The Toddler

1:11 PM Edit This 24 Comments »
Today is my third sobriety birthday. In other words - I have not injested any alcohol for three straight years. (Except for the weird liquid vitamins one of my doctors wanted me to try in order to fix the adrenal glands I destroyed by drinking. After I tasted it - I looked at the bottle. Yeah. Jack Daniels has nothing on it. 75% alcohol. THAT'S going to help... I laughed and called my sponsor. We're good.)

Three years ago today, I woke up in my recovery mom's basement and said "Fuck!" before rolling out of bed and puking in the bucket she so very nicely put by the bed. I had no idea really how I got there, but I had a vague recollection of a two a.m. ride down to the treatment center in Canton, SD. Sobbing in the back seat with Barb while her 25 year old son drove the 25 minutes there and then some strange verbal altercation Barb had with the intake nurse who said lots of bad words and swore at Barb who then turned to me and said, "Come on, Katie. I'm not leaving you here with these people." More sobbing and something about me sitting on her kitchen floor, trying to talk to my insurance company. But I just don't remember going to bed. Hmm.

So I wobbled upstairs and there she was. Coffee on the counter; she's on the phone with Tallgrass. She handed me the phone and said, "They have a bed and I got you in but you have to agree to go." I hung up on them three times. The first time because he told me I couldn't take my klonopin if I came. The second time because he told me I would not be allowed to go to church for 30 days and the last time when I said, "Fine. Fuck all of you." He kept calling back. I didn't know until I'd been sober for six months that there had been a conspiracy among these people to get me into treatment all along. And regardless of the fact that I tried to go to the facility that would take my insurance, I am very grateful to have ended up at Tallgrass instead. It was worth every penny and the interest it accrued on my credit card. Because it saved my life.

Believe me. I wouldn't have said that three years ago. I was pissed that I'd called the very person who would actually DO something if I told her I was drunk enough and determined enough to use the knife I had with me in the closet. Something about the fact that I'd tried so many times to kill myself and this time, I knew in my heart that I was capable of getting the task accomplished because I was done fighting. So very done fighting myself and my head and the Bad Thoughts. Just plain done. And she knew that I didn't belong in the psychotel anymore. They don't treat alcoholism there. Just the crazy. And my alcoholism looked all kinds of crazy on me. She magically had a key to my apartment and let herself in while I was still sobbing to her on the phone. (Part of the master plan, apparently. She'd gone through my purse at Thanksgiving that year and had her husband go out and make a key for this very reason.) She asked me where I was and when she opened the door to my closet and saw me sitting there on the floor, blood streaming from my arms, I knew I was screwed. She watched me pack a bag with nine pairs of shoes and two pairs of underwear, a sweatshirt and some ski pants. (Imagine my surprise opening it the next day when I checked in. Ha!) And she took me where I needed to go when I finally admitted that I couldn't do this thing on my own anymore.

I told her I hated her on the way there and then I begged her not to leave me when she got me settled in enough to go. Then the sobbing started in earnest as I watched her drive away. And that was that. I sobbed for the better part of those 30 days. But lucky for me, they know about the Crazy Crying and they know what to do about it. (Strange, they just kind of let you cry yourself out until you're exhausted. Imagine that.) They know about the Raging Panic and how to sit beside you and rub your back saying, "Breathe in. Okay. Now breathe out. Let's do it together, okay?" And I'd nod and he'd say it again, "Breathe in, Kate. Yep. A big, big breath. Okay, now let it all out in one big whoosh. Yes! Just like that. You're doing great. Let's try it again." And somehow, they knew about that big hole in my heart that no amount of alcohol could fill.

And one day when I'd gotten done crying and was asking, "Why, Tom? Why does this hurt so much?" My Favorite Man In The Universe looked at me and said, "You're a seething ball of rage, you just don't know it yet." And I cocked my head to one side and for the first time in a long, long time, did not have a response or an argument. Because that fit. It just fit. And I agreed to try it on for size. I still don't know how to handle being angry very well. Angry just means shaking hands and mute tears with a complete inability to express what's going on in my head, but at least I know that's what it is today.

