When my mother died 9 years ago I started drinking every night to shut out the voices. To dull the ache of mourning. To escape the pain. Of the many things I mourned in losing my mother, the one I mourned the most, was losing her memories. Her perspective. Her stories. She was the keeper of family stories, including those of my father’s family.
I love stories. I loved listening to my grandmother tell stories of her life through the 20th century. I was not wise enough in my teens and 20’s to record her words, or my mother’s. Some still live in my mind but many are lost to time.
As I continue to struggle with my drinking I look at ways it is now hurting my life. The drinking to dull the ache of mourning the loss of memories has now done it’s damage to my memories. Years of passing out but not really sleeping will wreak havoc with your brain. I have trouble remembering simple things like the thought I had as I walked up the stairs but could not remember it to write it down once I had paper and pencil. I am constantly being reminded that someone had told me something previously, but I have no recollection of it.
Nine years. It’s a long time. 3285 days. I thought I’d found my “bottom” last year, but I hadn’t. I’ve been continuing to tread water, gasping, but hanging on, as I continue to drink most nights. In May of last year, about 240 days ago, I declared enough. I was finished. I dropped a stone into my bottle every morning to mark my progress. This morning, I did not drop a stone. In fact, I’ve dropped fewer than 100 stones since last May when I announced my intention.
I’ve tried reading books, blogging, talking to friends and trusted counselors, every tool I can think of except the one that seems the most obvious, attending a Meeting. In the last few days, weeks and months my awareness has been awakened to the many people I am passing in my every day life who are on the same journey that I am, but in different places along the path.
I realize now that for me to succeed in my battle with alcohol, I have to make myself known to them and ask them to walk alongside me. To hold my hand or to call me from the path ahead. I can no longer walk in darkness alone stumbling along, falling, failing.
One day at a time….