The Next Day

imageI waited for it all to change for most of my life. The drinking life was the only one I ever really knew. Starting out as a kid, stealing my best friend’s uncle’s vodka, and chasing it with grapefruit juice was a screw driver into oblivion. Then, after a good buzz, my head spinning like a top, we’d race our bicycles down a big hill with no brakes and dare each other to pass thru the stop sign without getting mowed over. I was a mere 14. I’d been chasing that warm buzz all this time before I realized that over half my life was gone. At 41, I was just happy to have made 40. The promises I made to God and myself that I would really quit tomorrow are too numerous to count. I’ve been an addict since I can remember wanting more of anything I’ve ever taken to numb my feelings. And nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever been able to change that. The doctor’s opinion in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous talks about the ” mind of a chronic alcoholic.” Today, almost 5 years sober,  I still wrestle with that same mind. I’m bodily different, too, when I take a drink; both scream for more, more, and more. I only wish that I had a dime for every time that I’ve said that I’d quit tomorrow. Oh, I quit a thousand times, but I couldn’t stay stopped. Not even the hangovers the next day could persuade me. As bad as they hurt, I’d drink a little in the morning to ease those jitters. Perhaps you weren’t as bad as me, or maybe you were worse. What qualifies me is that I can’t stop when I start, and I never could quit entirely. God forbid, that I ever try the “two drinks and I’ll stop” experiment again. But that’s where my mind goes when I turn a cold beer bottoms up…and the next day I miss out on the joys that today brings staying sober….good day!…b

livin free

20160511_135652Life had not always been egregious when I drank. I was reminded recently of the controlling measures I would take to curb the obsession to drink until my son’s lacrosse game had ended. I would drink water, pace, talk on the phone, appear overly engaged, but deep down my mind and my body would be screaming for alcohol. I was so sick that finally I caved and began sneaking beers with a friend at intermission. Maybe he or I would have a little toke together. There once was nothing like the peace pipe to pull me together and at least take the edge off my mind. Aaah, the ease and comfort of that first couple, and then I would miss the whole fourth period, lost in an abyss of numbness and alcohol. I would stop by the store, sit on my front porch and literally dream of doing the activities that I enjoy today sober. It was my great obsession to try and drink with contentment. After all, I really had some good memories. Like the time we were in Cancun and could swim up to the bar, corona with limes flowing like water. Or the time we got snowed in in the Smokey Mountains, scotch burning my mouth like cinnamon fireballs. The ease and comfort, I’ll never forget. Then, over a period of years my drinking wasn’t fun anymore. I guess I stepped over the line into full blown alcoholism somewhere between Oxford  and Montgomery. What I feel today is raw and untouched compared to the rigidity and need to control that would hit me. I wanted to seemingly be fine, but in my heart I knew I couldn’t drink and tell the truth. Alcohol changes me like that, and before I even knew that life was  passing me by, I couldn’t even tell what day it was. I still occasionally have a using dream at five years sober. I wake up to unchartered territory but freedom knowing that each new day brings hope that God will put someone in my life to show that this way of life works….it really does….good day!….b