I haven’t updated with a new story in awhile. If you have a story that you’d like me to post then please email it to me! These stories get people sober! They save lives! In ten days I will have been sober for 3 years. I can’t believe it’s been three years already can you? I will write about it when I get there and fill you all in on how it’s been lately (good). For now, here’s an amazingly beautiful woman named Molly who is baring her soul to save yours.
I don’t really remember my first drink, it was either champagne at a wedding when I was 13, or at boarding school when my friend smuggled vodka from her parents house into the dorm in a contact-lens saline solution bottle. We did shots and went to a dance. It was no big deal. I didn’t have “that moment” that people talk about where everything clicked and alcohol was the answer.
Although my feelings about the actual liquid were neutral, I loved the whole vibe of drinking. It seemed like something grownups did, and I desperately wanted to grow up and out of my awkward teenage years. In college (still underage), I did my homework in dive bars, I got really good at playing pool and thought I was so cool. I wanted to be a bartender.
Fast forward and I remember thinking that maybe, just maybe, I liked alcohol more than everyone else, even though I tried to hide that fact from everyone. I began to try and control and manage my drinking, beginning at age 21. My thought was that I should smoke pot instead of drinking alcohol because I didn’t really like pot, and if I smoked pot instead of drinking alcohol I wouldn’t get as wasted. But drinking always crept back in. Always.
I was a rebel to the core, and I believed that drunks and drug addicts were more in touch with reality than everyone else. I loved that Charles Bukowski, Sid and Nancy, drug and alcohol romantic suicide vibe. It was a kind of teenage obsession, mixed with rebellion against my ivory tower childhood with sensible parents.
For me, drinking and drugs were a way to let out demons, to act crazy, and to be outside the norm. I loved the drama, having huge parties, drinking in the woods or at dive bars and falling down the stairs and laughing about it, doing stuff I never would have had the guts to do sober. I remember the feeling of being hungover, and looking back on the events of the night before, and thinking of all the drunken antics. I hoarded those experiences. Even if I felt like crap the morning after, I still had all that drama. It was like money in the bank.
I got a job in a pretty divey bar, where the regulars started drinking at 10 am. Everyone glorified this behavior. They never fell down or acted drunk. They were fine, better than fine! They were SUCCESSFUL ALCOHOLICS. Never mind that Bill had a big red nose, and that Ed occasionally had to be told, in a low-key manner, to go home. Bartending was hard on my body. We would shut down the bar and then stay there drinking and playing pool till 4 or 5 am. I would drink on shift from about 10 pm onwards. I remember working at the bar on New Years Eve. At midnight, as everyone was cheering and toasting, I was sitting on a beer box in the back crying. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.
I stopped bartending and pursued other jobs. My obsession with alcohol continued, although I met and moved in with a long term boyfriend who was so pure that he inspired me to be pure as well. For four years, I kept the drinking under control. We lived a healthy life, exercising a lot, I drank moderately, as did he, but he never really liked alcohol anyway. After four years, I was bored out of my mind and craving drama. Being in this relationship arrested my drinking temporarily, but I believe my alcoholism was just waiting for the right moment to pop out again.
I broke up with the boyfriend abruptly and moved to the big city. Did I get drama? I don’t know about that, but I got a huge dose of misery. Poverty, loneliness, low self-esteem. I dated a heavy drinker for a few months, and he encouraged me to drink a lot and then would take care of me afterwards like I was a little kid. I remember tottering down the street drunk in my Halloween costume, and falling down in my too-high heels and scraping my knees on the pavement. My knees got infected. He dressed my wounds with hydrogen peroxide as pus oozed out of them.
I started dating my future baby daddy. I fell in love with him immediately and hard. We love each other so much, I love his soul and his innermost being, and I believe that he loves mine, but we were both beset by many addictions, ego-trips, fears, selfishness, you name it. This went on for many years. I was perpetually scared, and felt alone. I felt like I was being punished for something but I couldn’t understand what it was. I would sit alone in my apartment and trip out, writing down plans and goals and ideas and revelations. I believed that I could get in touch with my innermost self and emotions through drinking. I drank alone every night out of fear. In 2002 I would write in my journal that I had to quit drinking. And I would continue to write that in my journal for 8 more years.
Bad things would happen when I was drinking, and I would cry the next day to my boyfriend and say that I was sorry, and then start right back over again. I thought that because I was an alcoholic, I had no choice but to drink. That’s what alcoholics do, right? I tried to control it with varying degrees of success, but no one really knew how much it was eroding my soul. Always hungover, always tired, depressed, shameful, and guilty.
