*** I will be out of pocket this week. In my place, one of my favorite AAs has stepped in with her own two part story of perseverance and healing. The honesty of this piece rings true. I hope you pass this piece on to anyone in sobriety that is currently suffering from loss. I will be back on Thursday.***
As I ran my key down the left side of a stranger’s vehicle, watching the white streak make a line in the blue paint, I knew I was in trouble. I did it anyway despite knowing that my actions were wrong. I also justified this situation in my mind and publicly. I’m an alcoholic I can justify just about anything. I could continue my spiral of insanity or I could deal with the issue underlining my rage: grief regarding my grandmother’s death 30 days prior.
I have been shopping. That obsessive-compulsive-I-am-trying-not-to-feel-shopping. My binge list included: 7 ottomans, clothes, My Little Pony blankets, dust ruffles, throws, art work, and more. It started the day of my Grandmother’s memorial where I was in charge of the food. I went to the grocery store and purchased 10 cooked chickens, a bag of salad, and dressing. I showed up and announced, “I have chickens.” I lined them up on the counter and walked away. My aunt came over to me and quietly whispered, “Mija, what are you doing with the chickens, are you going to cut them?” I couldn’t. All I could do that day was show up with chickens.
I was continuing my compulsive shopping the day I keyed that vehicle. I had shopped and like the other times, felt empty and angry afterwards. I left crying for no reason which was common these days and someone had parked so close to my car, I couldn’t open my door. I felt the rage rise up like red, hot, bile from my soul and proceeded to the thing that I never could understand that people do. Destroy someone’s property.
I emailed my therapist that night and told her I needed an emergency appointment to talk about my rage. I’m sitting on the couch and speed talking about the 5 stages of grief and how I’m only feel 5 stages of anger. How everyone in my life is going to either die or leave at some point and I might as well prepare for it now. This appointment turned out to be the catalyst for me to begin healing.
My sponsor assures me that shopping is better than drinking because I can return every item I purchased, but I cannot return a drink once I have taken it. Slowly I notice I am crying less and peace is replacing the anger. Acceptance is replacing fear, love is replacing hate, and time is healing my wounds. I do the next right thing. I have a spiritual experience that is indescribable. I laugh a little more. I return some of the wreckage of my shopping binge.
My hope is that anyone who is grieving a lost relationship, friendship, past life, pet, family member, or friend remembers this: there is absolutely no experience that will be made better by a drink. Not one. Not even grief.