Have you ever found yourself all dressed up with no place to go? Driving fast, listening to the songs of your youth (Skid Row Slave to The Grind) and thinking or wishing you could go back to that time. Not how you were then but how you are now. A prettier version of your former self some might say. And it hits you like a punch in the gut. You want a drink. You want to recapture some of that fun you think you had. Just one shot and you would be fine. The song playing (Wasted Time) wouldn’t be shredding your heart and tears wouldn’t be rolling down your face as you sing the words. The people that once knew you would be envious and you’d buy them a round.
They wouldn’t know that somewhere inside of you, you are dying piece by piece from the loneliness and fear of your demons. They wouldn’t know you spend seven days a week in your pajamas by yourself. They would only see what you let them. The shots would go down smoother as the night progresses. You wouldn’t be thinking of the shame that follows in the morning only of the fun you are having in the now.
I stay in my car and drive past the bar. It is not because I fear going in. It is because I fear never coming out. So I do as I am supposed to and head home. I feel numb but angry. I go inside to be questioned by my father about the groceries I didn’t buy. He’s angry because he knows the truth that I am manic and searching for something, anything that will make sense to me and comfort me. There isn’t anything. I didn’t “work a program” like others I know. Somehow this makes my accomplishment of sobriety less than theirs. It’s so easy to excuse someone’s behavior when you can say “but he/she is working the program, putting in an effort, all they have to succeed, so we’ll let it slide.” No one has ever let me slide or not be held accountable for my actions everyday for the last seven years. Because I didn’t work a program, become a friend of Bill’s, go to a church basement or a rehab. I did it on my own. Now I stay on my own.