…Until I Got Sober
by Dee Harris
I never knew what peace was until I got sober. My life was busy, sometimes overwhelming; but isn’t everybody’s? I found myself drinking everyday just to take the edge off; but doesn’t everybody? I’m no different than anyone else. I didn’t know I didn’t have peace. I wasn’t looking for it.
I never knew what contentment was until I got sober. I never prayed for it like I did for peace or happiness or wealth or to stop drinking. But it came…when I got sober. And it’s awesome.
Happiness. Hmmm… I thought I was happy. I had everything I needed pretty much. My health, marriage, two kids, a job, two cars, house, dog. I just didn’t know how void, how empty, how dark, my life was until I got sober.
And I was in charge. I had a college degree. I’m smart enough to get whatever I want in life. I didn’t need a God. I felt churchgoers used God as a crutch. I didn’t need a crutch. I was too smart.
Ew. Who is this egotistical person? That person was me. And today I realize that no matter how smart I thought I was, I couldn’t outsmart the disease of alcoholism. And no matter how I didn’t need a god in my life, it was a Power Greater Than Myself that got me sober and gave me a purpose for living.
So it is what it is. It was what it was. It’ll be what it’ll be. Don’t stress it, right? Right. Because of my intendedjourney through life, which includes the disease of alcoholism (by the way, it could have included drugs, gambling, overeating, sex, shopping, sexual abuse, abandonment, the list goes on and on…), I am in a place right now that is perfect for me. I know that now. I didn’t know that then.
So on my journey I found myself unable to go a day without drinking. Drinking was my life and that’s pretty much all I could think about. I was a functioning alcoholic. I was a closet drinker. Most who came into my bubble were unaware of my disease. They may have had suspicions, but didn’t realize how sick I really was.
On my journey alcohol was my god, my best friend. Life itself got in the way of my drinking and I started to get really sloppy and more out of control. Numerous doctorates nor genius IQs could get me out of this one. When one day I didn’t show up for work, the incomprehensible demoralization that we hear about in AA struck me down.
I listened to the answering machine with a message asking if I was okay and this wasn’t like me. I was also a blackout drinker so I didn’t know if I had responded to this message from work. My husband and my boys were used to and fed up with the drunk I had become so it was difficult to fish for answers as to whether I had called work, what I had said, etc. Humiliating. I knew I had to do something; I needed that job. I couldn’t just show up to work for my next shift as if nothing had happened. My omnipotent college brain searched all possible answers and my teensy-weensy shoved-on-the-back-burner insignificant good and loving heart came to this conclusion, “Be honest and ask for help. You’ve hit rock bottom, Dee. You can’t go on like this anymore. You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Just f*cking do it!”
So today I don’t stress it. I don’t stress having to drink everyday. I don’t stress about hiding and lying. I don’t stress about trying to be someone I’m not. I am just me, but not “just” me but a me I am proud to be and comfortable in my own skin and accepting and grateful for my story. That wouldn’t be had I not asked for help that one lonely, lifeless, dark, demoralizing day I missed work.
Today I understand more clearly the disease that is alcoholism. Today I am not alone with this disease and have a fellowship of like-minded, non-judgmental and loving individuals in AA, and today I have a Higher Power that is key in my life of “Don’t Stress It.” And the icing on the cake…the gifts I receive when I share my experience, strength and hope with you. So, please, let me know how I can help to get you “Don’t Stress It.” I love any and all feedback.
With much aloha, Dee Harris