How I knew it was time…

So, sometimes when I reflect back on my extensive alcoholic drinking past I think about times that stand out where too much was too much and I knew something was up.  There wasn’t just one time, but instead there were many times.  And recently I have noticed that they have been coming more and more frequently, which, I guess, is how I knew it was time.  …this time.

Time 1:  circa 2001: I was having an enjoyable evening with my boyfriend-at-the-time.  We were drinking white wine and making sushi. We needed rice vinegar and he left for the store to get some.  I stayed home and inadvertently drank probably a whole bottle of wine in the time he was gone.  I threw up in his bed that night. ewwww…gross.

Time 2: circa 2002: That boyfriend-at-the-time broke up with me about 6 months later.  I was devastated.  I fell into a clinically severe depression.  It was during this time that I isolated myself from friends and family and started to purposely and often-ly self-medicate with alcohol.  It worked…and moving forward in my life I would now self-medicate with alcohol for just about everything.

Time 3: circa 2007:  After the birth of my second child I became totally overwhelmed with my life.  I’m not sure what happened.  I didn’t have traditional post-partum depression, as I wasn’t sad, but my anxiety went through the roof.  My baby boy was such a low-key and easy baby.  He slept all the time and was so peaceful and pleasant.  But for some reason I couldn’t relax.  I was so wound up so often and drinking helped to calm me down.  It was then that I believe my husband started to take note of my abnormal drinking.  We would have stupid drunk fights.  It was at this time that I noticed I was thinking about drinking very very often.  I started to have blackouts that I recognized were problematic.  Yet I could not stop nor control my drinking.  One night I remember asking my husband to carry my son up the stairs to his crib because I was afraid that I was going to drop him.  I was that drunk and that anxious.  …This period of time was a big eye opener for me and eventually started me on my pathway to seek help with my alcohol addiction.

Time 4:  circa 2010:  I am actively trying to abstain from drinking but failing over and over.  I would not keep beer and wine in the house (these are the only alcohols I truly enjoy drinking), and find myself tapping into the hard stuff.  Saying I will have just a glass, and reaching for more and more and more.  Getting drunk when I don’t want to.  I am now sneaking my drinking from my husband.

Time 5:  circa 2011-15:  I am now hiding alcohol around the house.  Hiding it from my husband.  Occasionally, if I am off work for the day, and cleaning the house, I will start drinking at 10 am while I clean.  One time my kids were at their grandparent’s house for the day and I had the house to myself.  I bought a bottle of wine after I dropped them off (about 10 am), drank the whole thing while cleaning, passed out in my bed and awoke only as I heard my husband’s truck pull in the driveway at 5 pm.  I was supposed to pick my kids up from my in-laws at 4:30.

Time 6: circa 2011-15:  Even though I don’t love it, I feel it is OK if I am slightly buzzed and drive my kids to the library, or on errands.  One time I drank 2 beers while my son was at preschool and picked him up not long after finishing drinking the second one.

Time 7:  2015-present:  I find myself driving home from events drunk time and time again even when I tell myself I will not do this.   I wonder what the consequence will be, not just to me and my husband, but for my innocent children, and the social consequences of having a mother who has a DUI, or more terribly:  a mother who committed manslaughter by killing someone while driving drunk.  The idea that I think I am even capable of this petrifies me.

Time 8:  2015-present:  I can not control my drinking and I know this.  I have proven this to myself over and over again.  I start to leave dinner parties, of parents with whom my children are friends with, much more intoxicated than I intend.  I even have black outs on these nights.  I have a big realization that I don’t want my addiction to alcohol to negatively impact my children’s social lives.  I need to stop this.

Big questions I ask myself is:  ‘can you do this?’  ‘what can you try differently this time that might work for you?’ ‘what is going to happen to you, your marriage, your children, your life, if you can’t move past this alcohol addiction?’

Day 9 for me today… I try, I persevere…one day at a time.

Blackouts

Blackouts….ah yes, a super un-fun occurance that happens after you drink a lot of alcohol.  …or, after many years of chronic alcohol abuse, drinking just a little bit of alcohol, depending on how your body decides to process it on any particular evening.

I was having blackouts as a young 20-something before I even knew what blackouts were, or even recognized that I had a problem with the way I drank alcohol.  I remember waking up in my apartment after a night out at the bars with my friends, looking down at myself and feeling so –happy and satisfied— that I was neatly tucked into my bed w/ my pjs on.  And when I couldn’t recall where I had put my driver’s license and money at the end of the night, I had to look no further than over to my bureau to see that they were neatly stacked together, next to any jewelry I wore the night before.  …‘I’m such a good drunk’ I thought to myself amusingly.

Fast forward 15 years when drinking almost every night by myself, but with my family around me, was the norm for a long time.  There were too many times when I would wake up in the middle of the night and couldn’t remember what pjs I put on my children before bed.  Did I brush their teeth??? Of course I did…. It just took me a long time and lots of mental effort to remember, and even when I did the memories were fuzzy.  What did I watch before I went to bed… I usually couldn’t recall, and if I did, again, it usually took a lot of effort on my part to recreate the night before from the time where I did remember watching (earlier in the evening), to the time where I knew I switched the channel (or another program came on), but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what it was.

The most troubling blackouts were the numerous times my husband and I would have a conversation while I was drinking and the next day I wouldn’t remember any of it.  I would bring up a topic the next day and he would say to me, ‘don’t you remember we talked about that last night?’ ….no, I don’t.   These times were not fun nor funny.  I tried my best more than once to roller skate around a conversation if I had been caught not remembering it from the night before.  Often times I just didn’t bring up things during the day that I could have possibly talked about with him when I was drinking for fear that I would be caught in yet another blackout moment.  I will be honest with you…. this, and my drinking habits, took a very serious tool on our relationship.  Not fun.

And even as I sit here typing this entry… 3 days without a drink, I am crazy addicted to alcohol enough to think that maybe that won’t happen to me again….if I’m just careful and don’t go overboard.

I am grateful for understanding that alcohol addiction tricks your true mind into thinking ‘it won’t happen again,’ when you know it will.  I learned this the hard way… after numerous true and dedicated tries to control or abstain from drinking.  Ultimately they have all failed in the end, but not all is lost…. I learned from each relapse, and each time I try this journey of recovery from alcohol addiction I emerge a stronger and more wise person. … Here is to a successful day 4 tomorrow.