Happy Hump Day, everyone. Hump it out. And as I always say, be careful not to pull your back out.
So last night boyfriend went out with a friend. She invited him to see a movie and I completely expected them to swing by a wine bar for a glass or two afterwards. I had the normal psycho thoughts like HE’S MAKING PLANS LIKE THIS BECAUSE HE HATES THAT I’M SOBER NOW AND THINKS I’M BORING AND HE JUST WANTS TO DRINK! or HE’S GOING TO FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE WHILE DRUNK AND REALIZE WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO HIM IS BEING WITH SOMEONE THAT KNOWS HOW TO DRINK MARGARITAS WITHOUT THROWING UP ON OTHER PEOPLE’S HAIR! or IF HE REALLY LOVED ME HE WOULD CHANGE EVERYTHING FOR ME AND NEVER EVER EVER TOUCH ALCOHOL AGAIN BECAUSE EVERYONE NEEDS TO START BEHAVING LIKE AMISH PEOPLE SO I FEEL SAFE AND COMFORTABLE!
The truth is, this is only the SECOND situation in almost two months where he had a drink. And neither of those two times were in front of me or in our home. And not only was he respectful about it, he didn’t even come home wasted! What kind of person only drinks two times in two months AND doesn’t make it a point to completely obliterate themselves?!? If it were me, my mission would be clear. If I’m only drinking twice in two months, I’m going to get disgusting. I’d most likely wake up with my mouth tasting like chicken taco and cupcake and I’d realize that I had something really weird pierced like my knuckle. But not him. He just had two glasses of wine which I’m sure when poured together would not even come close to the fishbowl I would have poured for myself. And even though he did nothing wrong, I turned off the bedroom lights at 10:30PM when he still wasn’t home yet and proceeded to go to sleep even though I wasn’t tired that way when he got home he’d have to deal with darkness and me not interacting with him. WTF? I guess I thought THAT WILL SHOW HIM FOR DRINKING WINE WITHOUT ME!
And that’s really what it was about. It was about me being pissed the fuck off that I can’t do that. That he can and I can’t. And what’s even more ridiculous is that I DON’T WANT TO. But I’m mad that I don’t have the option to. And as I lay there in the dark, I realized WAIT. I DO HAVE THE OPTION TO. It will totally kill me and put me in the ground. But the option is there. This is about me. I need to stay in my own yard. As long as he isn’t doing anything to directly compromise my sobriety and is being supportive, I have to start focusing on myself. He eventually came home and climbed into bed. I didn’t say a word. I am so fucking stubborn. It’s gross. But I’m working on it. I woke up this morning and for a moment I had decided to still be mad. But as he left the bedroom to use the restroom, I yelled STOP IT to myself. When he got back, I put my arms around him and asked him how the movie was. I chose reality. I changed the tape in my head. I turned the wheel and headed in a different direction. And it was great.
Last night also got me thinking about accountability. My boyfriend obviously knows that I have a serious drinking problem and that I’m a recovering alcoholic. But for nearly six years, he didn’t know that. Because I didn’t tell him. Sure, he may have thought it was weird that I sometimes went to sleep on the bathroom floor. He may have occasionally tilted his head in confusion when he’d find puke in the sink that I didn’t clean up because I didn’t even know I had puked. Okay. He knew. He knew I had a problem. But until he said something or I said something, I was accountable to no one. SOOO MANY TIMES I tried to moderate or stop drinking completely in private without him knowing. And during the week it was fine. But then Friday would come around and he would say something like, “Let’s go get a drink. This week was crazy!” And if I were to have said, “No. I don’t want to,” then he would have asked why. And I would have had to tell him. And the game would be over. And I wouldn’t ever be able to drink in front of him again.
If I were still hiding this disease, last night would have been different. I would have used his drinking as an excuse to do my own. I’d have stopped after work and picked up some stuff. I would have proceeded to get wasted. And I would have gone to bed and pretended to be asleep exactly like I did last night but for totally different reasons. I wouldn’t want him to be able to tell how drunk I was. Even though he would have been buzzed from his 1-2 glasses of wine, it would be nothing compared to the wreck I was.
But all of that is gone. All of the shadows are illuminated. The scariest thing was making the decision that enough was enough. Going to him and telling him meant I could NEVER drink in front of him again. And the need to protect my ability to continue living in my addiction kept me silent for six years. Even though I wanted sobriety and health, it didn’t matter. What if I decided I didn’t want sobriety in a few months? 6 months? A year? How would I ever tell him, “Honey. I was wrong. I’m not an alcoholic. I’m fine. Let’s go for dirty martinis.” Even though I was sure this disease was killing me and I wanted out, I chose the OPTION of being able to drink over peace. And any attempt at moderation or abstinence was completely futile without the accountability I have now.
Now, he would be FURIOUS with me if I drank. And this isn’t to say that I’m not drinking because of him. But none of this became real until I made it real. God bless any of you that were able to get sober in secret. Even if you eventually told your spouses or lovers, I am in awe that you could put together more than a week or two in private. The longest I went without the boyfriend being in on my secret was about two months. Yes. I had two months of DRYNESS during my six year relapse. It wasn’t sobriety. It was May 1 – July 4th 2012. Boyfriend thought I was just trying to be healthy and lose weight. He did it with me. Then Independence Day hit and I said, “Okay. That was good. Now let’s go make drinks.” And we did. Because HE DIDN’T KNOW. If I tried that shit now, OH HELL NO. He’d throw a TV at my head.
So what was I really saying by trying to get sober in secret? FOR ME, I was saying, “I don’t want to drink anymore. And I’m not going to. But I might want to and I need to protect myself from that person in case I do want to pick up again.”
There are so many people that I need to become accountable to. Not because I HAVE to. But because I want to. There are friends I haven’t told and I know for a fact that they will be FINE with it. So what’s holding me back? The thought that if I fuck this all up and start drinking again, ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE WILL KNOW AND SEE ME DOING SOMETHING HORRIBLE TO MYSELF. The difficulty I have making myself transparent is my disease doing the talking. It’s my disease trying to crawl into dark corners I have yet to expose. It is hoping it can hide away in crevices and holes and maybe I won’t notice.
I’ve determined that the only chance I have at living this life in the long term is to thoroughly and forcefully shine light into every single hiding place. That handful of friends over there that doesn’t really know my boyfriend or other friends? They need to know I’m an alcoholic. Because if they don’t, they are the people I will run to when I’m ready to relapse. Everyone needs to know. In the same way that everyone knows you need oxygen to keep from dying, everyone needs to know that I need sobriety. Because if they don’t know, they will watch me pour liquor down my throat until they are standing at my grave wondering what the fuck happened.
I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I’m not sure when I will go completely public. It could be a few months from now. Or maybe a year. But until I do, I’m choosing a life that is just to risky for my own good.