The last time I was here, I was very arrogantly declaring that there was no way I was going to break my promise to myself not to drink for one full year.
Well, it’s Day 1 again, and I need some help getting back on the wagon this time. It’s really hard, and I’m afraid it will not be so easy to stay sober this time. I’m about to tell you a real bummer of a story – jump off now if you need to.
Not to make excuses, but here’s what happened. Not long after the last time I wrote a post, I had some awful medical news. If you have read my blog before, you may remember that I was diagnosed with a chronic, rare blood cancer a couple of years ago. This particular condition is related to, and has a (somewhat unlikely) chance of turning into, something much more deadly. Well, the regular blood tests I have to monitor the condition turned up something strange, I had weeks of more tests and agonizing before I could talk to a doctor, and my anxiety was through the roof. It turned out to not be the MOST immediately deadly thing it could have been, but I did end up with a diagnosis of a much worse disease than the one I had before. One that will kill me eventually unless some medical breakthroughs happen soon. The median life expectancy from diagnosis is 10 years. So, in 10 years, half the people will be dead and half will still be alive. There is no treatment that I am eligible for that will beat it back (the ones they have now only treat symptoms). I’m not eligible for any clinical trials right now. When things get dire enough, I might be able to get a bone marrow transplant (but it seems that is no guarantee of a good result or, even, if I will be able to get one). I have a 10-year-old daughter who needs me. Her father is a wonderful guy with some serious mental health issues that could make it hard for him to be on his own with a kid. I don’t even have an estate plan yet because it has been too hard for me to wrap my head around what will be best for the two of them. Shit.
Of course, the LAST thing I need to be doing right now is drinking, but in the midst of all of THAT hideousness, I deliberately decided to self-medicate with alcohol. And, this time, I went right back to where I was before I started this whole journey. Drinking a bottle plus of wine or the equivalent every night. Nothing terrible happened, I didn’t embarrass myself. In fact, I had a few really wonderful, bonding times with friends I hadn’t seem for a long, long time (all of them big drinkers). Yet, the urge to continue drinking “just one more night – tonight – then you’ll quit again” is overwhelming. It is super scary. I feel stuck. Any thoughts I had lingering in the back of my head about whether I could just drink socially once in a while were clearly bullshit. I’ve upped my anti-anxiety meds, and that’s helping some. I have a therapist. Also, that glossy coat of denial has once again settled on my shoulders. I know I’ll be one of those that lives WAY past 10 years! Except that I don’t know that. I do know that I don’t want to spend whatever time I have doing nothing but sticking my head in wine-soaked sand. BUT I’m scared to face this sober. I know I have to replace this self-sabotaging coping mechanism with something else, but it’s hard to feel motivated. I wish I had a stronger spiritual side, but I’ve never been religious. I just believe in love. Anything else that happens beyond this life is unknown.
I’m not being hard on myself about it. I’m not ashamed that I’ve been drinking. But, I can’t keep doing what I’m doing.
Well, I’m not going to drink today.
Ms. New Leaf (aka Leafy)