I didn't have any "Ah ha!" moments while I was there. And I didn't know if I was getting better or not. All I know is that I listened and talked and talked and listened and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote until I felt like there was nothing left inside of me. And that's when the hard work began. Rebuilding a new life for myself.

That's the hard work that I continue today. And this blog has been a huge part of my recovery. I write things that come from my soul. You know that. On the good days, I make you laugh. And on the bad days, I just let you see inside my heart for a bit. And somehow that helps. It helps alot. Thank you for being a part of my journey.

24 comments:

Mr. POSSLQ said...

Congratulations on three years, and thanks for letting us tag along on the ride.

MilesPerHour said...

Ain't life fun? lol

Addiction has been the biggest blessing in my life. i can't say I always like "walking the walk" but I do it anyway. And I know tht no matter what life throws at me, drinking is not an option.

Grats Kate. Keep walking.

Sparkling Red said...

You're a brave, amazing woman. Happy Third Sober Birthday. I'm cheering for you.

Hugs,
Spark.

MsDarkstar said...

I'm honored to be part of the journey.

Happy Year 3, Kate.

G said...

Happy year 3, may they always continue to be.

buffalodick said...

Whatever helps you- do it!

-Peder said...

Kate, couldn't be happier that you're back in my life!

BrianAlt said...

Congratulations.

You sincerly deserve to be congratulated. You have taken back your life.

Congratulations.

carrster said...

Congrats, Kate! I'm very proud of you!

Jules said...

Yay for 3 years! Way to go, Kate.

Malaise Inc said...

Well done on 3 years of sobriety and for being willing to bare your soul and share with others.

melissalion said...

Oh, this made me cry! Congratulations! Is that what you say? Happy birthday? I don't know.

Anyway, this is so good. Why 30 days? Why do you stay there for that length of time? Why not more or less?

Kate said...

Melissa Lion! You can say whatever you want, but Happy Birthday is the usual. And 30 days? Don't know. I think insurance companies only pay for that length of time AND it's something like - 28 days of doing something new is supposed to help you make new habits.

For me, I had to be in a place long enough without a choice to drink so that when I went home, not drinking seemed like an option. And on the other hand, I got so comfortable and felt so safe there, that had I stayed any longer, I don't think I could have come out in the real world and made any significant progress on my own.

So there. I do not know the answer, but I sound really smart, don't I?

Summer said...

Congrats. BTW what an awesome friend to make a key without your knowledge for fear of what she knew would eventually happen. I'm glad she did.

justsomethoughts... said...

excellent excellent excellent

congratualtions

here's to many more
(it's sparkling cider)

Rebecca said...

Congratulations! You're doing great.

Kelly Hogaboom said...

Congratulations! And thank you for writing this wonderful post.

I don't have the Crazies too bad, and my drinking has never even close to approximated what you describe. But the Anger, the Rage? It's in there. so... what do you do about THAT, I wonder?

LiLu said...

Woman. You must WARN before you make a girl cry.

Love you bunches... you are truly amazing, and one of the most inspirational people I "know".

Sarita said...

Lady, I am sitting here crying. I am proud of you and so grateful that I get to know you now and read what you have to say. Thanks for doing all that hard work and sharing it. Keep it up.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Hi Kate, I've been away for a few days and I'm just catching up.

Happy sober birthday, and here's to many, many more. Your story is so much like mine, only I was younger and stupider, and it took me much, much longer to find my way back. You've come a long way, Kate. Congratulations.

The Pollinatrix said...

Happy Birthday!

You write so well and so honestly, that I feel like I'm getting a little glimpse into your soul. And even though (or maybe because) my life experience has been different from yours in many ways, I learn from reading your story.

Jen said...

This is such a great accomplishment, you must be very proud of yourself. Yay, congrats!

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