Skeletons 2.11 – My Remorse

**Disclaimer: This is an unusual recovery blog. I am presently in the “what happened” portion of my story, which focuses primarily on my drinking and recovery in the past. Whether this is your first time here or you are a returning reader, I encourage you to visit my About page before reading further.**

Remorse (past) – Our friend is still victimized by remorse and guilt when he thinks of yesterday. (12 x 12, Step 3, pg. 39)

Like most problem drinkers and alcoholics, I did and said things I would never do sober.  There were always consequences – big and small – but the ones that did the most damage were the guilt, shame and remorse. Why?

Because that was the cycle – drink, do or say things I would regret, wake up, feel bad for said things and then drink the bad feelings away.

The feeling of remorse was a constant. The longer I drank, the worse I got, the worse I felt, the more I drank. I was even remorseful for drinking when I DIDN’T do anything stupid. I knew I had crossed the line into full-blown alcoholism and made many vain attempts in getting my shit together. Chapter 3 of the BB offers a list of some of the methods people try in order to gain control of their drinking so they don’t have to quit for good. Here’s the list, what I tried and the result (over an approx 10 year period:)

  1. Drinking beer only – nope, didn’t drink beer unless it was the only thing available.
  2. Never drinking in the morning – yep, failed.
  3. Drinking only at home – nope, in fact, I far more enjoyed drinking socially even though I did most of it at home.
  4. Never drinking alone – yep, failed.
  5. Never drinking during business hours – yep, failed.
  6. Drinking only at parties – nope, refer to #3.
  7. Switching from scotch to brandy – literally speaking, nope. But I DID try using MJ to help me drink LESS and that DID work…for a little bit soooo, that’s a fail.
  8. Drinking only natural wines – nope, wine is wine and my drink of choice. I never discriminated.
  9. Agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job – nope, I was never put in this position but should have been fired a gazillion times for how alcohol affected my job performance.
  10. Taking a trip or NOT taking a trip – nope, taking a trip meant uninhibited alcohol consumption and the only reason I wouldn’t take a trip is if I was told I couldn’t drink on it.
  11. Swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath) – yep and yep, failed.
  12. Taking more physical exercise – yep, failed.
  13. Reading inspiration books – yep, failed.
  14. Going to health farms and sanitariums – kinda? I went to a holistic nutritionist at one point. I tried. But not hard enough. So, yeah, fail.
  15. Accepting voluntary commitment to asylums – yep and you can read about it in Skeletons 2.3 – My Reckonings.

The book says next “we could increase the list ad infinitum” and that is most definitely true for me.  Here are a few (and very common) other methods I personally tried to manage my drinking:

  1. Limiting the number of drinks I would have in a social environment – “I’m only going to have X many drinks tonight.” More often than not, I failed.
  2. Only drinking on the weekends – always failed.
  3. “Personal detoxes” – Swear off alcohol for a determined or undetermined amount of time. I (almost) always succeeded, felt amazing, and slowly fell back into the same patterns once I started drinking again.
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The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 30

It was a deathly cycle that I simply couldn’t change on my own and I needed help but didn’t WANT to ask because I was for too prideful to admit defeat.

So God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. A “concerned motorist” called me in, the cops were already looking for me. I ended up in handcuffs for the second time.

I felt total guilt. Terrible shame. Tremendous remorse. Remember what I did when I got home the next day? Yep, that wine from the night before was calling my name and I answered.

Today, I still feel remorse over things I do or say sober – I am human after all. I just don’t drink to run away from it anymore.

I don’t use MJ either.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.4 – My Recovery Responsibility

Responsibility (past & present): “Every time you point a finger at someone, there are 3 pointing back at you.” – Unknown

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My favorite game to play in life has been the “blame game.”  Call me out and my go to reaction is more often than not, defensive. I will go to great lengths to justify my mistakes by giving you all the details that led up to them, paying particular attention to who and/or what I could blame so that I am pardoned. Not only that, if push comes to shove, I’ll even unfold my laundry list of transgressions made against me to deflect from the issue at hand.

Before taking my recovery and spirituality seriously, ROD had pointed this out to me in the past and I would deny it tooth and nail. I didn’t even understand this concept and had never heard of the “blame game” until S2 related to me when discussing marital quarrels. She stated that she too could be a “blamer” and that it’s important to be mindful of our roles in difficult circumstances and to not shift blame where it doesn’t belong.

When it came to my drinking, everyone, everything and what happened around me was to blame and I carried that mindset with me into recovery.  If I couldn’t make a meeting, complete some step work or get together with my sponsor or friends in the program, you best believe I had an excuse as to why and it was almost always not my fault. Unless backed into a corner, I straight up could never take responsibility for ANYTHING.

If I didn’t know better today, I’d likely still be twisting, manipulating and lying my way out of everything so long as it didn’t hurt anyone and I felt assured that I remained in your good graces. Old habits die hard and I have to really check myself at times.

