21 May My Bout With Drinking
My drinking started at the age of 12 as an escape from childhood physical, emotional and verbal abuse. My father made his own wine and kept a full bar in the back room while working the overnight shift at the post office for 43 years. My father left me home alone, trusting his innocent little girl to not drink. Although forms of abuse lessened because of my ability to physically distance myself, the abuse still continued into adulthood. I realized pretty early that alcohol could be used to numb the pain of those unresolved issues.
Initially, alcohol makes me feel calm and helps me to block out the pain. Eventually it brings out my anger and makes me feel out of control. I often do not remember what I said or did in fits of anger the next day. I have listened in horror as people have given me these accounts. I feel embarrassed and sometimes do not believe what I am hearing. I am often in denial because I am a completely different person when I am intoxicated. I have been told that I am like “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” when comparing the two different states of sobriety.
What keeps me sober is myself. I have the ability to stop, but the willingness to deal with the painful memories is just not there yet. I am not able to reach back in time, deal with that torment, and I am afraid doing so would make it worse. In reality, I know that it would take the burden off of my shoulders that I have carried around for four decades. Treatment would involve a third party trained to help resolve these issues and help me understand that they were of no fault of my own. I am ready some days for this process to begin while other days I could not think of anything scarier.
If you also struggle with alcohol or drug addiction, know that there is help. Also, as an alcohol addict, know that alcohol is a drug. It can take things from your life that you need to persevere. This includes life itself. My friend, who also suffered from alcohol abuse, died last year around this time at the age of 31. He died of liver failure and warned me to slow down or come to a complete halt. This was a man I had considered marrying at one time but he died before I could return to North Carolina. I learned of his death through social media. The last conversation we had, he told me that if he had to die that I should let it be an example for me to learn what would happen if I don’t quit.
I made a vision board with Peer Advocate Ms. Spears from Concourse Scattered of several things I wished to accomplish by stopping drinking. One was to purchase a TV, one was to get my credentials, such as my social security card and birth certificate, one was to obtain a meaningful relationship and have a baby. Well, I got the TV and I am working on the credentials so that I may get another job. The relationship and baby haven’t come yet but I am willing to wait. I have to get myself ready for my Future Mr. Right then prepare to be the best mom I can be.
My plan for my personal struggle is to take it one day at a time. I cannot tell you that I will not drink next week or next Wednesday, for that matter. I can only tell you that I will pray that God gives me the strength not to drink today and that I will try to find productive things to fill my idle time. I will also seek therapy to help me resolve the unaddressed issues that sent me down this slippery slope. I have many people who love me and pray for me every day. I hope you do, too. But if you do not, please pray for yourself. Pray that God keep you from all hurt, harm or danger today. Also pray that God keep you out of the path of all people, places and things that tempt you to go back careening down that slippery slope of addiction. God bless you all.