Today I have 1600 days sober. 1600 days without a drink or drug – honestly, it’s pretty incredible. There comes a time in every sober person’s recovery when we are asked: Are you better now? Could you have matured out of it? Can’t you just have some wine? Some pot? Do you still have to go to those meetings? And, there comes a time, maybe many times, when the sober person begins to question: Am I better? Could I handle a drink? Pop pills occasionally? Hell, maybe I did grow out of it? After 1600 days sober, I can state, with undoubted certainty I indeed have not grown out of it. I indeed am still very much an alcoholic, very much an addict. I am still, very much ill.
Here are 6 ways my minds reminds me that I am still an addict
My Mouth Still Waters When I Walk Down The Liquor Aisle.
I can’t help it. I don’t purposefully seek out the liquor aisle, sometimes the seltzer water is kept there, and often bottles are displayed throughout stores during holidays and summertime. When alcohol does catch my eye, for 1/16 of a second, my mouth remembers that I used to drink it. The same thing happens when I walk past a musty bar, I smell stale beer and I salivate.
I Still Envy Normies
A normie is someone who drinks like a regular person; someone who can take or leave liquor, those who can stop after just one. Although drinking was never glamorous for me, I can’t help but get jealous. In addition, the mind of a Normie still baffles and frustrates me. For example, I was camping last weekend and my friends had been drinking Bud Light all day. That evening they were offered a shot and annoyingly, they turned it down because they didn’t “like” fireball. Turning down a shot?! I can’t wrap my mind around that behavior. Having only one glass of wine because you don’t want to wake up with a headache? To me, that logic isn’t logic at all. The annoyance reminds me, my head is still gravely twisted.
I’m Still Justifying
A few months ago I tried to justify smoking pot, and although I overcame those ideas, I am not any more rational. Recently, I saw a preview for a documentary about Adderall and cannot describe the extent to which this triggered me – within minutes I was googling ADHD symptoms and rehearsing conversations with my psychiatrist attempting to acquire a prescription. I actually had to go to the mirror, look myself in the eye and say, “This is not what we do.” These ideas and justifications aren’t crossing my mind because I’m lacking in my sobriety, these thoughts overcome me because even after 1600 days, I am still sick af.
I Still Have Using Dreams
“Using dreams” are dreams people experience in recovery; they are dreams centered around getting/using mind-altering substances. My using dreams are vivid and I have them quite consistently. They ebb and flow, I’ll go a few months without having any, followed by a week of experiencing them nightly. Ask anyone in recovery, I promise, they’ve dreamt about drinking or doing drugs. They’re annoying, they can be dark, and I often wake up feeling scared. If I had truly recovered and had sincerely outgrown my addiction, I wouldn’t be dreaming about using. I like to think of these dreams as reminders, my subconscious reminding me – your addiction is still here.
I Still Relate To People In The Rooms
I say it all the time, sit me in a room full of alcoholic and addict strangers, and I feel comfortable – I feel just as much at home now as I did on day one. Whether the person sharing has 2 days or 20 years, I can always connect to something. I relate to the feelings of uselessness and doubt, I relate to the triggers and fears. I recall the struggles I’ve had and understand the ones I have yet to experience. We laugh at things others would find terrifying – we are one in the same.
I’ve come to realize that I’ll never be better, I’ll never fully ‘recover,’ and it is OK. I only need to embrace the idea that I will always be sick. The minute I decide I’ve got this, the minute I believe I am no longer sick – it is in that moment, I will lose it all.
Previously published on mommywithoutwine.com