***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.