Hello everyone! It’s been a while. After my last post, back in early March, I made a decision to dive into sobriety head first. I had tried so many different methods to get sober and none of them were able to offer me a magic bullet that could kill my alcoholism. I came to the conclusion that I was sick of trying and failing to moderate and to be a functional drinker. It’s just not possible for me.
That leaves only two options for someone in my position: 1) Get sober 2) Drink until I die. Neither option particularly appealed to me, but as I am now fully aware and accepting that I cannot drink normally, I must make a choice. I chose to give it the old college try and attempt sobriety for the hundredth time, with little faith that it would stick. But, here I am, still sober, 100 days later!
Some may ask what method I used. How did this miraculous thing happen after so many failed attempts? I’ll tell you my secret…
I worked my ass off.
Ah, yes. As is the secret to success in most things, I busted my ass. I didn’t choose just one method. I chose as many methods and perspectives as I could find. I made myself a recovery pie, each slice representing a different element of my personal program. How did I find time to throw myself into recovery like that? I have five school-aged children, a demanding full-time management position, I’m up to my eyeballs in my final year of a full-time doctoral program, I have a household to run, bills to pay, pets to feed, licensure to obtain, a leadership program to complete, ahhhhhh!!!!! And no, I don’t have a staff of people helping me. Social work is rewarding, but I’m sure as hell not getting rich.
I made sobriety my number 1 priority. No babysitter for a meeting? Bring the kid and a pair of headphones, or go at lunch, or attend online if I absolutely have to. I decided to put as much effort into my sobriety as I put into my drinking. If I thought of an excuse as to why I couldn’t go to a meeting I would ask myself if that same excuse would have kept me from running to the store if I were out of booze. If the answer was “No” then I forced myself to go to the meeting, or whatever sobriety related thing it was, and I usually felt better for it.
Today I will just talk about the first slice of my recovery pie because I’m typing this just before midnight, in bed, on my phone, and it’s a lot to type using only my right thumb. On that note, please excuse any typos or grammatical errors. It’s tough to proofread and autocorrect can be a bitch.
Anyway, the first slice of my recovery pie consists of involvement in an in-person support group. I went to an AA meeting every. fucking. day. Sometimes twice a day. I did this every day that I had a craving, which means for the first month and a half I went to daily meetings. I still go to about 4 per week. I’m an anxious, introverted, killjoy, atheist, liberal, feminist and I sat through some blatantly religious, patriarchal, old-timey indoctrination.
Did I silently and not-so-silently judge the program. Of course. I’m a judgmental person. But… I kept going. I made unlikely friends who texted me to check in and called me when I missed meetings. I had real life, in-person accountability. Did I agree with everyone and everything that I heard? Not by a long-shot. Did I buy-in to the “higher power” and big book thumping? No. Did I make friends, stay sober, and feel welcomed and accepted just as I am? 100%.
Why AA? Well, it’s free and it’s everywhere. Meetings are usually conveniently located, easy to find, and held throughout the day. I also looked into programs such as LifeRing, Refuge Recovery, and SMART Recovery, and they all look fantastic. I have integrated elements from all of them into my recovery, but there just aren’t enough meetings available and I needed more frequent support. In a previous attempt at sobriety I attended groups through Kaiser, which were great, but I couldn’t keep attending after I changed insurance providers and I relapsed shortly thereafter. AA attendance won’t be affected by changes in insurance or ability to pay.
Well, that’s slice one. Tune in next time for slice two.