There’s a guy who wrote a book called Kick the Drink… Easily! Fellow soberlings have raved about it, so I purchase the thing and when it arrives in all of its neon pink glory, I pull it from the box and immediately note its comical heft. It’s three hundred and four pages long. Is the irony lost on everyone but me or am I just a snarky asshole? Anybody’s guess. Doesn’t matter. I toss it atop a stack of, I don’t know – eighteen or nineteen books of the same or similar topic, which teeters like an awkward multicolored tower in a Dr. Suess-type dysfunctional fantasy land.
Quitting is a mind game mostly, or at least it seems to be for me. I’m fifty three days into this wilderness and it is the hardest thing I have ever done. Perhaps I was not prepared or I was naive or whatever the case but here I am having ‘made it’ this ‘far’ (whatever tf that means) and more than anything I do not want to go back. I never want to be at day zero again. Except when I do. That’s the head trip. I coast along like a proper boss until I get tackled out of nowhere. Pummeled to the ground by an invisible threat no one around me can see but I can feel pumping through my veins as though it would bulge right out of my skull and explode all over the room.
Perhaps if it did, more people could understand how all encompassing the cravings can be. They are impossible to explain with words to someone who has never lived through or with them. This is frustrating especially to a writer. I want to show you with my words. I want to show you everything. From the blissed out euphoria of the first crystal clear mornings of sobriety to the shocking, gripping, maddening bite of the itchy cruel desire for just one more.
A couple things help, though. Humor is one but it has to be funny not dickish. Deep breathing is another. I do it as soon as I remember to which is thankfully becoming more often. It’s sort of second nature once you get used to folding it into your routine or maybe what some would call your ‘tool box.’ As in the arsenal of practices which help to mellow you out when your inner booze monster is climbing the goddamn curtains, hissing and jumping like a maniac. I don’t know what the man in the Easily book will tell me but I am skeptical. For better or worse, I am my entire self now. There’s no chemical additives to make me anything other than one hundred percent Allie, as quick to be sarcastic and cheeky as to be tender and frightfully intimate.
Before I grew up and became Allison, my family and friends used to call me Allie. Back when I was free and scrappy and most happy and alive. Before I knew what it ever meant to get trashed. Or to blackout. Or to completely lose control of my innocent body and brain. In all the sober circles, I go by Allie now. It feels right to throw it on back to a time when I was new and clean. Maybe it’s silly but I really do want a fresh start. When you have an addiction, there’s a lot you’ve probably done in your life that you do not remember. But there are also some parts of who you are that you never, ever forget.