Moved in with the boyfriend. We drank, did drugs, fought, made up, made art together, made money and eventually made a baby. I believed that once I became a mother that I would clean up my act. No mother acted the way I did, so I thought that I would just magically figure out how to grow up. I couldn’t possibly keep going like I was going with a tiny baby in my care.
I soldiered through 3 more years, drinking pretty much daily and knowing I had to quit.
When I finally tried to quit (for reals) in June of 2009, I couldn’t put more than three or four days together before I started drinking again. That should have been a sign that I was completely hooked. Alcohol had become my only coping mechanism. At the end I didn’t even want it, I just thought I had to have it. I thought that if I didn’t drink, I would not be able to sleep, I wouldn’t be able to deal with the simplest things, and most importantly, I thought I would go crazy.
My “rock bottom” was on a business trip, finally I was away from my young son and I could drink the way I wanted to. But that scared me. I was full of shame. I was just sick and tired of feeling this way everyday. Trying to hide how messed up I was from everybody, fighting with my baby daddy every night over email and text, and waking up and having to check what the hell I had said the night before. I could never remember why I had been so upset. It was clear that alcohol was killing me. I had pins and needles in my arms, the headaches were awful. My brain felt cold, like parts of it were dying off. In the airport coming back from the business trip, I was hungover, pacing the airport, screaming at baby daddy on the phone and crying. I thought, “This is not normal. This is not how normal people act.”
I never thought that alcohol was the problem. I thought alcohol was the solution. I thought the problem was my life, my behavior, the way that people treated me made me so self-pitying, rageful, vengeful. I thought the problem was ME. I wasn’t quite sure why my life was so fucked up, so chaotic. Nothing was working out how I planned. Finally I began to see that maybe the drinking was what was causing everything to be a nightmare.
I got back home and he asked me if I was having an affair, and in a moment of clarity and honesty I said, “No, I’m not having an affair, I’m an alcoholic, I have to quit drinking.” He was shocked. He couldn’t see it, couldn’t see inside my head and see how alcohol had eroded my self-esteem, my identity and my ability to cope. It’s not how much you drink, it’s how you feel about it that makes you an alcoholic.
My last drink was January 15th, 2010. We were at a huge party and I literally begged him to let me have a glass of wine. I had one glass of wine, and we fought all night till 5 am. That was the end for me. I did one month sober by myself, and then started going to 12 step meetings.
I got so lucky that nothing really bad ever happened during my drinking. No jail, no DUI, thank God nothing happened to my son. I am so grateful that I stopped in time.
Sometimes I want to drink but I don’t. It’s not worth it. I look forward to going to sleep every night knowing that I will not wake up with regrets, remorse and self-hatred. No guilt. No shame. That is worth everything.
I was always jealous of people who didn’t care about alcohol. People who were sober just amazed me. How did they do it? Now I am one of those people, and I couldn’t be more proud.
One of the things that quitting drinking has made so very clear is that drinking made me forget who I was and what I liked.
My life (especially my life as a mother) consisted of doing things that I hated to do, and then rewarding myself with alcohol. I remember in early sobriety, I was in the grocery store, and I knew what my kid liked, and what my baby daddy liked and what I should get for both of them, but I had NO IDEA what I liked to eat or drink besides alcohol. Booze was the only thing I got at the store for myself.
In sobriety, I have learned who I am. Working a 12 step program gave me insights into my mental and emotional landscape, and that landscape is no longer as terrifying as it used to be, although I am sure boogeymen still lurk out there. In sobriety I have tried new things, found new passions, got rid of old toxic friends, found new friends, and my relationship has become much healthier because I am able to be honest as well as vulnerable. I am learning who I am in sobriety, and the most surprising thing (to me) is that in getting to know myself, I have actually started to like myself. Maybe for the first time ever.
As a recovering drama addict and alcoholic, one of my struggles is to learn to be happy with the middle ground. When I was drinking, everything was either “the BEST” or “the WORST”. I have learned that “pretty good” is pretty great too. Sometimes I miss drinking because of the drama, but I know that my life today is SO much better, and I am so grateful I got a chance to get my life back before it got worse.
Something that I heard in early sobriety that really resonated with me was “The only way out is through”. Making cute little detours around hard stuff, especially hard emotions, was what kept me drunk for so long, and the hardest work that I have to do in sobriety is to walk through hard stuff instead of running away or numbing out. If you are reading this and want to get sober.. You can. If you want this, you can have it. It’s work, but it’s SO worth it.