An open apology to my friend

If I don’t hold myself publicly accountable, how can I expect to get better?

I’m an alcoholic, plain and simple. I’m obsessive compulsive, and I obsess over alcohol. It’s a poisonous drug that some people can casually use and be fine, but I can’t because I’m an addict. If I allow myself one single drink, I will immediately resume my habits of planning the next drink, stocking up, and hiding whisky in unlikely places so nobody can take it away from me again.

It’s unhealthy as fuck, obviously. That’s why sobriety and complete abstinence is the only thing that will work for me. So, on the 22nd of November I reached 50 full days without taking a drop of alcohol. It felt like a great achievement, I was finally starting to feel better. The phantom bourbon taste in my throat had finally disappeared, and my organs weren’t hurting me. I celebrated by ordering a handcrafted bracelet with my sobriety date 3 Oct 19, and the word Serenity.

Then early this week I relapsed. I don’t know what triggered me. I just let my guard down and decided it didn’t matter if I was sober. I bought myself a bottle of my favourite whisky and I drank it all over the course of a day. The next day I woke up and decided I’d had my fun, but that was enough to get the pent up cravings out of my system, and I’d return immediately to abstinence. Later that day I drank half a bottle of rum.

My friend who I always turn to for support and encouragement, and who has been there for me when I’ve quit and un-quit tonnes of time, reached out to me the other day to see how I was doing. She asked me how long it had been since I last had a drink and I lied to her. I said 54, when actually it was zero. I wanted it to be true. I didn’t want to have fucked it up again, so I lied to my friend and I lied to myself. Yesterday I bought another bottle of whisky. I only drank two glasses, and then I felt sick all of a sudden. It wasn’t the alcohol that made me feel sick, but the guilt. It hit me all at once, and I can feel it now. I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but I’m crying right now as I write this.

The thing is, I really don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to lie to the people I love. I don’t want to relapse. I’m genuinely fucking terrified of what will happen if I go off the rails again. Since I was a kid, I’ve had issues with addiction and substance abuse, and for a long time it was my only way of coping, but now my life is supposed to be better. It is better. But the danger of falling back into destructive habits is always there, and I don’t think it’s ever going to go away.

I let my guard down, and I made the wrong choice this week. I’m still going to wear that bracelet when it arrives, even though I’m back on Day 1. All I can do is reset and start again. And I’m very sorry for lying to you. Sorry you got more than you bargained for when I danced into your life.

Thank you,

Niamh. x

“Introspection” by Niamh Calderwood

The take away from this is I’m still learning how to live with myself and my addiction, and channelling it into art is a healthy coping mechanism rather than fucking myself up. I produced a demo for a new song, and started writing music again.

“Introspection” lyrics:

I took a break from all that shit, from drinking poison, getting lit

but all it seemed to do for me was amplify insanity

So now I’m back with all my vices, Jim Beam and my vape devices

ultra highs and ultra lows, if you know me that’s how it goes

I’ve tried to drink in moderation; glass of wine on fine occasions

but fuck if I know moderation, I’m a fucked manifestation

Depression, pain and OCD – the patchwork quilt of fucked up me

I couldn’t find much clarity with three therapists and surgery

I’m heading for oblivion, my bags are packed – I’m on the run

A bottle of Kentucky bourbon; I’m sweating and my face is numb

There’s not much hope for me today, I’m poor and drunk, and fat and gay

My friends can’t help me anyone.

At least I’m doing it my way…

Perhaps this is just fantasy, and life’s fine for my wife and me

but what if we awake from this to find it’s all a phallusy?

I couldn’t take that much oppression- my never ended introspection,

Fuelled by sex and alcohol, it always comes back to depression.

Published by Niamh Calderwood

I'm an indie writer, and MA student in Creative Writing. I'm also a Doctor of Divinity and an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church.

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