I ended up chairing a meeting I largely consider my home meeting and thought my words applicable to those in the halls and those not. My words are as follows:
In June of 2015 I said, “My name is…” for the first time. It was after going to a meeting in support of a friend and walking out saying, “Oh my God. I know that story. That is my story.” It didn’t matter that prior to then I hadn’t had a drink in three years. I was, what I learned quickly to call, a “Dry Drunk.” I may have not been pounding bourbon like I had before going dry, but that didn’t mean alcoholic behaviors weren’t present. I was making choices that self-sabotaged; decisions that hurt my loved ones; decisions that could get me killed. But I wasn’t drinking so it was fine, right?
Then I went to a meeting for myself. A meeting where I said, “My name is,” for the first time. Since then so much has changed. I know you’re wondering why, if the first time I said, “My name is,” was in June I’m celebrating a year today, but it’s because I lasted six months, ended up in the liquor aisle of Hannafords, and bought a bottle of (crappy) bourbon. In hindsight I’m a little sad I couldn’t at least have fallen back into old behaviors with a good bourbon, but c’est la vie, right? It was the next morning that I texted one of my older brothers to come and get rid of the bottle for me. It was the next morning that I contacted my then sponsor and said, “Shit.” It was the next morning that I realized just how disparate being a dry drunk is from being a sober alcoholic.
Since then I’ve had up days and down days (like we all have and do), but being in program one of the most valuable things I’ve learned to do is ask for help. There are multiple people sitting in this room that I’ve texted and/or called in desperation because the bourbon is just so accessible. Each time I’ve been entreated to, “Think out the drink.” It’s the combined action of contacting someone with more time in program and thinking out the drink that has kept me sober for most of this year. Even when I’ve not been able to make meetings because my work schedule hasn’t allowed it so many of you have been there (here) ready, willing and able to just hold my hand through the moment.
This is something I wouldn’t have been able to do before walking in these halls. I wasn’t allowed to have things going awry. I wasn’t allowed to be hurting or struggling. Not that anyone else was putting constraints on me, but I was. I was the one not allowed to be struggling, hurting, messing things up. Now I still feel like I can’t struggle, hurt or mess things up, but I’m more forgiving when I am and I do. And I know how to ask for help when it’s not something I’m able to get through on my own.