Wednesday, November 23, 2011

77 Days

***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 " 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!


  1. I am on Day 71. I also had my final wake-up over the July 4 weekend. It wasn't catastrophic, actually it was kind of mild compared to some doozies I've had in the past. 16 days later, in the middle of another attempt at moderation, I said,"Why would this time be any different than my uncountable other attempts. I've had one relapse since and the reasons for that are complicated, it won't happen again. I'm so happy (I'd forgotten what real happiness felt like)to be where I am right now.

  2. Congratulations on 77 (+!) days, Linda! Well done. When those around you get to know the new sober you and have confidence that you are here to stay, they will forgive. You just have to go through a little time...

    Hope your back feels better soon!

  3. Welcome to a life of happiness, joy, and freedom. You are right, all the hurts that come with life are nothing compared to the pain of drinking.

    I list my sobriety date as July 4th also, 1981. July 4th is a good day.


    Mike L

  4. I agree with Mike.
    Moderation is some form of torture.
    Lets celebrate your new found strength and commitment.
    There are plenty of us out here to support you.
    Good Luck Keep staying grateful.

  5. what was it like..that first AA meeting? were you scared, did it really change things for you? I just have questions as to how a meeting can make me want to change, make me quit drinking. I am happy for you and wish I was there too.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm so grateful you are present today, even for the pain. I hope you can find healing for your back, as well as your soul during your recovery.

    Getting sober and being in a program of recovery is the greatest gift I have ever given myself.

  7. Thank you for your comments! The night before my first AA meeting, my husband and I had gotten very drunk and had a fight. He didn't come home that night. He called the next morning and said he didn't remember anything that happened I urged him to go to an AA meeting and I met him there. I cried through the whole thing. I wasn't scared, but ashamed. I am happy to be sober today. I don't know if a meeting will make you change, but the possibility of losing everything made me want to quit. Anonymous, you can e-mail me if you want with any questions or just to chat. Linda

    1. Linda,

      Who cares if people don't forgive you? They are entitled to make choices about their life and if you aren't included, so be it. It doesn't mean they don't love you or wish you well.

      What you need to focus on now is building your new life with new people. They know nothing about your past and as long as you don't repeat the same patterns, they will never know. You are as fresh as a new flower today and have a clean slate.

      However, what is very hard to accept during recovery is that some of the bad behaviors don't go away with just giving up alcohol. These can be learned patterns from many years of repetition. Sometimes, it means giving up some of the people in your life that perpetuate those behaviors. This is hard to do especially when it may mean making life-style changes. The decision between living in high style or freedom and joy are often at stake.

      Remember, in your journey, that when you knock down that musty old house and rebuild, one brick at a time, you are making a beautiful new house. You can't keep building on a broken foundation.

  8. I'm curious as anonymous above is. I can't see myself going to a meeting, but sometimes I tell myself, maybe it's the only way.
    In the meantime, I know that here none of us are alone and the truth is s-l-o-w-l-y clicking, to be honest.

  9. If you really want to quit, a meeting is great, but so is talking to people who have been there. I'd hate for anyone to have to hit rock bottom like I did. Like I told anonymous, my e-mail is available to you and I will keep it confidential. Linda