Rewind. Back to before the mini’s were born. Before I said “I do.” When I really had no idea how good I had it. Age 29 and still unmarried. A few major relationships up in flames. Coming off chemo and a relationship devastated by my fiancee’s relapse. Alone and lost but still makin’ it somehow. Women in recovery helped me bathe, fed me, carried me. (Tears and eternal gratitude inserted here) I was strong and confident and all about recovery. Meetings and sponsoring and speaking and retreats and young people’s conferences. Relationship material showed up, or what I thought to be such. We did the AA thing together. All appeared well.
Slowly I stopped doing what worked. My “boyfriend” didn’t like all the activities. I did them by myself. Struggles ensued. I wanted so badly for things to work; I began to be less … just less. Got married, immediate pregnancy. Justifications crept in (progression into relapse slant suckin the life outta me). Rationalizing not going to meetings, not talking to my people, not being me. I own every bit of this shit here. No blame game from this chick. It started slowly, this bedsore of the soul. Every notch a bit closer to the inevitable. Baby girl came. Husband decided to drink again (his shit not mine … totally).
At this point I had no resources. Shame and remorse filled my gullet until I had no nerve left to pick up the 100 pound phone. “I’m just fine. The problem is him not me. I’m not drinking so whatever.” I became convinced of this lie, this bacterial infection of my highest self, oozing into my subconscious. Ever hear that there’s nothing worse than a dry drunk? They ain’t lyin people. Bitter, angry, isolated, depressed, lonely, hateful, cantankerous; no this was no pleasantville. Fast forward through two more babies, verbal abuse by a drunken husband, a move to another city far away from my recovery land. Numb, hopeless, self esteem of an amoeba, self hatred seeping into every crevice. Put on a good show for the babies, Mommy was the ultimate faker.
Smile – liar, laugh – liar, clean house equals serene – liar, fake it in the sex department so he’ll be nice for at least five minutes – liar; the trouble came in when I believed the lie. After the last mini ninja was born … the active use thoughts came. “I was 19 when I got sober. I’m sure it was just a phase. Bet I could drink just a little.” This dry drunk went on for five years. My life was so filled with misery and despair it once again became a viable choice.
Drink, drank, drunk. Grocery store rum became gettin the Capt. in me at a phenomenal rate. Daily trips to the liquor store blaming my husbands family for being lushes ended up being thousands in credit card debauchery. Sociable afternoon drinking quickly became morning “hit” to take the edge off. I became the stay at home mom kinda drunk; hiding bottles in closets and coffee carafes and two liters of coke zero. Gettin mouthy. Not “taking it” anymore which wasn’t entirely fair as I’d taken it for almost six years. Was gettin “uppity” he said. You’re ugly, fat, disgusting, worthless, not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough blah blah fucking blah. Now look closely. I attracted to me what I felt to be true about me. Someone to treat me the way I thought about me. This is no victim story. Not even a little bit. MY show. MY shit. I took it. Allowed it. Made a choice.
This show culminated in an act so horrific that I still cannot believe it happened. Waking up with a remembrance of swinging oscillating fans, squib kicks to the ribs, punches in the jaw and arm and back and soul, whispers of “I’m going to kill you” ringing faintly in my ears, laughing to the tune of insanity “go ahead and kill me it’d be easier than dealing with this everyday”, death was imminent. It was a dream. Had to be. Try to sit up and can’t. No fucking dreams here. Lyin to the doctor before surgery. “I fell down the stairs”. Internal bleeding from a fall. Shredded gall bladder from tripping on the bullshit. Husband approves and brings flowers after surgery. I know I’m done. It is enough.
I crawl on my face back to AA. Pretending not to notice the bruises and the gasps of pain as I try to sit down. Welcomed by strangers with sugary kisses and limitless compassion. Hand held while years of death are shrugged from my shoulders. Crying in hysterics until no more tears while come. Dry heaving my steps … again. Pain immense, growth evident. Loving me into self like. Enough like to get it together. Job, self esteem, self worth, just … self. Eyes blinded in pain by the light, I do the work. I hate the humility of it all, the “whence I came from stories”, the sobriety countdowns. The “relapse show”. Once the denial was gone, five years of hell bum rushed my ass and beat me into a state of reasonableness. Decubitis ulcer debreeded … scraping off the layers of skin to expose the canker. Dug that shit outta me with the help of simple kindness and steps lovingly spoon fed to me by an amazing sponsor (she saved my life. she knows this. she is humble and doesn’t remind me of such. i love you Kat). Fully awake again, I know that big changes are a comin … this topic is a whole other blog however.
My hope from this … is that you see the choice in it all. The choice to stop doing what worked. I had mucho shame upon returning, even after KNOWING what was wrong with me. Disease is no joke. No matter how people appear on the outside, you never know what a loving hug or handshake can do. Welcome people. Don’t demean. We do that enough for ourselves. Just making it back alive, is proof enough that us “retreads” deserve kindness. The truth does NOT have to be shoved down anyone’s throat.
Relapse is a choice made in hell smothered in self derision and hatred. Delusional grandiosity flavored with chocolaty lies. Being in the cave becomes comfortable again. Sometimes we need to lose everything … again; to remember who we really are. I remember. Once again.