Catch and Release
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Crazy Canuck
Calicofish/ My Story
The Recovery of Calicofish
February 24, 2015 was the day of my recovery. I lay holding my dying dog, and with a bloated, tear-stained face I vowed I would never drink again, and I would never change my mind, no matter what.
I would say I always had a problem with alcohol from the first time I ever drank (at 14 years of age at a wedding). It was magic to me. I didn’t drink because of any trauma – I drank because it just gave me deep pleasure. It eased many social situations, aches, pains, heartaches, good times, well – just about everything. I always drank more than most people. I loved the feeling. It seemed to give me confidence and inspiration. It helped me talk to people, alleviated boredom and I liked the taste, especially dry, red wines. Although my alcohol consumption was more than the average person, I was a binge drinker in the early years and didn’t always drink every weekend. I never drank during the week. But when I did drink, it was always to excess and most times I would be drunk. I did a lot of things under the influence that I would never have done sober. Foolish things, like sleeping around (because I was looking for love) putting myself in dangerous situations (fortunately nothing bad ever happened). I never had a DUI, never fired from work due to drinking – I was just a garden variety drunk. Usually happy, life of the party. This type of drinking went on for about 20 years.
When I hit my 40s, things changed. My hangovers were always awful (vomiting, head and body aches), but now I was not recovering as quickly and my drinking was escalating. I was now drinking practically every weekend. I was in a very miserable, childless marriage. Before, I used to drink for fun – now, I was drinking to blot out the misery of my marriage. And, I was now starting to drink alone. The usual routine between my ex and I was to buy 6 bottles of wine on Friday. We’d try different brands and years (I really liked that part of drinking). The plan was to drink 2 bottles per evening split between the two of us. I found that after we’d opened and finished the 2nd bottle, I was wanting to open a 3rd. Sometimes my ex would be all for it, but often he’d be angry and upset with me for opening a 3rd. I would always try to pour a bit more into my glass and sometimes, when he’d go off to the washroom I’d take a gulp out of his glass before he returned. I then found myself buying the regular 2 bottles but also a 3rd “secret” one. This way I could have more without my ex knowing (or so I thought).
We shared bank accounts, so I’d have to figure out a way to come up with cash to pay for this extra wine without him noticing. I would find myself scrounging around for change, bringing back bottles, or taking out a few extra bucks here and there to buy some cheap wine. We made our own wine for a few years so I was able to steal from the carboy too.
After awhile I got my own credit card, so I was able to buy wine without him knowing. It would never be a huge amount because I had to use our bank account to pay off my credit card bill and so I had to make it look like I was just buying odds and ends. Of course, I also started to alternate liquor stores (I live in Canada) and happened to live in a small city so there was around 6 different liquor stores on my rotation. Since we lived in the country, it was up to us to return our recycles (and we would cash for that) – it was my job to go the recycle place. I’d usually come out of that place with around $30 (because in Canada we pay a deposit on many things that can be recycled). So yippee – I could buy 3 bottles of wine for my “stash”.
My ex and I were estranged for years. I had my own bedroom – and I could drink my wine alone in my room (stashed beside the bed) and pass out. He go off to work (I worked from home) so I could nurse hangovers and get rid of the evidence and just repeat the same process in the evening. I also had my own room in the back of the house where I’d paint and watch TV – and of course drink wine.
I’m sure he knew and every so often he’d find some of my stash. He never actually confronted me. It was a miserable way to live. A loveless marriage. Two people in the same house just going through the motions. I hated my life and the more I hated the more I drank.
A couple weeks before Christmas 2013 my ex and I had the stupidest fight over one of our cats. I stormed out of the house and went and slept at a neighours. That night I made up my mind that I was leaving , after 3 decades, my marriage. It had been over for years and we had been in the death throes. There was no point continuing in what was so miserable for both of us. I left Feb. 2014 with a few possessions my two precious dogs and drove 3,000 kms to start a new life.
Between Feb. 2014 and 2015 my life was utter chaos and I was circling the drain. My drinking ramped up from wine to whiskey EVERY night. My blood pressure was soaring, my weight was up. I was bloated, red faced and nursing hangovers every morning. I had a tremor in my hands and I was starting to take little sips in the morning to just feel normal. I was killing myself and knew that I had to quit or die.
I moved a couple of times that year finally ending up in a small Ontario town and I knew not a soul. My family lived in another province and all I had was my two dogs. No one knew me here and I could have continued to drink with abandonment but I chose to quit.
I quit – no AA, no meetings, no steps, no higher power. I read about AVRT and made my big plan. Joined SR and slowly got my life back on track. It was simple but not easy. I never had to face another Day 1 if I never drank again. My problems didn’t disappear – there was no magic, but little by little I was able to cope with problems and work on solutions. I rented a house, got some furniture and made a home for myself and my dogs. My sweet girl died in my arms 6 weeks after I quit drinking. I was present for her and I mourned her passing and felt everything.
It's been a bit over 2 years since I became sober and I’ve had many challenges – friends and loved ones have died, birthdays, first Christmas totally alone, making new friends, being fired from a job, finding a new job, coping with stress and anxiety, trying to find bliss and joy. I’m lonely and would love a special friend in my life, but that person has not appeared (yet). My separation is official now. I’ve rekindled my love of music and playing guitar. I have reconnected with old girlfriends.
And now, I sit and hold my other beloved dog who has just been diagnosed with cancer and will be present for her to the end.
Nothing tastes as good as sober feels.
Last edited by Opivotal; 07-30-2017 at 03:43 PM.