*** Submitted by Jeanne
This will be my hundreth Day 1. This time I have more hope than the other times. Something has changed inside of me, something related to shame and hopelessness and humiliation. I have not told my husband. I have not told my friends. To them, I am still the same, party girl, girl who can drink like a fish, occasionally providing them with enjoyment as I do something completely stupid. I’m a 41 year old mother of 2 kids.
I grew up in an upper-middle class household where my parents were both alcoholics. However, they would deny that. My father would come home from work and drink beer and then Jack Daniels. My mother would be drunk when we got home from school, hiding in the basement drinking her gallon jugs of Gallo Burgundy, yet somehow she would have some sort of dinner ready when my father got home. I would stay up on the way home from dinner out and family parties, poking my (drunk) father as he drove so he wouldn’t fall asleep. My brothers and I never brought friends over, for fear of what my mother would say or do. Those were my memories from a very early age.
My younger brother started stealing money from us when he was probably 8 years old, and he is currently homeless and a drug / alcohol addict at 38 years old. He was my interpretation of an alcoholic – homeless and a complete mess. How wrong I was.
I started drinking with my friends in high school. I remember when I was 16 and got drunk on vodka and orange juice at a party. Well, I don’t really remember the party, but did wake up in my own bed and my parents never knew. I stayed away from heavy drinking after that until college. When I went away to college, all hell broke loose and I drank daily. I would start drinking when I woke up, maybe go to class, and then continue the drinking with my friends or my sorority late into the evening. I actually made it 2.5 years before the school kicked me out. I quit drinking for a year. I managed to control my drinking through the next 7 or 8 years, went back to college, got a degree, got married.
My husband at the time did not really drink, and he hated when I would get really drunk. I would hide the bottles, but he controlled the checkbook so I always got found out. The only time I quit drinking was when I was pregnant with my first child. After she was born, I returned with a vengence. I was known in the neighborhood for always being ready to party – the first to come and the last to leave. I was a mess. I divorced my first husband after he told me not to embarrass him with my drinking at his company Christmas party. I’ll show him, I thought.
I never thought I had a problem. I mean, my brother had the problem, not me. I had a house, a BMW, a little girl, a great job! After the divorce, I sold the big house and moved closer to the downtown area, into a 100 year old historic house. I had always wanted to fix up a house and this was perfect for me to nurse my divorce and explore my newfound freedom to drink. The new neighborhood was a total party neighborhood – I mean, we could WALK to the bars! How amazing! And my new friends were big drinkers too, so there was not an issue with being embarassed if you got a little out of hand. I noticed that I started forgetting what happened sometimes. That scared me a little. I started dating a wonderful man (now my husband) yet I did horrible things when I was drinking. We had a long distance relationship for several years, so I was basically on my own.
And I was miserable. A failure. This drinking thing was getting out of control – I couldn’t stop at just 2 glasses. I had to drink at least a bottle to get the nice warm feeling that used to come from 2 glasses. Well, thinking back, those 2 glasses were just the aperitif, the prelude to the main course. I noticed that sometimes, without warning, I would get extremely drunk and out of control – I didn’t like that. I just wanted to get nice and warm, do something to kill the boredom. I didn’t want to get all stupid.
I realized I could not control my drinking when I got pregnant with my second child. I could not stop. I limited myself to 2 drinks, usually beer, whenever I drank. I typically drank 3 or 4 times a week. Thankfully my son was born extremely healthy. I was so ashamed. But I still drank.
My second husband is a wonderful man. I admitted to him at the beginning of this year that I thought I had a problem, and that I had gone to some AA meetings. He was shocked. He looked at me like I had a contagious disease and said the words, “You’re not that bad. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Oh, those are the words the alcoholic loves! Now I had proof that I wasn’t that bad…so back to the bottle.
I hide it well. I go to work every day, clean the house, cook, etc. People don’t know that I obsess daily over it. I plan out my pre-drinking drinking. This past weekend, we had my son’s 2nd birthday. I did not drink that day. But I drank Sunday: 4 big glasses of wine.
I long for freedom from this obsession. I have lost that person inside of me who used to garden and work on her house and play with her kids. I want her back – if she was ever there. I’m going to get through this. I found the BFB group and many other recovery blogs, it helps to know I’m not alone in this struggle.
Thanks for listening. So for today, I won’t drink.