Nearly every day I visit one of my favorite websites, The Fix. Today I read an excellent article by Vicki Hogarth, who is a recovering alcoholic, freelance writer and former celebrity journalist.
The title of the piece is Relapsing on Mouthwash. The subtitle says a lot.
The meetings I went to were creepy enough for me to avoid the program altogether—and eventually relapse while gargling. Then I realized something had to change: me.
I won’t go into the whole article, but the gist of it was, that Vicki had gone to a 28-day rehab, and when she came out, she really wasn’t into AA meetings. She found the meetings depressing.
She tried going out with her friends from work who drank, and she stayed sober for awhile. But as months went by, she notes that the “novelty of my sobriety wore off.”
One morning before work, she was gargling mouthwash, and instead of spitting it out, she swallowed it. Well, this brought on a buzz and before you know it, she was doing it too often. Within two weeks of binging on mouthwash, she had to detox with medical support.
Fortunately, this episode led her back to AA, where she found an AA meeting of people young, like herself. She even met an acquaintance there, and she finally began to feel comfortable with AA and the program.
Reading this article reminded me of an experience I had while attending Open AA meetings. (I’m not an alcoholic. I was trying to understand a loved one’s behavior.) Much to my surprise one night, I met an old friend and co-worker there. Jane had hired me for my first hairdressing job and was probably the first alcoholic I had daily interaction with. (Although I didn’t realize she had a problem at the time.)
I even went out with her a few times, and noticed she really downed the drinks awfully fast. But since I’d never been around that kind of behavior at that time in my life, I wasn’t particularly alarmed. Jane wasn’t a loud drunk. She actually became strangely quiet. It never occurred to me then, that I was putting myself in danger by riding with her.
Sadly, Jane’s problem was so bad, that one evening she went out barhopping alone, and got so drunk that she hit and killed a woman while driving. I still remember Jane being out of work due to her own injuries. She had all of her teeth knocked out and many broken bones. I never did know if she had to serve any jail time.
It was strange to meet up with her again so many years later in AA. But now I look back and feel extremely grateful that I wasn’t with her that horrible night. I’m also hoping she is still working her program and will never get in a car and drive drunk again.
To read Vicki’s article, go to: