Had I written this post just a few hours earlier, when I’d planned to, I would have missed out on the biggest event of my day.
It would have been a different story. A Saturday in sobriety, plain and unexciting. A few meetings and naps, a few TV shows and dinner. Instead, I waited to write. And now, I can say that, tonight, AA saved my sobriety and my sanity.
I sat on the couch, freshly showered, and planning to go to an 8PM AA meeting on the college campus near my apartment. Before venturing out, I sat down at the computer to check my email and, as I sat, a little chat box appeared in my browser.
My heart stopped beating for a pump or two. My breath, caught somewhere in the back of my throat. My body, paralyzed with a sudden fear I had not felt in a long, long time. My ex.
After abandoning me about a year and a half ago, we have seen each other twice. Both unpleasant, unexpected interactions. And, since he left, though I try to put it out of my mind, he’s haunted me. Why had he gone so suddenly? After such a long time together, almost seven years, for some reason I was undeserving of a goodbye. Left alone in a suddenly dark and cold world.
I knew that I had my part in our relationship’s disintegration, but, his exit was painful and devastating. So, after all this time, seeing the chat bubble pop up in the corner of my screen made my blood run cold.
While I’ll keep the content of our chat to myself, I can say, that our brief interaction left me numb and confused. He apologized. And, after carrying the weight of his leaving for as long as I have, it felt strange to not have to assign myself the guilt for everything. I’d walked this planet for a year and half thinking I was responsible for some colossal wrong doing, of which, to this day, I still feel guilty. This nameless, all encompassing guilt.
I’d spent the better part of my drinking days harping on this thought, this nameless thing. And, I told myself, if he just could absolve me of this guilt, this not knowing why, I would not have to drink this way. I could put the glass down. But, until that absolution, I would drink it away.
Tonight, I was forgiven. Taken off the hook. And, much to my surprise, and to my greatest sadness, I wanted a drink. More than that, I wanted a bottle. Three bottles. And, it struck me harder than it ever has, I am an alcoholic.
I am an alcoholic and nothing will absolve me of the desire to drink. Not forgiveness, not understanding, and certainly not this freedom. So, I sat. I sat feeling empty and numb. Not knowing what to feel, really. Devoid of everything. Everything except that little voice coaxing me to the bar. Tempting me to drink now. Now that I am free of the burden that I’ve been carrying. The one thing I thought was the only reason I drank. The only reason I thought I would have to drink, forever. It’s not. I want to drink, because whether I feel too little or I feel to much, I want it to be the opposite. Because I am an alcoholic. And that hits me hard.
So, I went to two late night meetings. And, I let Alcoholics Anonymous save my life, again. Because, without it, there are still days where I feel like I am nothing. And, I will never be anything but an alcoholic. With all that said, I still have a place to go. A place where I don’t have to feel anything at all, or, I can be feeling too much. No one is there to judge me. I don’t have to drink.
I thought freedom would make me feel, well, free. But, sometimes when something, or someone, leaves you. There’s just nothing. Nothing at all. Nothing, except, I’m an alcoholic.