You’d never know looking at me that I’m a big old drunkity drunk. I mean, I LIKE to drink. But, I am always pretty put together, a have big old smile on my face and can usually make people crack up. I kinda got it going on. And I also have five suicide attempts under my belt, been legally dead and I have a DUI, where I threatened to bitch slap the cop… because I’m such a pretty drunk in black outs. Luckily, I can’t remember. Like I always say: what happens in blackouts stays in blackouts. Thank God for small miracles.
I was your atypical alcoholic from the get go. A) I’m a girl, hello. B) I was from a sweet little cookie cutter (read: boring) suburbia land and C) I went to rehab at the age of 17, long before the Hollywood crowd and long before it was “popular.” I just thought I was the Edward Scissorhands of California. I felt alien, a basic garden-variety freak. I thought everyone else got some manual on how to “do life good” and I didn’t. And I CERTAINLY didn’t understand those weird people that would sip a glass of wine and even gasp leave some in glass. (What the hell was wrong with them?)
But like I said, somehow, through some form of Divine Perfect Storm, I was defeated enough to accept the help that had been thrown in my face. Right time, right place, I guess. And I got sober at 17, with the help of AA and something else. For the first time, I could walk into a room and hear other people talk about feeling exactly how I had felt all my life: the loneliness, the utter frustration of why I couldn’t stop drinking, and finally feeling like I BELONGED. And my life blossomed. I graduated from college with honors; I traveled to exotic locations for work and for fun. I had the fabulous boyfriends with weird first names and dreamy accents. I got engaged and disengaged. I was living a great life.
But then something starting happening. I started getting lazy with my sobriety. It wasn’t that important anymore. I had it licked. I was sober over fifteen years but I didn’t continue to get any help. I didn’t need to go to meetings, or let people know how I was doing. I got caught up in a new relationship and made him my life. He happened to be a raging alcoholic, which was fabulously not awesome. I started drinking again and could NOT stop drinking for five more years. And if you think trying to stop drinking is hard the first time, try the second time. I went from being little miss sobriety to a woman who couldn’t stay sober three days in a row.
I knew my drinking was a liquid Russian roulette. I may be able get through a night with a few drinks and keep my cool, but just as easily I might go into a black-out and all bets are off. If I was controlling my drinking, I wasn’t happy. If I was “happy,” I was out of control.
But by far, my biggest problem was that I was always “fine.”
“I’m fine. I’m Fine.”
I was gonna “I was going to I’m fine myself to death. I was the one everyone else came to with their problems, which was great for me, because it gave me purpose. It made me feel like people had a reason to like me. But heaven for-friggin-bid someone help me. That’s just crazy talk. I was always… hmmm, wouldn’t say obsessed, because I wasn’t aware…. I would say automatically “ON.” The Entertainer. The Psychiatrist. The Nurturer. The Comic. The one that needed to be perfect.
But I wasn’t and I’m not. And even when I was pretty close to it, it was exhausting and I deserved a reward, dammit. My reward, my nurturer, my psychiatrist was wine, vodka, champagne, even Listerine (it’s amazing what you will do when you are desperate and to not feel.)
My biggest obstacle was to stop knowing everything and to be willing to be “not OK.” As old saying goes, you can’t save your face and your ass at the same time. I felt an incredible amount of shame asking for help again, which is funny, because asking for help saved my life. So to overuse a metaphor to death, but whatever, sue me, I kind of feel like a survivor from the Titanic that hit a Chardonnay iceberg in the Vodka sea. I thought for sure I was going to drown. Thank God I got pulled to shore. I’ve been sober again almost a year. And seriously, if I can, anyone can.
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