Let’s get one thing clear right away…this is not a advice dispensing blog – because who am I to give advice? I’m just getting started here. I’ll leave the advice giving to those who have been sober for oh… I don’t know – maybe at least a month? Otherwise, it’d be like asking Donald Trump for hairstyling tips or Tiger Woods for relationship advice.
This is only about sharing my journey. No more, no less. But if you can relate in some way, if it makes you think about something a little differently, or if you just want a good laugh at my expense, then by all means – read on!
I suppose I need to start with Day One. Not the Day One when my wrinkled, pink, seven pound ass made its screaming debut into this world. I’m talking about a different kind of Day One – Day One of recovery. I’ve had a few of those, which isn’t uncommon. You don’t get more than one of the other kind, unless you believe in reincarnation – which frankly I’m still on the fence about.
The first day of recovery is different for everyone, although it’s never pretty. It may be the proverbial rock bottom, or perhaps you were able to slam on the brakes before Thelma & Louise-ing your life off the cliff. I don’t really know what my rock bottom would have been, but I shudder to think about how much further I could have fallen – will fall, if I don’t stop.
My Day One went something like this:
Wake up disoriented, coupled with crippling feelings of anxiety and dread, and a strong desire to stay in bed all day…possibly all year. But I’m not sure if I have a 24/7 bed enabler like I’ve seen on My 600 Lb Life, so rise I must. I check my phone and praise God. I don’t have a busy day scheduled – but I do need to go to the grocery store, since I have nothing in my house to eat, and I’m pretty sure I’ve subsisted on cheese puffs, booze and animal crackers for the last 4 days.
Did I mention that on a scale of 1-10 the level of anxiety I was experiencing was a solid 11? I can be an amazing multitasker, tackler of complex problems, and a veritable calm in the storm…sometimes. But on Day One, simply driving to the grocery store seemed rife with unforeseen danger. Like the – I stupidly volunteered to go along with the hot sheriff and his carefully mussed yet sexy crossbow wielding sidekick on an ill-advised odyssey to a zombie infested town to gather needed supplies for the group but I’m a recently introduced character so you just know I’m dead meat – kind of danger.
Most of it is all in my head, but the one thing I do know is that as soon as I enter the store, the two aisles of alcohol will be right there waiting for me, my very own holy grail. Cheap wine, expensive wine, bottled beer, canned beer, and every type of hard liquor I could ever want. I can’t avoid laying eyes on them, because they’re right next to the milk and the bread. Why is it that my personal fifth food group is right next to two out the other four, and not next to the cat litter or the cotton balls? My first gauntlet to walk.
I’m so dehydrated that I feel like one of those dried apple-head dolls. I wear a yoke of shame for recent incidents that I might recall, might have vague, fleeting memories of, or might not remember at all. Which would be a blessing, if it weren’t for the fact that somebody will undoubtedly feel obligated to fill me in on all of the gory details – it’s just a matter of time.
I stumble my way to the bathroom, and catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. Similar to rubbernecking – I don’t really want to look, but I also can’t look away. Who is this person staring back at me? The alcoholic’s not-so-fun house mirror reflects back what I would prefer to ignore. Swollen face, squinty eyes, parched lips, mascara smeared all over from the previous night’s sobfest, and perhaps a mystery injury or two. I’m fully clothed of course, because pajamas are what sensible, sober people wear to bed, not drunks like me.
How much did I drink? And what was my particular poison? I try to recall. Ahh, red wine – my go-to choice. I can tell because I look vaguely like a hungover vampire, with my purple lips and teeth. But good wine, mind you – no Two Buck Chuck for me – because I may be bananas, but I’m still classy as fuck. It doesn’t really matter though. Because I’m done now. Please God, let me finally be done.
But first, I know I have to somehow get through this day. There is no possible way to get to Day Two, Week Three, Month Four, or Year Five, without first getting through Day One. If you’ve figured out a way, please let me know. I did swipe a couple of Xanax pills from my sister, who said she forgot she even had them, so that helped take the edge off a bit. Nope – not sorry.
Somehow I did manage to shower, brush my teeth and skulk off to the store and back. And then I pretty much spent the rest of the day curled up in a fetal position with a blanket on the couch, binge watching The Andy Griffith Show. Because I needed to. Because things were so simple back when everything was black and white.
Andy Taylor was so wise, so down-to-earth. I’m pretty sure Barney Fife had a hyperactive thyroid and a borderline IQ, but at least he was sincere and meant well. Aunt Bee was an enigma – a woman who spent her days cooking and cleaning, wasn’t getting laid, and whose best friend was that annoying bitch Clara Edwards. Yet she was a teetotaler. Go figure. I would have started throwing back shots the minute Andy and Opie were out the door. Opie was golden because he was a future famous film director. Even Otis the town drunk was lovable in his own jacked-up way.
I remember watching shows like The Andy Griffith Show and Leave It To Beaver as a child. They always made me feel warm and safe. I wanted to run away and find those magical places – the Mayberrys and Mayfields of the world. I guess I figured that in towns that started with “May”, nothing bad ever happened. On Day One, I needed to revisit that kind of place, and perhaps allow myself some glimmer of hope that I can find a less chaotic, more wholesome place to dwell within myself.