardest part was the mourning. The loss. Because I lost a friend. A best friend. Alcohol got me through the bad times and the good. It was with me to celebrate and cry and party and make friends I wouldn't have otherwise.
It's been two months and three days since I decided to go to rehab. Two months since I decided I was not willing to give up my family or my marriage or my life for a cheap box of wine. Two months since I decided that I had to own up to my mistakes, face the truth and realize that I was a better person without alcohol. But most importantly, two months ago, I decided it was time to finally feel the shit I was going through, not drown it in pinot grigio.
Not just feel it, but deal with it.
I thought I would be instantly happy; finally sleeping better and having more energy and ENJOYING LIFE! No. It's been a struggle. My husband, god love him, has tolerated a lot of shit. I've had more mental breakdowns in the past year than most people do in two lifetimes. My heart has literally had to be restarted (long story). My life has been one shitshow after the other, but somehow I am still standing. By some unexplained miracle, I am still alive.
The other day I read a metaphor about a train in a tunnel in relation to a child's meltdown. "Difficult feelings are tunnels, and we are trains traveling through them."source Coincidentally I find more value in that for myself than for my children. This was the perfect analogy for me to understand just how important it is to ride out the difficult feelings NOW, rather than ignore them and deal with a volcanic eruption later.
Many people won't believe it when I say that I don't miss alcohol, but I don't. I miss my friend. I miss the security blanket. I miss the feeling I got after that first sip. And you know what? That's alright. It's okay to miss the good parts. But I will never, ever miss the asshole that alcohol turned me into, or the feeling I had when I woke up with a headache, or the lying or anger. I'll never miss it because it wasn't me. It wasn't who I really am.
I've laughed in the last month. Actually laughed. Not a fake laugh or stupid laugh or laughing at something that really wasn't funny but I thought it was because I was one glass in and life was good. I've been waking up at 5am to run on the treadmill. FIVE A.M. It sucks, but it makes me feel awesome. I've taken and edited photos. Crafted. Played with my kids. Decluttered. Practiced having patience. Practiced letting things go.
I'm alive, guys. I'm alive and I'm not a drinker anymore; I'm a badass.