Step One: I am powerless

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“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

“You know they are going to be drinking there, are you sure you’re not going to want a glass of wine?”

We are on our way to my fiancés’ cabin to meet his family. They enjoy having a glass of wine in the evenings; nothing crazy, just social unwinding at the end of the day.

“YES. I’m not going to drink! I’ve got this.”

I have been in AA for about three weeks now. I have yet to admit I am completely powerless. I mean, if I am truly the feminist I thought myself to be, I am POWERFUL not powerless. But still, AA has inspired me, I know there is something off with my drinking that usually ends in me pulling a Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde, and I know it’s difficult damn near impossible for me to control. But I REFUSE to label myself as powerless.

We walk up to the cabin and his sister and his mom walk out. Right on queue, my cheeks begin to shake when I smile and the nervousness sets in.

Social anxiety is the WORST.

I try and lock it up as best I can, but then the question is presented, “Bree, would you like a glass of wine after that long drive?”

“YES PLEASE!”

The answer came out as instinctually as a breath of air and I avoid making eye contact with my fiancé until my glass of wine is in hand and I take the first sip. I look at him and shrug. The night ends with me sitting by myself at our hotel bar having just one more drink.

My next AA meeting, I stare at the ground when it is my turn to talk. I say I have relapsed. I hear a sympathetic moan come from a woman not too far away from me and I pass for the next person to talk. As I walk out, I’m approached by an AA veteran. She grabbed my arm, looked me in the eyes, and with a stern voice said, “Get yourself a sponsor NOW.”

I emailed someone that night.

 

 

The Beginning of the End.

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I have heard that to begin telling a complex and lengthy story, it is best to begin with the ending. So I suppose I will start there. It was the day after my 31st birthday. I was writhing around in a hotel bed, begging my fiance to go say goodbye to his family without me. I needed sleep, water, advil, and a dark room for only an hour, I had promised. So he left. And I continued to contort my body in whatever position the hangover demanded of me, anything to make my splitting headache subside for even a second. I thought back to last night, a celebration that began around 2 pm with wine, then beer, then wine, then old fashioneds, then shots, then beer. The foggy memory of endless drinks forces me into the bathroom with more dry heaves.

What I’m withholding from you is something I can not stand to admit, I have a daughter, and she was with us for the entirety of the celebration. The shame alone was enough to send my introverted tendencies out into the world and find a group of strangers who have walked before me, who could help me. But not until I drank the rest of the day to rid myself of the hangover and the guilt I felt for replicating the same story I endured as a child, for my daughter. Enough was enough, and the following Monday evening I found myself in a church, in a room full of women I did not know, all introducing themselves as alcoholics.