Inspired By My Brother

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.

Good things:

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.

About Unconfirmed Bachelorette

Unconfirmed Bachelorette, a/k/a Ella, is a 50-something-year-old lawyer who wishes fervently she could retire from the practice of law and write full time. Never-married-childfree Ella resides in Austin, Texas with her three fluffy black rescue cats.
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10 Responses to Inspired By My Brother

  1. Good things do sound to be coming for both of you. Courage!

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  2. gertmcqueen says:

    Doing this seems like a good thing to do. You can’t lose anything; may gain alot.

    Over 25 years ago, because of a spouse, I had to look at myself, did AA, Alanon and counseling, learned about dry/wet drunks, co-dependency, enablers, etc eventually spouse/me parted, remained friends. Over time I have been cautious of course, myself? Iike my wine, have years ago had episodes that may have been a problem, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to moderate my own intake and how my mind thinks…if you know what I mean,
    Only you can know what you can & can’t do or what is best for you. Moderation is the best of all…but what is moderation for one is not for another.
    committing to do a program is always a good thing, it is always good to learn more about one’s self
    good luck and don’t feel guilty about anything!

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  3. blueviking says:

    Instead of stealing chickens at night for Sophie, why don’t you just buy them like the rest of us? 😉

    Seriously though, great news about your brother! Glad to hear that things are looking up.

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  4. bitesizelove says:

    so happy that things are going well for your brother! it looks like he is having a new experience with treatment, especially as evidenced by him mentioning being a dry drunk. good for him. and it’s an important step for you that you understand that getting control over his drinking will only be the beginning of his recovery. the thing about addiction is that it’s truly a self-diagnosed disease if we’re talking about real change. i went back and forth about my drinking for years, abusing alcohol as my only coping mechanism at times. i was finally able to give it up a little over 2 years ago. i meant to comment on the other post – my date is 12/29 as well! it’s a good day 🙂

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    • Yes, the dry drunk acknowledgement made me very hopeful. The thing is, he seems to be into recovery. It’s almost as if he had no idea about any of this stuff, and now that he sees what was really going on, he wants to keep going. He was in such a bad place. I think he now sees it doesn’t have to be that way. 12/29, huh. That’s neat. Christmas is over and a new year is about to sweep in. It’s a time of change. Has it been much different without alcohol? I will do my 3 weeks starting Tuesday. I’ve quit for months (and once for a year), always for weight loss. This time, I’m going to think about how it feels without it.

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      • bitesizelove says:

        yes, i took many breaks before i called it quits. for me, yes, life is much different without alcohol. now, much better. at first, it sucked. a lot. like what your brother seems to be experiencing, for me, stopping drinking was only the tip of the iceberg. once i got that under control, then i could work on what was really going on. i finally had the ability to do the work of healing from past hurts and moving on with my life. the journey continues… 🙂 for me, one of the best decisions i’ve ever made. life is much better and more authentic now that i don’t celebrate, mourn, love, hate, and mark every occasion with alcohol. good choice for me.

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        • Thanks for elaborating. Alcohol is so much a part of daily living. It’s got to be hard at first. It’s not like smoking, which generally is discouraged for all these days. I quit that years ago, and never looked back. But people don’t celebrate or socialize with a smoke. Not in your 40s, anyway. The next three weeks will be interesting. I’m curious whether I’m pushing down the grief. I guess I’m about to find out.

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