Don’t get me started!
No matter what life throws at me, no matter what unfortunate circumstance I find myself in, a drink will always make it worse. What I’ve learned is one drink for me is like starting a fire, the kindling effect. It starts out small, just one drink. And then whoosh, an all-consuming blaze. Whether I want it to or not. One drink will get me started. So for me, the easiest drink to resist is the first.
I mean, I can probably make myself stop at just one drink. I rarely could before, but maybe. I won’t be happy though. You won’t either, if you’re around me. If I am controlling my drinking, I’m not enjoying it. If I’m enjoying it, I’m not controlling it. One drink sounds miserable, like, really miserable, and twelve sounds worse. When I remember how much I used to drink, how frequently I poisoned myself with ridiculous amounts of booze… I find it hard to believe. My heart goes out to the guy I was. The reality that I ever hated myself that much, that I ever believed alcohol was any kind of solution for me, despite all evidence to the contrary, shocks me now. It was proven again and again to me that alcohol was not helping, yet I remained unwavering.
There was one time, towards the end. We had gone to the “Swallows Festival” in San Juan Capistrano. The festival commemorates the yearly return of the swallows. I got way too drunk way too early. I had progressed far enough along in my alcoholism to not be able to tell how intensely booze was going to affect me. So by 2:00 in the afternoon I was nearly falling down drunk. In truth, the only way I didn’t fall on my face was to lean comically backward. Otherwise, I would just tip forward. So I leaned back, and kept drinking. My wife was disgusted, angry, and embarrassed. But my answer was more alcohol. So I kept drinking and eventually, I overcame. I drank through it. Everyone else gave up before me that night, I remember that much. I put them all to bed. I was proud of that. That’s the kind of commitment I have to drinking, once I start.
I have been given the gift of sobriety and I don’t ever want to get sober again. And there’s no guarantee that I can. I am not 100% certain how I was able to stop in the first place. I mean, I know the circumstances and all, but I don’t ever want to forget what a miracle that was… and still is. I try not to forget that there’s a world of people out there struggling to quit, right now, all the time. I listen to them, and the relapsers. It’s never good out there, nor easy getting back. I’ve learned it’s far easier to stay sober than get sober, both from my experience and from what I’ve heard. So I keep at it, this sobriety thing. I have found this to be the easier, softer way for me. Way easier than how I drank. If I put 10% of the effort into my sobriety that I put into my drinking, the results have been golden.
I just have to stay in the game, committed. Sobriety for me is more than not drinking. Sobriety is a thing I do, and continue to do. I just have to remain devoted to sobriety like I was to drinking.
I figure I’ll never have to quit again, as long as I don’t get started.