Moving Madness & Relapse
I've been sober for 6 years and 29 days. I almost drank 8 days ago. I almost drank over a super stressful move. It sounds so stupid now, 8 days later, but at the time I just wanted to give my brain a break and knew that relief was 16 oz away.
This is the longest I've been sober. One of my many bouts with sobriety ended after 3 years when I decided I was bored and I could handle it. I can remember that first beer after relapse as if it was the first beer I ever drank. It felt like a magic elixir that would fix everything. My brain literally sighed and said...ahhh...thank you. Well, that little dance with relapse lasted 7 years and I had some horrific things happen, like almost losing my feet from frostbite while in a black out drunk wandering around with no shoes in snow storm (that story will come in a future post). I eventually lost the love of my life and have shame as a constant companion. Yeah. No. I don't want to drink. But I did want to drink. As I look at how I felt on 11/1 and most importantly, how I got through it, I sit here grateful that I don't have start over, again. And quite frankly, I don't know that once I started, I'd be able to quit.
Moving is stressful. I get it. I've moved more than most people. In my industry we joke about getting our Frequent Movers Card punched. I got punched alright.
This move was supposed to be treat to myself. It was expensive for me. I was upgrading where I was moving and a bit concerned about it, but I needed to go, that much I knew. The house seemed perfect. I only got to see it one time, briefly, in a walk through. I was ready. I had planned everything from playing with floor plan ideas, making sure I was packed, arranged plenty of time off work, pets were set, had the same moving company I had used in the past reserved for that day. All my friends were as excited as I was. It was perfect.
It was perfect until I walked in. I am going to sound a bit 'woo woo' about this, but I felt like God have given me this house. I found it on Craigslist and was the first to respond. CL is so competitive for housing. I filled out an application without even looking at it. I got it! I was approved to move in on 11/1. I love Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Like I said...woo woo... but I thought it was fitting that I get to upgrade my life on 11/1.
On 11/1, I walked in to a really strong mold smell. The house was clean on the surface, sort of, but the more I looked around it was so old and beat up. The couple that lived here before had so much crap every where that I couldn't really see it. What I did see, looked kind of gross, but surely he and the rental agency would clean it thoroughly for the new tenant. Nope. I had hired a handyman and cleaning lady to do a quick once over and to help with a few things. It turned into a 2 day, 6 hour, $300, cleaning of mold off the walls, buckets of black water and towels and one exhausted, emotional, disappointed me.
Yeah, I know. It's just a move. But I was already tapped emotionally and this pushed me over the edge. I didn't want to move in but I had to. I had no where to go. So, the other things that happened that caused me to think I needed to drink? Paying for movers who couldn't move my stuff in the basement because of the mold; movers quoted $550 and charged $1250; a friend who was going to help me had a family emergency and canceled; I couldn't find my car keys when we were ready for the transfer; this house is freezing with shitty windows and I live in Minnesota and the final blow, as I'm moving in and so spent, the agency tells me the owner is coming back in a year. I had requested a long term lease. They assured me that it would be multiple years, but renew yearly. I would have never moved here for just a year. Moving is so expensive.
I fell into bed after the move with animals that are freaked out with all the changes. I had helped the movers sweep their ramp so they wouldn't slip on the snow and break their neck. That meant that I didn't have time to direct where I wanted stuff. That also meant that my first night was on the bed covered with misc. clothing in this freezing house. I sobbed. I know that I was just emotionally and physically spent. I felt like a loser. I felt like why bother. I thought of my ex who moved into a new home with his new GF and how fun that must have been. Here I was. Alone and broken and an idiot. I have a great career, but nothing else. I just felt like I have a life of regrets and now add this to this list.
Many times in my life I have felt like God was doing something amazing in my life. And then, wait, no he's not, then wait...yes, no, yes, no. I sit here today saying that God was with me. My first cold and broken night I planned how I will drink to give myself a break. I deserve it. What does it matter any way? I'm a loser and an idiot. Yet, through the tears an idea came. If you've been to AA you know it and it's the easiest one that none of us do: ask for help. When I got up, I knew what I needed to do. I have friends. Ask for help. Also, while strong and rested, I told a couple of friends that I wanted to drink. What happened? Friends showed up and helped me get curtains for privacy, the kitchen and bedroom set up and bought me lunch and dinner. The sheer act of saying out loud that I wanted to drink took all the power out of it. And I called the movers and they are working on changing the price. The rental agency is reimbursing me for the cleaning people I paid, sending a crew for final mold clean up, giving me a rent credit and said the owner is not returning in a year.
It's not perfect. I'm freezing. I have renter's remorse. I may get a part time job to help pay for things. And, I'm embarrassed to say I almost drank over moving, it's not a cancer diagnosis or loss of loved one, yet, it was stressful. And yet, I didn't drink. Attitude is everything and I'm looking at this as a new chapter in my life. I'm telling myself that this hassle was just birthing pains. I'm giving birth to a new adventure. I'm walking a new path. And I'm still sober.
I'm grateful to check in at 6.29 years / 75.53 months / 2302 days / 55, 232 hours sober.
Pick up the phone.
Join the conversation, become a Fix blogger. Share your experience, strength, and hope, or sound off on the issues affecting the addiction/recovery community. Create your account and start writing: https://www.thefix.com/add-community-content.