Hide and Sneak
There is no situation I’ll find myself in that a drink won’t make worse. Conversely, there is no situation I can find myself in that recovery won’t improve!
For me being sober makes everything better, now that I know what works. Now that my recovery program has shown me how to live. Where I was once in full flight from reality, now I try to accept life at face value. Before recovery, I drank almost all the time and it was rarely fun. Frankly, drinking almost always sucked, but not drinking was worse. Alcohol was killing me and I couldn’t imagine life without it. My deadly conundrum.
My life before sobriety was filled with, “I’m going to drink but I can’t let them notice.” I was obsessed with drinking and not getting caught. I was so addicted and ashamed of who I had become that I just hid all the time. Hide and sneak! I was pretty good at it too. I never got a DUI, never lost a job due to drinking, never really faced any consequences. Vodka, breath mints, and eye drops were my staple diet. I was hyper-vigilant of my breath. I always checked the breeze, to stand downwind so you were less likely to smell me. I always had a bottle hidden in my truck, in the laundry room at home, somewhere. A life of “Don’t drink too much or they’ll notice, don’t spend too much on booze or she’ll know, don’t get caught at work, don’t get fired, don’t get in trouble with the wife, don’t get a divorce, don’t get cirrhosis…” I remember preparing myself for any event, anything in public. It was a full-tilt obsession with, “Is there going to be booze there? If not, how am I going to drink? If there is, how am I going to maintain? How am I going to drink ahead of time, ‘cause I’m going to have to drink ahead of time, you know, the pre-party party. How am I going to stay sober enough to not make it obvious that I have a drinking problem while I’m there? And how am I going to have enough for after, because I will need more after…” you get the idea. And it didn’t matter what the situation was, fun or morose, I had to drink, and not get caught. It was relentless.
It’s not like that now. My life in recovery is full of do’s. Things I should do, need to do, get to do, and want to do. It’s much better now to have choices instead of being so directed by fear, by trying to avoid consequences. Now I have the freedom to go just about anywhere and do just about anything, without fear of my drinking screwing it up. Such amazing freedom! Alcohol had lured me into a trap and I didn’t even know it. What had once seemed the key to the city turned into a locked cell.
Life can still be hard, don’t get me wrong. It can be a struggle. The difference is, I don’t have to hide anymore. I can live life on life’s terms instead of trying to avoid my feelings. I can accept what happens, like an adult. I learned that in recovery, and from my fellows in recovery. I’ve learned how to behave in a manner that doesn’t bring me shame, doesn’t make me feel the need to escape from myself. I can trust that, even when I have little faith, that things are working out how they should. Whether I understand or not. I just try to do the next right thing and let my creator sort it out. And when I screw it up, (which I do more than I’d like) I don’t hide from it.
I try to make it right, openly, honestly… in plain sight.