Still suffering my writer’s block here, and the more serious post that I have in mind will take a lot of effort, so I’ll leave you with this instead…
Back when I cleaned up, I knew somehow that sobriety was for keeps, but felt embarrassed admitting that I’d only just cleaned up. So to make things easier, I lied. Instead of saying “I’m three days clean” or “two months” or whatever, I said “I am one year clean”, even from day one. I figured (and quite rightly so) that people would have more confidence in me if I tacked some time on, because people tend to be skeptical of addicts in early recovery. (Quite rightly so too, generally. Me knowing that sobriety would “stick” meant nothing to anyone whose trust I had lost. So the solution was to tell a lie. No irony here… move along.) I also didn’t want to hear all the inevitable platitudes of positivity, like, “You can do it”, “Stay strong” and so on. And it worked!
Then, when I really reached one year clean, I simply switched to telling the truth. Something like, “By the way, I’m not really two years clean. It’s actually only one year now because I lied a year ago.”
Nobody cared about the lie and everything worked out. I must admit though, I was hesitant to admit the lie. I thought that people might wonder about my then current sobriety when I admitted to lying for a whole year. But nobody did.
Yet there is one strange way the lie caught up with me. At about one or two months clean, I took out an insurance policy. But I told the lie about my clean time to my financial adviser. (That was when we met.) I have since revealed the truth to him. However, since I chose to be truthful about having a drug history, it not only resulted in loaded premiums, it also meant that the date I stopped using was recorded on my policy, but the false date as per my lie at the time. So now every time I take out a new policy, I have to repeat the lie. I opened a new policy in the last few days, because the one I already have is seeded to the bank for my home loan and that won’t do my son any good if anything happens to me. But even though the adviser knows the truth, he still insists that the date I write on the application is 2012. So according to my insurance policies, I am six years clean. It’s weird. (They just have the year, as 2012. Actual date is September 2013, so I’ll be five years clean in September.)
Aside… This also reminds me that a good indicator that an addict is lying about being clean is when they can’t give you a clear date for their clean-up. For example, putting it down to the year alone sounds dodgy.
I don’t actually remember the exact date that I cleaned up, because I was terribly wasted the day I stopped using. I know it was a Thursday, either near the end of August or the beginning of September. And I know that it was the day Megan (my ex) came back with her daughter who was three months old. Looking at calendars for 2013, it was most probably August 29th, but I choose to use September 1st because of my uncertainty. It’s close enough anyway, and it’s probably better to err a few days late than a few early. Celebrating my clean time at the start of a new month works well for me.