Pain is a great motivator. It is usually only after suffering a great deal of emotional or physical pain, that I will be desperate enough to make a change. I hope this is not always the case, but it is for now. It wasn’t until I was thoroughly disgusted with myself that I tried to make a change. Whore. Thief. Liar. Worthless. Crazy. Bitch. Slut. Drunk. These were the words that raced through my head when I looked in the mirror. The emotional pain was so great that I started cutting. I masked the emotional pain by turning it into physical pain. “You think you can hurt me? Oh hell no! I can hurt myself worse than anyone else can. Just watch me!” I turned everything inward and took it out on myself. I wouldn’t punish other people, just myself. I was drink to numb myself, and then I’d cut to feel. It was a sick rollercoaster that I was on for a long time.
In order to try and get a handle on my life, I decided that if I could just implement some rules and stick to them, that I’d be ok again. Control was the name of the game. I had a plan. I had many plans, in fact. I’d only drink after 6 pm (but what if I drank all night until the early morning?) or only drink on the even days (until, that is, there was a reason to celebrate on one of the odd days). I wouldn’t drink fruity drinks (those are for wimps anyway – pass the whiskey), and I wouldn’t drink alone (who would know how awesome I was if no one was drinking with me?). I thought I could limit myself to 1 drink an hour. Unfortunately, before long, I’d be in to next week’s quota (because I’m good at calculations and math like that). All these plans ended the same way. Drunk. It wasn’t until I was out of plans that I was desperate enough to make a change. It wasn’t until a bullet to the head seemed the only choice, before I got desperate enough to do something about it. My back was against the wall and I was finally beaten down enough to realize that none of my plans were ever going to work. Drinking was awful and NOT drinking was awful. I needed to find someone with a better plan. I needed help (GASP!).
In the interest of keeping this saga of my life to a 3-part litany and not drag it on even longer, I will summarize the rest by saying that after a few years of trial and error, I found the help I needed in a 12-step group that can be found VERY near the beginning of the Yellow Pages (for those old enough to remember phone books). The people in those groups had plans. They had plans that DIDN’T end in drunken debauchery. Their plans seemed to be working and they seemed happy. They shared their plans with me and planted a tiny seed of hope that maybe someday, if I kept doing what they were doing, I could be happy too. It has been a bumpy road in sobriety. I was under the assumption that once I got sober, everything would be peachy keen. Nope. Not even close. “If you don’t drink, you won’t get drunk, and if you don’t get drunk, your life will get different.” That is the truth as I’ve experienced it. Life certainly IS different, and it’s usually better than I could have ever hoped for.