|Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York.|
I’ve never really written a post like this before – one that reaches out to those still drinking – but something is calling to me today and just in case it’s one of those bricks that God sends to me from time to time, I’ve decided to get this out of my head and onto the “paper”. Please understand that this comes only from a humble and caring place and is not a lecture…just some feelings from one recovering alcoholic to those of you that may be struggling right now…especially this time of year.
Right now I’m in New York (yes…again) and it’s really kind of magical here right now. The whole city is bedazzled and since I’m the queen of sparkle and bling, it speaks to me on a molecular level. As I’ve been walking around peering into windows, I’m seeing a lot of people drinking. Some are celebrating the holiday season, some on vacation, some just at happy hour, some at business dinners, some just at dinner. For whatever reason, they are tipping back glass after glass and reveling. As I looked on, I started remembering when that was me.
Long before it got “bad” and I took to my room with several bottles of wine every night, and long before kids, the hubs and I celebrated like this often. It was festive, and cheery and fun. But as I looked in the windows, I also remembered another feeling…a feeling that was always just below the surface. It was a feeling I didn’t even acknowledge…like a dull itch below your skin that you can neither find nor scratch. It was that hole in my gut or soul or whatever…the one that said, is this all there is? I want more. It’s not enough. I feel like something is missing.
It would be a long time and many, many hangovers and broken hearts (mine principle among them) before I began to fill that hole. But at the time, under all that fun and frivolity, was that feeling. It was like I was cold inside and looking for a way to warm myself. For a while the wine helped to dull the cold but it never warmed me completely. There was always something just not right.
I want to reach out to those of you that are struggling with this same feeling this holiday season. Those of you filling that hole with alcohol and hating yourself for it. I can’t speak to the “normies” because I don’t know what it’s like not to have a running dialog in your head while you’re drinking, but I can speak to those who can’t find any peace because the demon won’t shut the fuck up. Peace is out there but you have to reach out and take it.
Just put down the glass.
It won’t be easy. It sucks ass for quite a while. It may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. You may need a medical detox and rehab, or you may be able to do it at home with help from AA or blogs or “drunk books”. No matter…just do it. You are so much stronger than you think you are. I promise you will finally, blissfully find that peace you have been seeking. You’ll begin to fill the hole and finally get warm. That hole will fill with pure joy that comes from within you as opposed to a facsimile that comes from outside of you. It will fill with laughter that is genuine and not fueled by alcohol or embarrassment. It will fill with sleep that is uninterrupted and deep – the kind of sleep you haven’t had in years. It will fill with love, again from the inside, love you never knew you had.
You will also find a group of people who are ready and willing to hold your hand and guide you through this journey. People who have been where you are and know not only how much it sucks ass, but, more importantly, what’s waiting on the other side. People who can help erase the shame and replace it with relief. People who accept you for who you are, right now, even when you can’t stand the sight of yourself in the mirror. They will love you until you can love yourself.
If you are fortunate enough to be loved by others, family, friends, children, a spouse, the hole will fill with their love and admiration too. It may not come immediately – if they’ve been on this ride with you for some time, you may have to earn that love. Give them time, because when they finally do embrace you again, the warmth that fills your soul will sustain you through all the cravings and thoughts of “just one won’t hurt”. It will silence the demon and tell it to stay the hell asleep…it’s not welcome anymore.
And once you’ve experienced all of this, grab it and hold on until the world begins to slow, the cravings become almost non-existent, the demon sleeps and all that’s left is…