Truth be told, my recovery suffered because of all the lies I was telling myself: I’m not an alcoholic, I’m not like everyone else, they need help more than me, everyone else made do (or not do) it, I will drink again someday, blah blah fucking blah.

There’s only one person to blame for my slow progress and spiritual growth in recovery. All I had to do was take a look in the mirror to see the real person at fault:

Me, myself and I.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.3 – My Reckonings

Reckonings (past): “Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows.” (BB, Chapter 3)

I’ll never forget a moment that occurred while talking to my sister on the phone.  It was day time. I was drunk and I remember saying to her something to the effect of:

“I’m an alcoholic and I don’t care.”

I’m quite certain that is the only time I ever called myself an alcoholic and actually believed it. Up until the end of 2016, every other time was me just saying it because that’s what I knew everyone wanted to hear and/or expected me to say. In my heart of hearts, I knew I was but I just could NOT accept it.

“My name is Pixie and I’m an alcoholic.” And in my head I’d say next , “not really but I’ll pretend to be so you leave me alone.”

I was no stranger to AA, however. See, with every sizable consequence that could have been way worse, I’d go to a meeting or 2 just to compare myself to REAL alcys and prove to myself that I wasn’t AS bad as them. They say to look for the similarities and not the differences. Not this stubbon ass. Alllllll I cared about were finding the differences and if there were similarities,  I still deemed them way worse off than me. The most common comparison I made was to my uncle. Alcohol literally ruined and essentially took his life. Surely if that’s what alcoholism looks like, then I am definitely not an alcoholic…right?

What I didn’t realize for a long time is that I was exactly like him, I just hadn’t gotten there yet.

My fierce pride and obsession to drink was so strong, it took several interventions to finally get me to agree to seek treatment (albeit, kicking and screaming.) And not the type of interventions you see in those reality shows where there’s a professional interventionist and letters being read by a big group of people. (Yes, I compared myself to those people too.) Just a handful of concerned loved ones telling me I needed to fix the drinking problem before it got worse.

Fact: alcoholism is a progressive disease. It always gets worse the longer one stays in their addiction. And mine did. Aside from an intervention I did on myself in 2011, I was intervened on 3 other times. I was hanging out with one of my DUDS, drunk on the rooftop in the middle of a work day just minutes before the first one happened. The final two interventions occurred 6 years later on a weekend – one on Saturday and the other the very next day.  I was in legal trouble and wasn’t supposed to be drinking anymore. But I just could.not.stop and I’d get sick thrills out of hiding it when I could. So having that attractive image in your mind, try to get a a clearer visual as I relive it for you here:

#1: Saturday –  The previous night, I went to see a movie with one of my besties*, aka one of my peas in my pod (PEA) or my ride or dies (ROD.) I was 3-4 drinks in before meeting up with her and she could totally tell.  We had a bite to eat and then went to see a romance movie. I passed out and missed all but 5 minutes of the flick.** PEA had to wake me up and I drove home…without my phone.  I don’t know how I made it home safely or how H didn’t smell the booze on my breath in the morning.  We went to an early breakfast and I couldn’t believe I was pulling it off.

By now I had realized my phone was at the theater so I retrieved it on my way to my parents house where I was meeting my other bestie, ROD, to go for a hike. Shortly after my arrival, H called my parents’ house requesting a sit down. PEA had texted him to make sure I had gotten home safe because I didn’t text her when I got home.

I can’t remember my exact demeanor but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t freaking out.  In fact, I know I was relatively calm because as soon as I met eyes with ROD, it was almost as if I didn’t have to tell her. She knew. I knew. We both knew. Yep, I had been caught red handed and it was right then that I laughed my last laugh for a good long while when ROD looked at me and said “I’m going to call you RED from here on out.”

Hence the birth of a new nickname and boy did I take it seriously. So much that on the way home, I was sent into the grocery store to get I don’t even know what, and I had the balls to buy 2 more mini-boxed wines and smuggle them inside my purse for the next day. Nevermind the fact that I had literally JUST promised my husband and parents that I would never do that again.

#2: Sunday – H went into the office, as he did often early in his career. I figured I had enough time to drink one and sober up before he got home. But then he called and told me to get to an AA meeting. My car was at my parents house so I asked a dear friend for a ride and she gladly obliged.*** I went to a meeting buzzed, came home and continued to drink a little more. Next thing I know, H is home and he smells it. He leaves to get our parents and so what did I do? I left too.

It was about 2 hours and an ultimatum later and I was back in my living room telling H and our parents how much I hated my life. It was decided that I was to stay at my parents house that night and get evaluated for rehab the following morning.  Can you imagine what that must have looked like?

Have you ever experienced….

…..taking a dog for a walk when they don’t feel like it?

…..trying to give a cat a bath when it’s in their natural instinct to clean themselves?

…..dressing a toddler who is does not want to stay put?

Yeah, it kinda went down like that.

#morewillberevealed