**Submitted by Jane
"You're a horrible mother."
"You messed up again."
"You do everything wrong."
"Everyone would be better off without you."
These are the kinds of thoughts that have rolled incessantly through my head for as long as I can remember. I have always known that I am a fuck-up. A failure. No good. Despite that knowledge, I always strove for perfection; and I always failed to achieve it. Sometimes that failure made me try harder, but most of the time it just made me hate myself that much more.
I never had many friends in school, I was always the loner, the loser, the weirdo. But my freshman year I found friends and acceptance. One night I was out with those oh-so-cool friends and they introduced me to pot and wine coolers. I thought I was flying. I lay on a bed in a stranger's apartment and swore I saw heaven. And for that short time I didn't worry about being perfect. I didn't have to watch every word I said, every move I made. I felt free.
Now, nearly 7 months into my sobriety I realize I was an addict from that first night. But back then I just thought I had arrived. I was cool, I had friends, I went to parties, I "knew" what the straight people never would. I thought they were pathetic, those non-druggies, passing up a straight line to heaven all for the sake of normalcy. What I wouldn't give now to go back and live my life the way they did. Normalcy would have been a small price to pay to not spend so many years in hell.
College was when I really discovered drinking. Drugs were still my preference, but they were harder to get, and alcohol was everywhere. I drank to black out most nights. Half-way through my freshman year, I was raped at a frat party because I was too drunk to fight. You would think that would've stopped me, but I just used it as an excuse to drink and drug 24/7. I stopped going to classes, went from straight A's in high school to nearly flunking out. I didn't care; at least that's what I told myself. But I did care. I was disgusted with my behavior, and I drank to push down those feelings too. Ah, the insanity of this disease.
The years after college were the darkest of my life, all thanks to alcohol.
I thought once I moved on to my new life as a wife and mommy I would automatically get better. After all, mommies don't drink. Mommies are perfect. They keep a beautiful home, cook 4 star meals and have clean, well mannered, intelligent children. They work and they volunteer their time and they bake cupcakes for school and they throw magnificent birthday parties and still manage to be skinny and gorgeous. They are what I could never manage to be, and once again I had all the reason in the world to hate myself.
Oh, I put on a pretty picture. I made sure that everyone outside my home thought I was the perfect wife and mother. I gorged myself on all the "How do you do it all?" and "Jane is so amazing" and "You are such a good mom" compliments. But inside my head I knew it was all fake. In my head I knew I was a horrible granddaughter for not writing my grandma a thank-you letter when she sent me $5 for my birthday. I knew I was a terrible daughter for not making photo albums of my babies to present to my parents. I knew I was the worst mom ever because I forgot to get my daughter's ice skates sharpened. I knew I did everything, absolutely everything, wrong.
This litany of self-abuse could only be quelled by alcohol. When I had that glass of wine, everything got better. My edges softened and I could flow around things instead of grating against them. I could be a better, more patient mom. A kinder, more loving wife. If only I could stop at that glass, everything would have been perfect.
But I never could.