***Submitted by Christine
Note from Ellie: We post submissions in the order we receive them, so a bit of time has passed since Christine submitted this post, and I want to let everyone know she made it through, sober and strong. This is a beautiful example of things we think about/things we can do when faced with a social occasion where alcohol will be served.
My name is Christine and I’m an alcoholic.
I’ve been sober since April 2nd, 2010. The handy “count your days” meter on the Grapevine website tells me that’s 504 days. Five hundred and four? For real? Because I never thought I’d get to four days, much less another five hundred.
Two years ago if I attempted not drinking for a day, I would start the morning with the best of intentions only to find myself drunk by 8 o’clock that night. It took one traumatic event and a few hard line ultimatums from my husband before I finally was willing to accept that my drinking was out of control and my behavior was hurting the people I loved the most.
I did not go to my first AA meeting with an open mind and willing heart. I went because everyone was telling me that I needed to go. That I needed help. That I was one false step away from a DWI and a stay in rehab, or a dandy little seizure…whichever came first. I did not stop drinking when I started attending AA meetings. I went to my first Saturday morning meeting totally hung over from the night before. But I went. And I listened. And I started to feel that it would be possible for me to get sober if I kept going and kept listening.
The first time I stopped drinking I made it forty-three days. On the forty-fourth day I went to the liquor store, bought two bottles of vodka and proceeded to drink daily for the next two months. I still went to work, I still functioned as a wife and mother (barely) but I was just a drunken excuse of an employee, spouse and Mom. There was no big bang or white light moment for me. There was no intervention. There was just the knowledge that I had to stop. I could not continue the way I was going without serious damage to my brain, my liver, my job, my children and my marriage.
And so I began the long, painful crawl towards sobriety. During these past five hundred (and four!) days I have avoided almost all social functions where I might be tempted by alcohol. I’ve passed on anniversary parties, picnics, holiday parties, and birthday parties because I’ve not been absolutely sure that I could not give in to the temptation to drink. After all, I’ve been using alcohol to make socializing fun and comfortable since I was thirteen years old. That’s thirty years of buzzed or drunken schmoozing. How’s a girl supposed to re-learn how to mingle, laugh, dance, and have a good time without the crutch of alcohol to lean upon?
But today, the reckoning has arrived. In three hours I’m going to join my co-workers at a large event where the booze will flow freely and I will be forced to face my cunning, baffling and oh so terribly strong disease head on. This event will last until Sunday morning. On Sunday morning, I plan to come home with five hundred and six days of sobriety on the counter.
How will I do this? First, I am taking back-up. My fifteen year old daughter is going with me. I’ve already told her that this might be hard for me and I might be very tempted by all the alcohol around me. I’ve told her that I will not drink. I will not throw away all of my hard work or the trust that I’ve had to regain from her and her sister. I will not disappoint my family that way. Second, I have prepared myself mentally for the battle ahead.
I’ve reminded myself of what it took to get sober and what it means to stay sober. I have repeated my serenity prayer multiple times this week and asked my higher power for the strength and grace that I will need to make it through these next two days.
And third, I have asked myself if I can do this. And myself has said, yes—yes you can. If myself had wavered at all, I would not be going. Because I’ve learned to listen to myself and trust myself in these last five hundred (and four!) days in a way that I could not before. And finally, I am here writing this to you all; my sisters in the struggle. I’m sharing with you and I’m asking you to think of me this weekend.
Think of me, send me your positive thoughts and know that we’re never alone in the battle. I will carry you with me, knowing that you’re cheering me on from afar