The other day, Hubs looked at me out of the blue and said:
“Do you want to know what I’m loving most about this whole being sober, Alcohol Free thing?
And I stabled myself, because I don’t usually like talking about serious things face to face.
Or, at all.
“I am loving this whole new consistent Shawn. Don’t get me wrong, but there was a morning Shawn, an afternoon Shawn, and an evening Shawn.”
And I had to agree.
I was feeling it too, and I’m feeling it more and more each passing, sober day.
Alcoholics put their partners and families through so much shit. We take for granted their patience (and if you’re lucky, they are patient; not everyone is). We lie to ourselves that we’re only hurting ourselves, if we’re aware enough to admit that we’re actually hurting anyone to begin with.
Like playing hide and seek with a toddler, we think no one can see us but we’re standing there in plain sight.
It’s obvious to everyone else but us.
Being the Three Me’s was an exhausting, self deprecating cycle, not unlike the Evolution of Man, but in reverse. I’d start my days standing relatively tall, and with each drink as the day went on I’d take slow but steady steps backwards until I reached the beginning again:
Unable to communicate, slow, confused, and not particularly attractive.
And then, I’d just pass out. Every evening I’d reach black-out, like being absorbed into a black-hole and arriving back at the beginning of time. I’d repeat that decline every single day and lie to myself that it’s just who I am.
I wasn’t drunk: I was tired. I wasn’t drinking too early in the day: I was stressed out. It didn’t matter how much I was drinking today: I was going to drink less tomorrow. It didn’t matter the time of day – there was a Shawn standing by to justify drinking and offer an excuse.
Evening, pre-black-out Shawn always had the best arsenal of excuses.
No wonder I was so exhausted all the time. It’s hard enough being 1 alcoholic, much less 3 in one day. There was always Morning-Hungover-Shaky-Wanting-A-Drink Shawn, Afternoon-Just-Started-Drinking-And-Procrastining-Shawn, then the infamous 3-Sheets-To-The-Wind-4-Litres-of-Wine-Later-Shawn.
None of them were very nice to be around.
And poor Hubs, trying to juggle all 3 of Me.
As the day would go on, I’d accomplish less and remember even less than that. Hubs would bring up the movie we watched the night before and it’d be gone. No recollection. You could’ve paid me to tell you the plot-line or title and I couldn’t.
Dementia has to be the most terrifying of diseases. Developing it sits at the top of my list of greatest fears. Yet, I gladly and habitually self-induced it every night.
Evening Shawn had a very bad memory, if he had any at all. He also cried a lot.
Mountains became molehills, the wrong word could turn into a battle cry. Everything became amplified to offset the fact that I was so absolutely numb the world around me had to scream for me to hear it.
How sad that drinking can split a person into thirds, not one of them as good as the whole. It doesn’t matter what your intentions are, the size and integrity of your heart, or your goals to simply do better.
Drinking for me was the classic magician’s “Saw Them In Half” illusion.
But it wasn’t an illusion.
Every day I’d walk (stumble?) on stage, crawl into the box, and let myself be divided.
It’s a tiring life, never feeling whole. And that’s what the alcohol did to me, every day: it diluted me. It divided me. It took whatever potential I had as a whole, and turned it into fractions. Any effort I made – at anything – was always just a thin slice of what I was actually capable of.
Since going Alcohol Free 12 days ago (12 days!!) I feel myself pulling back together, slowly stitched whole again with threads of sobriety.
It’s not an overnight process.
Once you’ve been in pieces so long, it’s not always easy to figure out how things go back together.
But I’m getting there.
The comforting Consistency of Being Sober makes literally everything easier. My job. My marriage. My efforts to untangle my mind. Everything, somehow, is starting to seem manageable now that I’m no longer letting the drink divide me.
It’s easy to be strong when you are whole, rather than a third of yourself, or less.
I can’t say I’m going to miss the 3 Me’s.
Not one of them did me any favours, but they’ll always be there as parts of me, taking time to heal while I become whole again.
Here’s hoping the stitches hold.