Monday, April 5, 2010

Hi, My Name is Heather

A note from Robin: This post, reprinted with permission from the author, is by Heather of the EO. The original can be found here.

from this one place I can't see very far/in this one moment I'm square in the dark*

I don't know how to do this.

Just quit.

I don't know how and haven't been able to.

I don't even know how it happened. But it did. Even to me, the girl who is always fine because other people are not fine. It's this disease that forgot to skip me. It laughed at my always trying to be good and please everyone self and kicked my stubborn pride in the guts.

It laughed.

And then it kicked harder and harder.

I've always tried to be a bit invisible. Felt a little invisible. Even while bouncing and laughing and showing off. Even then.

Keep it simple. Keep it small. No one has time for your always so overly sensitive self, always so effected, so full of emotion. Just stop. Go numb. You'll be fine.

So the funny thing is, I didn't even really do this up very big.

I didn't drink all day, every day. I didn't get even one DWI or DUI or get in any kind of major trouble at all. I bathed my kids and made them meals and built things out of Legos. But I did it all while wanting to drink and then 5pm! drinking while I did it. Sneaky stolen glasses while my loves weren't looking, but they knew because they always know...she's not really with us. I was drinking myself to sleep or stumble and then feeling off and anxious and heavy behind the eyes all day, every day.

I don't like causing ripples, making a scene. I don't want to be the one people are calling each other about with Big News, as they bob around in my waves, a bit shocked.

So no, I didn't do this up big and yet it is still very very big. It drives me and drives me.

everything in me is tightening/I am fighting to stay open/stay open like a lake/I've no idea where to begin/to swallow up the way things are/everything in me is drawing in*

It progressed, from two a night to three a night and then more and more, taking on its big life, towering over me. That happened partly because I even stuffed it away, this addiction. So as not to bother anyone, even myself or God, I hid it away. I kept putting it away, glass by glass, somewhere inside me until I couldn't breathe, couldn't connect, couldn't pray. I tried so hard not to think about it, and lost so much sleep trying not to think about it.

And now, I'm so tired of living for 5 o'clock so I can pour my first and never last glass of wine. That's an empty thing to live for...

5 o'clock.

I don't know what's making me so afraid/tiny cloud over my head/heavy and grey with a hint of dread/I don't like to feel this way*

self-medicate
first glass, brain wakes up
clear headed
more more more
less clear
more more more
less clear
numb
time flying and
finally
chemically dependent
just want those hours of feeling better
but feeling nothing is not better
and it never lasts

there's no good way to hide*

I'm finally going to do something up big. I'm going to be a big quitter.

I'm terrified and totally humiliated and relieved all at once. And yet I have more peace than I've had in years. Even though I don't want to stop.

I quit denial quite some time ago but couldn't accept that I still needed to stop the beast I knew was in me. I spun my wheels, living just to fight the truth that walked around my heart and mind, begging gently to free me. Yes, I know I'm an alcoholic. But I'm fine.Because there is so much shame in this, so many finger waves and scowls at the corners of my memory, warnings of the bad bad bad choices. Don't make them.

~~~~~~~

Not everyone wants more more more. They have one glass and want no more. Why can't that be me, I'd ask. But that's not me. For me it's the sickness that it is, pulling me in with its false promises.

I used to think it was a choice. I used to think I was weak. And in some ways, I was. But there's also this: If you have a propensity toward addiction, it will lie in wait and devour you with even the smallest dose of the chemical thing that is harmless to many but not to you.

Now I'm trying to push the guilty thoughts away because shame never has helped me. It has only kept me drinking. Love on the other hand, gently walking circles around my heart...well, that's what is drawing me in and pulling me away from the need.

there's redemption in confession/and freedom in the light*

If I say this here, in the very space that I've used to focus on the beauty of my life and to keep me afloat... If I say it here, well then, I've said it and I can't turn back. This is not the kind of extraordinary I would like to keep in my ordinary life. So I said it here.

Like a promise.

And I say it here because I just want someone, you sitting there, my words resonating and seeming like yours, I want you to know you aren't alone. We all have our thing or things that bind us up and turn us inside out and it hurts so much, but I really think we can quit. We can be free.

I am quitting. Or rather, I quit. Yesterday, January 20, 2010 was the first day of the rest of my doing it up big quitting life.

I will not have a drink again. I will not go light and fuzzy or wobble. I will deal. I will strip it away until I uncover all the layers of things, lies I've told myself, that brought me here. I will always know that this is part of me, a part I can't come back to for just one drink, poking at the monster with a stick. No I can't. Because the beast will wake up and hover over me again, keeping me square in the dark.

I am quitting.

I don't have any idea how, but I'm about to find out...

a fire in my bones, fire in my bones/burnin in my bones/when the lights come up on this town/when the thing goes down/wanna be found when the lights come up on this/wanna be found tryin/when the lights come up/wanna be telling the truth*

I will do this for Ryan.
I will do this for Miles and Asher.
I will do this for me.
The me that's always been there, but has been covered up by this thing.
The me who is living for the moments of being fully alive
instead of living quickly through those moments until it's 5 o'clock.
I'm going to find her.


I'm not holding on to anything I'm not willing to let go of/to be free

I will lay my heart wide open/like the surface of a lake/bring the wind and bring the thunder/bring the rain till I am tried/when it's over bring me stillness/let my face reflect the sky/and all the grace and all the wonder/of a peace that I can't fake/wide open like a lake*

*all bold italics taken from songs by Sara Groves, on her album Fireflies and Songs (the album that helped me finally find myself trying.)

6 comments:

  1. Your story is so familiar. I see myself in your words. Reading this reminds me that we need to make a conscious decision every day to remain sober and that we have so many precious reasons to do it. Thank you for sharing your journey. Congratulations on your sobriety! We're all in this together.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this, for sharing, for writing in a way I can still see myself...I just passed my 1 year, but have to be conscious, and aware and REAL about all that this is, and where drinking that ONE glass, then another,and another has taken me, away from my life, from my family.
    Trying daily, to be real, and here, and do it BIG. We do not need to be invisible and quiet about this anymore.
    Here with you friend. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is not my story and yet I see myself in so much of what you wrote here that I'm captivated by it and wondering....so many lines resonate that I won't even begin to quote that back.

    Excellent, excellent.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was really beautiful and it made me tear up - so many similarities.

    I used to think it was a choice too and all about willpower until I realized others didn't need willpower to stop after one. They just did. It wasn't a struggle for them.

    Congratulations on your sobriety and for finding a bottom that didn't jeopardize the life you have built for yourself. More need to know that bottom doesn't have to be catastrophic, but that if you wait it might be.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you Heather. You have put such beautiful words to the ugliness that is our disease. I was forbidden to say "I'm fine" when I was in treatment. I thought that was ridiculous. What harm could two little words have? Now I know. I wasn't fine, but I wanted to believe I was and prove I was with all my heart. I was thrilled to identify people who were less fine than I was.
    I, too, got sober for my husband and my children ~ with myself somewhere near the bottom of the list. I am finally at the top of my list. I hope you are as well. Val

    ReplyDelete
  6. It always comes as a shock to me when someone else tells my story. Before I quit drinking I was convinced I was the only mom who did this. I was paralyzed by the guilt and shame. Admitting I am an alcoholic was one of the most freeing things I've ever done. I don't have to be that person anymore. I am not alone.

    thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete