Sunday, September 16, 2012
WARNING!!! THERE'S STILL DANGER AHEAD
I want to thank you guys for your extremely kind accolades on my making it one year in sobriety and I promise I will take the time to address each of them tomorrow but first I want to thank you for pulling me back from the cliff this weekend.
As I said in my last post, the cap'n and I were meeting up for a romantic interlude (under the guise of a Stanley, the blind killer bichon, exchange) this weekend. There is this sweet little mountain village in the Southeast corner of Colorado called Cuchara and it is the only advantage I can think of to living in the Southwest corner of the state of Kansas as opposed to the Northeast corner of Kansas, we are closer to Cuchara. My parents used to take me there as a kid and back then it was one block long consisting of a general store, a cafe, and a smattering of rustic log cabins surrounding it, now it is still one block long with three cafe/bars, a couple of stores, a hotel, lots of realty offices and quite a few swanky model log homes cluttering up the mountainside.
There is a bar there called "The Dog Bar" which allows dogs in, it even has AA meeting times posted for the dogs of Cuchara. And yes, of course, I have been drunk there before, a smattering of times. The only two things I remember about the last time was that I had an argument with a fellow bar patron about a Jerry Jeff song and the hellacious, hangover plagued, six hour drive home to Kansas the next day. That must have been before I started drinking myself well in the mornings after.
None of this was on my mind as I was driving up Friday afternoon, I was too busy basking in the golden glow of the aspens and the accomplishment of this year, but as I drove closer to the cabin I felt a little pang when I remembered there wouldn't be a drink waiting for me at the end of the drive.
We went to the Dog Bar for a hamburger that evening and all the locals (I don't think there are any real locals in Cuchara, I don't think anyone is actually from there, I think they all wandered in from Kansas and Texas and some of them just refused to go home) were starting to get their Friday night loud on. The band was tuning their guitars and one leggy blue-jeaned, down-vested blonde chick at the bar kept "Woo-Hooing" every time someone strummed a chord. Man, that bitch got on my nerves, couldn't be because she reminded me of someone I used to be, could it?
The band didn't seem to be in a hurry to get through their warm-up and the cap'n and I were exhausted so we payed our tab and headed back to our little rental cabin.
The cabin was perfection. Just a tiny little thing with an iron bed loaded down with blankets and flannel sheets and a big picture window looking over a meadow pond and the snow dusted peaks in the distance. We put our stockinged feet up on the coffee table and counted the stars reflecting on the pond from the comfort of the couch in the front room.
The next day we drove the mountain roads, oohing and ahhing at the autumn colors, like everyone else and all the while I was thinking of other autumn roadtrips and missing that cold beer in my hand. At about two o'clock in the afternoon the cap'n asked me where I wanted to go next and I told him I'd be happy to sit on the deck of the cabin with a good book so we headed back.
The sun was shining and the dusting of snow had already melted off the peaks, I settled in with my Kindle and the cap'n went into fix himself a drink. I was hit with a tsunami of nostalgia. All the warm sun-filled afternoons of sitting with drinks in our hands, happy to be alive and congratulating ourselves on our lot in life, came rushing back and I was filled with such longing. I was homesick for the little arguments over whose turn it was to fix drinks, the delight and promise of a freshly made drink in my hand. All so much bullshit, I know, I know. But still.
When the cap'n drove over to the office to settle up with the manager that hadn't been there when we pulled in the night before, I picked up his drink and I thought, "Just a sip."
And I took one.
And I put the glass down and picked up my Kindle.
Then I looked at his glass again and thought, "Maybe after a year, I've learned my lesson. Surely now I would recognize if I was getting into trouble and I could stop."
And I picked up the glass and took another sip.
And I put the glass back down.
I looked over to where the capn's vehicle was still parked over at the office and the thoughts started running together in my head, "It probably wouldn't take much to get a little high, just a little buzz, I don't want to get drunk, I just want a little buzz, maybe one more sip would do it."
And I hurriedly picked up the glass and took another sip.
And I put the glass back down.
But I didn't feel a buzz so I reached for the glass again and I thought, "What can I think of that will make me put this glass down?"
And I thought of all the kind things you guys had said about me on my one year soberversary and the faith you have in me.
And I didn't take a sip.
And I put the glass down.
And I didn't pick it back up.
When I got home this afternoon, I checked my email (there had been no internet at the cabin) and there was an email from my brother who had found sobriety almost 30 years ago through AA (Shining Examples) and he congratulated me on my year and once more hinted that I should try AA.
"You know, honey, you can't keep it if you don't give it away." he admonished.
I am so thankful that all of you gave it away to me this week. I will do my utmost best to return the favor. I know I am guilty of sometimes of reading other blogs and thinking I have nothing to say that hasn't been said or that I can't relate to what the writer has written or even in a pique of adolescent petulance thought, "This blogger never comments on my blog, I'm not going to comment on hers." but really just saying you have faith in the person to get through whatever issues they are dealing with and to stay sober makes such a difference. It did for me.
P.S. Now about those sips, I'm choosing to put the emphasis on the fact that I stopped rather then the fact that I started. I'm not going to let those three little sips take anything away from what I have accomplished, instead I'm going to acknowledge them as reminders that the wolf is still at the door and he's going to keep huffing and puffing, trying to blow my house down, and I've got to keep building my house stronger by, yes, writing this blog, participating on the message boards, reading and commenting on other blogs and giving it away every chance I get.