Thursday, January 26, 2012
33 Years of Drinking
***Submitted by Anonymous
Thirty three years—that’s how long I have been drinking to escape from my feelings. I never drank for fun. I never drank to be more social. I had a problem from the first glass of wine. I drank to escape obsessive compulsive disorder, extreme social anxiety, low self esteem, perfectionism, guilt, and on and on and on. I never sought help for this drinking; I just let the voices in my head beat me up, panic about my health, and then beat me up some more.
During this time, I was able to function in the real world quite well. I got several advanced degrees; found a wonderful job where, despite my opinion of my work, they love me; divorced the wrong husband and found the right one; contributed to the raising of two absolutely wonderful young women; and found a wonderful spiritual home.
Of course, the whole time I was living two separate lives—the fake one where I did what real people do with their lives and the real one where I worried, obsessed, beat myself up, and drank. Both of these lives were miserable. This is the point where you think I’m going to tell you that I quit drinking and my life is wonderful now…..well sort of.
I first sought help for the psychiatric disorders. I received medication and finally found a really good psychiatrist that I can work with. But of course, I never told him about the drinking. I never told anyone (but my husband…sort of) that I was drinking and that I was worried about it. I didn’t tell my doctor; I didn’t tell my priest; I didn’t tell my best friends. No one even seemed to notice or worry about it. No one ever said a word to me about my drinking. Because of the medications, I became less obsessive and less anxious but I was still living two miserable lives because of the secret drinking and I had the added worry of drinking with the medications. What was I doing to myself!
Sixty days ago today, I decided to stop drinking. I was tired of two lives. I was tired of the guilt and worry. I didn’t go to AA, I didn’t go to rehab. I read myself through the sixty days. I have read every book by a recovering addict I could get my hands on. I have a read a few books about how to quit drinking but I did not like them as much. I have also read every blog I could find. I found that reading these stories helped me understand that I was not alone, I was not unique, and that sobriety was possible. I also prayed. I asked Christ to let my sobriety bring me closer to him.
In that sixty days, I have seen some wonderful, wonderful changes in my life. I feel like my two worlds are slowly coming together because I do not have quite as much to hide in my public world. It is nice to go to work and not have to hide a hangover. It is nice to not have to hide my drinking in private or public. It is nice to not have to worry about how much there is to drink, getting enough, not seeming drunk. It is also really wonderful to have a clean kitchen at night, be able to read a book at night, and wake up feeling okay in the mornings.
So, my life is wonderful now and that is the end of the story….wrong. What I now realize is that my really hard work is just beginning.
You see, I don’t want to drink again. I don’t want to live two lives any more. I want one life where I really live all the time. In order to do that I began seeing a therapist last week and I finally told the truth. I had seen therapists before about the obsessive-compulsive disorder, about my divorce, about my anxiety, but never about the drinking.
So I finally told the truth. It was hard and after I left that session I was extremely anxious. The cat was out of the bag. I had asked for help with the thing that was the center of my hidden life. I was not sure that I could go back. Maybe I would just cancel our next appointment and keep working on this on my own. Maybe I didn’t need to bring drinking into my public life.
I called the therapist and told her about my anxiety after our first meeting. She was very kind. She encouraged me to come one more time and talk with her about what we could do to make the session tolerable for me. So, once again I told the truth. As my second appointment approached, I was not sure I was comfortable with all this truth.
We met today. I told the truth.
At the end of the session she asked me what would happen if my secret became public. I could not answer that. I do not know what I am so afraid of. But, I am not as anxious after this session. I have made another appointment. So, tonight as I soberly cook dinner, watch TV, read, and interact with my family, I feel hopeful that it will be possible to live a life with no secrets and in which I am fully and comfortably present.
I am grateful for this forum to tell my story and ask for your prayers and positive thoughts.