NQTD, NQTD, NQTD. NEVER QUESTION THE DECISION. I want to join some others that I know of and have this tattooed on my body when I reach one year of sobriety. I just don’t know where to put it, but I have a bit of time to figure that out. Which brings me to the topic of this post: Fucking Relapsing, or the more palatable word Research. Back in the days when I was a chronic relapser there was a pattern to my failures. I’d wake up day after day, enjoying the hangover free mornings, the feeling that I was finally getting my life together. I’d be all cheery and sunshiney, and have the very best intentions. But somewhere around mid to late afternoon something bad or something good would happen. It really didn’t matter which. I’m sure if you are reading this you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. A tiny crack in my armor would let a few thoughts in, and these thoughts started romanticizing drinking. I would ruminate on what happened during my day, and then I’d want to elevate that mood or even depress that mood, and make it all so much more grandiose than what it was. Maybe to add a little more spice to it, to live in my head instead of forcing myself to be brave enough to actually create more meaningful experiences……
So that thought, that need for a different feeling would permeate my afternoon and I’d see myself stopping at a gas station and buying a pack of cigarettes and a soda. Smoking all the way home from work. I’d imagine the hurriedness of buying a bottle of wine at the store. Which store? The creepy liquor store by the gas station? The local CVS or grocery store? Then the relief of coming into the house, switching everything off, and finally slipping into the ruminating thoughts and making them something they were not consumed the rest of my evening.
I’d love it if my husband wasn’t home and it was just me, the wine and the cigarettes. I could create the scenes in my head without judgment, without interruption. After an hour or so I’d want him to come home. I’d be buzzed by then, and maybe ready for someone to drink with, to share my wine soaked grandiose day with. All more dramatic and full of feelings and words that weren’t there in the moment, but developed as I created the story I wanted. None of it was lies, but it was intensified with my feelings that I stifled during the day, and then unleashed in the evening with the help of wine.
I’d resist going to bed, because even though I was most likely drunk or at least really buzzed I’d hate it to end because then I’d have to live with the damage I’d done to myself. There was no way to get the alcohol out of my system, the smoke out of my lungs. There was no way to be clean again. But I sure would try. I’d take a shower after the drinking, trying wash off the foulness of my evening. But of course that didn’t help. It was all inside me, and the water and soap and lotions could not get it out.
I most likely wouldn’t have eaten much for dinner, so I’d wake up in the middle of the night, so so thirsty and hungry. I’d stumble downstairs, grab something to drink which might be a Vitamin Water if I was lucky, and if not a glass of water or even a soda. I’d warm up some leftovers, and if that wasn’t available I’d throw some snacks in a bowl. I would take all of this upstairs and eat it in bed. Gulping the drink, eating the food, and then taking a Xanax. Hoping, praying that all of this would take away my hangover that was coming in the morning.
The Xanax put me back to sleep. I’d wake up, barely able to open my eyes, and I would see the dirty dishes next to my bed. I’d see the stains on my sheets from the feeding frenzy in the middle of the night. I’d wonder how I was going to get ready for work, and how I was going to hide what I had done to myself the night before. I’d think about how I can’t possibly keep this up, and it was all just too much for me to get ready for my day. I’d pretend I was okay when my husband woke up. I’d be falsely cheerful, and act like nothing was wrong. But pieces of me were dropping off everyday as I relapsed. The pieces of me that made me feel worthy and wholesome, deserving, confident, kind, capable and all the other words we all strive for in the world. They were laying around at my feet, and I couldn’t bend down to pick them up.
That was a long way around how I started this with NQTD, but I’m getting to the point. Somehow along this sobering journey I gained some self awareness, and realized this is where all the trouble started; ruminating and romanticizing the shit out of my day. So I stopped. Every time I’d start my little daily fairytales that ended up to be nightmares I put an end to it by saying 3 times: NQTD, NQTD, NQTD. I’d then say my affirmations:
I am happy, healthy, and in control of a life I love.
I do not drink or smoke, and I care about my physical, mental, spiritual and financial health.
I am powerful.
I am shining.
And that my friends, is how I got through those first few weeks. I never believed in affirmations before, but as the Monkees say, I am a believer.
Happy Sober Monday,