The first of June already. This time last year I took the month of June off blogging. I also went to my first AA meeting in over 8 years. I still remember rolling to a stop at an intersection in town and having the thought flash through my mind that I could go and buy some beer, go home to an empty house and drink it, and no one would be the wiser. Shame was my overwhelming feeling those days due to my out of control sexual addiction. Somewhere deep down I knew I was going to have that first sip if I didn't do something different.
A year later I'm no longer covered in shame but find a thin cloak of it surrounding me sometimes. Having some abstinence (six and a half months today) from sexual addiction helps. Having a home group and a sponsor does too. I think the thing I've learned the most in the past year of going to AA meetings is that it's very hard for me to be honest, to know how I'm feeling and to own those feelings. It's much easier to try and find a way to numb the feelings and talk my way around honesty instead. I still feel like I'm somewhat tenuous in my recovery. When I talked to my doctor 2 weeks ago about pain management and was emphatic on no narcotics because I was scared I'd start abusing them, I felt fragile.
When I sobered up in March of 1988 I lived in a small town on the prairies that had a rehab center. How bizzare. A town in the midst of nowhere with a busy rehab. I don't remember ever considering going there when I stopped drinking. I don't know if it was because I had a newborn, a toddler and a preschooler and the logistics seemed impossible. Most likely I thought rehab was for other people.
I've wished for a long time that I had gone to rehab. In the past year I've come to realize that 19 years of not drinking does not equal walking the talk, working the program, or being in recovery. It just means that (by the grace of God) I haven't picked up a drink.
I think it took less than a handful of meetings for me to realize that telling people I'd been sober for 18 years meant diddly squat to them. A person can have an 18 year dry drunk too. Which is mostly what I had up til then. Which is what I still have some of the time these days.
On Wednesday dearest one, through the course of his work, found out that rehab was still a possibility for me. We had thought it was expensive and out of reach. He phoned and dropped the new, doable information in my lap and then listened as I came up with one excuse after another why I couldn't go until winter time. He wisely told me he was just delivering the information, what I did with it was my baby. Shit. So much of my life I've had a stance of "Don't you dare try and tell me what to do." Then there's my other favourite stance of "I don't want to own my own decisions, please will you make them for me?" Dearest one is a saint.
I didn't sleep well Wednesday night. Fear and panic were my bedfellows. It's one thing to want a thing and talk, talk, talk about it when you think it's out of your reach. It's another to have it right before you and purposefully turn away. I had a running conversation with myself most of the night. Turn one way, Yes, I'm going. Toss the other, Not a chance in hell. You can always tell how much I toss and turn in the night by how my hair looks in the morning. I have a whole range of bed head styles. The next morning, courtesy of a restless night, found me sporting a mini mohawk all of my own. A two inch high strip right down the center of my head.
After a glance in the mirror I decided to confess my panic to someone else so I phoned my dear friend, bobbie. What a reminder that there's more than one perspective to hold. That we need other perspectives. No wonder recovery work doesn't work well in isolation. Her encouragement and excitement for me to have this opportunity blew me away. It was like, Oh, I could be excited and happy instead of afraid and panicked. That wouldn't have occured to me had I not talked to her. I hung up from our conversation with much to think about.
Yesterday I signed on the dotted line and my rehab intake date is August 5th.