Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jigsaw

***Submitted by Deb, who is a regular contributor at Crying Out Now

I am three people.   One, the person before she has a drink.   Two, the person who takes that first sip.   And three, the woman waking up in the middle of the night panicked that she's circling the drain.   The one who vows at 2AM to be a better wife, mother, liver of life.   A liver of life who doesn't try to fade away every evening.

This is a relatively new split personality for me.   Oh sure, I've always drank too much when I drink.   One glass of anything?   Not worth it.    It's so much more fun when the glasses are endless.     Conversations are more fascinating, kisses deeper, music louder.    When I drink, it's as my life grows sharper, in technicolor, not fuzzier, as the truth may be.

Then, there's the fact that I'm a happy drunk.    Life seems easier, so much simpler; so much less boring.    My laughter is full and real.   I get you, you get me.   Things are better.

Or at least they were. The last two years, I've sat in a movie theater watching me on the screen from a seat in the distance.    Seeing a woman who was flailing and grasping at alcohol; making it her lifeline; instead of making her life.   This was about the time I began to drink every night.   Only wine, you know.   Only wine.  One, two, three glasses.  Never more than one bottle.   But I was alone.   I wasn't laughing.   Life stopped appearing easier under the guise of alcohol.

That was about the time I realized I had a problem.

And still do.

But it's only wine. And never more than one bottle.

But I am alone.

I don't feel strong enough to put an end to it.   To say no more.   No more drinks at book club, no more wine with dinner, no more toasting at anniversaries, no more cheering at reunions.   Alcohol is so intertwined with my life as to make it impossible for me to see my life without it.

This is where I am now. I am still three people, unsure how to make herself just one.

16 comments:

  1. OMG.

    I'm sitting here reaading this with a pit in my stomach because you just described me EXACTLY.

    I have a headache and a sour stomach, I guess I'm hungover, but before I read this I was thinking 'maybe I'm coming down with something' instead of admitting that I feel this way a lot in the morning, and owning the fact that I drank almost a whole bottle of wine last night and that's why I feel this way. I'm so tired of it, but somehow by the time evening rolls around I simply don't remember how awful I feel every morning and it's back to the wine I go. I hate beer, I don't drink hard alcohol, and I keep telling myself that I can't have a problem if I only drink wine... everyone drinks wine, right?

    But for some reason I keep coming back here and reading these posts - so somewhere deep inside I know it's becoming a bigger problem in my life.

    Thank you for your honesty. I don't know that I'll ever have the courage to do something about my drinking, but your words helped me see myself in a truer light. Thank you.

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  2. I know exactly the place and multiple people you speak of, and I can tell you, once you take that leap to the other side of sobriety, it will get better. You will get yourself back. It is so worth it. I pray that you get to the point where you feel ready to do so. Life is so FUN sober!!!!

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  3. I just want you to know that you are not alone. I am right there with you. I am you. I do the exact same thing every night. While I don't drink a whole bottle every night, I want to. I probably would if I didn't think my husband would be upset. But I do drink in secret lately. And I do drink every day. Just wine. But still, every day.

    Yesterday, I didn't drink. I thought about it all night, but I didn't drink. I don't know if that will last. But I think one day at a time is the only way to do it.

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  4. Ohhhhh, Deb, Deb, Deb. I am so glad you are writing here. You have just described so perfectly what it's like, what it was like for me once, what it's like for so many now. Thank you for that.

    I still savor the tremendous relief that settled over me when I no longer had to live split apart, as you describe. I had no idea how much head space all of that was taking up until it was gone. All this time later, it is still such a sweet relief. My brain feels all stretched out, happy like a cat, after so long cramped into the fetal position. No more waking up in the middle of the night with heart palpitations, hating myself to the core. No more broken (whispered) promises that nobody knows about but me. No more obsessing over how much I drank, how much I want to drink, will there be wine at this function/event, how much is everybody else drinking, do I have enough wine at home, where am I at in my bank account, has this liquor store guy seen me too much this week so I have to drive across town to the other one, do I need to quit, can I possibly quit, will I ever quit, how will I ever quit.... oh, you've brought it all back so clearly for me today.

    I will tell you this: Up until the very minute I quit, I did not believe I could do it. I certainly didn't believe I would ever feel happiness, dry or not.

    But I did. I found so much more, things I can't even describe, but above all else... relief.

    Thank you for being honest about this. You are far from alone.

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  5. Deb,
    I appreciate you and your words so much.
    Thank you.

    And I appreciate what Maggie shared because that really is one of the best parts...not having to obsess or plan or regret or wonder anymore. For me, the thinking didn't go away right away. I still (over one year later) think a lot about me and alcohol. But it's just different. It's not so all-consuming, filling up my head space. I'm free of that and that really is a great relief.

    I'm glad you're here.

    xoxo

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  6. Being 4 months into sobriety I have to say my experience is that the warm-fuzzy, fun, cozy, technicolor feeling is not real. I realized this attending a wedding and an art opening shortly after quitting. I had just as much fun and just as much social anxiety as I did drinking. All this time I thought things were different drunk, better with a glass of wine in my hand, but I realized it was a mental fixation, an illusion. A trick.

    I'll be pulling for you. The lightness I felt when I stopped was breathtaking. "Stuff" pops up to deal with after the sobriety honeymoon is over but it is not as hard as the pain and isolation of drinking. Good luck. Your soul wants this healing, I can sense it.

