Last night we had an open house at my office. Open house. Open bar. I had several glasses of wine. When I drink now, I feel guilty.
Toward the end of the evening, one of my co-workers and I went back to my office to kick off our shoes and give or feet a much-needed break. My Blackberry was on my desk and I noticed a missed call. It was my brother. I hadn’t spoken with him since his third day in detox, before they moved him down to rehab. I had missed a call from my brother because I was at a party drinking. At that moment, the glass of wine sitting on my desk lost its appeal.
I texted my brother and told him I’d call when I got home. There was a dinner after the party. I skipped it so I could go home and call him. He sounded much better than the last time we had spoken, but sounded as if he still has a long way to go. It struck me then that I thought if he just stopped drinking, cleared out the alcohol from his system, he’d miraculously be well again. I realized as I spoke with him last night, he’s got a long road to recovery. Physical and emotional.
He sounds committed to that recovery.
My brother is no longer using a wheelchair. He’s walking! He told me of all the people noticing and excited that he was walking on his own. He’s started physical therapy.
He expressed impatience with the people in his group who sat in the back and paid no attention to what they were learning. “I’m paying good money for this. I’m listening.”
“I have a sponsor.” He seemed quite pleased with himself that he’d taken that step.
He’ll be going to meetings from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm daily for a week or so longer. And then he’ll meet with his group every Saturday, “for a year.”
He told me he’s done this before. He was sober for a year. But he was miserable.
“But now you have support,” I said.
“Yeah. I was a dry drunk.”
He’s learning. And he’s hungry for it.
After our call, I sat outside with a plate of left over ahi tuna and shrimp from the party. I was hoping for some time with Sophie. She’s been coming around more frequently, showing herself. She’s been taking food from my hand for several days, now. She prefers chicken. (I’ll be poaching some more for her tonight.) But I didn’t see her last night. I suppose I’d gotten home too late. But I’ve got a three-day weekend ahead, which will give me plenty of time to make progress with her.
As I sat there waiting for her, I pondered the alcohol guilt. I sometimes drink to excess. I sometimes use alcohol to cope. Sometimes food. I prefer to use writing, exercise, and bubble baths. I’ve been pondering doing the 21-day Fit Food Challenge. Annie (my therapist) suggested it to get me back on track after the holidays. And to keep me from eating the same thing every day, which I tend to do. The challenge means I eat their food for three weeks. No alcohol. I’m having difficulty committing to something so rigid. Including the lack of alcohol. It seems to me if I commit to 21 days of their plan with no alcohol, I’ll be in the perfect position to practice healthier coping skills. So I’m in. I meet with the counselor on Sunday, and get signed up. I’ll start the program Tuesday, after the three-day weekend.
I’ve said it here. Now I have to do it.
It seems I’ve found inspiration in my brother’s ongoing recovery.