One Full Year
On April 2, 2019, I celebrated one full year of sobriety. It was an amazing day, filled with friends and emotion. I was so overcome with gratitude during some parts of the day that I broke down ugly crying. And at the same time, I was also reminded of what I felt on April 2, 2018.
I remembered coming-to in the bed next to my husband, and realizing I’d lied to him about drinking (again), put my kids at risk (again), and proved (once again) that I couldn’t control my drinking or drink like a normal person. But one thing was different: I was given desperation. Nothing I did was any different than before-I’d actually drank harder, and had far worse outcomes than I did that morning. But God chose that day to give me the gift of complete soul-crushing defeat. I remember that all-consuming feeling so well. I was sitting on the toilet. (Insert references to life being in the shitter, while on the shitter, etc.) The feeling was something like shock. After decades of attempting to somehow control my drinking by every method (except complete and permanent abstinence) possible, I accepted that I could not and would not ever be able to do it. I had been fighting for SO long, and at that moment I just felt SO tired, so weary, so completely and utterly broken down. Something in my sick brain finally conceded and I remember saying aloud “I really cannot do this.” To a non-alcoholic, it would seem so logical-you touch a hot pan bare-handed once, get burned, and are convinced that if you do that again, you will get burned. But an alcoholic touches the pan repeatedly. We don’t forget we were burned, we just expect that maybe this time will be different and it won’t hurt. Sometimes we turn the flame hotter and the burn is more severe. Yet still, we go back to that pan, touch it, and expect a different outcome than the burn.
The rest of that day is a blur in my memory. I know I went to a meeting and picked up a surrender chip, but I don’t remember any details about who was there, who gave me the chip, etc. I only know I went because the chip remains in the coin pouch of my wallet and etched in the back (in ball point pen) is the date. Other than that, the only thing I remember is that I did not drink that day. Or the day after, or the day after that, and for the next 362 days after that. So how did that happen? How did a hopeless, defeated wine-mom stop being a wine-mom? One day at a time. My program of recovery works 100% of the time when it is taken as directed. The first direction is complete surrender of my will to God. I lack any control whatsoever when it comes to alcohol. It has zero to do with will power. If it did, addiction wouldn’t even be a word. I can no more will away the instant craving for more that enters every cell of my body when I consume booze than I can will the clouds to produce rain.
I am so very grateful for the events of April 1, 2018. I’m not glad I drank that day. But I am grateful that God used it for good.