I hope to share with others the horrors I experienced as a practising alcoholic – yes, I am an alcoholic – powerless over that most deceitful of drugs, alcohol. My early life was traumatic – parents divorcing when I was very young, sexual abuse, abandonment by my mother, early obesity and difficulties in the home. When I discovered alcohol – I mean really found it, it was such a relief. I was funny, gorgeous and socially acceptable with a few drinks in me. Then I drank too much and I became romantic or homicidal or, on rare occasions both at the same time – very daunting. For a while it was ok – I was limited by time, circumstance and money and only occasionally got rip-roaring drunk. But as the disease progressed in me the drunkenness became far, far more frequent.
The blackouts were terrifying – to come to and not know what had been happening, sometimes not knowing who I had been with. And trying to pretend as if nothing was wrong. To nod knowingly when people discussed the events of the night before and not having a single clue what occurred. And the hangovers were so bad. I would vomit until sometimes there was blood in the bowl, my head felt like it wanted to expel my eyes and towards the end, my hands shook uncontrollably.
I tried changing drinks, I tried time limits, drink limits, people limits and nothing could keep me from the booze. If things would just change, maybe I could stop – pressure of work, kids, husband, etc. I just had to have that drink to get me through the thing that was my life. And it was endless and hopeless – Groundhog Day – each day the same pitiful event as the last. No matter how much I wanted things to change, or people around me wanted things to change, nothing changed except to get worse and worse. Arrests, car accidents with and without children, infidelities and basic dishonesty are all part of my drinking story.
Then after yet another traffic “Incident” – another time when I had forgotten I had kids, forgotten I had people to dinner, it all came to a head and I was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous. I was terrified; I really did not know what to expect, only that there was hope that I could get out of the nightmare I was living. I found in that room compassionate and caring people who had experienced a lot of what I had been through. They understood. Others had told me to stop drinking, or at least cut down, or not to drink while driving, or not to drive drunk with the kids in the car– people in AA understood that my power of choice left me with the first drink.
I found a tremendous freedom made wonderful friends, and learned how to live. I must have been out to lunch when the ordinary life skills were being taught – I had no notion how to cope with very simple and basic stuff. In the group I learned about me – there are things that I absolutely cannot do and there are things that I ought to have a go at for my own development.
It’s been 25 years for me without a drink but, like everything else, we do it one day at a time!
I am grateful for my life.