Life Without a Chaperone. First90
One time I puked in a wine glass and handed to someone like it was no big deal. It was "no big deal" for me. It was my normal. I thought I was talented because I could direct my drunk puke into an 8 ounce glass.
30 days. I celebrated in a rehab program. I got a coin. I cried.
60 days. I celebrated in London. I ate fish and chips and sat on a patio at a traditional pub surrounded by beer drinkers. I smiled. And, I cried.
90 days. Today. I do not want to make a big deal out of it. I think celebrating your achievements are important. But, I went into my sobriety as a lifestyle not a ticking list of dates. I went in with a lack of confidence. I mourned my loss of alcohol in rehab. I cried and cried. I could not see myself as a non-drinker. I could not understand how someone could go forever without having a drink. I cried and cried.
After a little help from a lot of people, I stopped drinking and I stopped for good. I was told in rehab that 2 out of 10 people will remain sober. Being the mathematician I am, I am not sure why they say the statistics like that. I mean 1 out of 5 is simpler. But, anyway, 2 out of 10 was what they told us to expect out of our peers that surrounded us. These were people in our shared rooms. These were people who experienced similar pain and addiction to ourselves. Deeply, I wish it was 10 out of 10. But, in any case, I walked in knowing I was one of the 2 that would remain sober.
And, then it hit me. They say 2 out of 10 so you do not feel alone. There is someone else who did it out of these 10 people. I do not know anyone that has made it, though. I keep in contact with several people from rehab. They did not make it to 90 days. I feel lucky. I do not feel confident. I hope that confidence will come at some point. But, some days you just feel weak. You get sucked into wanting to drink. They say that you should avoid your triggers, but sometimes you just cannot.
This is where my advice to anyone who is struggling with feeling weak. What I didn't know is that it is OK to feel weak. Let me rephrase that, it is OK to feel anything. That is what a lot of alcoholics including myself forget. Your day exists with ups and downs. Your head is filled with worry, happiness, boredom, and a million other feelings throughout the day. But, those are the best days. I cried when I reached one day of sobriety. I cried at 2 days-15 days. Then, occasionally I cried. 90 days was a huge goal for me. It is the longest I have ever gone without drinking since I started many years ago. So.....I cried. I do not feel any different. I feel happy and sad today. I feel empathy, hope, joy, sadness, and pride. I still feel everything. I smile. I laugh. Every day.
I have real feelings. I FEEL REAL. I am not real because I am 90 days sober and it is a huge milestone. I am real because I am sober day to day. When I get sucked back into wanting to drink, I remember that is a real feeling. I take 5 minutes. I cry. I ugly cry. I feel. Then, I start looking for other feelings. I call a friend.
If anyone needs a sober friend, I am here. I know everyone can become real. "It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit