by Siba Nkumbi
I acknowledged that I suffered from alcoholism but I never fully accepted that I am the cause of my misery. Little things triggered a relapse. Here is a practical example: I lost two jobs in one month, lost hope in finding anything permanent and was facing the possibility of going back to the Eastern Cape knowing pretty well that I came to Cape Town to get back on my feet again.
Things never really turn out as planned, 25 years later I still have to remind myself about life being unpredictable. I felt my cravings grow everyday, I had to push through each day reminding myself that I don’t have to drink even though everything inside told me to get that one drink and things will get clearer.
I became a master at fooling myself. December 2014 was the month of my relapse, with Christmas and my Birthday coming up, I convinced myself that I had the ability to control my alcohol intake.
After all, I never went to rehab so maybe I’m not really an alcoholic, those thoughts amongst other thoughts encouraged my relapse. I started drinking again, I moved in with my ex boss and I started having a glass of wine every night and I applauded myself that I was better than before because I had stuck to one glass.
The worst day was yet to come. The morning of the 28th of December was a great one. Waking up to the sun shining, what a great day it was. I knew that before midnight I’d be drinking because when midnight strikes it will be the dawn of my birthday. That’s when my relapse took a serious turn, I started drinking and heavily must I add.
On the 30th of December, I realized that I had become comfortable with drinking again and decided to take a step back. I was successful in entering the new year sober, from the 2nd of January 2015 I drank until the morning of the 4th where I found myself breaking down on my bathroom floor.
I came back to my senses snapping back to reality I realized I was playing a dangerous game with myself and everyone I love and care about.
I had to decide if I want stop or continue! I decided to pull myself together once and for all. This time it was final, but wait… I had let down so many people by letting them believe I had stopped, only to start again.
I knew that I was ready to accept it if people didn’t believe me. The difference this time was that for once in all those times I had tried to stop I was doing it for myself only. The last few times I did it for myself, mother, partner and siblings. This time was different I was doing it for me. It only works when you do it for yourself, that’s what I told myself.
I started on a new leaf knowing that I risked losing a lot of friendships by putting a stop to my lifestyle of drinking for fun and to fill the emptiness and void I tried to cover with alcohol.
I didn’t tell anyone I was planning on going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)meetings.
Firstly, before anything I had to forgive. Through all that forgiveness decision I realised that it’s ok to seek help and admitting that I was weak to do it on my own.
Trying to do it alone drove me back to square one at a time where I thought I was making progress. I saw I was drowning and made that call for help, and so my AA journey started.
I found a group in a Church up in Kloof Street and it has been my home since then. I felt alive when I met people that went through the same stuff as me and realised that help is always there when you need it, all I had to do was ask.
I am grateful to the people that stood by me when the addiction was horrible and unbearable. Thank you.
The moral of the story…
We come across every kind of mystery as humans, we need to know that every problem we face is universal and we’re never alone. Accepting that you need help does not mean that you are weak but it means that there is a will to get better in pursuit of a better life and happiness.
As a black butch lesbian woman living in South Africa, life gets hard. One finds themselves constantly fighting against one thing or another (be it family or the whole world). Alcohol is not the answer!
We have voices and abilities to come out of our miseries if we can only breathe and think.
It begins with saying”
“No” To that drink, leave the rest to the universe and put your efforts on being a better person.