***Submitted by Anonymous
I’m 34 years old, married with three children, aged 5, 7 and 10.
I’ve been drinking since I was 14 years old. I’m a survivor of two broken homes while my mother moved onto a third. I regularly witnessed my brother being beaten up by my step-father, a man who, incongruously, I loved deeply and unconditionally as only a child can. Considering all my brother went through at the hands of our step-father, while to me he was only sweetness and light, is a guilt I seem destined to carry my whole life through. My mother and I were so close when I was a child growing up that I would make myself physically ill if I was apart from her for long lengths of time.
So when I was 14 and she left my step-father and moved in with her new (third) husband, I guess I never really got over it. I started using alcohol as a means of escaping the misery of this home-life. I have memories of those early years of drinking that can only be described as horror stories. A car accident while I was driving blue-face drunk, 5 of my friends in the back, all of us lucky to escape with our lives; Losing my virginity and regaining consciousness on the floor of the grottiest toilet in the grottiest hotel nightclub in town with my “boyfriend” nowhere in sight. And that was just the early days.
I briefly got things under control in my early twenties, when I got married and began having my babies. In fact I never even gave alcohol a second thought back then; I felt sure I would never again succumb to its beguiling qualities. But after my third child was born alcohol slowly began to creep back into my life. Socially at first - dinner parties, bbq’s and the like. Then a glass or two of wine became part of my daily routine in the kitchen while cooking dinner.
Times were tough financially, my husband and I were struggling. New cracks appeared with my mother, step-father and brother, leading to an all-out war. Binge drinking once more became a feature of my life, as did the vomiting that usually goes with it. And now, all of a sudden, I find I’m a woman who drinks to get drunk every single day. I conceal my drinking. I often have black outs.
The Doctor says my blood pressure is higher than he’d expect from a 60 year old woman let alone from one half that age and in reasonably fit/trim condition. The horror stories from when I was 14 are coming back with a vengeance. This time the stakes are on my marriage, my life, and my children’s future, possibly with[out] either.
I’ve wanted to quit drinking before and I’ve tried many things - from counselling to cold turkey. I’ve never stayed with anything the distance. I like drinking too much. My resolve doesn’t even last the length of a day. Alcohol is my barbed companion whom I love and hate with equal ferocity. I love him for carrying my baggage. I hate him, because he is always opening the contents of those bags and waving them around in front of me.
Alcohol is both my savior and my accuser. Salve and poison. Liberator and jailer. At the root of it all? I believe I am a failure. My demons are guilt, shame, doubt, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, obsessive compulsive tendencies, sadness and, on occasion, a tidy measure of self-loathing. If I could JUST get this right, or that right, then I wouldn’t be such a bad person/failure/disgrace/loser.
These posts have made me appreciate how tragically common these thought patterns are among people who abuse alcohol. I’m a neglectful mother. I’m a spineless, unfaithful wife. I’m a callous daughter. A disloyal sister.
On and on it goes. Alcohol momentarily lightens this load; unshackles me from my mistakes and my shame so I can be free - free to love, and be loved. But alas it never lasts. I once drove my head into a column heater while my children just watched on in confusion. I don’t always understand what I do, and I certainly can never explain it, but there is something about knowing that alcohol is hurting, even killing me, that is mildly satisfying in some part of my brain. It’s like I am taking the punishment I deserve.
The layers of this complicated beast seem almost impossible to peel back. And yet in wanting to write this post I began to feel as though maybe, just maybe, it might be possible - even worthwhile - to try. In fact, what I discovered was that once I started writing/peeling, I couldn’t stop. I knew I had to keep my post to this forum under 1000 words but I hadn’t a hope! Writing has always been an outlet for me, so turning pen to paper to write myself sober seemed both natural and necessary. I therefore started a brand new blog, called "Writing Myself Sober - getting out from under the influence".
My first post is called “Had Enough. ?”, and is dedicated to all the brave, strong and inspiring women who have motivated me to do something to help myself.
Thank you so very much.