I had a different blog written for this week and then I had a change of heart. Two things happened this morning that made me change my mind:
I woke up.
My daughter texted me.
I woke up early, in a sweat. I was frantically trying to recover from a nightmare. I don’t have them often, but when I do these are the kind I hate. The kind of dream that isn’t real, but it could be. This nightmare could happen in real life. Not like the kind that are horrific but they end with an alien or your kindergarten teacher hitting you (and you're an adult.) No, these are the kind of things we try not to let our mind go to when we are awake and functioning. Why? Because we know it could happen.
My dream was in was the present day and I'd lost a child, and I went back to drinking. BAM! Now you know. You get it. It was only 4:30 am, but I was too shook up to go back to sleep. The longer I laid there, the more upset I became.
I got up and decided I might as well get the coffee going. Grabbed my journal and afghan and settled in. I could not quiet my mind. Usually this is my most peaceful time of day and I couldn’t get there no matter how hard I tried.
I started praying and specifically asked God to calm my heart and mind. After a while, it did get better. In my journal, I wrote down the two fears I'd felt in my dream:
First, I lost a child. Obviously, this is irreversible and totally out of my control. Only God knows the number of days we have here.
Second, I started drinking immediately following the horrible moment I was told my child was gone. Is that one irreversible? Is that one out of my control? No, I don’t think so. I mean, it’s a choice - right?
Then there was the text from my daughter a few hours later. It simply said, “Did you hear about Demi Lovato?”
I read up on her story when I got to my desk. Not too long ago, she had relapsed after six years of sobriety and was approaching the six-month mark. Then, this past week, she overdosed on heroin. It looks like she is going to be okay physically, but I'm sure this will take its toll mentally. I feel bad for her, but I don’t hold her in any higher or lower regard than I do myself in this world of addiction. Addiction doesn’t care what race, gender, or tax bracket you’re in. It will take anyone.
Here was my sobering thought, "That girl has a tribe of help! Family, friends, therapists, trainers, the best that money can buy. None of it was enough to keep her sober." Someone I thought should be “safe” from relapse, wasn’t.
Am I safe? Probably not. I pray I will never make the decision to pick up a bottle of alcohol again as long as I live. I have no plan to drink nor do I want to. But am I safe? Is it in my control? I can’t answer that. Today I am, but what about if something really bad happens?
I talked this over with a drinking buddy today. (That means we are friends walking the same path, not throwing back shots of tequila.) Anyway, in our discussion we concluded no one is ever really safe in addiction. We have to stay on guard at all times. I am long past the impulse that I used to drink from. Nor do I make a plan for when would be an ideal time to drink.
That being said, I still can’t get too comfortable. I don’t know what challenge the day might bring. I need to be ready and not assume I can handle anything that comes my way.
I don’t want to plan for the hard stuff that might not ever happen, but in a way, I have to. Kind of like having an escape plan ready. Necessary if you want to escape the fire without getting burned.
Thanks for listening,
"Sober" by Demi Lovato
I got no excuses
For all of these goodbyes
Call me when it's over
'Cause I'm dying inside
Wake me when the shakes are gone
And the cold sweats disappear
Call me when it's over
And myself has reappeared
I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know why
I do it every, every, every time
It's only when I'm lonely
Sometimes I just wanna cave
And I don't wanna fight
I try and I try and I try and I try and I try
Just hold me, I'm lonely
Momma, I'm so sorry, I'm not sober anymore
And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor
To the ones who never left me
We've been down this road before
I'm so sorry, I'm not sober anymore
I'm sorry to my future love
For the man that left my bed
For making love the way I saved for you inside my head
And I'm sorry for the fans I lost
Who watched me fall again
I wanna be a role model
But I'm only human
I don't know, I don