Wednesday, November 27, 2013

5:00 PM ALL OVER AGAIN

*** submitted by Anonymous

Today is the first day I have ever decided to finally look into alcoholism. I stumbled across CON and after reading so many entries I have a million emotions going through my head. SO MANY stories sounded like my own.

I have been drinking since 14. My group of friends were wild and crazy. We would get rides from complete strangers....even hiding in the trunks of their cars, so they could buy us beer. My tolerance was always very high and I always beamed when the guys said I could out drink almost anyone! As I got older, I always worked my butt off, and partied on the weekends with an occasional bar scene during the week.

Fast forward a decade...met my husband and had my first child. When my baby was 6 months that's when things changed. My stepchild (who was 10) was sent to live with us after his mom decided she was done being a mother. Straight up and left him. I had no idea the hatred he would have towards me from day one given his abandonment issues. The lies, manipulation and nonstop rude mouth took its toll on me. I started drinking more to numb myself.
After losing not one but 2 homes, it increased a bit more. After having my second child, I started right back up.

The final blow was 3 years ago...my brother committed suicide by putting a gun in his mouth. I was the first to find him....he had been upset about something....never in his life suicidal.  It was completely unexpected. To say I felt an insane amount of grief and my world was rocked is quite the understatement.  It nearly destroyed me and I relied heavily on drinking for a good 2 years.

I could write a novel now....but what has brought me here today is how I am viewing myself. I look at my kids and realize they miss out on things because mommy needs her beer by 5. And once I start I don't drive, so they are stuck. I have also hurt myself numerous times since the age of 15....& the straw that broke the camel’s back was 4 days ago. Everyone was in bed and I was simply enjoying my drink and a movie (so normal right??). I got up and tripped over the dog. In my buzzed state and trying not to hurt the dog, I turned and landed on my neck and back. I felt something break...heard the horrible crack. The pain was and still is extremely painful. Unfortunately, no insurance.

So here I am. It is 5 and I'm dying for a drink. My mouth is watering and my heart is starting to race. The thought of even silently admitting I'm an alcoholic freaks me out horribly. All I've known is to drink. Anytime I am with friends we drink. My husband and family are all binge drinkers. The thought of never drinking again is horrible to me.  How can I not have my beer with extra lime at a bbq or while making salsa? I have always said the second the scent of lime or cilantro hit my nose I want a beer. My crutch is drinking. It scares me to not drink.
I know my kids deserve better.

I just don't know where to start except to pray. God will get me through this. All prayers are appreciated.

Monday, November 18, 2013

There Must Be A Better Way

***submitted by Anonymous
I am 59 years old.  A mother, a teacher, the daughter of an alcoholic and a breast cancer survivor.  There are so many reasons why I should not drink, but I do.  Daily.  A bottle of wine a day, sometimes on the weekends if I start early enough in the day it can go into a second bottle.  I shop at various stores, throw the empties out with the trash so they do not show up in my recycle box.  

I am so tired.  Tired of drinking.  Tired of worrying if my cancer will return.  Ashamed that I am drinking knowing all the reasons why I should not.  Somedays I think I am trying to self-destruct.  My drinking fell over into this nightly bottle about 3 years ago.  Cancer treatment was over.  My daughter graduated from college and moved out of state-I was alone.  All alone for the first time in years.  I have been divorced since 1995 and raised my daughter with every resource I had:  financial, emotional, spiritual.  Now she is gone.  Who am I?  I am afraid to sober up.  I am afraid of how ugly it will be, how ugly I am.  Afraid of dying and afraid to live.  

I am overweight, bloated, bleary eyed most days.  Hopeless.  Full of shame.  I just put one foot in front of the other and I have lost track of why.  I just do it now because there is nothing else to do.  I know I am so far removed from living.  I am existing.  

I have been listening to the Bubble Hour podcasts, I have tried a few AA meetings, I have stopped and started drinking so often now that I have lost track of my "Day 1"s.  There must be a better way.  There must be something I am missing, haven't found, haven't been open to-something.  

Thanks for listening.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Let Your Light Shine

*** Submitted by Sari M

My name is Sari and I am an alcoholic.
 
