“You looked kind of drunk in that picture you sent me last night.”
My husband casually said that the next day and I didn’t think anything of it. Kind of laughed it off. Until we were out for a walk with our twin toddlers and it hit me.
“Did you seriously think I was drinking last night?”
“No. I don’t think you went to your best friend’s birthday party and got drunk. But you looked flushed and a bit crazy in that picture.”
He knows if I were to get drunk it wouldn’t be on a boat and it wouldn’t be around a bunch of people and it certainly wouldn’t be with my best friend. It would be alone with cheap vodka and full of remorse before it even happened. I’ve thought about it, believe me. It’s there. In the dark corners of my mind. But I live in the light today. I try my damnedest to live in the light.
Truth be told it was kind of an odd night for me in my sobriety. I’m so used to being around people who know. Who understand and who would never ever offer me a drink. But this night I was around the kindest, most generous folks celebrating my friend and they didn’t know. Why would they? So they had shots and drinks in my face. They offered and wanted me in on the fun. They were lovely and didn’t push it at all, but it was all right there in my face for the taking. If I chose to take it.
Little did they know.
This is what happens when I drink.
I lose control. I lose my self respect and dignity (now you shush I do have some dignity). I lose my job. I lose my husband. I lose my kids. I lose my home. I lose my family. I lose my cat. I lose everything. I lose myself.
What took me 13 years to build up through sobriety would be torn down in one night. The most important thing being my self worth. Without that, I am nothing. I am in the most fragile position in that I am a strong, beautiful, integral part of society and my family. WHEN I AM SOBER.
There are no illusions as to what happens if I drink.
The best part of that statement my husband laughingly made above is that he knows it absolutely wasn’t true. He hasn’t had to see me drunk in a lot of years and hopefully never will. I’ve told him to leave me if it happens. He doesn’t need to stick around for that. My kids, well, my kids don’t keep me sober. I keep me sober. Other alcoholics help keep me sober. My kids just get the benefit of sober mommy. If I keep doing the next right thing.
Alcoholism is far stronger than loving your kids. That most powerful emotion doesn’t stop me once I start drinking. If it did, just about everybody who wants to would stop because just about everybody who gets drunk has people who love them and want them to stop. Love doesn’t fix things. Love doesn’t keep us sober. Making good choices and doing the hard work keeps us sober.
All I have to do to get grateful is go to a meeting or talk with someone still suffering. And they are EVERYWHERE. Getting outside yourself always helps.
I have a choice every day, as long as I am sober. I can choose to drink, or I can choose to stay sober. I only have this day. I only have this life. I choose sobriety. I choose happiness. I choose gratitude for all I have and for this second chance beyond my wildest dreams. And, did I mention that our freezer in our new house has a light in it that turns on when you open the freezer drawer? I would miss out on that if I got drunk today. I would miss out on everything. Life is too good to waste. As long as I keep living in the light. It’s hard work sometimes. And I don’t like hard work. But I do it. Because I am worth it. My family is definitely worth it. Most of the time though I just look around and marvel that I am still here and I am living this dream.
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