Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Awakening: A History of Female Wreckage

***Submitted by Lorie


No. Oh, no, I did not do this again.

I lay there, my need to urinate overpowering, my embarrassment at my behavior the previous night more so. I cannot look my husband in the eye, so I remain in bed until he kisses me goodbye, tells me he loves me. I don't remember much of my behavior. It will be told to me in bits and pieces, which I will share with you. I am still in half of my clothes. My bottoms are off, my bra still on, my dress in a heap on the floor. My shoes are beat-up. I go to the bathroom and look in the mirror. I quickly look away.

It started innocently enough, it always does. We were invited to attend a wedding reception, as the couple had eloped. There would be many of my former co-workers there, people I had stayed in touch with, people who I had consumed copious amounts of alcohol with. We leave the house, already a little hung over from a wedding the night before.

We park, enter the building and collect our little place card. Find our table, deposit my belongings, with one more look in the mirror to check my makeup. We go to the outside patio, and the compliments begin. "You look great!" "Oh, my God, your hairdo makes you look just like Audrey Hepburn!" "What a great dress!" I eat it up. I have not seen quite of few of these people in a long time, and I wanted to make a good impression. I picked an elegant Calvin Klein sheath dress in black with a low-slung belt. Patent leather Mary Jane skyscraper heels, the ones I beat to shit later because I cannot walk on them any longer. I am getting cocky, arrogant, because of all the attention I am receiving. I have a drink already, white wine, because I convince myself that will keep me sober. I have three within 15 minutes. Always nervous in social situations, I need to drink to become less self-conscious.

My sober friend, Sarah, was there. I caught her looking over at me a few times. She looks concerned. I give the thumbs up, I am fine. After dinner, my husband needs to get home. He works early. I tell him I will be fine. Go on without me, there are plenty of people there that can give me a lift home. He knows what will come next, he tries not to spoil my fun, hoping this time it will be different, since I have cut back on my drinking. I am starting to get courageous. The dance floor is winding down with the last of the party, the ones that refuse to admit the party is over. I am one of them. Three of the other women are going out. Would I like to go? "Sure! I'm in." Of course I am. We used to do this all the time. At the time, though, it always seems like a good idea. It was a work night for most of them. I don't have enough alcohol in me.

By now, the bar is a cash bar, because it is after 10:00. I bullshit the bartender (a woman) into making me a double vodka rocks, on the house. I down it, find my friends, and we say goodbye to the few last people. My friend, Sarah, looks at me and she knows. She knows I will cross over at any second to the dark side. I have no idea. I never do. She goes home. I wish she had taken me with her, but she knows. I would not have gone.

I remember up to this part. We are in my friend's car, she should not be driving. We go to a bar that still allows smoking because it has an open air roof and they all like to smoke when they drink. I do not do this anymore, but I think I did that night. I hate this place. It’s a dirty dive. The vodka hits me like a ton of bricks. I remember vaguely not being able to stand. I was eating something. After that, nothing.

It's morning. I wake up. I have bruises on me, my nose is swollen and sore. So is my forehead. I am worried I got into a fight with someone. I am too mortified to call anyone to find out. My friend, Sarah, happened to have talked to someone who was there the night before, and she came over. "Do you know what happened?" she asks me. No, I do not. We talk, and shame floods my body. I walk her to the front door, and see a long scrape on the stoop. I laugh about it probably being from my shoe, but I was just kidding, trying to pretend what happened was not that bad.

This is what she told me. "You got kicked out. You were eating stranger's food and falling off your bar stool. They got pissed and kicked you out. They put you in a cab and got you home." I guess I was okay at first, and then I started eating other people's food, off of their plates. I was unable to sit on my stool, and fell off several times. I was kicked out, and the bouncer was not even going to let me take my purse, but one of my friends grabbed it, got me into a cab and somehow got me to my house. The cab driver knocks on our front door. Pounds on it. It is 11:45. My husband answers, naked, thinking it is me, but I am still in the cab, semi-conscious. He excuses himself to dress and then he asks the cabbie if we owe any money. "They took care of it at the bar." He has to half carry me from the cab to the bathroom, because I am mumbling something about the bathroom. He goes outside the bathroom to wait, so he can help me to bed. Hears a crash. I had fallen and hit my head and nose.

When I hear about this the next day, I am actually relieved this happened at home, even though it hurts like hell. I spend the entire next day in bed. I do not learn my husband's story until the evening of the next night. We are standing on the porch. He says "See your shoe mark?" He had to drag me. He loves me and wants me to get help.

