Well, the trip back was a doozy. Nearly ran out of gas because I was paying too much attention to a conversation I was having over a phone call! (Hands free, of course.)
This vacation went from super fun and exciting, to depressing and highly isolating, all in less than a day. It's been six years since my wife passed. This trip was supposed to be the start of a renewed life after two years of sobriety. Instead, I found myself in the room most of the time, really wishing for her companionship. I have to remind myself, "She's gone. You're on your own."
This was a very hard thing for me to do, because I wanted to drown myself in my sorrows. And I knew that no one around would have any idea as to whether or not I drank. "I could drink, and nobody would know." It would have been an easy way out this trip. But that's just it: It would have been my way out.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if I drink again, it will be my last. There is no questioning another run for me. I will die from it. And though there are those days that I still just want to disappear forever, those days are becoming less and less, and farther in between. I'm only a baby in sobriety - i'm only two years old. There's more time for me to learn.
The trip was a success, though - if I slow down and look at what really happened here:
1) Firstly, I did not drink or use drugs. I was so terribly tempted, even found a bar of all things. I walked in, went to the bathroom, and left. Why? Because, I didn't really want to drink. My obsession has been lifted. What I wanted, was to erase my sorrow, my loneliness, and my fear of always being alone. But I did not drink, and frankly, it was easier for me this time around. I doubt I have a second chance at just walking out of a bar sober, so any trip I go onto from here on out, I'll need a better plan and support system in place. This is why the online meetings are just not as good as f2f (face to face) meetings. Had I used the online meeting, I may have been okay, and I had every intent to do so - but i wasn't leaving my room, which meant that i was isolating. That's a huge, red flag. One that I failed to heed, one that could have killed me.
2) I learned a lot about myself. I learned that there are other addictions out there that I am more prone to than I ever thought before. Thankfully, something was there (I'll call it "the programs", in reference to all of the recovery meeting types) that was ready to help me recognize what was happening to me - where my mind had shifted, where I was going. And as well, if there is a god out there, it certainly made it difficult to achieve the desires of my mind. This is a very, very scary thought to me, as i could have very easily found myself in a precarious situation, and that, I can assure you, would have led me right back to the bottle - and my death.
As i left my trip, I left in awe, wonder, and disbelief. I couldn't believe what I had just been through, all because I was so lonely. And all entirely preventable. If I had just gone to one or two meetings rather than relying on the online meetings, I would have probably been okay. I am definitely grateful for the all the various f2f meetings now.
Don't get me wrong, the online meetings are good, for a brief moment. They can be better than nothing. They can be. And they are helpful to some people. But it is being aware, and recognizing ourselves and where we're at in our recovery, that make the online meetings successful to individuals. It is a supplement, not a replacement.
The demon is in us, alive and well. And where it fails to trip us with one addiction, it will try to prevail with another. But with the tools we've slowly gained through our support groups, sponsors, and counselors, we learn to live a life of choice; we learn to live Drunkless.