You don’t see it coming until it’s too, late. It creeps up on you. The days are ordinary, albeit full of the normal stresses of life. And then something happens, and the world feels quite different.
Sitting on the beach, soaking up the sun and watching your children play at the water’s edge, it’s the tsunami wave sailing toward you from miles off, about to wash away the paradise around you.
Walking along a path lost in thought, it’s the silent train speeding down the tracks now suddenly upon you, knocking you down and filling your ears with a deafening roar.
Walking through your house after everyone else has gone to sleep, it’s the voice whispering in your head telling you a glass of wine will help you sleep, will numb the pain, will silence the voices.
It might, for a while, and then it doesn’t so you need two drinks, then three, then a whole bottle. Yes, just like the tsunami or speeding train, alcohol addiction sneaks up on you, lulls you into a false sense of joy and escape, then crashes upon you. You never see it coming.
I know. It happened to me and I’m writing now to say, it can happen to you, too. I went for years drinking “normally” as many people self describe. That was until my world suddenly turned upside down, and I started using a glass of wine every night to go to sleep. It felt innocent enough, the commercials on tv promoted alcohol to relax so why not. But over time one glass became two and then three, then a bottle. Wine put me into a numbing coma where I could, at least for a while, escape the pain I felt when my eyes were open. I did not see at the time that it was actually adding to that pain.
During those years I seldom drank in public. I never drank and drove. I didn’t consume too much at bookclub or the neighborhood party. I did that once I got home, where I hid my drinking from my family by keeping to one glass in front of them, then consuming more once they’d gone to bed. You would never have named me if asked to identify a friend who drank too much. I had it under control. Until I didn’t. That’s why I write.
I’m scared for you. I’m scared because in the midst of this world changing pandemic I’m seeing a huge increase in the meme’s and cartoons posted on FB about alcohol implying that drinking is the only way to survive this crisis; that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere; that parents plan to send a case of wine to teachers in gratitude when this is all over.
I’m scared reading newly released Nielsen data showing that alcohol sales increased 55% in the 3rd week of March 2020 over the same week last year. Online sales, for the same week, had increased 243% with 71% of those sales for wine.
Those numbers terrify me.
Those numbers tell me that my friends, my family, my neighbors, the ones who for years have consumed the occasional drink in celebration or mourning, were now consuming far more than they ever have before. They terrify me because one day, by the time this is over and life enters a new normal, many will have become addicted to alcohol and not realize it. Just like me.
Alcohol addiction is silent, sneaky, a thief and it will have you in its grip long before you realize it. Once it does, once the tsunami wave crashes on the shore or the train rushes past, you will be numb, a shell of yourself. You will go to work. You will get dinner on the table. You will attend PTA meetings and greet neighbors in the grocery store aisle, but you will be missing your spark, your joy, your focus. Many will blame Covid. I blamed grief.
I am here to tell you from personal experience, the thief is alcohol.
So, I’m writing now to wave a warning flag. Look in the mirror. I am you. You are me.
I do not self identify as an “alcoholic”. I do however identify as someone who no longer drinks because when I do I am not the person I want to be. I credit several incredible women, dear personal friends, who held my hand as I walked the path to become alcohol free. I also credit Annie Grace who wrote two books that changed my life – This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment.
So, if you have ever wondered “Do I drink too much?” Have you ever craved a drink once your kids are in bed? Do you drink to silence the voices in your head? Has Covid19 led you to drink more than you have in the past? If you answer yes, then I encourage you to go to the start of this Blog and read my story, in chronological order. You may find yourself in my words. Next, I encourage you to read (or listen to) Annie Grace’s books.
Someday I will tell you my name, but now is not the time. For now, know that you are not alone, I’m here if you want to comment, ask a question, or share a thought.
Peace be with you.