A well known blogger, Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce, died by suicide last week. She was 47 and last posted on April 6, 2023 at 18 months sober. I had no idea who she was until yesterday when I saw an article about her death and my heart just sank. Alcoholism and depression go hand in hand and it’s so sad she was one of those that didn’t make it. Most don’t, actually. That’s just a fact. A very sad fact. Which is why we in the recovery world call each other miracles. It’s a miracle I’m still here and I have so much to say about that but today, I want to share something else.
Oh man, I’m already crying. Pull it together, Holly.
I told my bestie the other morning that I had this insane (albeit fleeting) idea that maybe I should drink so that I could experience the “gift of desperation” that so many people get when they want so badly to quit drinking but can’t stop. The feeling of “I’ll do whatever it takes to get and stay sober” feeling. When my first sponsor asking me over 11 years ago if I was willing to do whatever it took to quit drinking, I said yes and that was a flat out lie. I didn’t want to quit drinking. Everyone else wanted me to, but not me.
Never mind the second DUI, the numerous crashed cars, the hangovers, the bloating, the bruising, the incomprehensible demoralization, the list goes on – I did NOT want to stop. And I didn’t. I did relapse a handful of times and the only reason why it wasn’t more was because I got pregnant.
For a long time I said that my firstborn daughter was my “reward” for getting sober. However, after confessing my most random, why would I even think it thought of drinking to my friend, she revealed the real truth: my baby was a gift.
Not a reward.
Not of desperation.
God’s grace bestowed upon me for absolutely nothing. I didn’t deserve or earn her. God knew I wouldn’t stop drinking so he graciously gave me A1 and spared me more self-sabotage. I would and should have suffered more for my drinking, even though I had suffered so much already. My piss poor attitude towards sobriety and my whole family for forcing me into it was unacceptable. At one point, my dad said I was dying and in my head, I rolled my eyes and thought, “uh, okay, that’s a bit extreme. I’m not at death’s door.”
But truth be told, he was right. Physically, I was slowly dying but inwardly, I was dead inside. I was drinking because I was depressed, and I was depressed because I was drinking. It was a never-ending vicious cycle.
One that I would continue for many years without a drink.