Friday, June 01, 2007

The Next Right Thing

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.


Sue said...

Congratulations. I always tell the women when they come that the hardest step is done. They came and started the process.

Erin said...

How cool is this for you?! Yay!

daisymarie said...

What an absolutely huge and courageous step! I'm so proud of you and inspired, too!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Hope. Proud and inspired like daisymarie! I'm excited for you.

bobbie said...

girlfriend - i am still so excited for you! and extremely proud of you that you "did it scared" and showed up to registration. i can't wait to see/hear what god is doing in your life with this!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Hope, good for you! All the best.

A Not So Anonymous Friend

Peter said...

Yo, Hopester--this is major. Next chapter comin' at ya, and you'll write it! Awesome!

~pen~ said...

hope, dear one - email me with your snail mail address. i have something for you.


Jim said...

Good for you, ma'am! We're beleiving with you.....

Jackie said...

Congrats Hope, I'm really proud of you!!

annie said...

Hope, there was a time when you reminded me there was hope, a time when I was close to believing there was no hope. My son is now in a long-term rehab facility and you would not believe the changes in him.

I say that to remind you that there is hope, which you know, I know, and to encourage you and to tell you that I am very excited for you and for the opportunity that is before you.

Oh girl, what wonderful news. You will be in my prayers.

Steve F. said...

It's funny - a friend of mine asked me to chair a 7 AM meeting today. It meant getting up at 6:00, rushing around and then out de' do' by 6:15 to get there by 6:45. But as I drove out to the group (appropriately named "Amazing Grace"), I saw a beautiful sunrise, and thought of you, and so many other friends I have in the "virtual recovery" world.

And then I get here and read this, and I am just so very glad for you, and a wee bit envious.

I am absolutely sure that I would benefit from a stay in rehab, even today. (Hell, especially today, the way this day is going!)

I would remind you of an interesting fact: every so many "operating hours," even the toughest military aircraft are taken out of service. Their engines and innards are pulled out, their airframes are examined for any potential fatigue or weakening, and then they are carefully put back together. They call it "preventative maintenance."

Religious folks go away for extended times for spiritual direction, re-direction, and inner cleansing. They call it "a retreat."

Heart patients go in to have circulatory blockages removed. They call them "bypass surgery."

Physical, emotional, spiritual - mechanical, flesh-n-blood or metaphysical - we all need time in the body-n-fender shop at times, my dear sister Hope. The real wisdom is recognizing that you need it, and taking action to actually DO it, before you crash and burn. Not all of us are so smart, or so blessed.

I celebrate your courage, and your wisdom, and (probably) your good insurance coverage. And, as I say, wish I could do the same...

Hugs from Ohio -

Beth said...

Hope, good for you! Lots of prayers for you...this summer will be part of the process, too. I think you are moving forward. I think you WILL be blessed!