A couple days ago, I reached eleven months sober. A year is coming, and a dark thought occurs to me: a year would be enough. A year and I can relapse. And I can come back. There’s no part of me that does not think I won’t come back. No part of me that thinks drinking again would be anything but miserable. Yet there’s that part, that dark part, that thinks a year is enough. Thinks I should do it. Thinks things are too hard. Thinks things are so bad anyway. Thinks I can fuck up for a bit and come back. Thinks it would be something like a relief.
That dark part lives in hopelessness. I am hopeless more and more when I’m not in touch with recovery. When all I do is work. When I get afraid to call my sponsor because of what he will think of me. Because I don’t believe I’m allowed to be in touch with recovery when things are hard. Because really I put work as #1. Recovery is somewhere else. Hopelessness rises.
A year is not enough.
11 months ago, I got on a plane to rehab. Willingly. I was hopeful, excited. I had decided to go and it was going to be good for me. It would be a quiet place where I could read. When I got in the cab that the treatment center had arranged for me, I panicked. I would not be able to drink again and look people in the eye. Everything was different. The cab was not mine; I couldn’t redirect it. I couldn’t stay in a hotel in Minnesota for a month and come back as if it had worked. As if I could drink without anyone noticing.
11 months ago, I had those dark thoughts: that I could fake it in a hotel room and take a different direction and be fine. And now I have this one: that I can go back out. I said to my sponsor that I was coming up on a year and it felt strange and he said he could see why it would feel that way and I felt like a failure. Someone with 11 months should look different. He should go to more meetings. He should have more friends in sobriety. He should not still be in the middle of his fourth step. He should have a practice. He should not put work first and always feel like all he needs to do is sleep in for one day and everything would be fine. He should not have dark thoughts.
Tonight I am posting this, even though I don’t like it. Even though it’s rough. I’m posting it because I know it will bring me closer to recovery. It will prove that I can do something to stay sober instead of work and go to bed anxious and fearful. It will diminish hopelessness. It will be one less dark thought.