So, two days ago I went to the reunion of the recovery group I sat a course with earlier this year. I didn’t know what I would find and I wrote about it here.
I came very close to cancelling but I wanted to see everyone. I wanted us all to be doing well and for the two people who were drinking last time we met to have stopped. I suppose I was hoping for a happy ending, for everyone to be feeling as good as I do. I hoped we would all be able to sit and talk about how wonderful sobriety is and how much better life is when alcohol is out of the equation. Of course its tough, really tough but we had done it, are doing it, together.
It didn’t work out like that.
The retired man who said at out last meeting that he was going to sign up for a medical detox, hasn’t done so. He is drinking half a bottle of whisky each day. It is causing a great deal of friction with his wife, especially when she comes across one of his hidden stash of bottles. He complained it is tricky because he can’t always remember where he put them…sounds familiar. He told us no one can really tell he drinks and they would be amazed to find out. I don’t know whether that is true – I very much doubt it but really it doesn’t matter what other people think. Rob (not his real name) needs to put himself first. He says he wants to stop drinking. He says he feels sad. But he doesn’t do anything tangible to change.
The other lady in the group who was still drinking when I last saw her was not in a good place. When she arrived it was obvious she had been drinking. She has also lost a lot of weight – she is tiny and very frail looking. He speech was slurred, she was very emotional and tearful but she joined the group. The course leader asked us to share the positives we have experienced since we stopped drinking. Once we got started, there was no stopping us – it was amazing.
It was too much for Rita. She left the room. About 10 minutes later she came back. We were presented with our certificates for completing the course. After protesting that she did not deserve hers, Rita reluctantly accepted.
After the meeting we left the building, hugged goodbye and went our separate ways. Rita seemed to get worse very quickly. She was unsteady on her feet and couldn’t speak coherently. When I asked her she told how much she had had to drink and that when she had left the room she had had a lot more. Although she insisted she could walk home, Rita agreed to get a taxi with me and another member of the group. During the journey she said she would need to stop to go to the shop to get some alcohol. We didn’t stop. Then she said we could just drop her at the end of her road. We took her to her house and waited until her Mum opened the door. It was the best we could do.
Seeing Rita struggling like that was hard. Seeing Rob procrastinating and kidding himself no one can tell he drinks made me feel guilty because next to them, my experience has been relatively easy. I want to help them so much, to make everything better. At the same time, I feel frustrated – why can’t they just stop ? Then I feet bad about thinking that because I know its not a case of “just” stopping. I didn’t “just” stop.
I have been thinking a lot about Rita especially but I know I need to step back. Of course I want to help her but as Wendy has said so wisely, although I feel bad for Rita she is not me. I am on my own path, a good one. Rita is on her own journey.
After I had made sure Rita was safe it did cross my mind that perhaps I don’t have a problem with alcohol after all. If I am honest it has more than crossed my mind. So, against my natural instinct I think I need to leave Rita and Rob be and keep myself and my sobriety safe. That is what I am going to do.