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02 September 2011 @ 07:00 pm
A Conversation With Sarah Katherine Lewis continued  
Page 3

Counting the Days

SKL Yeah, well that’s the other thing that’s really curious to me, the whole idea that having one drink or even going out for the night and getting really plastered, according to the 12-steppers, that would be a relapse that would basically stop my sober time, and, I would get my 24-hour chip, no matter if I’ve been sober 15 years, and then I went out and had a glass of champagne at a wedding, that basically would start my sober time over, completely invalidating all the years that I’ve been sober. which doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me because it seems to me like if you’re in college, and you flunk one class, you just lose the credits for that class. You don’t lose the credits you’ve accrued for all the years of classes that you’ve successfully passed and thinking about that, I think that encourages continued relapses because if you’re gonna have one glass of champagne then you’ve totally wrecked it and you might as well go on a binge for a week.

TSM I liked your comparing it to dieting and how some people, if they go off their plan it’s like oh well, I’m screwed so I may as well just…

SKL I might as well eat, like 12 pounds of chocolate you know …What if, what if there was room for saying “Ok, well you had a glass of champagne and that probably was not the best thing for you, but you haven’t wrecked anything”…

TSM Exactly…

SKL What would that look like if you could come to a 12-step meeting and say “you know what, I had a glass of champagne last night and I don’t feel great about that, but today is a new day and I’m not going to have champagne today.” What if there were support for that, but then at the same time there can’t be support for that because they’d drive themselves effectively out of business if there wasn’t that huge fear that if you don’t keep going, this relapse will happen to you.

TSM It makes me wonder “well, are there people who really aren’t safe to do that without having a major relapse and are they using the accumulation of days/weeks/months and years to create sort of a wall that their ego is attached to so they don’t want to give that up with their one glass of champagne.

SKL Right and I think that’s totally cool if that’s what they honestly want to do, but I mean for instance umm…you know, like I’m supposed to be counting my days of sobriety and they have something called birthdays, which is like the date that you got sober and then you celebrate three months from that and six months from that eventually you go by the year. I could probably look at my day-runner and like look and see what day I actually arrived at rehab and that would be my date of sobriety but it just doesn’t mean a gosh-darn thing to me and as far as counting my days, why the hell would I count my days of not doing something?

TSM Yeah, perhaps some people really find that useful. I had a friend who went through rehab who was clinging to that as an accomplishment, I’ve accumulated x amount of days and that seemed to help her ego, which I guess had been bruised by her behaviors when she was addicted.

SKL She was, but if she was thinking about it that much and if that’s such a huge factor than how is she not living a life that is intimately involved with substance use…it’s just sort of the whole, “I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m not thinking about the white elephant. I’m not thinking about the white elephant”. You know it’s like what, your life is all about the white elephant, whether you’re doing it or not, right?

TSM Yeah

SKL I think, part of me like feels, I didn’t think that it was supposed to be this easy. I just don’t think about drinking. I mean, ok, in California you know they can sell alcohol in like the normal drugstores and the other day I was walking through the liquor aisle to get to the coffee section and I felt neutral…you know? And I didn’t think it was supposed to be like that, I thought that one way or the other it was supposed to provoke feelings in me, but the sort of neutrality was something I was not prepared for at all.

continued