*** Submitted by Anonymous
It's been a long time coming.
Admitting the truth about my addiction to alcohol; and to say out loud. Hearing my own voice say the words: "I have a problem" was inspired by an article in Redbook I read in the waiting room of my chiropractor's office. Chiropractic care that I need once a week for neck and shoulder issues. Truthfully, more the result of drunken falls rather than the more benign excuse that it's the result of years of computer work. The title of the article was jarring - "Mommy is an Alcoholic". I fast forwarded 10 years and imagined hearing those words come out of my children's mouths. I felt like I had gotten hit by a train of truth.
For the past 5 years, I have been drinking a magnum bottle of wine almost every night. In my early forties with 2 young children; wine became my companion. As delighted as I was to have children and the great joy they bring - my life of freedom changed overnight. I turned to wine so I could shuffle through the monotony and routine of motherhood. It gave me patience. I have never been a patient person. My entire life, I have been plagued with anxiety and perfectionism. Nothing could ever be out of place. My house was always in order. I organized to the point of obsession. But children are unpredictable. I couldn't script or control every move or mess they made. I didn't want them to be like me so I let them just be children.
It was my new friend Pinot who told me that it was okay to leave the dishes in the sink and the toys on the floor. At least until morning when my sober self would manically whirl the house back to order. If the house was in order, there was no evidence of my internal dis-order.
I am married to a patient and kind man who never questioned my alcohol intake. I suspect he assumed I didn't really have a problem if the house was always clean; the kids were happy and cared for; there was always supper on the table; and my business was flourishing. Truth is - what appeared to be intact had a devastatingly weak foundation underneath. I have been hiding like a child who covers her eyes and assumes no one can see her because she can't see.
I have been living a life of shame and guilt for 5 years. Even in spite of that shame, I still drank. The first glass always had a magical way of drowning it out. In 42 minutes, half the bottle was down. It was almost a race to see how fast I could drown the guilt, the shame, the worry and the fear. I started watching the clock to see how long it took. A few more glasses and I was comfortably numb. While in that state of numbness, I drunkenly played with my kids; read to them with slurred speech; and tucked them into bed with double vision. One night, I fell asleep in their room. While I was asleep - they were playing with my video camera. I discovered the video a few days later. They were recording each other having a puppet show. In the background I am snoring. To my horror, they panned the camera on to their unconscious mother. I dropped the camera and began to shake.
There it was. In vivid color. My despicable truth.
But I stayed silent. I kept my hands tightly over my eyes. I felt like a horrible mother and human being. How could I subject my children to this? They weren't even afraid and should have been. What good would I have been if they needed me and I was in that condition? The guilt has reached epic proportions that even Pinot can't drown out anymore. I feel desperate and terrified.
I know the liquor store has one more bottle of guilt for me. Instead, I sit here writing my story, so one more hour passes that I don't get in the car and get it. The addiction is whispering, "Just one more bottle and then you stop. Just one more." While many of you have years, months and even days of sobriety - I only have hours. I need to get through this night without succumbing to that whisper. I know if I don't stay strong, tomorrow morning will come and the guilt will be sitting on my chest like "Fuseli's Nightmare".
If I can do it, tomorrow I will wake up and say to myself, "See how good it feels to wake up sober? Remember how productive and happy you felt the last time?" Those times are few and far between. Coming to this blog is my first step. Today is my first "one day at a time".
My children deserve a sober mother. My husband deserves a sober wife.
Thank you all for listening to my story and for sharing yours. You are a great inspiration.