This is how a 45 year old, well-dressed, successful woman became a wreck that night and many others before it. This was my final public humiliation, when I took my drinking indoors. For the last two years I have battled quitting, trying moderation, failing.

 I am ready to not fail.

26 comments:

  1. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1913016,00.html

    I don't know if this will belp but I've been meaning to post a comment on this for some time. There is a drug a read about years ago that is supposed to reduce craving for alcohol. For various reasons it's not widely used or even widely known about. People need to ask about their doctors about this. Most doctors may not even know about it but maybe they can be educated by their patients.

    I don't know if it's the miracle cure that some proport it to be but if it can help even some people, it needs to be more widely know. So I'm putting it out there. Please read the ariticle in the link above.

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  2. I have not walked in your shoes. I have walked in your husbands. I hope you do this, no more failing. There are success stories, they find support and they do it. You can do this. You have a husband who is there, willing and ready to support you...do it now while he is. I know it isn't easy. But neither is the opposite. And it is a spiral you don't want to get stuck in, not to where it is headed.
    I am proud of you for writing this, for opening up and admitting this. For surrendering. It is a huge step. Keep making those steps, because this direction....will save you.
    God bless you, I will be praying for you.

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  3. you don't have to do this anymore. lots of people holding hands in a circle at the end of meetings in thousands of towns have been praying for you.

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  4. You really don't have to do this any more. I don't want you to do this any more. There is so much more for you out there waiting for you. Please reach out.

    And thank you for your honesty.

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  5. Ten years ago yesterday I had my last drink, my last blackout, my last fall, my last wet bed. It took me 5 years to get to that point. I was 52. I am now grateful to be 62.
    You are stronger than I was, Lorie. You are honest and, my God, that's half the battle. Try not to drink today and maybe not tomorrow.

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  6. Lorie, I have lived that night many times, don't be ashamed, use this as a point of reference, this is where alcohol take you!!! You can rise above this, you are writing about it, so you know it is a concern. Your husband seems like a kind man, you may ask him to take you to an AA meeting, or go to rehab, or do an outpatient program. Your life depends on it.

    I drank and blackout, acted like a nut, fell, hit my head, bruised, broke thinks at my house and other peoples. It wasn't fun anymore, and I hated waking up in the shame, guilt, and confusions of the night before. Looking for my purse, phone, checking my car for dents, you name it. I know it is hard and sometimes I think we may feel more shame about admitting we are alcoholic, but once you are in a sober mind set, you will feel a freedom. Maybe call your sober friend. She could guide you.

    Lots of hugs and positive thoughts are coming your way. Please reach out and get the help you deserve.

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  7. Lorie, you can make that be your last night. Mine was in 84--i came to at the airport on my way cross country not recalling how I got there and what had happened to the six hundred dollars in my pocket ? I quit On That Flight.

    You Can To. you are on the right road-kepp going.

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  8. One of my last nights drinking included a night very similar to yours. I was out "celebrating" my birthday and got so wasted I could not speak, I fell off the barstool and actually fell asleep on the bathroom floor of the bar....seriously....how mortifying! My husband, always the caretaker...got me home but I awoke the next day with a hangover I had never experienced. I was literally sick for 2 days. Oh and due to this hangover was unable to attend a huge family reunion, my husband had to go to MY family reunion without me and make up some lame excuse of why I wasn't there. Next month I will be 21 months sober....YOU CAN DO THIS!!

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  9. This makes my heart ache to hear you crying out loud, but so very honored that you shared your story. What a triumph. Keep talking about it; keep pressing forward. I can tell you're not the give-up type of person.

    Thank you again for sharing.

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  10. praying for you. Thank you for being brave and putting your story here.

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  11. There is no magical equation that can take you back to the earlier days of your drinking. You have crossed a line, and it will only get worse from here unless you arrest it. I know you know this.

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  12. Oh girl, you just described so many of my drinking nights. The last wedding I went to while I was drinking was my husband's boss. I have no idea what kind of fool I behaved like during the reception, but I do know I had taken my shoes off and couldn't manage to get them back on. I joke with his boss now that his reception was so much fun it sent me to rehab. You are blessed to have a husband who loves you and a desire to quit. You can do this.

    Barstools are ridiculous things to have in bars in my opinion. I have fallen off way too many of them. Bars should have arm chairs instead. And why the hell are they so high off the floor - it is like a plot to embarrass the balance challenged.

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  13. What Pammie said up above. I'm one of those people. I remember on Day 5 of sobriety wondering how I would live without alcohol. I have 8 months now, and I feel like I just started living.

    You can do this.

