Crosstalk by Mollé
CrossTalk is based on the premise that recovery life is polytely: frequently complex problem-solving situations characterized by the presence of not one, but several endings. This column represents decades of recovery and its application to life: and how to get over it, into it or through it with spunk, levity and a good dose of reality. What? You want more than happy, joyous and free? Get over it. Just sayin’. – Mollé
I am a 63-year-old grandmother with two months of sobriety. It took me a long time to admit I had a problem – too many years. Two years ago, I got divorced. That’s when my drinking went out of control; I began drinking obsessively at home. These last two months have been incredible. Most times, I feel hopeful.
I was successful in work – very successful – and I will retire at the end of this year. Almost every day for the past 20 years, I have pictured myself sitting on the veranda of my beach house holding a glass of wine; that’s all I wanted.
It hurts when I think of not ever drinking again. There’s a voice inside that says, “You worked too hard for too long not to live that dream.” To think I will never drink at my house is sad and disappointing. I want to be sober, but I also want the life I worked so hard to have. – Too Old to Stop Drinking in NC
Dear Ms. Successful,
Maybe it was a dream that wasn’t supposed to happen, a dream that kept you alive so you didn’t die drunk, and could find sobriety. Maybe now you have a chance for with true happiness and joy. I could be wrong, but maybe you’re thinking too much.
Something happened that got you in the doors. I suspect it wasn’t because your life was going so well. Whatever it was, hold onto it. Don’t forget it. Hold on and do these things. First, get a sponsor – now – one who is focused on the Twelve Steps. Dive into the Steps. I dare you to get really, really honest.
Close your eyes in the meetings and pray to a god you may not believe in to hear what you need to hear; listen for similarities rather than differences and for what others have overcome and what lives they are living today. I dare you to befriend the first older woman you see. You can do this, and it will be worth it.
If you’re still miserable in a year, well, there’s always that wine. But so you know, a fine glass of iced tea on the veranda can taste pretty darn good.
People always talk about “how to stay sober during the holidays” in the context of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. These holidays are not a problem for me. It’s the summer holidays that bother me.
I’ve been in and out of AA for years, and I struggle every year on Memorial Day. It’s party time, and I can’t stay sober. I have sober friends and a sponsor, but on that day the beer calls (yells) to me. I keep coming back because I want to stay sober, but what do I have to do to stay sober all year, move to Alaska every summer? – Relapsing in Portland
When your desire to stay sober is greater than your desire to drink beer, you’ll find a way. The key to staying sober is willingness: willingness to do what you don’t want to do and show up when you don’t want to show up. It is also the willingness to reconsider your opinion, thoughts, excuses and judgments. If you have to go to Alaska, then go to Alaska. I’ve been there; it’s not a bad place. Stay sober, no matter what.
I am 37 years old and just celebrated my eighth year of sobriety. About six months ago, I began making myself vomit. I’m not depressed. I don’t hate myself, but I’ve been doing this two or three times a week now for almost six months. I’ve done my homework. I “get it” that if I don’t stop I’ll have to go to OA or a therapist. Here I am, almost 40, eight years sober, not depressed and vomiting my food. Really?!
I am an active member of AA with a solid foundation. I told my sponsor, but she was no help. I don’t feel comfortable talking about it at group level, and I don’t want my sponsees to know about it. What am I supposed to do? I feel like I have a dark secret. – Quiet in PA
You do have a secret. It may or may not be as dark as you think, or it may be even darker. I can’t tell you what has caused the problem, but it definitely is a problem and it is serious. I recommend seeing a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. Now.
Have you ever heard the line “more shall be revealed?” You are not the first person to have this come up later in recovery. You’d be surprised how often it happens.
I’m not so sure about sharing this at group level, but that doesn’t mean you hide it, either. Figure it out. Get some help before it becomes a deadly serious secret. Make the call.
Viewpoints shared or any implied actions suggested by Mollé are the opinions and ideas of the author only and do not represent those of In Recovery Magazine. The implied action is offered openly and is never intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. You may send your dilemmas to Mollé at firstname.lastname@example.org.