***This Friday’s post was not written by me, but by a very dear friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous. I hope you will take a minute and leave a comment either below or on Facebook to encourage her to keep writing, as you have so generously encouraged me. Thank you. ***
Hide Less. Seek More.
My mouth feels like cotton, my glasses are lopsided on my face, and my body aches. I squint in the dark to look up and see wood. I roll slightly to my left and feel rough carpet on my cheek. That is when I realize I have fallen asleep under my desk at work…again. I lost count of the times I have done this recently. I call my mom right before I do. She lovely tells me that I should not sleep at work. I hang up the phone, shut my door, turn off the lights; and crawl. I crawl into a small space, the space where your feet rest under a desk. My u-shaped cherry wood desk hugs me like a warm blanket. My eyes shut as I black-out into a sleep.
I have always relished in the relief and safety of a quiet, dark, small; space. I became disappointed when someone found me when I played the game hide-and-seek as a child. I was suddenly jolted out of my peaceful space with a loud voice screaming, “I found you!” I continued to hide in many variations of emotionally, physically, and spiritually destruction well into my adulthood. Drinking was the best hide-and-seek game for me. I would hide my feelings and emotions with each sip of a drink I took. On a good night, I “found” an attractive, young, confident, social butterfly. On a bad night, I “found” myself at 2:00am chugging the last of my double-fisted drinks before walking out of the bar.
The bad nights were more frequent, I couldn’t get drunk enough to find that attractive, young, confident, social butterfly again. Years after chasing that person, I got sober through the rooms of AA. The phrases I heard in my first meeting, “There is nothing that a drink won’t make worse” and “It will change and get different” stuck with me for the next several years. My sponsors always encouraged me to accept service commitments when I was asked to tell my story or chair a meeting. When asked, I was always to say yes. They explained the importance of that side of the triangle, the service side that keeps us in the middle. When I asked what was so great about being in the middle, they said, “Because when your ass falls off, someone will be there to catch it.”
As I crawl from under the desk, I fix my glasses, turn on the lights, and get on the internet. My ass fell off so long ago I can’t even tell you when it did. I have decided my black-out sleeps are not enough to escape my sober pain. Blackness is oozing from my rotting soul into my throat and out of my pores. I have decided I’m going to drink. Like a good alcoholic, I look for a place where I can go out with a bang. No sir, I’m not going to be one of those people who go out on a sip of beer and then come back in the next day. What a waste of a relapse. I find a very expensive out of town hotel with a swim-up bar. I am excited about the prospect of swimming up to a bar. That giddy feeling sweeps over me the same feeling I used to get years ago on a Friday night. My mouse hovers over the calendar to book the room for this Saturday. My stomach drops, I know deep in my heart this is the time I should pick up the phone and call someone. I don’t. I cry. I cry for the lost sober person I desperately want to find. I cry for the sober people I cut out of my life. I cry for the drunken butterfly.
At that moment, my phone rings. I answer irritated that someone is interrupting my drinking plans but curious enough to pick up the phone from this person in the middle of a work day. The person calling wanted to know if I could tell my story this Saturday. A yes came out of my mouth without thinking. Because I had been practicing it for a while with service commitments, it was second nature even in my darkness. I stayed sober for the next 48 hours, asking for the Spirit I had turned my back on to come back into my life and remove my obsession to drink. Just for today, I was not going to drink. Or book the hotel room.
It is Saturday night. I take a shower, something that I have not been doing daily. I go to paint my face with make-up to hide my darkness, but it takes too much energy and I leave barefaced. There are a lot of people in the room and I am not feeling sober even though I physically have not taken a drink. I feel like a fraud, all these people in this room and I’m going to talk about how great sobriety has been the past several years and how wonderful my life is, even though I am dying on the inside. The lights go down, the spotlight comes on, and I feel safe in the quiet, dark, large; space. I am not alone and I can tell my truth. “Hi, I am an alcoholic and today I am grateful to be here. Thank you to the person who asked me to tell my story, I was booking a hotel with a swim up bar and had decided to drink when she called and saved my life. Only an alcoholic would think about a swim-up bar in January.” The crowd laughed and I knew I was home and ready to begin my honest journey up toward the light, away from the darkness.
About the author: The author remains sober to this day without sleeping under the desk at work. Through a heap load of spiritual, emotional, and physical crawling over the next 18 months; the author is walking again hand in hand with the Spirit, one day at a time.