Monday, August 29, 2011

One Hundred First Days

*** 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.

11 comments:

  1. just for today is the way to go... sending strength and love.

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  2. Great story - this is the alcoholic story through another lens - thanks for sharing your inspiration and take it slowly...

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  3. You know how bad the past was. I have been sober for 16 months, but thinking of a drink because I am crazy! This confirms I don't want a drink. I don't want to go back to day 1. Good luck to you, please be kind to yourself! Just get through the next hour and take it from there. It does get better and you can then start to live a happier life for yourself and your kids,

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  4. I am almost at 11 months and I still get the "I'm not that bad" thought. But oh what I missed when I was drinking... and my God what I have gained from sobriety. It is astonishing. You can do this. For today, I'll be sober with you.

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  5. One day at a time. You're on the way just with writing this and letting it out.

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  6. "I long for freedom from this obsession." Ugh, that statement so hits home for me. That's how I felt when I finally quit too...and for a few years before I quit. Good luck. It does get better when you quit. The obsession does start to fade. At least it has for me and it is a wonderful feeling. Hugs.

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  7. Thank you for sharing. I feel so much empathy for you and I hope that you are not drinking today.

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  8. Thanks everyone for your comments. It means a lot to me. It was very cathartic writing out at least a little bit. Makes you think about it, and somehow putting words to paper makes it real. I know it's going to be a struggle at times, but for the first time, I'm really excited to see what the (sober) future brings.

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  9. Thanks for the honesty. I know how it feels to be obcessed with drinking.
    There was a time I couldn't wait for 5:00 to come around so I could start. Then it was 4 and 3 and sometimes in the morning. I have 3 adult children and they saw me struggeling for years.
    Now, I am a sober woman. They are proud of me. It seemed so hard. But I am sober for several years. I started in 2001 and it took some time.
    Get a home group, go to meetings and (they sometimes say at AA mtings) if your ass falls off, put it in a bag and bring it to a meeting.

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  10. You are on the right path now. We are all with you. Addiction is a bitch (i used to just call it life, but now it's not like that). It gets better, trust me.

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  11. I SO want freedom!! I feel this addiction has kept me in bondage for way too long. I want to LIVE~~~truly live. My life. This life that God has given me. I have wasted enough time...and have regrets. I don't want to dull out the good or bad anymore. I am on day 11 without my nightly wine. I feel so much better in the mornings. Physically, and more importantly emotionally and spiritually. I have had SO much guilt and shame. As a Christian, I should be able to have 'self control', right??? Well, I now KNOW~~~that I am NOT strong enough. But, I can do all things through CHRIST who gives me strength! Continue on my friend.....give yourself grace, as you experience freedom!

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