***Submitted by Linda
I'm sitting on my sofa with a pillow behind my back because I am in agony. I have chronic lower back pain and probably will have to have surgery in the not so distant future. Had this been 77 days ago (I've been sober for that long), I would have had a bottle of wine by my side to kill the pain. Today, however, I am thankful for the pain because it reminds me that I am alive and that I can feel it. I have felt real pain, anxiety and humiliation for 77 days and it's quite sobering (pun intended).
Sitting here, not being able to do the things I want and need to do has given me time to reflect on the past. Almost everything bad that ever happened to me in the past was alcohol related. EVERY argument I ever had with my husband was when I was drinking. That's 13 years of alcohol induced fighting! I can't get that time back! I can only ask for forgiveness and try to forgive myself for all the problems I have caused.
Did I really expect the people I have hurt to forgive me when I explained that I am an alcoholic and I wasn't myself when I did those awful things? Why, yes I did! And I was in shock when they said, "thanks, but no thanks and good luck." If I wasn't committed to my sobriety, I would say to myself "well...you might as well drink; no one cares about you:" All I can do is maintain my sobriety and live a clean life. Maybe, eventually, they will come around. And if they don't, I will have to accept it.
Let me tell you a little about my disease and how it progressed. I started drinking when I was 6 years old. Yes, you read it right, 6 years old. I remember it vividly. We were at a friend's home celebrating Passover. One of the guests kept giving me wine and I drank it. I remember the floor spinning under my feet and not understanding what was happening. Well, it didn't stop there!
My parents had a huge vodka bottle with a pump in the pantry. I used to lay down and pump the vodka in my mouth. I continued to drink on occasion through my teen years. It really became a problem when I joined the Army and was stationed in Germany. Best beer ever! My mother came to visit me once and said she had never seen anyone drink so much! You would think that would give me pause, but it didn't. I took it as a compliment.
Fast forward to the present: Beer was my drink of choice, but it just wasn't getting it done for me. I started having wine after my 4 or 5 beers. I would take a glass up to bed and when my husband fell asleep, I would sneak downstairs for a refill. Sometimes 3 or 4 refills. I would run the water so that he couldn't hear the wine being poured...or so I thought. The other day he told me that he knew what I was doing, but didn't want to start a fight.
Now, as I sit here, I am thankful for my sobriety and the life I have now. I used to think that I couldn't have fun without alcohol. Well, folks, let me tell you, the last few years were anything but fun. Even the pain I am having now is much better than the pain alcohol caused me.
This past fourth of July was the turning point for me. A joyous holiday weekend was marred by one drunken argument after another. It was then that my husband and I decided that I needed some help. I went to my first AA meeting.
To the person reading this and questioning whether or not she is an alcoholic, let me remind you of the old adage: if you have to ask yourself if you are an alcoholic, you probably are. Talk to someone you trust and/or go to a recovery meeting.
When you are sober, you will see things much more clearly and happiness will be within reach!