I used to hoover cocaine and drown myself in alcohol. Plus, I was so ruled by terror I couldn’t even admit I was scared. Sobriety has changed most of that.
The reason I got sober isn’t that I thought sobriety sounded like a great idea. It was actually something I thought that only a complete loser would embrace. It was the act, I was certain, of a person with absolutely no other options.
The problem was that I was that person with no other options. And I was so depressed by my cocaine-cigarette-vodka-Ambien diet—and the cycle of trying to quit it and not being able to—that I figured anything, even sobriety, had to be better. So one morning I called my mom and told her that I was a coke addict and that I was in serious trouble. I don’t know what was different about that morning. Maybe nothing was different but I just had a moment where I wasn’t able to talk myself into continuing on the path I was on. My mom knew that something was wrong with me but something had been wrong with me for a long time. Still, the previous year, when we’d been on vacation, she happened to see how many Ambien I shook from the pill bottle into my open palm and so she tried to talk to me—in that terrified Mom voice—about what I was doing. I’d told her to stop overreacting and changed the subject.
Now, my mom is one of those mothers who would love to get both of her children back into her womb, if possible. But barring that, she’ll settle for living back in the house we grew up in. Barring that, she’ll take living in Northern California. I was living in LA. So that morning I called her, she said, “LA’s been terrible for you. Go get in your car and drive home.”
I drove there, completely despondent. If there was anything that sounded more depressing than being sober in LA, it was being sober in my hometown. But like I said, I didn’t have any options. I ended up talking to my parents and my step-dad and a therapist about what I’d been doing—telling them the whole story and not just the edited version I’d been giving them for years. I admitted that I spent entire weeks doing cocaine alone, that I didn’t have any friends anymore, that I sometimes took so much Ambien after getting wired that I worried one morning I just wouldn’t wake up. They were rightfully alarmed and agreed to help pay for rehab. Somehow I talked them into helping to pay for a rehab in LA and not in Northern California. And somehow I talked that rehab, an inpatient program, into letting me do outpatient since I didn’t want to have to quit the job I was barely hanging onto. Read More…