Dear Alcohol, It’s Over.
After I finished taking swigs from bottles and peeing in my pants, it wasn’t long before I returned to taking swigs from bottles and peeing in my pants. The difference was, the second time around, I wasn’t in diapers. I was sixteen. Boys don’t dig chicks who piss their pants, even if we’re easy.
The first time I got drunk, I fell down, puked all over the bathroom, blacked out, and couldn’t wait to do it again. Alcohol made me feel like I’d arrived. It gave me courage and stifled the nagging voices of insecurity inside my head.
For years, I passed for a social drinker. I participated in conversations and laughed at jokes, but I was fixated on the alcohol. The jokes were funny as long as my glass was full. I had a one-track mind. Who’s buying next? Where’s my pitcher? Eight minutes ‘til bar time. Hands off the Captain Morgan, bitch.
I counted your drinks, my drinks, and the money on the bar. But mostly, I counted on the next drink to induce that perfect-yet-elusive high I continually sought. Each time I drank, my goal was simple: bring on the oblivion.
Backpacking through Europe after college, my drinking turned scary. Once I awoke in an apartment in Vienna, surrounded by Arabs in sheikh robes. I had no idea where I was or how I got there. I remember praying, “Please God, let me be clothed, and if you get me out of this, I’ll never drink again.”
Two days later, I awoke on a park bench in Monte Carlo. Nine blackjack chips and my passport were crammed in my undies. Nearby, two homeless men laughed as they rifled through my handbag. I had no recollection of the night before.
Those are just two of many humiliating incidents. I knew I had to address my drinking, but quitting was never an option. Once I returned to the U.S., I hoped things would change. I fooled myself to believe I drank because of certain people and places.
I was wrong. The drinking followed me to California, Oregon, Indiana, and back to Wisconsin. When geographical cures failed, I hoped my drinking would taper off if I married and started a family.
It didn’t. Sure, I made it home, but I still had blackouts. I knew alcohol affected me differently. As soon as I took a sip, my entire perception of reality altered. I forgot problems and responsibilities. Alcohol became both my best friend and my worst enemy. I was obsessed.
After each binge, I was overwhelmed with shame, remorse and regret. My sons needed love and attention, yet my hangovers rendered me useless. I wanted solitude. From the sofa I’d shout, “I know you already watched Scooby. Watch it again.” My selfishness took priority over my kids’ needs.
I became paranoid. I avoided the mail and the phone. I feared everything. If needed, I could fake I was fine for a school event or brief appearance with friends, but that took enormous energy. I was lonely, depressed, lying to the world, and failing my children. I hated myself and could imagine no solution.
Then on one July day, back in 2004, I gave up. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I could no longer live with the alcohol, but I didn’t know how I’d live without it, either. But I knew I wanted to live freely.
I humbly asked for help and my family answered. I was terrified and felt guilty leaving my boys for 47 nights in treatment. To this day, it’s the best decision I ever made. I emerged with a simple, yet not easy, road map to rebuild my life. God willing, next July I’ll celebrate another year of sobriety.
In sobriety I’ve faced a lot of loss, but I’ve never picked up a drink. I’ve weathered a divorce, a custody battle, lost a house, left the social comforts of the couples’ world, and started a new career. I’ve faced uncertainty and fear, but I’ve gained faith and courage by learning from other alcoholics. Sobriety has returned my dignity and I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I cherish my individuality and never concern myself with the crowd.
Friends ask, “How do you tolerate knowing you’ll never drink again?” I don’t look at it that way. Each day I make the conscious decision not to drink. I live in the moment and savor each day. I don’t regret yesterday, nor do I fear tomorrow. Most importantly, I constantly see the ripple effects of my sobriety in my three sons.
I do confess that I sometimes still pee in my pants. However these days, it’s caused by raucous fits of laughter!
If you or a loved one wants help with a drinking problem, contact 1-866-925-4030.
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This post was syndicated with permission.