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  7. Oh Deb... I so get it. Like the others who have commented from the sober side of the fence, I have to say that life is so much easier without all the craziness of juggling the different personas. The drunk and the wanting to be drunk and the thinking constantly about the drunk...
    But just realizing that the differences are taking place and happening, you're moving towards something big.
    Thank you for opening up here.

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  8. I was where you are at one time Deb and it got worse as the disease of Alcoholism worsened for me.

    The REAL you isn't any of these 3, those 3 are your disease.

    When I stopped drinking I wasn't strong enough to face stopping forever. I decided to stop for just 1 day.
    Can you stop for just 1 day, with help? With a Higher Power and people in AA?
    Any man can fight the battles for one day is what I was told and I decided to try it. It worked for me with lots of help and faith.
    Feel free to contact me anytime.

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  9. Thank you EVERYONE for your comments.
    I feel the web of support and I thank you from the bottom of my soul.

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  10. Deb,
    Your post so eloquently describes exactly where I am now. I want to believe that life is better without wine, but am not convinced. I haven't had wine since Jan 21 (because I was scheduled for surgery, but hey I'll take that as a new start, hopefully). My counselor says I just increase my time between drinks, that I am not in recovery. I have been able to overcome so many obstacles in my life, but this one keeps me from being whole.

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  11. Deb...I loved reading your post. I too believed that I was a woman with 3 personalities. 3.5 years ago, I woke up, makde th kids breakfast and went to throw away the Eggo Waffle box. The trash was full of huge empty bottles of wine. $6.99 Bella Serra Pinot Grigio... I was shocked (yet not) to see them shining up at me. I was done! Never again did I want to feel the power they seemed to have over me. I WANTED A BETTER LIFE! Yes, I could pay my bills, had the love of my children, had a husband, who although baffled by my "personalities" love me non the less, looked ok on the outside etc...I was EMPTY in my soul. I realized in that moment I needed help. I went on the web and searched aa, and got my ass to a meeting that day. It has given me a life I never knew I could have. I am released of they bondage alcohol had over me. It is not "easy" but even on my most difficult days in sobriety, they are FAR BETTER than any I lived while stuck in that vicious cycle of being a slave to my "friend" wine...I am Kristin, an alcoholic. xoxoxoxox

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  12. I remember where you are because I was there. I also remember for me it went downhill from there. The idea of a life without liquor was inconceivable to me. Certainly the fun would come to a screeching halt and I would become a social pariah. But in reality the fun had already left the building and like you, I was alone. And the wine at book club and dinner and such is not what it is about anymore. Those are just the socially acceptable times when to drink.

    As all the commenters before me have said, the fun is still there without the wine and, better still, the anxiety is lifted. There is no obsessing about the amount of diet coke you have at home or if they will be serving sparkling water at the party. For me the idea that I will never have to try and reconstruct the previous evening's events to determine my actions is more than worth it.

    You are asking the right questions and when you are ready, you will be ready. We are all here for you now and we'll be here for you then.

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  13. For me, it wasn't about how much or how often or even the fallout from any of it. It was about the fact that alcohol was an obsession for me and I could never rid it from my mind. I was always thinking about the next drink or the fallout from my last drink. I wanted to be rid of the obsession. Sobriety has given me that and so much more.

    There is a better way.

    You are in my thoughts.

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  14. I love your post and admire you for writing it. This is exactly how I felt. On July 11, 2010 I had my last drink so have been sober for coming up on 8 months. It is amazing how much better it feels to have a clear head. It has not been easy and I still want to drink but it gets easier as it goes. The time obsessing over drinking, when could I, how much could I get, who would notice if I was drinking, who would drink with me???? I held a job, have a child and husband but drinking consumed my thoughts, it was exhausting. Quitting was and still is exhausting some days but in a much different way. It is freeing, you can go anywhere and do anything...just don't drink. You will make whatever choice is right for you. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Thank you for your post. Now I don't feel so alone. I thought I was the only person that "thinks" they don't have the strength to say no. I know that I have a problem, my family knows, my friends, and I am pretty sure that my job has a good idea.

    I am afraid if I don't stop now. I will have nothing and no one left. I have burnt so many bridges with my drunken rages. Put my job in jeopardy. Ruined myself financially. Wrecked my car, and have taken from my children to feed my disease.

    I just don't know where to begin. I have tried AA. I don't want to do the steps. I always reason with myself that I can find some other way to do it. yeah......that hasn't worked out so well. I've gone to counseling. I lie to myself and say I am in control. I live blindly, and it's no way to live. I know all too well about little white lies. Except, mine aren't so little anymore. I amazed myself the other day when I realized just how many people I lie to on a daily basis. Just to cover the drinking. I do not know who I am anymore. I am who I have to be during the day at work to get by, and at night I am in a drunken stuper. Acting like someone else. I am finding that I am alone more and more each day. My friends have dispersed. When I date, it ends in disaster. How can I have a relationship with someone, when I can't have one with myself.

    Why can't I get past step one? How do you get to the next step?

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  16. Wow, this is such an honest post. I could have written this. this is really giving me food for thought because I never thought that daily wine drinking was a problem but I think underneath it all is something. I always have more than one glass. yesterday I was not going to have any but I started feeling antsy. I think it is time to flirt with sobriety.

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