Saturday, January 28, 2006

The rise and fall of an alcoholic part 3... Breaking the myth

By now, most of the decade that was my 20's lie in the bottom of a bottle; the kids are getting older and more aware. I can see them taking on the same parental role I took with my Father... something has got to give; I can't drag them through the same stuff I'd gone through... I didn't realize it at the time, but I already had.
I did go back and see the counselor, if for no other reason than to prove their assessment wrong. But like an accident waiting to happen, I could already see what lie ahead; I challenged myself to quit drinking for 24 hours, just to see if I could. I could not. I needed inpatient treatment but because I was a single parent and was unwilling to make other arrangements for the kids, we did daily outpatient treatment instead, followed up by daily AA meetings.
There is a myth that when a drunk stops drinking the sun begins to shine, birds sing and all is right with the world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While I was drinking, life was good; I knew how to manage it. I had no idea how to live without it. I left the guy (again) because all we had in common was drinking. I was always the person who left, yet I always resented being alone.
I had no social skills, no coping skills and no support. Creditors called daily for unpaid bills, I'd written a string of bad checks to make ends meet. I was running out of employment options because I'd routinely changed jobs every 6 months or so. Sober people did not trust me because I'd already lied to and used most of the ones I knew; the drunken ones didn't think I was much fun anymore.
I had a huge mess to clean up and now CPS was taking an interest in my parenting skills so I didn't dare drink. Life was much worse once the party ended; all I wanted to do was drink just to make life "normal" again. Without any numbing agents I routinely beat myself as I became more aware of what my life had become, my self esteem was at an all time low. For the first time, I had no escape.
Once treatment was over I thought I was equipped to handle the outside world, I was so sadly mistaken. I needed a sense of security so despite the advice of those who had successfully gone down this path before me; I turned the other direction and attached myself to yet another guy. He was sober and within a month I'd married him... I was desperate and could not bear the thought of turning 30 without some sense of having support. In another month we were separated, I was on the run actually. He was crazy. That marriage was soon annulled. He was extremely delusional and thought the police were following him everywhere, he thought the neighbors were spying on us and that our apartment was bugged. I panicked and fled one day while he was at work. He gave chase and I ended up coming back to Oregon to hide in a round about way.
I finally broke down and realized that while I was not drinking, I had created a mess I could not get out of, I was being chased by a crazy man, my car had finally been repossessed, the bills caught up to me. 6 months after I quit drinking, I finally hit bottom. I was broken. I started going back to meetings and this time I listened...
My biggest challenge was in giving up the idea that I was not a complete person myself, I thought I needed someone to complete me. I had to learn to trust myself. I need to learn to become a parent to the kids. I had to relearn everything I'd previously done as a drunk.
The kids and I spent the next 18 months or so bonding, just the three of us, no men, no drink. Finally there was light at the end of the tunnel. Finally we began to heal as a family and I slowly became a whole person.
Once my spirit began to heal, once I could trust myself again... I began to make different choices.
It has been a long up hill walk, and I am still climbing, it's been nearly 14 years now and yet it feels as though this was written about someone else... like it could not have possibly been me. I did have one "slip", such a cute word for an impending disaster. I just couldn't let my life slip away so easily now, I finally had something to lose.
It feels like a bad dream.
It feels so good to finally be awake
I have come to realize that some of us are born with holes in our souls, often we plug them with what ever is handy; sex, drink, drug. I've had to work hard at finding other ways to plug the holes. I've poured myself into my family and my business. I've worked hard these last years to make up for the first years and although nothing can give back some of the things I have taken, on an initially shakey foundation, a fine sturdy home has been built.
At last, I have something to offer...

I know this sounds cliche` but changing your life begins by changing your mind...

posted by addict @ 3:40 PM |

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