If you have read any of my past articles, you should know that I am doing my best to be an advocate for sobriety. For those of you who don't know what I'm about, I'm going to do my best to lay everything out to you in a way that doesn't make your ears fall off.
I got sober in August of 2017. I used to think that day was my personal "rock bottom", but the more I grow and learn, It scares me to admit that I am still capable of probably doing much worse. I miss living on the edge. I miss being blissfully unaware. Don't get me wrong, the benefits of sobriety outweigh the things I miss (why I am still doing it.) But I have recently found my mind wandering back to a place of wonder and intrigue towards things which I know have the capability to take away everything I have worked for. I want to be better. I want to take the high road and keep fighting my alcoholism with faith and hope and love, but I'm starting to wear thin. I feel the pressure to succeed and to have my shit together yet my mind starts doing the happy dance every time I put into consideration saying "fuck it." and taking that drink.
I have decided that for the next four months that I will be writing for the Odyssey, I want to do something different. Because of my overwhelming sense to drink, it's all I've been able to think about. My writing has slacked because of it. But instead of cursing my writer's block, I'd like to use my personal struggles with relapse throughout my writing- telling a weekly story of a girl- similar to myself- who risks everything she has to give into temptation.
This is the story of Grace, and I hope you like it.
RELAPSE; PART I
She pulled the bottle tightly against her chest. The bottle's cool and smooth glass exterior barely touched her skin but graced it just enough as if to say, "you're home. You're safe." She had been pacing around the grocery store for what felt like hours, moving robotically up and down the isles, her cart slowly filling up with food she would end up not being able to stomach. The anxiety had been gripping her insides for the past few weeks, but it had yet to bring her face-to-face with the source. At least, that was, up until this moment.
She had been so strong, she had said "no" so many times, she had learned how to make do without it, she had paved the way for a completely new life, yet here she was, cradling the bottle of 1961 French Merlot as if it were a small child. Her rampant thoughts evaporated into the air as her eyelids drew closer to each other. Holding onto the bottle, her body swayed back and forth; she set down her shopping bag and turned her full attention to the red liquid, rocking it synonymously in tune with her body. She pressed her cheek against the black and red label, inhaling the closeness of the thrill.
"Grace." In the distance, beyond her spinning thoughts, she heard her name.
"Grace," it repeated. "Grace, your prescription is ready."
She withdrew from the silent and intimate moment she was having with the wine to respond. "Yes, that's me. Over here." She gave the bottle one last, tight squeeze and returned it to its cubby against the wall. Grace picked her bag up off the floor while simultaneously shaking off the urge to turn around and turn her fantasy into a very blurry reality. She knew exactly how bad it would be if she were to give in. She knew it would flip her world upside down and ruin everything she had worked so hard to achieve, but the anxiety was growing and her will to maintain her sobriety was slowly beginning to fade.
Grace gave the cashier a polite "thank you" as she scanned the prescription. "Sign on the dotted line, please." Grace's fingers daintily glided the pen over the machine, but her mind was elsewhere. Her mind was stuck on aisle nine. The one tucked quaintly behind the juice aisle, and off to the right of the coolers that housed cartons of cold beer.
When Grace had stopped drinking, vodka was her very best frenemy. It had been so long since she had been able to give in to her urges. And for the past year and a half, the urges weren't as bad as she expected. But all this time later- now they were creeping up on her. The past really was in the past, so that life she left behind, it had recently begun to seem like such a distant memory. Those dark days became just a flutter in time, something to be left in the past and to never be revisited. But now red wine was encompassing her every frantic thought. "Damn you red wine," she hissed under her breath as she brought her attention back to the cashier.
Once in the parking lot, her pace began to speed up. Adrenaline was making its way through her entire body, begging her to do something. She slammed her head against the steering wheel and let out an exasperated cry. Grace let her head fall below her shoulders as her damp hair sprawled over the steering wheel. She couldn't move. She couldn't see straight. For the first time in her sobriety, one thing was clear to Grace, she wanted out.