I was sitting talking to a friend about some things troubling my mind. Now 10 months sober, count them – ten; I am actually getting frightened. Frightened of the days ahead now that the veil of bullshit I carried has been lifted and a recovering life has taken its hold. I am holding onto anything that creates a possible feeling that helps me fill a void. The void of boredom. The void of not numbing. The void of just being and existing and not knowing how to exist with feelings. Those feelings. The ones we could excuse away with a drink or a drug. The void in which we create an “empire of bullshit” to maintain. I love that expression. When my friend said it, I instantly knew what they meant. In my world, it means that not only did I maintain the lies to keep drinking along, I was also maintaining MY world of lies to myself that created my empire of nothing.
So when did the lies start? What do the lies look like to someone who is alcoholic? Well, for me it wasn’t compulsive lying disorder or something I enjoyed to get out of someone else. This is a whole other category of disease and addiction that I just don’t have. I never got use to the lying, in fact I prided myself for say that when I was young and my mother grabbed my face and put it up to hers and told me if I lied everyone would hate me etc..etc..I thought I stopped lying – forever. I never thought I ever told a lie again. I called them “white lies.” A white lie is an untruth told to spare the feelings of another person more or less. So, I always thought that if I were avoiding the situation with an “excuse” or a general statement of fact hiding a lit then it was OK. This is how the scenarios rolled out.
When I was younger and getting into shenanigans as a late high school and college student, the lies became more about survival. If I came home too late, there was traffic. If I had one beer, it was usually two beers. My mom once told me that if I ever told her I had two drinks (which was the standard safe reply) then reality was I probably had double that or more. She was SO right. I thought that they were dumb. Once I did tell the truth to them. They picked me up from New York at my temporary housing to go home for the summer. I was in the shower when they showed up. I was still drunk and babbling about how I spent the night out until 7am. There was no getting out of that one. I also remember coming into those same parents’ house with a large duffle bag of clothes after being dropped off at 1am and literally flying from the top stair down to the bottom of the stairs waking up the whole household. Instead of admitting I was drunk, I blamed the bag and looked at my dad and said “wow Dad you really look old.” I was real piece of work. Nice kid.
So with transition to career, owning a home and not being as dependent as I was on family, the deception became different. I would hide how much I drank from people. I became – embarrassed. Shame was always looming from my activities however and the hiding became a lie in it of itself. I didn’t want people to know how much I drank. I would drink before I met you out. This would create a false appearance that my first drink with YOU was my first drink that night. Then there was the bottle hiding and the shell game of how many beers can I drink and still have enough beers to not look like I made a dent. Nope, still working on my first beer over here. The weight of the deception really could zap my energy and the only thing to cure that was to drink through it. It all revolved around being able to drink and get where I needed to be in my buzz. The phone calls in which my parents would ask me if I were drunk and I would deny, deny, deny. Only had two drinks, I am just tired. Tired was big for word slurring.
But what did I tell myself? I would tell myself that I was fine. I wasn’t an alcoholic or maybe I just was abusive. I would say to myself that everyone drank the same as me. Then there is the bargaining we all do. This week I will only do this and next week, only at parties, only wine, only beer and my favorite; I am PALEO, I will only drink tequila. The empire of bullshit reigns. So, now being sober and not being use to having the cloak of deception surrounding me I have a real naked awareness of just how honest I can be and sometimes how isolating it appears. For now, I am working on just what I can do today and looking to the cleaner side of my street without all the bullshit.