Rush (Gods #2)(7)

By: Samantha Towle


I grip the edge of the counter and swallow in a lungful of air.

Breathe, Ari. Slow and deep.

I take a breath in through my nose and let it out through my dry mouth.

Dry from the need to drink.

No.

My grip on the counter increases. My arms start to tremble from the force, but I don’t let go. Because I’m afraid of what will happen if I do.

I don’t have alcohol in the apartment, but I’m within a ten-minute radius of pubs and bars. Five minutes if I run.

And I’m afraid that, if I let go of this counter, I’ll start running.

I squeeze my eyes shut and slowly count to ten.

I don’t need to drink.

I am in control of my life.

Six months, Ari. Six months sober.

Don’t blow it now.

You’ve gotten through the worst.

Detox was the most horrific experience of my life. I don’t ever want to go through it again.

And, if I have even one drink, I’ll be right back where I started.

I can’t go there.

I won’t go there.

I was what is called a high-functioning alcoholic. I used alcohol as a coping mechanism. I would find any reason to drink. I would drink alone at home. Too much, too often. I could drink a couple of bottles of wine at home or go out and party like it was 1999 and wake with no hangover and head into work. Some people might think that was a good thing—being able to drink with no hangover. But it really wasn’t. It meant that I’d built a tolerance over the years. I’d been drinking too much, for too long.

I couldn’t go a day without a drink, and even then, I still didn’t know I had a problem. If someone had asked me seven months ago if I could stop drinking, I would’ve answered yes without hesitation.

It wasn’t until it was too late when I realized I had a problem.

No, it’s not too late.

I made a terrible mistake because of the disease I have.

And that’s what alcoholism is; it’s a disease.

But I’m getting better. Every day, I’m getting stronger and stronger.

It will not defeat me.

I want a life. I want to be able to paint again. I want to have a career as a professional artist. Maybe even get married one day and have children of my own.

But, to have all of those things, I need to stay sober.

My count is up to fifty when I feel able to actually let go of the counter.

I get my cell from my bag and sit down on my kitchen floor. I open up my music app and press play on my relaxation music. I adopt the lotus position and close my eyes.

I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting like this when my cell starts to ring with an incoming call.

I open one eye, glancing at the caller display, and see it’s my dad.

I really don’t feel like talking to him at the moment, especially not after my little episode. And it’s hard, feeling like a disappointment all the time. Not that he says so. I can just hear it in his voice.

But I know, if I don’t answer, he’ll just keep calling.

So, I pick up my cell and swipe to accept the call. “Hey, Dad.”

“Hey. How are you doing?”

Oh, I’m currently sitting on my kitchen floor in the lotus position after a bad moment, but aside from that, peachy.

“I’m good,” I say. I stretch my legs out and lean back against the cupboard door. “I was just going to start thinking about what to have for dinner.”

“We could have had dinner together,” he says. “I thought you might have come to see me after you finished work. I was gonna give you a ride home, so we could grab dinner together in the city.”

“Sorry, I didn’t realize.” If you’d told me, I would’ve known though. “I wasn’t sure where in the building you were”—lie—“and I had to rush to catch my bus.” Another lie. “Maybe tomorrow?” I suggest.

“I can’t tomorrow. I’ve got a late meeting with Bill.”

Bill is the owner of the team.

“The day after,” I suggest.

“Sure.” Pause. “So, how did you get on today?”

“Okay. It was…good.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend much time with you today. I was busy with—”

“It’s fine, Dad.” I’m used to it. The words are on the tip of my tongue, but like usual, I don’t say them.

My therapist in rehab told me that I should air my grievances with my dad, tell him how I’ve felt like second best all these years. The resentment that I feel toward him for never being around to help with Mom when she was still alive.

I knew he couldn’t handle Mom’s mood swings. He would spend as much time out of the house as possible. So, it was mostly just me and her.

When she had a high mood, she was great, fun. But, when she was low…it was bad. Sometimes, she couldn’t get out of bed for days.