I’ve wrestled with whether or not to write this post for 29 days. Part of my recovery is honesty, but the voice in my head says “what will they think?”
Will they think I’m an unfit mother? Hiding wine bottles in the back of my closet or a shot of Baileys in my coffee mug? Will they fear for my children’s safety because I admit that I’m powerless over alcohol? Will they cast judgement on me for a perceived character-flaw that I should have control over? I hope not, and if they do, fuck ‘em.
When I think of AA, I don’t think of a woman like me. A mother, a wife, a former corporate professional, a person with no felonies and all of their teeth. No I think of hobos, junkies, and people locked up in jail. I honestly think that these tropes are what alcoholism, the cunning-baffling-and-powerful disease that it is, wants us to believe an alcoholic looks like. If we look for differences instead of similarities, then our addiction keeps us isolated and it lives to fight another day.
I’m asking for you to look for similarities in our stories. If you can see how you might relate to me, then maybe you won’t write me off. Maybe you won’t write yourself off. Maybe the last time you woke up with your head in the toilet, or in a pee-soaked bed, or looked at your phone full of calls to people you’d never really call sober, could be your last time, too. That’s your call, just like my recovery is mine.
How deep did the bottom go for me? I never got a DUI. I never drank during the middle of the day while watching the kids. I never stole money or drove wasted or drank in my car before going to dinner with friends. As my sponsor would say, “You hadn’t done any of these things, yet.” And YET stands for You’re Eligible, Too. That’s a sweepstakes I want no part in any longer.
What was the impetus? How did I get here? I DID break a lot of promises to myself and my husband though. I did drink when I told myself I wouldn’t have anymore, or I wouldn’t drink that night, or if I could make it to 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon I could have as many as I wanted (didn’t make it to 3 and still drank too much). I did battle against the daily mental obsession of when can I start drinking? That is an exhausting battle.
“I’ve had a rough day” “I need to relax” “I wanna cut loose after a hard day at work or raising the kids blah blah blah”. The lies I would use to rationalize my addictive behavior might sound normal, or maybe they sound insane. That’s up for you to decide, and I’d bet the flavor they lend depends on if alcohol’s your friend or foe.
The broken promises to myself killed my soul more than any punishment a police officer could’ve given me. That’s my opinion, at least, and I’m not willing to challenge that hunch. So that’s why I’m done. Your rock bottom is when you stop digging.
At this point, complete honesty is the ray of hope shining towards a path of joy for me. Courage doesn’t mean not being scared; it means doing it scared. As my good friend Shaina says, “if you’re scared say you’re scared!”, and I am fucking scared. However, I’m more frightened of what my future holds if I don’t honor my recovery.
As they say in the program, “a burden shared is halved and a joy shared is doubled”. I hope that by writing this my burden is minimized and perhaps another alcoholic suffering in silence might find strength in knowing they aren’t alone.
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