***Submitted by Kathy, who blogs at Notes from the BRB Queen
On March 30th, I celebrate 7 years of recovery.
Seven years ago I was waking in a bed of my own urine and not caring. Seven years ago I was not able to look myself in the mirror without telling myself what a loser I was. Seven years ago I was going to bed each night praying that God would take me in my sleep, and then waking the next day so angry that I had to do my life one more day.
Seven years ago I was drinking an easy gallon of tequila a day. Most days I would start off with a pint or fifth, but I would always go back for more. If I was awake, I had to be drinking. I could not leave my home unless it was to get more booze, food for the kids or to take them to school.
Seven years ago, I had a suicide plan. I knew that if I drank one more day, I would go through with it. I was a single mother to two children, ages 6 and 17.
I had some time in a 12 Step fellowship 5 years prior. I had gained 9 months of sobriety when I went out and drank with my partner. The courts had ordered him to the fellowship after we had a domestic violence incident. I went to meetings with him because I didn’t want him meeting women. Then it became a contest to see how much more time sober I could get than he. I had 9 months and he had pretty much given up on saying sober but was still going to meetings for the courts. We went away for the weekend (he is my daughter’s father) and I drank with him.
I blacked out the first night of drinking, waking in our hotel room the next morning. From what I hear, I had a great time. I don’t remember a thing. That evening pretty much set off 5 years of the same… drinking, blacking out, waking and starting it all over. Most days I could wait until evening, but in the end I would need to drink close to waking each day.
My relationships were strained to say the least. That man and I had broken up a couple of years prior to my new sobriety date. My children were not happy with me, especially my oldest. I don’t blame him, he had lived with a drunk since his father and I had divorced about 10 years earlier. I was not a nice drunk most of the time.
Seven years ago I called my doctor and went in for some help with my depression. She took one look at me and smelled the boozed coming out of my pores, and told me she would not help me until I checked into the Kaiser outpatient treatment program.
I will never forget that drive from her office to the treatment office. I had to pull over many times because of the anxiety and because I was throwing up. I was so scared, but I knew that if I didn’t make it there I would go through with my suicide plan. I made it though, and I went back each day for meds to detox with and to blow into the alcohol detector. After a week I was detoxed and started a year of outpatient treatment.
During that year I took advantage of everything offered by that treatment program from acupuncture to help with the anxiety to psychiatric services to one on one counseling.
They also required 12 step meeting attendance, which I dove into. I followed the suggestions given by that fellowship and the suggestions that are within its beautiful blue book. While doing the step work for each of those steps I was able to get to know myself a bit more and figure out why I react and do the things I do. In turn, I was able to learn to live life in a manner that does not require me to drink.
My life has not been easy. If I’m being completely honest here, the last year in a half has been hell. My life has fallen apart on many levels. I’m currently battling depression. I’ve lost my grandmother whom was the most important person in my life besides my kids. I’ve had to downsize to a one bedroom home on my parents property for myself and my daughter. I’ve lost my job and in doing so lost a career and am reinventing myself. My grandfather is in the process of passing.
I don’t mention those things to seek pity though. I mention these things to hopefully give hope to those that are still struggling. I have not felt the need to drink through all of these trials. Sure, there have been passing thoughts here and there, but they have been fleeting. They are only fleeting thoughts and not obsessions though.
You see I am an alcoholic. It is the obsessions I have to worry about because if I give in to them they set off the allergic reaction I have to alcohol. If I give in and take a drink my allergy goes into action and my allergic reaction is that I don’t respond to alcohol like normal people do. When I give in to the obsession to drink and put alcohol into my body my body is never satisfied. It wants more. The more I drink to satisfy that craving for more….. the more it wants.
I can’t say it enough. My name is Kathy, I’m an alcoholic and I have an abnormal reaction to alcohol.