As you may or not know from either knowing me or reading this Blog I refer to my addiction as Brenda. Brenda, is a 6 foot drag queen with a MAJOR attitude problem and I’ve recently given her a last name, and in the spirit of dragdom have provided her with a Puntastic last name. She is now, officially, Brenda Mywille.
Yesterday, Brenda tried some new strategies to get her way and I am happy to say failed miserably. She tempted me with many, many different scenarios and was thrwarted not only by my willpower, but also, I believe, my higher power protecting me in the most awesome ways. She tempted me with food, sex, money and alcohol. She was unsuccessful on all but one of these counts: Food. It was a hollow victory for her, however, because even though I did not eat as I should, and promised myself I would, I did not indulge in the manner in which she is accustom and that which she craved.
There is an acronym that I’ve learned to recognize the warning signs of relapse. It is H.A.L.T. It stands for:
I definitely experienced all of these. I was headed for a relapse yesterday, but I did not succumb and I am so grateful for that.
On Saturday nights I go to my “home group” AA meeting in Providence. The speaker That evening was great. I always enjoy when I can identify with what the speaker is talking about and I did with alot of what he was saying. I spoke at the meeting and shared some insights about my recovery I’ve been thinking about. After the meeting a gentleman with whom I’ve spoken with on several occasions paid me the best compliment. He said “Your spirit beams recovery. You are doing amazing.” That made me feel fantastic.
Brenda, however, was not having it. Her first attempt at breaking me down happened almost immediately. I started thinking “Am I coming across as pompous and arrogant about my recovery? Am I talking too much at meetings? Are people who have been sober for a long time rolling their eyes at me when I speak with confidence about the program and my sobriety?” She got her foot in the door. Then I was approached by an aquaintance know from the bar scene. He was genuinely happy to see me and said lovely things to me and gave me words of encouragement, but I was very uncomfortable for some reason. I asked him questions about if it was difficult to work in nightclub being in recovery? His answers made alot of sense. Brenda saw this as an opening to try to convince me that I was ok, and that I could go to the Eagle to hang out and socialize with friends.
That evening, Greg and Anthony were hosting an event for Bear Providence(a group I founded with Greg when we were married) at the Eagle in Providence. I knew there would be a bunch of guys I hadn’t seen in a while there and I seriously considered going. I knew that Greg and Anthony would have my back and watch out for me and I had actually considered it earlier in the week. To further the thoughts of going another acquaintance who was chatting with my sponsor mentioned that he was considering going and told me to let him know if I was going to go.
Brenda had her hooks in me at this point. I pictured her enacting the nail painting emoji. At this point I started to panic a bit and said to myself “Look, you’ll be fine if you go, but its still early, go home, finish your sandwich from lunch, play some Rummy on your iPad and then at 10:30 send the guy who was considering going a message to see if he was going and make your decision then.” And that’s what I did.
When 10:30 rolled around I did as I said, and thankfully, he determined that he was not going. I was off the hook. I felt an immediate sense of relief. Brenda was furious. She then started working overtime to get her fix. I found myself trolling the hookup apps with the determination of a dehydrated man crossing the Sierra. I’d cast a line and come back empty. This happened over and over for an hour. I wasn’t even attracted to half of the guys I messaged. I was just looking for some companionship, some comfort.
Something inside me changed when I clicked on someone’s profile that I thought I’d never messaged before and to my surprise there was an existing chat log that I did not remember. It was from October 2, 2016: The day I decided to become sober. A chill went down my spine. Brenda cried out in horror “Noooooooooooooooo!!!!” She knew that she had lost and that my Higher Power had won. I read the incoherent chat log and the response from the poor soul who had the misfortune of contacting me that day. I typed in the message:
“Hello. I just wanted to send you an apology for the last messages I sent to you. I was in an extremely dark place on that day and I humbly ask your forgiveness for my behavior on that day. I am not that person any longer.”
“Wow. I have never seen anyone do something like this. It takes alot of strength to admit ones problems and ask for forgiveness. No worries, man. I’d forgotten about it until now. Good luck to you!”
A sense of peace came over me. This was an amends. I was filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment and for the first time since I was a child I kneeled down next to my bed, placed my hands together, bowed my head and thanked my Higher Power for the gift he provided me.