Let go

As I started toying with the idea of starting this blog it was suggested that I define my purpose before venturing forward. My mission is two-fold. My first order of priority is to help anyone I can who is struggling with alcohol. I know there are other voices out there but everyone’s experience is unique and I feel that we all can learn from each other. Secondly, I hope to take some of the stigma out of addiction by sharing my story, warts and all. I hate that expression. . . warts and all. For us drunks it really should be bruises and all because I cannot tell you how many times I awoke came to only to find ugly purplish-green marks in the weirdest of places after long nights spent with my boyfriend, Jack Daniel’s. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I had fallen down the stairs or possibly slammed my hip into a door frame while busting a move in a Lady Gaga dance party.  One just never knew, but it happened a lot.

Anyway, it’s still my story. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes notsomuch. It’s life on life’s terms.

There’s almost as many ways to get sober as there are to get drunk. Well that’s an exaggeration but truly, there’s not just one way to do anything, is there? I’m not going to pontificate for one program over another because in my opinion getting sober is breath-taking and wondrous and formidable, no matter your method.

You have to start somewhere, though. Like Pinterest says, every journey starts with a single step.  A STEP.

UH OH – SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!?

C’mon, stay with me.  Don’t balk or sulk or shrug and exclaim, “oh for fuck’s sake she’s one of THOSE people”. Hear me out. During my multiple stays in the hospital during The Great Liver Failure of 2015, I heard one thing said many different ways, and that was this; it’s not that you drink, it’s WHY.  For me, this made sense at a period when NOTHING made sense. It was a foggy and muddy span of time and my barely dried out brain still searches for clarity when trying to access those memories but that one is as clear as a vodka martini. . . WHY!?!  It captured my awareness even in the state I was in, which brings me around to what many folks call Step #1 in recovery.  You do not have to work the steps to quit drinking, of course, but again, I’m just passing along what worked (or didn’t) for me. Step One is powerlessness, honesty and surrender all rolled into one big fat humble burrito that is hard to swallow and you freakin’ KNOW I’m dying to make a ONE BITE AT A TIME joke here but I’ll spare you the bad and obvious comedy in lieu of the better and more helpful point, which is to start at the beginning. DUH.

In my case, this was relatively easy because in NO PARALLEL UNIVERSE was lying in a hospital hooked up to multiple IV’s while undergoing a blood transfusion for portal hypertension in your liver due to alcoholic Cirrhosis NOT A PROBLEM.

Just sayin’, for me, the jig was up.  It was time to get honest with the only person that could do anything at all about my situation. . . me. Now, you certainly don’t have to hit any type of bottom to quit drinking. In my case, it took hitting a bottom for me to realize that the problem I had was in fact going to kill me. Many folks a lot smarter than myself would have wised up long before it came to that but one thing I heard recently really resonated with me and that is this;

“It took every drink it took.”  And that’s the simplest truth there is.  I am constantly tripping over things that are behind me, dammit.

That little sentence there has given me a lot of peace lately, but I’m jumping way ahead. January marks a new year ahead that COINCIDENTALLY has 12 months.  Hmmmm.  DO YOU SMELL WHAT I’M STEPPING IN?!?

GET IT?!?  I did it again with the “steps” thing.  I funny!

Keep reading this month and we’ll talk some more about powerlessness and surrender and I’m not talking about the fun kind like where you have a safety word. Sorry, wrong blog. Try The Party is Sodomy, perhaps.

 

Last Call

Alcoholism

July 30, 2015.

That was the last day I had a drink. It’s been over 500 days now (consecutive!) and while it hasn’t always been easy, I’ll say that it’s certainly been worthwhile, and an extremely long time coming. I was a hard drinker for most of my adult life, say twenty-plus years, but last year or so of my drinking,  you could say I went “pro”. No particular reason, really.  My job changed, my dog died, and I think I battled light depression I suppose. All of that is really just life in general and no one thing made me pick up that bottle. No, that was all me.

Happy hour was usually at 7pm. Then seven became five. Before I knew it, 5pm had become 3ish and I was “rewarding” myself for mundane household chores with a stiff martini or three. I wasn’t driving or hurting anyone. I don’t live under a bridge alongside the interstate. C’mon, I’m not pushing a shopping cart down the road laden with recyclables and a molted live Owl in its basket. I own a home and have a solid education, I can’t be a rueful and pathetic old soak…right?

Wrong.

What your brain refuses to acknowledge your body will not ignore. In turn, I got sick. REALLY sick. I was hospitalized. I had a blood transfusion. I had a wire thread shoved into my jugular vein and threaded down into my liver where a shunt was placed to connect my portal vein to my hepatic vein. My body took on an extra 20 lbs in a greenish Gatoradey-looking bile that was drained via a huge needle periodically. My liver had enlarged to three times it’s normal size. I was given a 35% chance of survival if I kept up the boozing. According to my Doctor I would easily be dead within three years. A liver transplant was discussed but only briefly. They don’t dole those things out to drunks, turns out. You do NOT fuck around with those liver people, let me tell you.

So, those are the Cliff Notes.

That, my friends, is REALLY last call.

So, pull up a stool and come join me while I navigate sobriety, and a second chance.

All served with a splash of humor.