So, before I know it, it’s almost a month since I had my last drink. I’d like to say time has flown by, and for the most part it has. There was just one time, around Day 17 I think, when I was in real danger of falling off the wagon.
It was not only my birthday, but also the morning when things I had done in the past when I was still drinking caught up with me. Bad things. Some things that had I been sober at the time, would more than likely never have happened. It can be tough when events from your drunken and blurry past come to re-visit you in your sobriety. But I’m sure this will not be the last time such events happen. After all, we cannot escape out past, sober or drunk. All we can do is, as I have said before, deal with it when it comes visiting and treat it with a clear head and a sober mind.
Without dwelling on the subject matter, it related to a time when I was at my very lowest – or when I thought I was. Looking back now I can see it was not my darkest hour – for after that I still had quite some way to fall before taking charge of my life and making the changes that have got me to today. But at the time it felt like it was the end. Not only had I lost something very dear to me that I had not yet received, but I also lost the things I had right in front of me, namely the love and respect of those I cared for extremely deeply at the time.
When these things went, almost overnight, I crashed and burned in a quite spectacular way. I was not only heartbroken, but physically and emotionally wounded to such an extent that I started to self-medicate with just about anything I could get my hands on. This included Marijuana, Prescription Medication and as much Alcohol as I could get into my system. This not only led to me causing myself unplanned and very painful physical harm, but also to a blackout period that lasted some two weeks in which I apparently did everything in my power to not come to terms with these losses, and hence, at the same time I pushed them even further way than they were before.
I won’t take all the blame for the way things turned out – as that would not be fair on me. The other party involved also acted in a way unbecoming, and given their time over again they may also have acted differently. Of this, I cannot be certain, but it is my hope that they would agree with me. Suffice to say I acted like a complete arse-hole. Most of it unknown to me as I had drunken myself numb and got so screwed up that I can’t clearly remember what I actually did. I was hurting big time and that seemed like the only option open to me.
But others can. And it was to those others that I had to answer to (indirectly) recently. I was punished to the hilt.. I don’t even know how long it will take me to work off said punishment it was so severe. Whether or not my treatment or punishment was fair was down to others to judge, and judge they did. Both originally and again recently. I could have spoken up in my defence, tried to lesson my punishment, offered mitigation for my actions etc but this would have required me to assassinate the other party’s character – and this I was not prepared to do. Even at a further cost to myself. I chose to put myself in that situation originally, even if I did not realise what it was I was doing at the time thanks to the various substances in my body then. I had to take responsibility for my actions. Sure – these were the actions of a drunken, messed up fool, but at the time, I was that fool. And somewhere inside me, that fool still exists. But these days, I try my best not to ever let that side of my personality – the side that is dependent, uncontrollable, needy and a substance abuser – ever rear its ugly head again.
So, back to my wobble. Or my previously identified ‘trigger’ day. After my punishment had been handed down, my first and only thought was to get myself back home, dispatch with the monkey suit and car and head to the nearest watering hole to drink my sorrows away. But something happened to me on my way home. In the short time it took me get back to my town, I had decided that that was exactly what I WAS NOT going to do.
I started to realise as I drove that to have a drink would not only allow the other party to really ‘win’, but much more importantly, it would also require me to lose, and lose much more than them. I had remained sober for the best part of 3 weeks and I did not want to literally piss that all away. Even if I had been strong enough to get back on the wagon the next day, I didn’t want to go back to Square One and ‘Day One’ all over again. I had those 17 or so days in my bank and I didn’t want to withdraw them. I realised all by myself that to have had that drink may well have helped me in the very short term. But in the wider scheme of things it would have cost me much more than the instant promise of release that it offered.
So, I made it through the day, and all the days since, dry. And consequently I am still in control of my actions since the day I made my decision to quit, through my ‘trigger’ points, and as far as today. Tomorrow I will doubtless be faced with other triggers. They may only be small ones, or as big as what recently happened. In just over a week I am off on holiday to ‘the party capital of Europe’ and somewhere that will not only hold some bitter-sweet memories, but also a place where drinking and partying is so engrained in me, and socially expected, that it will fall into the latter of the categories of triggers I have outlined above.
Every day brings a new challenge, and I won’t know until I face them whether or not I will get through them. But I do know I will evaluate each one on its merits with a sober and clear head rather than dive aimlessly into another bad decision – and possibly back to the abyss from which I have so recently emerged.
It is choices, not chances, that determine mine, and your destiny.