So a year ago today was my last hangover and it was a bad one. Physically and spiritually. My organs hurt deep down in my abdomen. I could not drag myself out of bed and had to cancel appointments and plans made for that day. I awoke, hungover and desperate in the guest room not remembering why I was mad enough at my husband to sleep elsewhere *again* – I could not recall going to bed the evening before. As I pulled the covers back up over my head, closing my eyes to the sunlight of the new day, having given up on it as one more casualty to this self-inflicted hell, that if my eyes did not reopen that would be okay too. Don’t get me wrong – I did not want to hurt myself, I was not suicidal in the traditional sense. Just tired of living this way and powerless to stop the terrifying insanity from repeating itself over and over and over again. It was more of a gentle giving up on life.
As I experienced that personal hell of hopeless despair, somewhere I realized that this was a new thought. A darker thought. This was a new place that alcohol had taken me. A place where not waking up, not opening my eyes again was a option. And not a bad one. And that shocked me. I knew from first hand experience that this was a progression of the disease. The addiction had reached a new depth and where it was headed terrified me. It was my moment of clarity. I found my way to one last day one. A year ago. Today. Oh my God, I am grateful for that dark thought. The startlingly reality of where my wine habit had taken me and where it would most assuredly end was enough to make something within me rally for a different life, a sober life, one more time. I also knew I could not fight it alone. I made a phone call and asked for help. And just like that I got it. I found my people who understood the dilemma: I could not imagine a life without wine but I could no longer live my life with it. I was stuck. And they unstuck me. And for a year, I have listened, shared, worked and learned to live a beautiful, sparklingly life where I remember every. single. moment. And I have not spend another night in the guest room wondering how the previous evening ended.
Sober living is not easy but living in addiction killed my soul. I was the walking dead and my eyes reflected that. Today, I feel it all good and bad – the best part: I don’t drink over it anymore… The sparkle has been back in my eyes for a while. I love this poem as it describes what I am trying to do with my feelings these days:
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi
Sure beats numbing them out with wine. This past year has been a wild ride of ups and downs. But I met each and every one without the booze. And for that I am grateful…