Apparently I missed my sobriety anniversary, again, as it was sometime last week three years ago, but three years ago yesterday that I was sprung from rehab. I guess I don’t have much to say about it other than I don’t miss drinking at all and everything is better without it (for me, at least).
Actually, I do have something to say about it. This is something I have said to several people in private conversations, but I don’t recall if I have ever blogged about it. So here goes.
At any rate, a dear friend of mine is going through a nasty divorce as that friend’s significant other has a very serious drinking problem with some personality and behavioral changes, and the person has tried but just can not, as of yet, stay sober. My friend remarked that I must just have amazing willpower to just be able to quit like that. I just laughed, thinking back to what life was like before.
You know what takes willpower? Drinking a liter or more of vodka/scotch every night and waking up in the morning and pretending to be a somewhat functional human being while feeling like utter dog shit every day. It takes willpower to make sure you have enough booze to drink once you have started because you know damned sure you aren’t going to be able to drive. It takes willpower to keep yourself somewhat composed once the dizziness and sweating has begun because it is 7pm and you are in a situation where you can’t drink. It takes willpower to compose and remember all the lies.
But quitting drinking? For me, that didn’t take much willpower. I just needed to dry out, and once I did, everything started to get better. Every single day it got better. It took me quite a while to get my head right and deal with who I actually was as a person, and to look at the world with sober eyes, but now I would never go back. You couldn’t pay me to. And I’m more social than I EVER was when I was drinking.
But all of this misses the point. Quitting drinking isn’t about willpower, and saying people who have tried to quit and can’t don’t have the willpower is nuts. It’s an addiction. What you need is not willpower. What you need is help and a support system and the time to take care of yourself. And that can be hard, and it can be hard and humbling to ask for help. But you know what? You can do it. And you will be surprised by how many people you are surrounded by who will help you.
And you know how I know that? Because I did it. And if quitting drinking was all about willpower, I’d have failed because I don’t have any. Anyone who has seen me near ice cream or a taco will tell you that. So do yourself a favor and take the first step and ask for help. But if you’re in deep, don’t even think about trying to detox yourself. Get help.
If you have a problem or think you have a problem, do the best thing you could ever do for yourself and take that first step. Give a friend a call. Tell your significant other. Hell, email me and I will give you my phone number. Take that step. It’s so worth it, I swear, and there is nothing to be ashamed about and no reason not to. Trust me on this.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
*** Update ***
PS- ABC and I are safe and sound in CT. I was supposed to drive home tomorrow but I am staying until Sunday because the drive sucked the life out of me. All in all I give the whole concept of vacations a thumbs up. I want to go again next week but ABC says that is not how it works.