Some times you can just feel it. I think we all sit and wait for it. hoping that it, or something like it, truly exists. That moment where the very asphalt of the world you have been living in breaks open with a plundering steam. Rubble crashes into the sky. The flat surface of a world you once knew now shape-shifted and modeled into mountains and valleys. Caverns and shadows. Curiosity. Every thing that once was, still is, but yet, it isn’t. The world, it changed yet stayed the same. A world of black and flat asphalt suddenly becomes a wonder world of intrigue. Years of nothing now open up into a labyrinth of possibility and excitement. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Today I have decided to live one year without alcohol.
Today I decide to make one massive change in my life. I’m very curious to see if any positive changes come from it. I would like for you to join in this adventure with me. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “one year without alcohol big woop.” Allow me to assure you that, for me, it is a huge woop. A big Woopty Freaking Doo as a matter of fact. I am from a long line of alcoholics. In the charming words of Dean Martin himself “Alcohol doesn’t run in my family, it gallops.” I have not spent more than 1 week sober since about age 20. (except for the 9 months I was pregnant with my children). I guess that was the only time I felt it necessary to actually care enough to take care of my body. I knew I was harboring something bigger than me and was able to not drink for 9 months each time.
I am a 28 year old female. I stole my first drink from my fathers liquor cabinet at the ripe old age of 12. By the time I was 14 I was drinking at friends houses and parties. By 16 and 17 I was going to weekend parties. I was looked at as a god. I could drink more than anyone, and not only that but I could hold it better than anyone. All of my peers were so amazed at my ability to play it straight. If only they had known all the years of practice I had prior. 17 was the age I was when I experienced my first sexual assault. Learning from my mistakes, I decided it was best to not drink in public or around anyone. This began many years of drinking alone.
There is a comforting thing about drinking alone. See, when you are all alone you have no one to judge you. You have no one that you need to worry about making a fool of yourself in front of. This makes it much easier to get black out drunk, throw up everywhere, and then wake up naked in the backyard free of judgement. You don’t really have to worry if you made a fool of yourself because there was no one there to make a fool of yourself in front of.
At 19 I moved out with my now husband. He was 23 at the time. Old enough to score me boozer. Woo hoo right? I started drinking my nightly glass of wine. I felt so grown up. Then shortly that glass of wine started becoming a bottle of wine. Then a double bottle of wine. I also began to notice that my once incredibly fit and thin body was looking a little bit more, shall we say, fluffier. By 21 I had a great job and a beautiful little girl. I have always managed to remain a responsible mother, but as an employee, not so much. I had the worst problem getting to work on time. Mainly because I was so hungover from the night before I wouldn’t hear my alarm, or I would just call in. At the time I really thought this was normal behavior. I thought everyone drank like I did every night. I see now that I was wrong.
At 23 my husband scored a promotion that moved us 3 hours south to Charleston South Carolina. It was here that I acquired the glorious occupation of housewife. The classic story really. Husband worked long hours, and was out of town often, I was alone with our daughter. I fell into a depression. I would drink because I was depressed and I was depressed because I drank. It was an endless cycle of blurry nights and hungover mornings. It was there in Charleston that I began drinking liquor in place of wine. (thinking I would be cutting back on those calories) HA! Wrong again. I noticed though that I could drink less liquor and still get the same effect. That didn’t last long, as I soon began finishing half a pint of vodka a night.
At 27 my husband got a new job opportunity that moved us back home. While I do not drink every night now, my drinking habit has evolved yet again into binge drinking. I have come a sipper. By this I mean, Friday night I’ll have some drinks with the hubby. Wake up the next day not feeling too well, so I’ll grab the bottle and have a “sip” from it. About 20 minutes later, I start feeling better. So I’ll take another “sip”. I have noticed I will do it until the bottle is GONE and then still try to get my hands on more no one ever seeming to be the wiser.
2 weeks ago my husband and I had a heart to heart about my new drinking habits and both agreed that I needed to find a way to chill out on the 2 and 3 day binges. Maybe give up on alcohol all together. Well I started trying to just not have liquor in the house at all except for on weekends. That was working for me a little, but I was still bingeing through the weekend. Tuesday my husband received word that he was to leave for a last minute business trip to Fresno CA. He will be gone until Friday. Tuesday night before he leaves I buy a bottle of bourbon. I tell myself I am only going to drink that night just to help me sleep, and then that’s it. This morning (Wednesday) as awful as it sounds I start drinking again. By 9:30 I have a great buzz going. Now not drunk mind you but just buzzed. I tell myself I will sleep off the buzz when my daughter takes her nap and all will be well with the world. I do. Everything works out just fine. We wake up, sober, run my errands for the day and make a bee line for that DAMN bottle. Thinking I just need something to fill that lonely spot until my husband gets back. I unscrew the lid. It’s at this time the proverbial light bulb came on over my hear so strongly the light bulb shattered. It was like a voice that screamed “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS! STOP!” I pushed the bottle back into the cabinet. I realized I was CRAVING that bottle. It was like it was screaming to me to come and get it. I never realized how dependent I had become to the drink until I denied myself of it for the first time. After many hours drinking lots and lots of water and talking with some amazing people in the Recovery World chatroom I have realized it’s time I make a change.
Today I am 28. I am 50 pounds heavier than I was as the cute little 19 year old that wanted to feel like a grown up with her wine glass. I have been put on blood pressure medication. I have anxiety, and depression. I have sleeping issues and restless legs. I have woken up more mornings feeling like crap than I did ready to take on the day. I have lived the past 9 years of my life slowly poisoning myself. Today when I pushed that bottle away a strength and confidence welled up inside of me that I never knew I had. I think I just may be able to get through this. I think I just might finally have the strength to change my life and walk away from alcohol. I would like to use this blog, not only as an outlet for when I am wanting to drink, but also has a way of keeping track of the changes I go through while not drinking, if any. Today when I pushed that bottle away, that is when
the earth cracked in my world. That is when the planes started shifting. From that second on I was able to see out into the Labyrinth of possibilities. For the first time in a long time. I look forward to tomorrow.