This is EXTREMELY difficult for me to write and even harder for me to share, but I know it could help someone feel less alone, so it's worth whatever may come my way for exposing myself in this way.
Don't worry. I would never ever ever ever ever sit here and write about how good and holy and righteous I am now that I haven't been totally black out drunk for 6 weeks.
In fact, it's the opposite.
I'm such a fragile, self-destructing, damaged, neurotic mess that I had no choice but to cool it with the drinks.
I finally hit my 'rock bottom' moment St. Patrick's Day. I had been drinking since 7 in the morning, proceeded to continue to drink through the day and the drinks and even location changed several times as I drank into the night. My husband was home with the kids.
My friends politely suggested I get a taxi home and I refused. Then they ordered a taxi and told me to get into it...I did not.
My friends tried to offer me water instead of drinks and I refused to drink it. I was slurring and not making any sense. I was in public. People saw me, an otherwise responsible and loving mother of 2, acting like a college girl on Spring Break and the sun hadn't even gone down yet.
I was bombed. Like, embarrassingly, not cute, not funny, friends having to take care of me and hating it wasted. And if that were the only 'rager' I had had in the months leading up to that day, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. I mean, we've all been there at one time or another, right?
The problem is that that day was just the latest one. In the months leading up to that day, I found myself drinking heavily one or two days a week.
Then, it was on weeknights. Then, it was 3 or 4 days a week.
Then I would drink so much that I'd be late for work or sleep through my alarm or even, yes, 'get sick'.
I've been a big drinker for as long as I can remember and waking up with a massive hangover that would last several days was nothing new to me. But this felt different. It was all starting to escalate so quickly.
I'll never forget one particular morning when my 3-year-old asked me what was wrong and I had to tell her I had a tummy ache as she saw me holding the toilet. She consoled me, hugged me and told me to feel better. It was one of the most humbling moments of my life.
I'm tearing up just recounting it. And of course she had no idea that my 'tummy ache' was actually from a hangover at that age but that's not the point. The point is that I had somehow lost all control.
All of my parenting morals and rules that I set for myself had been broken one by one when it came to drinking. I could excuse just about anything away.
It wasn't me anymore. It was a version of me who was going to great lengths to protect her unhealthy and destructive habit of binge-drinking.
6 weeks. Well, 6 weeks and a few days to be technical because yes, every day is a victory for me.
Not a day has gone by that I didn't want to get drunk and not a morning goes by that I'm not so thankful I didn't. That's the cycle I'm in now until it becomes my new normal.
Resisting, remembering why and rejoicing. Avoiding triggers and trying not to 'set myself up' for failure.
It's been such a growing, positive and necessary experience. I know what I was running from by getting black out drunk so often. But then again, I've always known. I've been running from it for 22 years. Clearly, the booze wasn't making the demons go away.
It was just making me go away. The real me. The me who feels and remembers painful things and learns to cope with those feelings. The alcohol was replacing 'me' with someone who didn't feel. That person did and said mean, ruthless things to loved ones. That person was setting a terrible example for her children. That person was not fighting her postpartum depression with light and good choices but rather with more darkness and destruction.
After about a month, I had one drink. Just one. I have only had one drink on a couple of occasions in these last 6 weeks just to test myself. It was a great feeling. It was actually not as hard as I imagined it would be. I didn't feel like I was totally alienating myself by drinking water in a social setting, but I also knew I could have fun and relax...and that just one drink could accomplish that.
I have to be gentle with myself and allow some room.
But, I have to know that one drink...two if it's a special occasion, is all I'm ever allowed to have.
I am not capable of the night out with the girls over a few martinis that leads to another bar with another few martinis. I'm just not. And I'm envious of those I see around me who are capable of it.
I have to learn to just be with me...just be with myself and my thoughts and my pain, without alcohol to cloud it all. Once I can master that...once I can learn to feel everything in its enormity and not lose control or break down, I'll find peace.
I have a plan. I have hope. And luckily for me, I have a husband who is there to catch me when I inevitably fall.
We all have demons. We've all carried the weight of traumatic memories or current tragedies. And we all have to find our own paths. We all have to find our version of peace.
I can only hope I stay on track to finding mine.