Sobriety has been a haphazard ride of extremely up ups and extremely down downs, while my brain tries to figure out what I’m doing to it. This weekend was good. Then about 5 hours ago things took a very sharp downward turn, to the point where I could barely move, or didn’t want to, or didn’t know how to. So, I’m writing.
I don’t know if it’s being sober after 15 years of being extremely not sober that’s messing with my head or the emergence of whatever I had kept at bay with alcohol for so long. Binge drinking was clearly not working for me at all. My fear is that not drinking will also not work for me. Back in rehab we talked about ‘using dreams.’ I don’t know if dreaming about drinking is technically a using dream, but anyway. In my recurring using dream I’m not even drinking per se. Instead I realize I never actually stopped drinking. I was never sober like I told everyone. I’d been drinking in secret this entire time, as I’d always done. My dream is basically just a sudden moment of clarity. In my dream I’m still living a double life. In my dream I’m still pretending.
When I did get the energy to move earlier, I went to Taft Bridge to pray. I have no clue Who or What I’m even praying to, I just do it. I go there when I’m feeling down, as a habit. I’m trying to develop good habits, but tonight I realized I’m not sure if this is such a good habit.
Here’s the deal with Taft Bridge. The Taft Bridge forms a V shape with the more famous Duke Ellington Bridge. Both intersect Rock Creek Park. The views are beautiful. A few months ago, when my drinking was at its very worst and I was quickly imploding, I got in the bad habit of walking at night from my apartment to the Duke Ellington Bridge, across the Duke Ellington Bridge, rounding the intersection at Calvert and Connecticut, and then walking back home across the Taft Bridge. The Duke Ellington Bridge has very tall fences on either side specifically installed to prevent people from jumping. The Taft Bridge does not have tall fences, and this became a major problem for me. For a short while, anyway. I don’t know exactly how big of a problem, truthfully. Almost all of it is a blur now. But I walked it every night. And then I started stopping midway. And I kept stopping with more regularity.
Tonight I want to drink so badly it physically hurts all over. I know in the morning I’ll feel better. That’s one thing about sobriety — the mornings always feel much, much better than they have in years and years. But right now, if I’m being honest, I want to knock my head straight into oblivion. What started it is tonight on the Taft Bridge I was overwhelmed with the fear that at some point I’m going to give in and down most of a bottle of Makers, and then keep giving in. It’s the same persistent voice from a few months ago. “Be honest. Wake up. This is inevitable. You’re a glitch that the universe is just itching to course correct.”
It’s the strangest thing. Back in rehab we talked about our insides matching our outsides. Have mine ever? The morning will be better. I have tomorrow off. I’ll go for a bike ride and feel the sun and the breeze. My heart will steady, my chest will relax a bit. I don’t want to die, I don’t want to drink. I mean I do want to drink, but I won’t. I want to claw every square inch of my skin off right now, but I won’t do that either. Stay grateful, stay focused, stay sober. The morning will be better.