Somehow I find myself enjoying another sober anniversary, or AA birthday as some in AA call it. Yes folks 11 years ago today I took my last alcoholic drink – or should I say latest since I can’t guarantee to you that I’ll never drink again. I have no plans to but I know through meeting and seeing many with longer and more solid sobriety than mine that the cunning, baffling and powerful old devil that is alcohol has a tendency to not lay down and sleep. So for today I am sober again and for that I am grateful and can only hope tomorrow will be similar.
As I started to draft this post out I typed… “enjoying” rather than “celebrating” as I wasn’t sure that is the right word for how I feel about it? Really it is just another day in my latest ongoing sobriety and part of me feels that is how I should view it. Another part thinks that if anyone had told me that that I would make 11 months when I started or even 11 weeks let alone years I’d have hugged and kissed them like a returning messiah.
Finally I’m drawn for some reason to talking about that exact last drink. I was in my local pub where a good proportion of my drinking had been done. It was a Friday. I’d been on the booze since about noon when my wife had text me something that had sparked a not untypical thought in my head… “My life is still shit” and I’d pressed the big red “Fuck it” button and gone off on one. It was about 7pm. I was late home. I should have been there at least two hours before but I was on one. However I wasn’t enjoying the drink, it frankly had stopped helping numb the emotions sufficiently any more. I wasn’t enjoying the company. A “friend” (I’ve never seen him from that day to this to speak to so he clearly was never truly a friend now was he) was in the pub with me. He was a plumber and had fitted some radiators etc. for me a couple of months before. There’d been a leak on one and I’d asked him to look at it. Grudgingly he’d been round the day before and fixed it. But he was constantly taking the piss that day saying I was useless. Did I own a spanner and if I did could I even hold it properly. Why did my wife put up with a useless twat like me. Now it was probably just pub banter. He possibly was jealous of my job and income and the wife I had. I’ll never know… but I do remember finishing that pint and leaving to go home to the final row and the feeling that I just simply could no longer carry on like that at all. Funny many things in my life are blurred through drinking and/or the passing of time but that feeling of hating the drink, hating the way I was being spoken about and to and not really having any defence because I had so much self-loathing which was simply being fuelled by the jibes is as clear today 11 years on as if it was yesterday.
I may not be one of those that can recount eloquently their first ever experience with alcohol and how it changed how they felt and allowed them to soar to new heights but I am damn grateful I do remember my most recent drink and how I felt so clearly. It reminds me of all the reasons my recovery battle is worth continuing with.