I stumbled on a video yesterday, the morning of July 4th. While it felt like a random encounter, I know God placed it in my path to find, saying “Watch This”, on a day when I would be able to receive the messages it contained. The video was actually produced and aired about 9 months ago, but I was drinking then, and I didn’t see it. I start to wonder if I would have received the message it contains at the time if I had watched it then, and stop myself. This journey is unfolding as it should, there is no going back and wondering what if. There is only now, today, and tomorrow.
Yesterday morning, as I was looking at Google Images and YouTube videos for photography ideas to capture a crab feast, my eyes glanced to the list of “Up next” titles and landed on the picture of Elizabeth Vargas, a journalist who’s professionalism, elegant style, and beauty, I have always admired. I was completely shocked by the title, Making of An Alcoholic, and knew I needed to watch. I clicked on the link to make sure I could access it later, closed the computer, and headed out the door to a holiday celebration.
I had no trouble avoiding alcohol during the day. I was the designated driver and while I missed the flavor combo of beer with crabs, the internal struggle was not there. Once home it was a different story. My husband asked if he could open a bottle of white wine to have with our dinner of cheese and crackers, I hesitated and then said it was fine. As he removed the chilled, but still corked bottle from the fridge, I said, I think I’ll have a small glass with you, just one, I need to experiment and see if I can go back to drinking normally. NOPE! he said, I’ll drink something else and he put the bottle back.
Damn, the silent voice in my head said. If I’d kept my mouth shut, he’d have opened the bottle and I could have had a glass after he’d headed to bed. Uhmm, yeah, that’s actually what I thought. I was mad at him for being the gate keeper and I was mad at myself for blowing the chance to “test the waters”.
I’d forgotten about the video until this morning when I opened my computer. There it was, staring me in the face, waiting to be watched. So I did. 45 riveting minutes later and I am again reminded that I know the answer to the question I ask myself almost every day, Am I really an alcoholic? Yes.
How did this happen?
I doubt my alcoholism because my story does not sound like the other stories I hear, but elements of it does. My life does not look like the lives of alcoholics I know, but parts of it does. My drinking pattern does not mirror those other heavy drinkers, but fragments of it does.
I doubt my alcoholism because I get subliminal unspoken messages from women at AA meetings that I don’t really belong to their ‘Club’, that I’m not really one of them. I am treated in a patronizing manner and have even been called “cute” after a share.
The truth is that no, I don’t belong to their chapter of The Club because I’ve not gone as far down the path as they, but I do belong to what I am coming to believe is a chapter with a much larger membership, a chapter full of women like me who if you asked 100 people who know me, none would say I’m an alcoholic or believe you if you told them I am.
So if you have not seen this, I encourage you to watch. It is a powerful, honest, and eye opening story of one woman’s journey into alcoholism and it has strengthened my resolve to tell my own story, too.