There are good ways and bad ways to cope with emotional pain and some times it is hard to tell them apart. What on the surface can look like a piss poor idea can actually turn out to be a blessing. On the other hand, some of my brilliant ideas to feel better failed pretty miserably. Still, I always say failure is a catalyst to learn and grow. Speaking of learning and growing:
I learned that if you sit on the couch with a cat and watch TV you will grow. You will grow exactly seven pounds.
I learned for the millionth time that alcohol will not make me feel better. A week after Sofie left I drank for the first time in seven and a half years. I learned you should go to more AA meetings not zero AA meetings when you are in crisis. If I had taken care of myself and gone to meetings I might not have found myself at the grocery store getting “stuff” for “dinner” and thinking wine is an entree. One is supposed to call another member of AA when one feels like drinking but this one thought that was a really stupid idea because one will tell this one not to do it. So I kept my phone in my purse and put a bottle of moderately priced wine in the grocery cart. When I got home I put the groceries away and fixed Addie a non alcoholic dinner really fast so I wouldn’t smarten up and change my mind. Next I had to find the corkscrew and I was panicking because I didn’t know where Don kept it. I was worried I would not be able to open it, but it was just like riding a bike and I have spent way more time opening wine bottles than I have riding bikes. As I poured the glass this little voice in my head kept saying, “Just drink it, just drink it. Remember how cool and fabulous you used to be and how alcohol is the answer to all problems?” So, I drank it. Hmmmm. Nothing. I did not feel better. I did not feel the glamour I feel I am so sorely lacking because I no longer hold a wine glass. They (the AA old timers) say that no matter how long it has been since you had a drink if you pick up again you will be right back drinking as much as you were when you stopped. This seems to be true in my case because after two glasses I wasn’t even tipsy. In my lost weekend days two glasses of wine were what I drank while I was shaking my martini. Afterward, I was surprised to find I wasn’t feeling guilty, but I did need to tell on myself so I texted Don (conveniently out of town) and Peggy. The next morning bright and early Peggy called:
Peg: Are you going to a meeting today?
Me: I don’t know Peg. I haven’t decided how I feel about it.
Peg: Well, can you do me a favor and if you won’t go for yourself can you go for me and for Sofie? We just cannot handle another crisis right now.
Me: God Damn it Peg!
Peg: I promise when my cancer treatment is over and Sofie is home it can be all about you but not now.
So, I went to a meeting and a very dangerous bad idea gave me a lot of information to keep me sober in the future. Any AA’s reading this please do not try this at home! I was very lucky stop right away. Most people who go out do not get back. So pick up the phone not the glass and call someone who loves you. They won’t tell you not to drink they will just listen to why you want to do it. Actually, you should probably call Peggy.
Finally, what I thought was a really bad idea turned out to be the thing that saved me. I learned that kittens don’t care if you are sad. Life is great to a kitten- all life all the time. It’s a party. Two weeks before Sofie left I thought if we got her a kitten it would fix everything and we got her a cute little kitten that naturally didn’t fix anything. In fact, it made it worse because now I was yelling at her for not changing the litter box. One week before she left, fate (named Addie Todd) brought home an abandoned 2 ½ week old baby cat. I told Addie we could not keep her because we already had a kitten, but we could foster her. I went to Pet Co bought around $7,000 worth of cat formula, bottles and crates and then found myself sleeping on the couch with the kitten waking up every two hours to feed her and make her go to the bathroom. I did not know about the bathroom part when I agreed to take care of her. The next thing I know I am carrying the “baby” around in a baby sling and putting her down for naps. El gato es mio ahora. That little tiny fuzz ball saved my life. As things were sliding out of control with Sofie, I could fix the kitten and the kitten not only lived but thrived. I grew a cat!
To Be Continued:
Part III Hoping
You're such a great writer, Deanne! I'm so glad you (and the kitten) saved you.
I've been thinking about your blog all day today, although I read it yesterday. I can relate to the addictive draw to the alcohol, and it's so wonderful that you called upon your friend Peggy, and got yourself back on track! I'm loving reading your blog, Deanne!
The struggle to actually take care of ourselves is a tough one…the number of times I have not taken care of myself by buying a moderately priced pinot noir and/or a lovely cheese platter for a small group (consisting of me) is astounding, more astounding because it never makes me feel better! Thanks for sharing this… we all have 2 steps forward, 1 step back…keep fighting the good fight.
Love and kitten formula can fix a lot!