I had just organized my emails by recipient while looking for something I had recently sent to my editor, when an old email to an online AA support group I had once been a member of caught my eye. The subject line is “Relapse:”

well I have only posted here once i think, and i’ve just been reading posts, not getting too involved.  Probably one of my many mistakes.  i drank a lot yesterday.  I had originally gone sober on march 11, and had almost two weeks, was attending a meeting on Sundays (i went twice) which i really liked, the people were great, and then easter came around and i told myself that i was really okay and not sick since i was able to go two weeks without a drink and the rest is history.
So yesterday i drank like a fish, i don’t remember part of the night, i feel embarrassed and like a complete failure.  The guilt is overwhelming me today, it is making my stomach quesy and i feel like a total ass.  I feel like a bad mother, a bad wife, a bad person, i feel like God just wants to give up on me because i have tried to get better so many times and so many times i have failed.
I was so scared that i would lead a boring life without being able to drink.  I will take boring over this feeling of doom and dread anyday.
How do i rise above my guilt and my sorrow?  I am going to a meeting after my husband gets home from work so that he can watch our two little boys.  i just feel terrible today.
The email is dated April 8th, 2005.
It took me another 14 months to get sober after I sent it.
That’s what alcoholism is.
It’s cunning.
It promises relief and instead brings sorrow.
We try to overcome it
but time and time again we are sucked back into its intoxicating lies.
Let’s see.
2005 means that Andrew was three-years-old and Ian was two.
My God.
Read that email again you guys.
Do I sound happy?
Do I sound like a mother capable of being there for her kids in the way they deserved me to be?
I couldn’t even bring myself to capitalize my letters, and to me that’s a sign in and of itself; I was so defeated.
And yet it STILL took me FOURTEEN months of additional hell before I finally collapsed on my knees and surrendered.
So now here I sit, in front of my laptop, tears rolling down my face, my heart filled with absolute gratitude as I am once again reminded of the misery and sickness that used to engulf me, of the life that I NO LONGER HAVE TO LIVE.
I can hear myself in that email, crystal clear.
I can almost feel myself writing it,
remember that deep-seated humiliation that threatened to unravel me.
Yet, at the same time, that woman, that version of me and the guilt and despair that I wrote about in that email, seems so far, far away.
For some reason I don’t think  seeing that email was a random coincidence.
Instead, I think it’s God’s way of reminding me that even when it feels like the crap’s hitting the fan, the woman that’s ducking it today is a sober one.
Not a perfect woman, mind you.
But a woman who never has to write an email like that, EVER again.
Because you see,
This is totally how I feel right now. Photo courtesy morguefile.com
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4 Replies to “Look What I Found….”

  1. Congratulations, Jo! What a blessing your sobriety is to so many and especially to your sons. Thank you for writing so transparently about where you’ve been and where you are now.

  2. I am so proud of you girl. Actually I’m proud FOR you. I’ve known you in the before and the after and I LOVE being around this Jo! The clear and present happy Jo. The whitty and sarcastic little nut that I remember in 8th grade, Joanna B. Good for you woman and continue inspiring! You are reaching someone out there, I know it. :0) Love you!! XOXO!~

  3. If I could carry you around on my shoulders and trek the earth, I would–because the whole planet needs to see and be inspired by an overcoming, fantastically beautiful, giving, talented, loving hero like you.

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