*** Submitted by Mata, who blogs at Mothers Addicted to Alcohol
I was 14 when I first picked up a drink. It was a warm beer, but I felt grown up holding the can. It was a warm beer and I loathed the taste. It was a warm beer and after just a couple of sips my brain ‘switched on’ to a feeling and I was instantly in love.
I was 31 when I first put down a drink. I had been able to stop before during my two pregnancies, but both were nine agonising months of waiting...not for the baby, but for the champagne to celebrate. Since my first drink at the age of 14, alcohol and taken me to places I had never dreamed of. It took me to beds with strangers who weren’t my husband. It took me on wild drunken drives to various bottle shops, seedy bars and nightclubs. It took me to hospital with overdoses of Valium taken during blackouts. It took me to my bedroom for 10 weeks when my kids were just 2 and 4, leaving their care to their Father. In my bedroom, I would sit, watch TV and drink from my beloved cardboard box that contained 4 litres of white wine that tasted even better after each glass. It took me to a ‘lockdown’ detox centre filled with criminals and other ‘drunks’. It took me to a rehabilitation centre filled with other women who were supposedly ‘just like me’. It took my marriage.
After only six months of sobriety I decided it was all too much for me to handle and so I picked up with my lover, alcohol, once again. In just three months, it took me straight back to rehab. This time it nearly took my children off me. I was lucky. I had gotten away with it.
At the age of 32, alcohol took me to AA. Here I learned that I wasn’t alone. It was a disease and I could get help, all I had to be was willing. I was willing for a while, but then I got tired of hearing about my disease. It wasn’t sexy enough for me, so I took myself off and decided I could do this on my own. I took myself on an ‘overseas self-discovery’ tour and managed to find some peace. This peace lasted a while, but slowly it began to fade.
I was 34 when I picked up my relapse drink. This time it took me nine months to get back to a hell that I had never experienced before. If I thought that life was hard for me the first time I got sober, then I really hadn’t seen anything yet. This time alcohol took me straight to hell and I stayed there. It took my mind, my children, my job, my relationship, my life, and this time, I didn’t care. Once again, it took me to hospital after I tried to take my own life. I couldn’t bear to live with myself. I had to die. I thought this was my only escape.
I don’t know what it took to get here today. I guess all I can say is I had family, friends and a team of doctors and therapists who never gave up on me. Above all this, I had my children. Looking into their faces when I was at my very bottom sparked something from very deep within me that told me I had to just hang on. So I did. At first by a fingernail and then by a hand and then before I knew it, I was sitting on top of the cliff. Today, 38 days sober, I am on my knees. I am praying to my God and thanking him for my life.
Alcohol took me to hell and back again. It took me 20 years to realise it was not my friend and it was a selfish lover. Alcohol showed me no mercy and tried to take everything from me, including my life. I have taken the first step to ensure that I can remain sober, one day at a time. This step is simply to say that I am powerless over alcohol. If I can hold onto just that simple notion then alcohol can’t take me anywhere again.