Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Great Pretender

Yeah, that's me.

Only, it's not working so well, pretending.

This morning, I awoke at 6:25 A.M., after tossing and turning until sometime after 3:00 A.M., and just went ahead and got up, as I don't have time (what with church at 10:30 A.M. and all), to try to get back to sleep for the next three hours as I normally would.

So, here goes. The bald, unvarnished truth. The exposure of the lie I've been living for the past month and a half or so.

Not that some of you will be all that surprised. Surely, you've speculated—guessed— suspected that something's amiss, due to my infrequent posting. Or maybe not. Whatever.

Anyway, here it is: When I went skiing in January, I drank.

I didn't intend to. In fact, I intended NOT to. But, I did, and then I tried to hide it from you, from everyone back here in my normal, everyday life, and even to some degree, from myself.

That worked pretty well for a while. I told myself that it was a week-long momentary lapse. I compartmentalized it. I let myself begin to believe that I would and could allow myself to drink only on ski trips. And, that on the next one, I would exercise control and not have more than one beer at apres ski, and not more than one cocktail before dinner, and not more than one glass of wine with dinner—two, tops.

I went skiing again on February 10th. I had three dirty martinis on the plane out to Vail/Eagle.

The really sad part of this whole sad story is that my drinking friends tried to help me. My roommate asked me if I'd ever gone to AA and told me she'd not drink the rest of the trip and be my non-drinking buddy and support person. My other friend, staying in our condo, told me she'd do anything she could to support me, and that she hoped I'd get back into the program.

So, I started drinking behind their backs, and succeeded in getting royally plastered on two separate occasions.

Now, mind you, I had not drunk at all for the three weeks between the first and second trips, and yet within a few days time, I was back at the level that I had been at when I was drinking on a regular basis.

Why am I confessing all this here? Because, this is the one place where I've striven to be honest, and when I started hiding the truth and lying and avoiding coming here, I felt I'd hit a new bottom.

I held back from confessing before this for all the reasons we all have hidden and lied and avoided in the past. I didn't want you to know I'd failed. I didn't want you to be disappointed in me. I've been ashamed and filled with disgust, self-loathing, remorse and regret, but I kept telling myself to ignore it, and just get back to my normal life here and put it behind me. Go to meetings, get a new sponsor, and pick up my medallion in September, because it's over and it won't happen again, and I don't need to let everyone else down just because I failed.

I hope that's true. I hope it IS over and won't happen again, but in order for that to BE true, I can't keep hiding and lying about it.

The one thing I've held on to throughout all of this is that I don't want drinking to be part of my normal, everyday, real life. I've had enough of a taste (over 4 months) of sobriety to know that I like my life and myself so much better sober that I never want to start drinking on a regular basis again.

I've analyzed what led to my relapse as well as I can, and I'm still a little bewildered, but I also know that it began in my head, because I let myself believe that I could be and needed to be a different person in certain venues and situations. What I know now is that I have to be the same, authentic, non-drinking person in every situation, no matter how uncomfortable that is for me or anyone else, and the truth of the matter is, it's probably only uncomfortable for me, and that discomfort will eventually dissipate.

You know what I DON'T want from y'all right now? I don't want a lot of advice on what I should have done, or AA platitudes, or smugness or judgment, or oh-poor-yous. I know what I did. I know it was wrong and stupid and irrational and insane and inexcusable.

I also know that I'm an alcoholic and alcoholics mess up when they start getting full of themselves and think they can do it on their own. I know I can't. I know I will always need AA. I just need to be honest here, so that's what this is.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Personal Best

3.30 miles.

That was my distance this morning.

I am so thrilled that despite record-breaking heat and humidity, I just freakin' did it.

And, I have to admit that I am not-so-secretly very pleased and downright impressed with myself.

(Of course, My Nephew The Track Star is not so impressed, so there's that to keep me humble!)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Slowly, But Surely

I've had a cold since returning from skiing in Vail. It's been more annoying and frustrating than debilitating, but as it quickly went into my chest, I couldn't run for a week.

My plan was to begin running again the day after I returned, since the ski trip to Snowmass begins February 10th, and I need to stay in condition.

This week, despite still being somewhat sick, I was determined to do what I could. So, on Sunday, I ran about 1.75 miles. I ran a little more on Monday, yet a little more on Wednesday, and today I ran 2.76 miles, my farthest yet.

In many ways, this slow, incremental progress in my running mirrors the slow, incremental progress in my sobriety.

Sometimes I feel like I can keep going forever. My energy is high, I'm feeling strong and confident, it feels comfortable and easy, and I love doing something that I know is so good for me physically, mentally and emotionally.

Other times, though, it's all I can do to push on, to make myself put on my shorts and tie my shoelaces, and even as I head out, I'm thinking, I just can't do this today; it's too hard.

Those days, when it seems just too hard, I have to tell myself, Just do what you can today. Just go the distance. You can walk part of the way if you need to.

So, I start out, and at first, it's just like I'm fearing. No energy. Every breath an effort. My knee throbs.

But, I keep going, very slowly, really only jogging at first. Please, God, just help me get through the first block... Okay, we made that, let's keep going. My pace picks up a bit. We can at least do a mile!

By the time I'm up to the .5 mile mark, I'm feeling good, actually ENJOYING the run. A goofy grin breaks out on my face, but I don't care.

I can keep going forever.