Updated: Jan 16, 2021
Today is the 13th, my husband's and my lucky number! Ironically, I get my copy of "The Big Book" in the mail today and I'm looking forward to starting the 12 steps on my own but invite anyone who is interested to join me on this journey. I'm tossing around trying Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in person but I'm just not there yet. I see lots of women online AA groups that I've been tempted to call into but I can't. Why can't I...am I afraid or just being shy? Either way, it's a day by day process and I'm doing all that I can to just focus on the now to see what works best for my journey.
I've been doing lots of self reflecting on my life. It's crazy when you actually sit back and really deeply reflect on our life and all the many lessons that we should have learned a long time ago, but just didn't. It's so cyclical, isn't it? The pattern of our behaviors. The ups and downs. All of it! The "I'm not going to drink for a month then I'll be fine" then after that, you can't manage to handle it. The "I can moderate" then 2 to 3 weeks later you're back into the same routine of drinking daily and sinking lower and lower in your own self pity. I have done this for YEARS (25 years to be exact)!
I was a party girl, if you haven't come to that conclusion already. I loved experimenting with different things. Growing up, my parents never drank during the week but when the weekends came, there was alcohol always around when we gathered with friends. It was fun and the adults thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I didn't think anything of it until now but I couldn't wait to start drinking and enjoying alcohol socially like they did. It looked like fun, so why not? So, when I started drinking, I drank to get a good buzz in High School. When I went off to college...it became much worse. The only "sober" days I had was on Monday and Tuesday then it was ON Wednesday through Sunday. I managed to keep my grades up somehow, but needless to say, I was living life up in my mind...I was free and on my own (for the most part). I made LOTS of stupid mistakes in college that were very HARD life lessons. Unfortunately, being super social and drinking went hand in hand with my upbringing and lifestyle.
I've suffered from self esteem issues all of my life so I think I've finally gotten to the root of my problem (after all these years). Alcohol made me confident and it made me feel so good inside for so long. It made all my fears go away. I'd tell myself, "I'm not an alcoholic since I don't crave a drink" or "I'm not an alcoholic since I don't drink all day". I managed to keep my career going with no problems, etc...but was I truly being honest with myself? Nope, I sure wasn't! I had NO idea that I was considered then a "high functioning alcoholic". My longest sobriety was of course when I was pregnant. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks when I was 30. I was DEVASTATED! This was one of my lowest points. On the way home from the hospital after I lost my baby, I picked up a 12 pack of Michelob Ultra and a pack of cigarettes. I sat out on the deck on the evening of October 13, 2006 drinking the entire 12 pack and smoking the entire pack of cigarettes to numb the pain. THIS will make me feel better, I said and yes, it did for the moment, but of course, we know it really didn't. I continued my heavy drinking until we were able to try to have another baby. I was able to completely stop with no problems back then since I had a real purpose. We did have our sweet healthy baby girl when I turned 32 in 2008 and I refrained from drinking until after my son was born in September 2010. I breastfed our girl for over a year, but only made it to 6 months with my son until I felt the urge to start drinking again. I would wait until the kids were asleep then it was on...MOMMY TIME!!! I deserved it, right? I did everything I needed to do and then some. I wanted (and needed) my wine to decompress. It was a 1/2 a bottle at first, then a bottle after a year or so, then I could down 2 bottles. So, okay, I have a problem with wine...I'll just drink that when we go out for dinner and I'll switch to these yummy hard seltzers that have low calories and 5% alcohol. Well, I'd buy a 12 pack and it would last me about 2 days. Ok, NOW I'll be smart and start mixing the hard seltzers with regular seltzers to manage better. NO, I'd just end of chugging the hard seltzers of course because it was ALL about catching a buzz anyway, right? Then it eventually got to almost a 12 pack a day! Wow, really!?! My problem has come between friendships, although, I thankfully never physically hurt anyone. I should have had many DUI's by now but thankfully, I don't. I could have ended up in jail for crying out loud with all the stupid decisions I made while drinking! It's just crazy to me that I'm still alive at this point.
I knew I had a REAL problem when I started planning my days around making sure I could have a drink in my hand by 6pm. Vacations, road trips, kids activities, etc...I literally would start getting anxiety if I didn't think I would be able to drink when the clock hit evening time. It was my "friend" that replaced so many things. How did I allow this? How could this be my life? Well, it was! It consumed my life...alcohol had a hold of my thoughts and actions. My husband had been concerned about me for a while and so have my parents. I became "sober curious" a couple of years ago when I finally could admit that I was a high functioning alcoholic. It was hard to digest but after reading lots of books...I finally was able to admit it. We have alcoholism and addiction issues in my family. I've known that for years but kept telling myself that "I'm different...that won't end up being me". Oh, the lies we tell ourselves when we don't want to stop doing something that we enjoy but know it's not good for us.
I've embarrassed myself SO many times that it's hard to even talk about, but I have to forgive myself which takes time. I have to allow for that time to pass for me to completely heal. I knew in my heart that this cycle HAD to end or I was on my way to hitting rock bottom fast and hard! On Christmas day 2020, I started drinking mimosas at 930am. I should have stopped after (like my mom did), but I went straight to drinking my hard seltzers. I managed through the day but went to watch a movie with my family that evening and passed out. My son tried to wake me up to no avail. I think my daughter gave up on me since she had seen this too many times (such a heartbreaking reality). Seriously, who am I?!? Is this REALLY the life that I want? My parents continued to express their concerns and at this point, I have had numerous conversations with my husband about his deep concerns as well as my own. Between that and other situations these past couple of years...I HAD to get a grip and accept that my alcoholism was getting much much worse. It wasn't going to get better. I can't moderate. If I continue on like this, I'm going to be dead and not be there for my family. HOW could I EVER do that to them...to myself? Aren't they and I worthy of so much more? YES, YES I am, they are...we ALL are! I've prayed so hard about this for years and know that God has been telling me to "just do it" but I ignored Him for so long! WHY? WHY ME? Why can't I be like "everyone else"? WHY, Lord, WHY, WHY, WHY? I love drinking and socializing and going to concerts but when you have embarrassed yourself enough and HAVE to chug 2 glasses of wine or 3 hard seltzers once you start to drink then you KNOW it's time! They say that once you start feeling that you NEED alcohol to relax and enjoy things, then it's time. Well, I way surpassed that for sure since I've needed it for so long to relax and enjoy things, but I'm determined to find my way. Find myself. Find out what really living life is all about...through all the stress, the fun times, and the bad times. Alcohol became my everything. I find my strength through Him and my family. I know I can do this one day at a time. Minute by minute. The song that came on today while in the car brought me to tears. It spoke directly to my heart and I know it was played at that very moment for a reason. He will see me through this...I am redeemed. Today, I WILL have strength to see tomorrow.