Since everybody has a sad story to tell, I would rather focus on my sobriety experience and the road I have walked to get where I am.
When I joined the AA 4 years ago, I never thought it humanly possible to stay sober. I had been to rehab and I left feeling great. One of the doctors told me not to be cocky, it was going to be very very difficult.
He was right, I landed back in rehab not long after that.
Being clean made me feel immortal. I was on top of it all, I could do overcome it. I didn’t go to AA meetings. I was dishonest about my state of mind. If someone asked me how I was, I would say that I was just fine, because that is what people expected of me, to fine, sober and happy with my new life.
I was happy, maybe too happy. I thought that I was fine. After pouring a dop (drink) for my hubby, I added too much mix and sipped the damn brandy to make space for the ice. He didn’t notice, so I thought I could get away with sips. Small sips became grooter (bigger) sips, which turned into my own dop (drink)…. and so started my journey to relapse.
Every morning I promised myself that I wasn’t going to drink. But by 11 I had my first brandy. Gradually getting earlier and earlier until I was drinking 24/7 again.
I am blessed that I could go to rehab again. I listened to the lectures and did my homework. This time I was going to make it. When I was back home disaster struck and I honestly went into robot mode. I had no control over what I was doing. I stole the bar keys, leopard crawled into the bar so that the alarm did not go off and started drinking again. Since everybody thought I was clean and sober, I got away with it for a couple of months, until I was drinking from my husband’s gin, brandy and whiskey collections.
I had to confess. I wanted to confess because I was a liar and a cheat. I hated myself. I got clean again. There was no reason for me to go to the lectures again, I knew them off by heart, but to practice them was a different story.
My first year being sober was the most difficult. The “shame” of being an alcoholic. The unfairness of it all. The self-pity.
The “I don’t want to go because I cant drink”.
But I got through it.
The second year I started laughing again, got my mojo back and slowly but surely found my feet and the Elsabe I was born to be. Suddenly, without realizing how time can fly, I found myself in my third year. I was good. Really good. Truly good. I weighed a 104kg and lost 40kg. I felt like a different person. I joked about my alcoholism. Don’t get me wrong, this is no laughing matter, but if you cry, you cry alone, so I made it easy for myself to joke about it, talk about it, give advice, be open, be honest and admit if I cant remember situations or places or even holidays I have been on.
Now everyone I meet knows I am an alcoholic and once the admiration sets in from other people you sort of get addicted to the “wow, and you are still fun” comments.
I am a recovering alcoholic and proud to say that I have been clean for 3 years, God willing, and by my own strength will be for the next 3 years. I am still an addict, and will always be one. I am just choosing my addiction so that I don’t put other peoples lives in danger – coffee, Master Chef, shopping and sugar, surely that will not mess up my life.
To all the newcomers, the struggling addicts, the newly recovered addicts, I know what you are talking about. I know how scary it can be and how hopeless it looks when someone else gets their sobriety coin.
But one thing is for sure, you can do it.