Yeeup, I did it again. Interesting how it happened. I didn’t sleep well on Monday night. I awakened tired and feeling a bit grumpy. That was my first clue. I honestly cannot remember the last time that I felt grumpy and irritable. Really. Seriously. My second clue was that I stayed grumpy and somewhat irritable for several hours. The only thing that has changed in my life recently is my drinking. Until yesterday I had only drank twice in 10 days, compared to drinking every evening for years and years. Alcohol must be my anti-grumpy medication! So, I sober up and suddenly have a grumpy day—oh GREAT. Being sober means I have to start having regular grumpy days? I sure as hell hope not. Maybe it’s still part of my sobering up; my brain still adjusting to working without the booze? I hope that’s all it is.
Anyway, I carried on yesterday as best as I could. I made a special effort to search for and make it out to a 2 pm AA meeting. I was asked to read the preamble, “How it works”. I thought that doing that might help to jolt me out of the grumps. It helped a little. But as the meeting progressed I felt progressively worse. I felt like my blood pressure was going through the roof. I was a bit feverish even. Withdrawal effects after almost 3 days without a drink? I didn’t feel like that at all last week when I detoxed myself. What was this all about?
Half-way through the meeting I decided that I would stop by the pub on the way home. Have just one to take the edge off. You know. Just one, maybe two. I left the meeting early. As I walked to the pub I felt so strange, like nothing I have ever felt before. Walking was an effort. I felt light-headed, empty, frustrated, desperate, discouraged, defeated. “Whoa”, I thought to myself, “this is something new. Oh great, just what I don’t need, something new”. At the pub, I ordered my favourite draft. Within a few minutes the grumpiness feeling lifted. By the time I finished the first pint all of the other feelings evaporated. I felt normal again. What a relief. Maybe it was withdrawal after all. Then a couple of my friends wandered in and the rest is history. A few hours later I staggered home.
This morning I lucked out, feeling not much of a hangover, thank God. I was tempted to give myself shit, to throw buckets of shame all over myself, but I didn’t. That never did me any good in the past. I need to focus on the positive—in the past 10 days I have only drank 3 times. Only 3 times in 10 days!!! That’s a bloody record for me! Wow! I didn’t know I had it in me! Atta boy Nelson and thank you to my higher power!
Ok, I do feel a little bad about even those 3 days. My two week plan was to have no drink at all! I guess if I had gone into a residential rehab program, then I’d be on Day 11 with no drink. And maybe the same if I had gone to the Daytox program. But hey, I have made progress—until this week, I’ve been drinking every day for 37 years! Give me a break! I’m choosing to give myself a break. I’m not going to drink today, and then again tomorrow, and the next day if all goes well. I’m going to two AA meetings a day now. Those really help. I’m exercising. I’m eating well. If in 2 or 3 days I wake up grumpy again, I’ll push past it. I won’t go to the pub. I’ll go to the gym instead, or call my AA sponsor (who hasn’t heard from me in at least a year). As the AA “Big Book” urges, I’ll do whatever it takes to not drink. I have faith in my higher power to see me through this. Already, amazing coincidences have arisen in the past 10 days to help me, and I expect all that to continue, as I continue on this very interesting but somewhat scary journey to sobriety.