Today’s writing is a guest post from a friend who is battling alcoholism in the midst of the pandemic. Their story underscores the insidious nature of addiction and the countless ways in which the disease of addiction seeks to destroy us:
I live in a rural area where some days I don’t talk to anyone, so the pandemic is not crushing me. My alcoholism loves it.
I’ve been in and out of sobriety many times. When the pandemic started, I was newly sober, again. Being alone really fed the desire to drink, because my habit is to drink alone, in my room, reading things or listening to music. To be perfectly honest, I drank a lot to ease my pain… pain of having lost people and my family who can’t be here anymore due to my habit.
One of my habits is to watch AA on Zoom. I’ve been to hundreds of meetings in the halls and of course now, on Zoom. It’s an interesting experience…. in a way, more intimate because we can see each other’s faces all at once and parts of houses and pets. But we can also be private, and do things while listening.
It always comes on so easily. I just get that feeling of needing to ease my mind, and I could drink just today. Just a couple of bottles, one time, one day. No one will know. No one will call or stop by. So easy.
I’m still having trouble managing my impulsivity and sneakiness around drinking. So I got my two bottles, and it made me happy that I had a treat. Except, like alcohol does, it takes me by the hand, with a promise that I could do it again. No one calls, no one stops by. And that day then turns into ten.
I started drinking again, all day long. Everyone is drinking it seems. What else for an alcoholic to do when we have mandatory aloneness? My little country store runs out of wine and I find it very inconvenient. The store manager apologizes and orders more for me for next week. It occurs to me that he knows I’m an alcoholic and I decide not to care.
Alcohol makes me a different person, and that person comes and goes. Now that person wears a mask, which I love. If I see someone that I know, they may not even recognize me. I’m hiding from myself, in my mask, a different person.
The last day of drinking for me started with me pouring the last 1/2 bottle into a coffee mug and drinking it while watching AA on Zoom. Some sort of thrill I got being sneaky that way. One part of me felt really dishonest, but the other person said it’s OK. My disease is bold, it’s in my face, and it’s in my brain, making choices for me. In my face, on Zoom.