This is going to be a hard post to write, and it’s likely to be a long one as well. I can easily take it to a really bad place for me, a place full of anger, resentment, accusations, unfairness and bitterness. I can also make it about learning and growth and find the positives, which is what I am going to attempt.
It was the eve of my 90 day milestone, and I was feeling great. I had gone to a meeting that morning and spoken with a guy who had shown some interest in working with me. Because of my guardedness, I resisted labeling him as a “sponsor”, but I said I would be interested in “working with him”, leaving myself an easy out. I did have a realization that I needed to deepen my work in AA. I was feeling a bit too comfortable, not wanting to drink, but really afraid of the next big blowup at home and whether I was really able to handle that situation. I knew I needed to get off the “plateau” but was unable to take any action.
Early evening found me at an English Pub, a going away party for some friends. I think it met the qualification that “I had a reason to be there”, I felt comfortable, didn’t want to drink, had fun conversing with my drinking friends and had a nice conversation about my journey with another friend – which helped balance things out. I thought I was in control, but would soon learn how wrong I was. Being at this event put me in a situation where I had to take someone to another place to pick someone else up. I was already feeling anxious as I had a couple of kids home alone and my cell phone battery was low. When we arrived at this other place (a party at a house) everything started to unravel. Everybody was really drunk, not just drunk, but really, really fucked up. Any social graces that would normally make people understand that I REALLY didn’t want a drink were long gone. A guy (yes I knew him) threw grapes at me and sat in my lap. People were staggering all over and saying the stupidest shit. I try hard to not have “holier-than-thou” thoughts in my sobriety, but it was really disgusting. Seeing this made me NOT want to drink, but I really started freaking out and I HAD TO GO. My need to leave, immediately, was not taken well at all. I later realized that it was my fault, there were no boundaries and I had greyed the lines of what people could expect of me, by acting (and believing) that I was still in control. Had I also treated that first event with more respect, and not believed that only my actions could control the outcome, it also could have all been avoided.
So, the situation had arrived, the one I was fearful of, the true test. I was sitting in my car, having been asked not to come home, chain smoking and thinking that I had 2 choices: I could go home and finish the argument, and actually become the bad guy that I already was, or I could go get a motel room and get really fucking wasted and forget about this shit. Ninety days was starting to look a bit further away than it had in the morning. Fortunately I didn’t act right away, because after a while a third choice came to me: I could fucking call that guy I met this morning and see what would happen. Ok genius, people have been telling you this for months, yet it didn’t even pop into your brain as an option at first? Even then, my finger hovered over the touchscreen for what seemed like an eternity. Maybe this is just bullshit, maybe he is busy, maybe he doesn’t know shit about my situation, maybe he didn’t really mean for me to call anytime, maybe I can just handle this myself if I sit and have a few more smokes…..
I finally did it, I made the call. We met, we talked, we read from the book, he helped me get grounded. I found a place to stay and avoided the first 2 choices that had come to my mind. I woke early, attended a meeting, announced my 90 days, and shared. I am forever grateful to this person and have lost my unwillingness to label him a “sponsor”.
I spent much of my 90 day milestone changing my thinking about what I once considered a horrible, horrible situation. I had grown, and been able to reach out to another person for help. I was also given a catalyst to get off the plateau and deepen my efforts into my recovery program. I was reminded that even when my behavior is clean that I am not in control. Finally, and most importantly, I was reminded that I am powerless over alcohol, that it still owns me completely, even when I am not drinking.