I started drinking at the Yarmouth Drive-in when I was 13 years old. A friend from Girl Scout Camp and her brother picked me up and took me to see "Star Wars". I remember being blind drunk on Screwdrivers and watching the hover craft float across the screen, I remember R2D2 and C3PO standing out in the desert having some kind of a conversation and then I remember being in the car again and throwing up out the window. I also remember getting home and no one even noticing....or if they did, they never said anything. Something in my little head clicked on that night giving me the go ahead to drink myself stupid everyday and everynight for the better part of the next 25(?) years or so.
There were bouts of "sobriety" inbetween - periods where I didn't drink any alcohol but being dry and being sober are 2 completely different animals.....I just earned the right to call myself sober about 5 years ago. Dry is when you stop drinking but don't do any inner work, sobriety is a conscious decision to take a path that will force you to take a good, long, hard, honest look at yourself, understand why you drink or drug or over eat or act on addictive impulse and you have do it with others who will hold you accountable so you don't keep deluding yourself in you're own little messed up world. Relatively speaking, dry is easy peasy, it's a hard step but not the hardest step. The hardest step is the path to sobriety. That takes guts. And I'm not saying "look at me! I'm done and I'm perfect now!" - you're never done, no of us are ever perfect.
In the steps to attaining and maintaining sobriety you take have to decide to sit down and take a look at your monsters and REALLY deal with them, you have to talk about them and your involvement in your own life with other people. You have to be honest and learn to not hide behind anything or anyone, you have to learn to shed that thin veneer that makes you feel so powerful and above everyone else when you're an active alcoholic and or addict. But after an addict has been living with one set of behaviors for so long changing direction is hard, very, very hard. Sobriety isn't as easy as announcing "I'm sober now", sobriety involves work - it's a painful, embarrassing, humiliating job that, extremely humbling and in the end, gives you the strength and freedom to live your life.
As an addict and alcoholic I didn't know how to be honest, I didn't understand why I was doing what I was doing most of the time, I couldn't control my anger but I wanted people to just love me without merit. My artwork had no context, no direction and, quite frankly, wasn't very good- my work was at best as mediocre as my life but my "life" was wholey based in hiding from life in alcohol and drugs. Everyday, I'd count the minutes till I could get another drink, I'd "white knuckle it" all day till I could drink with my drunk ass pals and not have to feel guilty about what I was doing with my life. I'd lie to myself all day long about my drinking - I really thought drinking made me look tough and emboldened, like an independant woman who could do anything when, really, I was a little girl, afraid of life, with no direction and no way to figure out what to do with myself except hide in alcohol other drunks.
This is very Lifetime Channel....
Today, after going thru several years "in the program", I've got a much clearer picture of my life - I know why I had those compulsions, I know why I was so angry, I know what is tolerable behavior and what is just crap, I know that I actually do have to come first in my own life and, since I've decided to be an active participant in my own life, I KNOW what I want to do with the rest of my life, I'm not afraid to set goals and work really hard to reach them anymore and I'm not overwhelmed by my "need" to drink or drug. I feel all grown up and capable of doing almost anything on my own now - it's nice being like this. I prefer being a go getter...it doesn't make me popular, in fact, having clear goals and working to reach them has kinda limited my teeny tiny circle but it's okay - I prefer being aligned with people who are in control, goal oriented, awake and alive and not counting the seconds to their next drink or drug. Those days are unprofitable and over for me. I have things to do now.