I know. The Blog title “Tidbits of Thoughts and Tastes” does not “fit” the last two posts…. When I created the Blog two years ago I was pretending everything was okay. I was presenting the “perfect public image” that I see others posting …. I posted the last two pieces, “She Sits Alone” and “Voices” because they capture my struggle and help me begin to tell my real story.
I’ve been hiding a secret, from myself, from my family, from the people around me. I drank, at night, every night, in private… wine. Lots of wine. I’m small. Most nights 1/2 a bottle was enough to take the edge off the day. Quiet the voices in my head. Allow me to pass out, but not really sleep. Some nights I drank more, much more. Those were the times that I swore the next morning that I was finished drinking. I could not go on like this any more. I was going to stop. I didn’t have a problem. I just needed to not drink so much. A couple days of not drinking, then one glass of wine with dinner and I’d be back on the path to a whole bottle.
The spiral started about 8 years ago, when my mother died. It is not an excuse but it helps explain why. Part of the journey is figuring out where it started. There were days, but not many, when I did not drink. Over the years, there were people I trusted to whom I reached out. Some listened and tried to help, some said I did not have a problem. The day of one terrible hangover, I even went to an AA meeting and have the 24 hour chip to prove it. I cannot remember exactly when I attended that meeting. The date no longer matters. It was not a real new beginning. I kept drinking. I still was not sure if I had a problem. I did not see myself in the faces I saw at AA or the stories they told.
Was I really an alcoholic? I had not hit bottom. I was living a wonderful life. I had a happy marriage and family, and a blessed life by any standard of measure. I took care of my family. I volunteered at school and at church. I cared for others. I had not hit bottom.
Everyone says that the “bottom” is different for each alcoholic. The bottoms I kept reading about were so much deeper than I had ever gone or could ever imagine going. Yes, I drank. Yes, I would pour another glass of wine when part of me knew I should not. I’d pour another glass rather than leave those few ounces lonely in the bottom of the bottle. Besides, it would not begin to help take the edge off tomorrow. Why not drink it now and start with a fresh bottle the next evening? But I wasn’t an alcoholic.
I told myself I didn’t really have a problem. I was in control. I didn’t start my day with a drink. I never drank at lunch. I seldom drank in public and if I did, kept to one drink because I did not want to be embarrassed. I was in control. I didn’t drink hard alcohol. Truth be told I didn’t drink it because it did not give me the buzz I liked from wine. The two times in my life I did drink enough hard alcohol to be buzzed I got so very drunk and sick that I never wanted to touch it again.
Wine. I drank wine, at night, at home, often alone, just like millions of women. Is that a problem?
I realized it is when you are doing it every single night. I realized it is when you start taking medicine for depression and keep drinking. I realized it is when you crave a drink as the day draws to a close. I realized it is when you make up reasons to run out to the store when there is no wine in the house. I realized is it when your teenage daughter points out that every time we go to the store at night for ice-cream, or something we’ve run out of, I buy wine. She noticed?! WOW. I felt like I’d been slapped. I’d found my “Bottom”.
We have a few more years with her in the house before college. I did not want her to leave home think drinking wine at night, every night, was ok! I pray it’s not too late.
The next day was my sister’s 25th wedding anniversary. It is now also my Day 1.
In today’s society, 25 years of marriage is certainly something to celebrate. Their journey as a couple has not been easy but they have worked at it. One day at a time. I realized stopping drinking would not be easy, but that this was the perfect day for me to draw the line and start my journey of sobriety.
One Day At A Time…