I woke up on my 5th day sober and in the hell I was going through, decided I would quit for good. The day after my last drink (a swell BBQ Blackout), I had simply told my boyfriend I wanted to quit temporarily. But the truth was, that was me being scared of losing my crutch permanently, and my escape permanently. I thought alcohol was my fire escape, but it was really the match every time.
By the 5th day, I had come to terms with myself, although I am constantly coming to terming. But this time, I realized I wasn’t qualified to drink, I wasn’t “normal”, and I could never go back. I was a clown, a circus freak in the liquor store. And I had to retire that red nose, or red wine bottle.
Diligently downing benzodiazapines, afraid as hell I would have the DT’s, I was already a hypochondriac and the initial drying out period was difficult for me. I was filled with raw eye-opening embarrassment, over my black-out at a big party (apparently I was nice, they said. But do they always say that?). I was filled with raw embarrassment over my identity as a mother. Full of regret. I will say I was always a functional alcoholic, and mother, and lover, and worker, but this is all because the threat of shame makes me tell you this. In reality, I was mortified. And there was no alcohol to persuade my mood to lighter sights.
Unsurprisingly underemployed, one of my very first decisions in my neonatal sobriety was to find a good therapist. Little did I know how good she would be. I located her quickly and she actually spoke to me by phone for a good 45 minutes before I met her in person. She left me with the firm belief that as long as I was committed to sobriety, she could and would help me. I’m certain there are not many therapists out there who would talk to a prospective patient for as long as she did that day, while I was still very sick. In hindsight, it was unusual.
We met in her office in a neighboring town, which was a perfect talking space. Not too big or too small, and with windows full of plants thriving behind partially opened blinds. Books in a bookcase were like the teeth of the greats of society, each one in alignment. Each there to offer supreme perfect guidance if one should need it-and of course, my therapist never did. She sat in a modest arm chair, and I as her patient, sat a good distance away, beyond an oriental rug that conveyed warmth, nestled in a chair with a throw pillow that each week, begged to be hugged. Tissues were always within arms reach and were often reached.
I met her once a week for exactly a year. She met me when I was just becoming clean and really held my hand through the process. I will always remember her contemplative nature. I will always appreciate her allowing me to phone-in an appointment during a blizzard (this during the year where my state had the most snowfall in it’s entire history, meant that we had several phone-in sessions. This was a rare luxury not found typically in modern practice).
My only lament is that she only said she was retiring about a month before she did. I had no time to process the termination of our relationship, and and only now, 6 months later, realizing how much she meant to me. She was my raft, and I realize I am at a new shore, and I am alone.
I found a new therapist shortly after she retired, but she (how do I put this without sounding completely crazy?) “backstabbed me” by becoming pregnant and entering maternity leave just as soon as we’d met enough times for me to unpack my longings-for a “real life”, for a husband, for a baby, etc.
I’ve taken time off since then, since these are forms of heartbreak and are draining, so draining. Tomorrow, I will meet someone new. And I have already been assured, she will not be retiring anytime soon!
Re-covering. Covering something again? Covering life events past in a more useful paint?