With Distinction

I have always felt that I had control over most things. Deciding to exercise that control usually sounded exhausting and unworthy of the result, but occasionally I would grab the wheel of my life and jerk it the direction I currently deemed correct or towards what I wanted. Mostly, I believe I have been using my self guidance to avoid things, just trying to steer clear.

I have also quit drinking and quit doing drugs before. Many times, but for many and much different reasons.

I was always running out of something. Quitting seems to have been my temporary fix for running out of the ways and means to get more.

Now, I have found myself in a new and precarious position. Where before, I was seemingly in a little more control of my alcoholism, I now have a very strong disease presence and my will is extremely weak.

This is the best way I can describe it:

Intellectually, I am aware of my needs- I do not need to drink. Emotionally, I am aware of my desires. I do not want to drink. I can distinguish the differences. But still, there is something that almost courses through my veins, aching and screaming for a drink.

Most of the time it isn’t screaming. More like a quiet hum, like a motor running or the rain. Constant. But other times, when I consciously think about using, it is deafening.

That didn’t used to be there. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have hundreds of internal dialogues running at once, but this is the first time that I can pick out this voice in particular. And so clearly.

Yesterday, having been sick for several days, I went to an appointment I had at ten a.m. I sat, and waited, and waited. The person never showed- which was very surprising given this person’s profession and our relationship. I left the missed appointment and on the way home swung into the Walgreens Pharmacy half a block from my home to get a thermometer and managed to pick up some NyQuil as well, looking forward to the sleep this product promises as well as feeling better.

Almost instantly after taking it, I began with a mental obsession. I am sure this sounds ridiculous, but this is the point to which my disease has progressed. Even when I started feeling better, I was still thinking about when I would and if I should or could take more.

Then the guilt started to overwhelm me. Followed closely by that compulsive, almost grabbiness. It was the same feeling I get when I drink. Had someone put a glass of whiskey in my shot of NyQuil?

Is this a relapse?

Does this mean I have to reset my sobriety date?

If I do, I should really go get a drink, because, I mean, fuck it, right?

Am I stuck here?

Seriously. It was just like that. Right back to the exact same mindset I was in on day one. I could feel the undertow of my addiction pulling and tugging at me in the fog of the drug like I was up to my neck in water, fully clothed and about to be pulled into a wave sneaking up behind me. For a long time using has felt like being caught under the water in a wave at the beach, cycling and spinning me around as I scramble for my breath until I finally become so disoriented I forget what I was doing in the first place. Trying to escape my own escape.

Fucking scary.

So, due to the feelings that taking this medicine conjured up I feel that the appropriate thing to do is change my sobriety date to today. Not that I want to, but because I have to. Because to be honest is to truly live and for me, to lie is to die.

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4 Responses to With Distinction

  1. Zany Mouse says:

    I hear and understand your struggle. What I am taking from your post is that apparently you need to avoid all alchohol based medications, for now. Most of those things, including NyQuil, are now available in pill form. Also, unless you completely gave in, you should still give yourself credit for ALL of your sobriety. Really, don’t kick yourself when you are down. You can do this, you are doing great, and a teeny tiny misstep does not mean you have to toss the entire thing out of the window. Hang in there.

  2. Ashley says:

    You are absolutely right. I am taking the opportunity to really be honest with myself, but I’m not letting it set me back. I am going to just keep on going in the direction I was headed (sober) because after all, it may hurt my pride but changing the date feels right. Thanks for your supportive and positive comment- it really made a difference today!

  3. Karen U says:

    I don’t understand addiction, but had the honor (seriously) of having been married to two alcoholics. My first husband is a very high functioning, maintenance drinking, alcoholic. My second wasn’t so lucky and succumbed to his disease – it wasn’t a pretty sight. What I do, however, suffer from is obsessive thinking. I am a recovering anorexic (I mean, seriously, are we ever “over” our issues?). My mind can go crazy with cravings, guilt, desire, guilt, shame…
    Be proud of whatever sobriety you have achieved and believe that you CAN. How about a good meeting or a sponsor to help you through the rough patches?

  4. My heart aches for you after reading this post! I, myself, have no personal experience with fighting addiction but I do have bi-polar disorder and there are many similarities. First, remember that you have a GENETIC predisposition to be addicted to alcohol … so that screaming voice might never go away, totally. :(

    On the other hand, despite the inheritance, your _response_ to it _is_ under your control! When I am sliding down into a dark place, I know, now, to grasp anything and everything that keeps me sane – my pretty fabrics, my books, my crayons or paints, whatever. Just making something, even if it is only tracing around my hand onto a piece of paper and coloring it in with crayons, helps keep me sane.

    Maybe you could find something that you could carry with you all the time that could remind you of your determination to stay sober … or will distract that evil voice long enough for you to escape from it’s influence? I really do not know much about addiction therapies, but I’m sure there must be some? I have a dear friend who is an alcoholic and successfully sober for years … maybe she knows something? Maybe art therapy would help you? Since I read your post from the Quilting Bloggers site, maybe you carry some kind of hand work with you always for distraction?

    Just want you to know that the evil voice doesn’t only scream in your head. 😛


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