This is one of those posts I wasn't sure if I should share, but it is a significant part of my recovery. So here it goes...
Last Friday night while I was out with my best friend Kaila, I had a... drink. Keyword there is A, as in singular. We were out downtown on a busy Friday night and as we looked at the drink menu something inside of me told me to go for it, so I did. As we sipped our cocktails, that old familiar feeling of relief and calmness began to take over.
After finishing our drink, we left that bar and headed to another. As my drink wore off, I began to feel myself craving another. We met up with a few other friends who were ordering more drinks, but thankfully my best friend and wing woman for the night was content with just one drink. As my cravings for another increased, I told her I was ready for drink number two, but she questioned whether or not that was a good idea. Deep down I knew it wasn't, but in that moment I was willing to take that temporary sense of relief instead of looking at the big picture. Having another drink would have led to another and another and eventually a huge amount of guilt.
By the time we were home for the night, the drink had completely worn off and I was feeling great. That might have been the first time I have ever gone out and stuck to the one drink rule. Although the whole bar scene makes me more anxious than almost anything, I not only faced it, but I also had a blast.
The next day Kaila and I spent the afternoon at the beach and I shockingly wasn't consumed with guilty thoughts from the night before. Actually, I hardly even thought about it. For me to be able to live in a happy moment like that without beating myself up is HUGE.
That night when I got home, I didn't mention the drink to my parents out of fear of disappointing them. I had broken my sobriety, after all. (Surprise, mom...)
After having a few days to process this and a good talk with my therapist, I'm really thankful for how this situation played out. I knew the day when I would have to face my first drink would eventually come and I honestly don't think it could have gone much better. I learned that having one drink still leads me to want more AND that I can still have a ton of fun without drinking.
Recently I've been wondering if drinking would be different for me now that my eating disorder symptoms are under control. My eating disorder and the drinking were directly related. Both were simply a way for me to numb out and avoid the mess of a life I had created. Now that I am back on track with my eating, however, I was curious to see if alcohol had a different effect on me. For now, it still appears too difficult for me to feel comfortable with a single drink... And that's OKAY.
Ever since I admitted to all of you that I got into legal trouble with alcohol, I have been deathly afraid of falling back into that black hole. The only way to get over our fears, however, is to face them head on. I took a huge risk by having that drink, but I also provided myself with a huge opportunity to learn and grow. There is always a trade off in risky situations, but we always have the choice to step back and see the bigger picture.
A huge part of me did not want to publicly share that I broke my sobriety. As an addiction writer for Libero Network and after developing an openness about my struggles with alcohol, I fear this will limit my credibility. But after a nearly a week of thinking about this, I actually now think the opposite is true. Recovery is not perfect. I am not perfect. Keeping my slip up a secret will only allow the shame to build up inside of me.
Bottom line: Drinking is still dangerous for me without a plan and a friend to stop me after one drink. Lesson learned. Don't worry; I do not plan on drinking anytime in the near future. If a similar situation does present itself, however, at least I have a plan and know that if I can survive it once, I can absolutely do it again.