***Submitted by Anonymous
The downward spiral began probably 10 years ago. I have always struggled with depression and a childhood full of rejection, and dealt with both of those challenges with a fierce independence and rebelliousness. That independence has been a strong suit, yet it also created the perfect nurturing ground for turning to alcohol instead of others for relief. Bored? Have a drink. Restless? Have a drink. Sad? Angry? Anxious? Excited? Relaxed? Tired? Energetic? You get the picture, and I can see that I am not the only one who has dealt with life this way.
Not to bore with too much detail, but I ended up going through more than a bottle of wine practically every night. The nights I didn't have my wine, I thought about it all night and first thing in the morning. Toward the last (I have made it over 2 months, with one relapse) I was drinking half and half--half wine, half vodka, so I would drink it more slowly and no one would be the wiser. Hid bottles of wine and later vodka, too, in special places--my favorite place was the bathroom cabinet--could go in there with my wine glass, guzzle, fill up my glass, and flush.
I have embarrassed my boys (now young adults) and my loving husband and my mom and myself. When drinking in a social situation, my tendency was to get very deep, very fast. I would bring up topics like, "Who would you call if you had cancer?" or something brazen like, "How did you turn out to be so arrogant?" or interrupting someone's toast to tell them to "hurry up". If others were fortunate, I would go home early to pass out, leaving them to go on to much lighter subjects. It is only through dumb luck I was never stopped for a DUI. Toward the last years of my drinking, I would drink mostly alone at home. Hoping no one would interrupt my reverie, and feeling resentful if they did.
The hardest part has been what to do with my time and feeling like life isn't so fun anymore. I am so used to drinking to to pass the time--everything was so much more fun and tolerable with a wine warming my belly and brain. Activities like, cleaning the house, writing a thank you note, paying bills, camping, horses, dealing with teenage mood swings and husband's expectations, surfing the net, reading a book by the fireglow, all took on a sense of excitement, or tolerability, or coziness cuz I had my glass of wine for security and company.
I would have my best, most creative ideas when drinking. The things I could look forward to! It certainly seemed to help with my depression--the heaviness would lift and I would feel energized by "life" and it's possibilities! But when the morning would come, I would have lost all my confidence and motivation to follow through with any of those ideas--leaving me feeling the lowest of lows. It started to eat away at my belief that I could follow through with any of my ideas, which eroded my sense of purpose and confidence.
So, I haven't been drinking, but started smoking. Why is it that I am so driven to change my feelings by a substance? I read somewhere that "almost no one" starts smoking after 25 years old. I'm 46. One of the most helpful things (besides smoking) has been reading books like, "Drinking--A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp, "An Uncommon Drunk" by Jeff Herten, and "Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore" by Rachael Brownell. These books have really made me feel not so alone--knowing that if others have made the change, then maybe I can, too. And maybe there is life after drink.
Yet, here I am, taking it day by day. Not planning on going to AA, as I live in a very small town and I cannot bear to put myself out there like that. Plus what if I decide to drink again down the road? Then it would open my heart up to have people judging me and thinking I failed. Maybe if I am ever in a situation where I can slip in anonymously, I will try it. But for now, I am reaching out here--maybe this is something Ido need others' help with managing. Oh, I don't know. But today, I am not going to drink.
Thanks for listening,