After running out of my flat to an AA meeting that I desperately needed to go to (the second that day) to take away the niggling thought that a drink would be a GREAT idea, I managed to lock myself out of my flat.
I went to the meeting, which was the worst one I’ve been to yet (a bitter chair, not great positivity in the room that night) and arrived home to find I had no keys. BUGGER. My flatmate is out of the country- without a locksmith, which I can’t afford right now, I’d be locked out for days. DOUBLE BUGGER.
I was dying for the toilet, and the natural place to go was a bar next door to where I live. I went in, went to the loo, sat down at a table and decided what to do next. I had a nice little dialogue in my head between Old Me and New Me:
Old Me: Argh! This is a NIGHTMARE! The only thing that will make it better is a drink!
New Me: Terrible idea. Terrible. You don’t drink anymore.
Old Me: I wasn’t going to drink, but since I’m going to stop again anyway, I might as well tonight- I’m locked out of home and in a bar! What else would I do?!
New Me: Take a deep breath and decide who you can call who has a place to stay where you’ll get a decent night’s sleep and decide what to do in the morning.
Old Me: But I want to just have one glass of wine, just one…
And this went on for quite some time.
Thankfully, the bar I chose is the one I walk past every day to see some old alcoholics sitting outside. They’re all 70+ and sit there in their finery drinking all day long and it breaks my heart every time I see them. They look so frail and so sad. It reminded me of what could happen if I carry on drinking, always jeopardising my hard work for another day 1.
So I called a friend I know has a nice, cosy place and asked if I could stay with him.
He knows I’ve been struggling with depression, and has been kindly telling me for many weeks I can open up to him about anything. I’m not sure why, but in that moment in his warm, cosy flat where I felt safe I decided to tell him the WHOLE story. Every last detail of my drinking.
I’ve been wanting to tell someone close to me for a while, but have never quite found the right person to tell, because I was scared of them not taking me seriously or thinking it was silly. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I very rarely got smashed publically, and would be considered quite a restrained drinker by most of my friends.
This particular friend turned out to be the perfect choice. He listened to every word and took them with grave seriousness.
I think one of the reasons he felt like the person to tell is that he’s a BIG binge drinker, one of the biggest I know, and I have, in the past, worried about his drinking before alcohol became a problem for me. We talked about his drinking and how it differs from mine. I explained how and why I drank and how once I started I couldn’t stop for days at a time and he said: “I drink alot when I’m out, but it never occurs to me to drink on my own, or for more than one day in a row.” As I looked around his flat he had a couple of red bottles of wine that were half full. I pointed them out to him, saying I could never have those half bottles in the house and he seemed to have genuinely forgotten that they were there. There’s a debate about how binge drinkers fit into alcoholism, but for me, hearing his utter indifference about alcohol at home and him saying he likes it as a mood enhancer on a big night out, no more than that, reminded me why I have come to the path of sobriety.
I told him about this blog, my attempts to stop and my joining AA. He was incredibly supportive and suggested that while I’m being really proactive, maybe I need more support than I’m allowing myself, and suggested taking some time off work.
So following yesterday’s musings about taking some time out to focus on sobriety and getting better, I’ve spoken to my boss and I’m having at least a week to get myself together. I couldn’t share the full details of why, but she understood that I have something personal going on that I need to attend to and that was enough.
I’m so grateful for him, and the fact that he not only listened, but cared enough to have some really great practical advice. I joked with him that now I’ve ‘fessed up to being an alcoholic, I can’t have a drink with friends again without him breathing down my neck reminding me why I shouldn’t, but it’s true. He’ll help keep me safe and sober.
So that’s that. Being truthful helps. I’ve been telling versions of the truth, but the whole truth feels so much better, the sense of unburdening is greater.
And by the way, I hadn’t locked myself out after all, my keys were in a hidden pocket after all 😉
Happy Thursday all!