I never sobbed so hard in my life.
It felt like I was choking.
It was middle of August and my divorce had just gone final. Despite the 9-month process, the official “decree of dissolution” was the lowest point of my life.
It had been my fault the whole time. After 19 years it was finally over. Alcohol was a factor at every stage and …
. . .still I was mixing another drink to “cope” with the gravity of the moment.
The photo above is a thin smile. I was drunk when I drove to the lawyer’s office. I was drunk when I signed the papers. Then I went to a bar just to make sure I didn’t get home sober.
I felt totally lost. I was a failure. I deserved the misery at the bottom of every bottle.
What started my relapse?
I’ve been thinking a lot about my summer-long relapse:
- What the hell was I thinking?
- Did I expect drinking would make me happy or whole?
- Was I bored with my increasingly stable life?
- As much as I hated being an addict, why did I let set the monster free?
I’ve found no good answers, except that addicts tend to relapse. Despite all my big talk, please don’t don’t mistake me for a recovery role model. I’m working things out in public because I need to learn how to be honest again – it’s too easy to lie to myself in private. That’s why I’ve tried to talk openly about my failures and temptations along the way.
It was early June, after 118 days clean, when things fell apart.
I was lost all summer. Despite several false starts, it took until September to get a full week sober again.
I accept the responsibility in the relapse – I chose to start drinking again. Here’s a list of issues (not excuses) that hit right before it started:
- Increasing arguments with the girlfriend
- Dissatisfaction with my living arrangements
- Internal conflict about my failed marriage & failures as a father
- Lack of exercise or healthy eating
- The start of a new depression phase related to my bipolar meds
- Loss of interest in the recovery project
- Fading memories of why addiction was so terrible
Those are not excuses because I always had the option to stay sober and I chose to drink. Whatever factors led up to the event, I clearly remember the “FUCK IT” moment when I gave myself back over to addiction.
I didn’t expect to alcohol to make me happy, it was if anything the opposite. I felt miserably already and wanted to get past that to a place of oblivion.
I was drinking to kill myself.
That sound a little dramatic, but I have no better explanation. I fully knew that alcohol would steal whole days, months, and years of my life. That was a deal I was willing to make just to escape from myself for a few hours.
I wanted to erase myself.
What followed as a passion for drunk driving, several random women, and wasting an obscene amount of cash at the strip club. By some mercy I made it through those last three months and back to sobriety.
There was never any plan to actually kill myself, but drunk Tony was doing just about everything possible to cash out that life insurance.
Something (or someone) didn’t let my secret wish come true.
I still believe recovery is possible
Since I’m still alive – so I accept the challenge to try again.
As long as we wake up on this side of the dirt, there is no failure, just another opportunity to learn.
— melissa robbins (@melissalrobbins) August 14, 2017
I’m almost two weeks sober as of writing this post, beginning with my 7 day alcohol detox in Haiti. Things are looking better and the depression is lifting a little more everyday.
I’m incredibly grateful things didn’t get worse and I was able to scratch my way out of that pit once again.
I still have hope. It’s my only real option at this point.