Hi Everyone, I just celebrated two years of you know what. I will post about that on the front page of the blog soon but here is yet another excellent story about letting go of alcohol. Remember, there is help out there and even right here.
I loved drinking. I loved opening a bottle of chardonnay and looking forward to it taking the edge off. It never really worked (the edge was always there) but eventually the self-loathing became too much and I had to admit my life was out of control.
I’ve read/heard so many people say things such as – I never had a DUI, I never lost my job, it never destroyed my family – and I would be right there with them. But I should have a DUI, I should have lost my job, and it didn’t destroy my family because my family all had their own addiction issues and I had yet to begin my own family.
I always drank to get drunk. Early in my drinking, I could limit myself but eventually all my promises of only one or two glasses of wine became one bottle down and looking for more. I kept it somewhat in check until my mid-thirties. I then started drinking daily because I was bored, working freelance from home, and living in a city where I hardly knew anyone and was so isolated. I was in a relationship that to this day I remain ambivalent about. I kept making dates for when I would quit and as always I would drink the day and night away. Eventually, I quit freelancing and became employed in my field, but I was still able to work from home. However, I began to make mistakes in my job; I became unreliable and flakey. I used to be a solid person but I was no longer dependable. I would watch people managing their lives and wonder – how in the world do they do that? I was falling apart.
By now I was in my early forties and had to get serious about building my own family. At the same time, my dear, sweet, kind mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I spent a year travelling back and forth (we were in different states) to see her. In that year, I probably flew home at least 15-20 times. I am forever grateful that my employer allowed me that flexibility.
My mom died a year after her diagnosis. If there is one thing in my life that I wish I could change, it would be that I was not drinking during that year. I was physically present for my mom but now that I’m no longer drinking, I am so sad that I used alcohol to numb myself and not be fully present for her.
Yet I still kept drinking after her death. I cannot begin to describe how much I hated myself. I would get on an anti-depressant to see if that would help, but obviously I still drank. I took xanax to help me deal with my anxiety during the day and ambien to help me sleep at night. And I was drinking the entire time. I was so incredibly miserable and really, truly believed that I was a failure with my life.
I used to smoke cigarettes and one day I quit cold turkey – after smoking for 16 years or so. I woke up that day, hungover, and didn’t want to smoke. I didn’t the next day, or the next, and realized I needed to take advantage of that. I kept praying the same thing would happen with my drinking. I kept setting dates (yet again) and finally one day held. August 15, 2009. The Assumption of Mary in the Roman Catholic faith (which I was raised in). I thought it would be a date I could remember.
It was not easy and I was so unprepared for a life without drinking. I read blogs by others who didn’t drink, I read books about it, and I just held on by my fingernails. Before the holidays that year, I began to attend AA meetings. They helped me tremendously and I continue to go when I feel the need. I know I will never drink again, but I do not take it for granted.
I have slowly learned to live without drinking. I am the dependable employee and friend that I wasn’t for so many years. I am also financially responsible. I like myself again. I have my struggles, but I am finally becoming the person I so hoped I would be.
The most wonderful part of my story is the growth of my little family. I quit drinking at 43 and right before my 44th birthday I began adoption proceedings. Everything fell into place so beautifully and easily and I like to think my mother had a hand in it. My mother died in February of 2008 and my daughter was born in October of 2008. I so hope they spent some time together and I can’t help but believe that my precious mother guided this beautiful angel into my life.
My daughter is from Ethiopia. The part that amazes me the most is that I quit drinking on August 15, 2009 and I returned home with my daughter on August 15, 2010. The date of my quitting (the Assumption of Mary – mother of Jesus), the loss of my own mother, my becoming a mother, and this beautiful little girl in my life; it really gives me the shivers. I am so humbled and grateful for everything in my life. While drinking, I couldn’t imagine a life without drinking and thankfully I can’t imagine a life now with drinking.