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  14. Lorie, we would have led parallel lives back in the day. I took my last drink 24 years ago, but from reading your story, I can feel with every ounce of my being how you feel, because I used to do the exact same things, and feel the exact same way. Telling the truth to yourself, about yourself, is the the best thing you can do for yourself. Reach out and get the help you need, you won't ever regret it.

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  15. Lorie, you are worth it. Belive it. Life gets better. I am sober 6 months now an your story was mine not that long ago. It's a hard road but the rewards far outweigh any drink I've ever had. Will be thinking of you. Remember there is hope x

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  16. Thank you so much for being so brave and posting your story. I had many, MANY nights like this. As others have said, you don't have to drink anymore or live like this if you can just find the willingness to begin to recover. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That journey is beautiful. Just.Start.

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  17. You never have to do that again. In AA we say "It is not the caboose that kills you. It is the engine." If you don't pick up the first drink you won't get drunk.
    I don't say that lightly. It took me some time to realize how true that statement is. Once I did I was able to incorperate it into my life and then share it with others.
    Keep the faith. It works if you work it.

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  18. I know exactly what you went through, being a black out drinker. I have been able to get sober and stay sober for over a year now thanks to AA. I have my own sponsee and attend meetings regularly. I hope you hit that bottom so you can come up, I had to.

    Regards,

    @Bobby_Steps (twitter)

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  19. Talking about it is this huge first step - as is realizing you don't want to live like this anymore. I've been right there with you. And the thing that got me is this: moderation was no longer an option. Which meant it was all or nothing....and I didn't want to see where all was going to take me.

    Where nothing has taken me has been pretty amazing.

    there are more people not drinking in the world than you realize now. You will not be alone. You will be happier. Less ashamed. You can do this.

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  20. Thank you all so much for your comments. I am working hard on this, but it is difficult. Just putting it out there helps, but I am not sure where I am going next. I had really good intentions this weekend, and blew it. I am trying, though.

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  21. Alcoholism is a PROGRESSIVE disease - the results of which are: jails, psychiatric institutions, or death. This is a fact.

    You haven't chosen death yet. May I share with you that jail IS HORRIFIC and psychiatric confinement does not sound like a day in the park.

    Life is such a precious gift. Realize you're on borrowed time.
    An inpatient treatment program will offer you the education and the solid footing you need to start your new life.
    You're worth this and so is your loving husband.

    But, if nothing changes,

    Nothing changes. Complacency is dangerous ground. You say this is difficult. You're speaking to the choir my dear. We all know "difficult"
    If you REALLY want this, its yours for the asking

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  22. I know, Dawn. I keep making excuses - well, we have this planned or that. I am scared of how much damage I have done to myself. I have been drinking since I was a teenager. I tried rehab and left after one day. I just came back from a trip and I drank so much I scared myself. Blackout drinking every day. I feel awful. I will not drink today.

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  23. I have also been there. Too many memories of nights gone bad convinced me I had to get a "handle on my drinking," initiating over a year of attempted moderation. It took a long time for me to realize that I simply could not moderate, that taking the first drink was similar to rolling the dice - I never knew how I would end up. I hung on for a long time, unable to envision my life without wine, without escape. I almost held on too long - cutting my wrists late one night, drunk, coming out of a blackout.

    And even with that, I tried to continue drinking. The admission that I simply COULD NOT control my drinking took me a long time. It took a bit longer to put any sober time together. The only reason I'm sober today is that I kept speaking that truth, quietly at first, and it happened. I was able to glimpse a life without a drink in hand.

    It's so much better now. I read somewhere, and it helps to keep the guilt at bay:

    "Live each day as though it is your first,"

    "Why not live each day as though it is your last."

    "If you live each day as your first, you do not suffer regrets of the past. You do not have to make up for lost time. You build."

    Anyway - I wish you peace. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  24. Whatever sobriety has in store for you cannot be nearly as painful or difficult as where your drinking is taking you right now... I've never been through a blackout but I can imagine that it is scary as hell. You have the power to end your own suffering - only YOU can unlock that prison door and step outside. But therein lies the beauty - that you can. I will be thinking of you.

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  25. This used to happened to my BFF I don't know how many times. She died in 2008 after she lost her marriage, child, and home. She didn't have to. I didn't hit this low but could one day so I am choosing a recovery path. Please seek help...it is there. If you haven't visited the BFB, please do and try AA. Both are amazing.

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  26. You will be blown away by the relief you will feel when you are free of this. It will not be easy, but you will be free. Sobriety is so much better than I ever realized it would be. You can do this. Step over.

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