I never thought I would utter those words out of my mouth. "I am" is a very strong statement.
 
Today saying those words makes me feel free - this was not the case only seven years ago. The word "alcoholic" made me want to go under covers and come back when the outside world was okay again and playing by my rules. After all, I was a successful career woman with everything going on for herself, husband and a good job catering from kings and queens to rock stars and country leaders. I was running the show making the impossible happen and managed to pull rabbits out of the hat in a way only dreamed of.
 
Everything was well or so it seemed to the outside world. I was the Chief Stewardess on board a luxury yacht along with my captain husband. We had loved each other deeply and spent 24/7 together for many years. Inside me was a huge black hole and I was trying to fill it with all the things "bigger, better, faster, more". There was no bottom on that hole. Bit by bit alcohol took over and became the rapacious creditor we talk about. I ended up in jail 8 months after my car accident in which I totaled the SUV I was driving. My alcohol level was 5 times over the legal limit. Only in the jail cell I had the moment of clarity. "How did I end up here?", I asked myself. "What happened to the high flying international yacht stewardess and successful, well liked mother of all?". I have not had a drink since I got out of jail in October 2007. My life is forever changed now.
 
27 years passed between the time that alcohol worked for the very first time and the time that alcohol didn't work for the very last time. I do not remember when I became a daily drinker, but I remember that I had a lot of fun drinking for a very long time.
 
My first drink at age of 14 was a mix of everything from a selection of beautiful crystal decanters carefully placed on display in a fancy dark wood liquor cabinet. My friend who was 17 and I were left alone for the week end in a luxury home where she worked as home help. We took a little bit of each decanter of strong liquors, the selection included some Sherry, Cognac, Armagnac and who knows what the local Finnish potent 'medicine' or moon shine was at that time. We carefully poured a little of each decanter so that the level of the liquid would not go down too much. And we drank it down. I can so very clearly remember how awfully it burned my throat. My insides were burning and I felt like my throat had just been wiped with the harshest sand paper. The severe shaking of my head and body accompanied by few words of distressing sensation in attempt to hurry up the physical discomfort was soon followed by a strong and blissful heat wave through my body. I relaxed into an awe and felt the warmth travel through my veins to my finger tips and toes, even to the tip of my eye lashes. I was alive more than ever. I remember the feeling of being ready to conquer the world. I had arrived. This was the answer to all my questions.
 
I left my native Finland 3 days after my graduation at age of 19 for what we call the "gap year" before going to University. After that break we are supposed to follow the "memo": "Get an education, get a job, get a car, get a girl, get a guy, get the house, the a better job, get kids, get a promotion, get a better car....". Somehow I did not get the "memo" and I am still on the same trip, I forgot to go return home. I went to Universities in Sweden and later in France, worked on board luxury private yachts for nearly 17 years while traveling to nearly 70 countries and lived in more than 10 of them along the way. Here today, gone tomorrow was a perfect life for an alcoholic.
 
We worked hard and played hard, and everyday the play mates were different so they didn't know how much I actually drank. Everybody drank a lot. Every day. We deserved it, we thought. After all, we were all away from families and our countrymen. We became the family. Drinking was bonding and we discovered new lands and oceans while having fun. What a life.
 
Somewhere along the way I lost myself. As the Chief Stewardess I was responsible for the running of the interior from the menu to the folding of the toilet paper and ironing of the socks. Everything had to be perfect. Everything had to happen now and perfectly. And it did. Always. Until I could not do it any more. I used to say "I only work well under pressure and under influence of alcohol". It was true that often when pushed to the limit, I thrived and made some miracles happen. The guest would ask for the moon from the sky and I would calmly say "Yes Sir, Just one moment. I am on my way. I will be right back".
 
Crazier the request, harder I would  try to please. I also made sure every crew member had their specialty food item from their native country. People pleasing at it's best. Or worst at it turned out later.
 
