The Booze-Free Brigade is a group of women who organize and contribute to a website called CryingOutNow.com.
Like DrinkingDiaries.com and Don't Get Drunk Friday on Stephanie Wilder-Taylor's blog, Crying Out Now is a wonderful forum for women to share stories about sobriety, recovery, relapses, shame, fear, guilt, and all the other wonderful goodies addiction brings to us. I tried sharing my story with them, but haven't heard back yet.
I realize that most people in recovery will look at what I'm doing and call it major rationalization for continuing my problem. That it's basic denial. Even dangerous.
But I can't help but continue working on it because I know how much regular cleansing has helped me. Things aren't perfect - I'm not sure they'll ever be. But I do know a few truths: I'm not running out to the wine store first thing in the morning. I'm not hiding bottles under the kitchen sink (and everywhere else). I'm not toting wine in my purse every time I go out so I can sneak it during bathroom breaks. And I'm not getting into vicious fights with my husband three times a week.
I also know that I'm not as terrified and depressed as I was in the old days. And that's the most important thing of all. So - for me - this plan is working because it's improved my life on so many levels. Even if I didn't feel I had to cleanse regularly, I wouldn't give it up because I find it such a fulfilling part of my health routine.
But back to Crying Out Now. According to the website, part of their mission is to help end the shame and stigma of addiction. I'm trying to do that, too, by talking openly and honestly about my own situation. I'm not ashamed of how I used to be - not anymore. I guess because I'm so much better. But I am ashamed of many of the things I did. (Including that moronic romp that I wrote about last week that I have since deleted from the post. Here's a newsflash: blackouts should sometimes be left that way. ;))
Having said that, I do want to be as honest as I can. And I can honestly say that for all the ways this plan flies in the face of traditional recovery methods, my life is better than it used to be. But I still drink. Period. And that was my goal when I set out to improve my condition - to be free of the problems of addiction without quitting forever.
The reason I share my story is because ten years ago when I was looking for a way out, everything seemed so clinical and/or self-righteous. So I was forced to create my own escape plan. And it's worked for me. I really hope that some day it can work for other people, too. And that's why I continue to write about it.
I know abstinence programs are a godsend for many people and that these people also feel happier and healthier now that they're free of addiction. btw ... that's what's really addictive: getting free of addiction.
For a taste of the true joy that this freedom has brought to many women, you have to check out the 3 1/2 Year Anniversary Video for Crying Out Now. It's full of beautiful women with beautiful messages. And the song is absolutely gorgeous!