Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Darkest Hours

Ever the insomniac (they say sleep gets better after a few months of sobriety?), I found myself reading back on some of my entries from early 2013. It struck me as a bit surprising - although of course it shouldn't - that I had started making real attempts at sobriety somewhere around this time last year. The thing about addiction is, the addiction wants you to forget the past. It's a daily battle for me to remember just how bad things were, the dark places I've been. As addicts are, I'm quite good at convincing myself that the problem was never really that bad, that maybe I could manage things differently this time around. I've been sober only sixty days approximately, but the pain of the latest session of withdrawals seems to me ages ago.

A mere fifty some odd days. Yet I've been giving this a real shot for more than a year now. That's a bit demoralizing.

Yet I think back to the Holidays of the past year and see progress. The Holiday season this past year were probably my darkest hours. My addiction had peaked; it was spiraling downwards faster than I knew how to keep up with it. On Thanksgiving I think I drank a couple heavy whiskey drinks in the early morning hours just to rid myself of withdrawal symptoms just so that I could make it out to the family function, where I continued to drink steadily to keep myself in balance. On Christmas Eve I woke up from a multi-day bender realizing I had intended to be sober by Christmas Eve so that I would be functioning in time for family socializing; I had failed and was going through pretty bad withdrawals. It was one of those mornings where I hung my head and cried. It wasn't the first one of those mornings - there had been countless of those mornings where I woke up and realized I was losing control over this thing. You've reached Hell when you need that drink in the morning. And on Christmas Eve of last year, even my standard Hair of the Dog routine was failing to get me out of the mess I had created.

God-willing, I will be sober for the rest of this Holiday season. So even in the face of my repeated failures dating back to the Holiday season of last year, at least there's the fact that the Holidays will be worlds better this time around to hang my hat on.

And there's the fact that I am actively making changes to my life. I spent close to three hours today, my day off, at my sponsor's house - an angel sent into my life it seems at this point - working on some of my step-work. And afterwards I found myself sitting by myself on the wooden pews at my grade school church, doing some reflection at the suggestion of said sponsor. These are all things that abhorred me at this point of my life last year. But it was incumbent upon me to stop telling myself I would change. Telling myself I would change failed me time and again and then a couple more times after that. To change, you must do.

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