Drinking took a bigger and bigger part in my life and I was hiding it. I had a case of beer in my closet, a bottle of wine in my under wear drawer and cans of soda with vodka in them scattered all over the yacht. I didn't drink so much anymore when out with the crew but drank alone so that nobody really knew how much I drank. I started the day with a drink before having a shower often before 5:00am. I was hiding a bottle under the sink in my bathroom. I did not realize the misery I was living. One morning as I was on my knees drinking warm champagne out of the bottle wrapped in bath towel, I thought to myself "At least it is Crystal, the king of champagnes. This is not too bad". How distorted my life had become. I could no longer look at myself in the mirror, I brushed my teeth bending down deep enough under the mirror so that I would not see my face.
 
Then came the day that I did not want to drink anymore. I was desperately flipping through Yellow Pages on section D to find detox. I just wanted to go and dry up for the week end and have all problems disappear. Just like that. Flip of the fingers. Nobody could take me for just 2 days, they required 72 hours. I could not possibly go for 3 days, I had to be at work on Monday. The boat would sink if I was not there. Didn't they know who I was? So I didn't go. Much later I found an outpatient group and wanted to keep my husband off my back, I went to get another hopefully quick fix. Through that path I ended up in my first AA meeting.
 
It was Saturday morning and as I walked in with another girl from the group, my long lost friend was there. A god moment. I had tried to find her earlier as I knew she had stopped drinking and I wanted to know how. After the meeting we went to coffee shop and talked. I was not ready to quit, I just wanted the consequences to stop. I had a bottle in the car and was itching to get back to the car and be left alone. I cried and cried as we talked. I could not imagine life without alcohol. But no longer could I imagine life with alcohol either. I was so lost, but yet I was sure I will just beat this "rough patch" in my life.
 
It was not until nearly 2 years later that I finally surrendered. I started to listen to the people in AA and heard my story from so many - women, men, white, black, rich and poor. I had thought myself to be different, after all I am European and alcohol does not effect Europeans the same way. I was not that bad and if I just got few of my minor life issues in order, all would be well. I broke down and bit by bit the ice started melting. I got a sponsor and started working the steps. I went to daytime recovery group for 5 hours and 2-3 meetings a day. I had to keep strictly on the narrow path as I was starting to put days together one day at a time.
 
I got a good job at a 4 Diamond level Hotel and as the stress and the busy work life got the best of me, less than 3 months sober I decided to drink again. It happened without me having any idea. We were all having dinner, someone asked me what I would like to drink and without a blink I said: "I don't know, something alcoholic". And in an instant all the good teachings were gone, my serenity level demolished and I was off to the races. Soon I found myself running to the store to get a beer on my lunch break. Then came the court date for my DUI. I was getting jail time I knew as my alcohol level had been .348 BAC. The attorney told me they had "2 for 1" deal now. My sentence was 10 days which meant I would spend 5 days in jail.
 
Did I want to take it or call for another date, was the question. As I was in the hallway of the court room talking with my lawyer, a sudden power came over me just like hands over my shoulders and the voice said: "Take it. This is your chance. You have already started drinking s you will lose your job sooner or later". I said: "Yes, I take it." They were not my words but a sudden relief landed on my heart. This is my chance. I reported to jail the next morning and I got out 4 days later. I have not had a drink since.
 
Working the steps and being an active part of AA has been the best part of my life. I have a family and I do not need to tackle any problem on my own. The sign on our Clubhouse wall says "You are not alone anymore". This is so true.
 
Today I want to share the message and bring hope. I speak in a recovery center to those who are starting the DUI court program, that saved my life. That court program is intense and one is under the surveillance 24/7. I needed to be accountable for my every move. I share my story when asked and I know I have a message to be shared with the world. A message of hope. Suffering in silence kills. Shame and guilt kill people.
 
There are so many women that think they are the only ones doing what they are doing. I want to reach those women and say "I have been where you are and there is a way out. The only way out is through the pain". Today I don't suffer and I am grateful. I realize that what I though were the worst things in my life are truly the strong foundation I am standing on now. I am a messenger, I have a calling and I need to follow my soul's agenda to bring in hope into this world filled with discord and hopelessness.
 
I am looking forward to meeting many of you along the way.
 
Let your light shine!