Does rape count as cheating?
This was an absurd thought to have while being raped, especially since I’d already cheated on my fiancé with my ex-boyfriend a few times and his best friend.
No one deserves to be raped, but I placed myself in a position to be harmed. Normally I reveled in the opportunity to be a victim, but this time I had such a huge part in the crime and so much shame that it became one of the only secrets I ever kept.
My fiancé was out of town and I was mad that he didn’t take me with him, so I went out dancing by myself with the aim of getting trashed and flirting. And I did. And there he was – the divorced doctor with cocaine. I got in his car and went to his house and snorted his cocaine. He had the largest amount I’d ever seen – I swear it was a kilo.
I made out with him, took off my clothes and got in his hot tub. I didn’t want to have sex with him, but my actions certainly didn’t reflect that thought.
I just wanted his drugs. I didn’t even like him. His energy was dark and he was kind of gross.
He raped me for 4 hours. I said no. I cried. I bled. My back and knees were bloody from carpet burn. I finally escaped into the freezing winter Reno morning and got a cab.
This wasn’t the worst thing that happened to me in my disease; it wasn’t even the first time I’d been raped, but it was a stark reminder of the loss of choice that came when I took a drink. My fiancé was the first man I truly loved and I still couldn’t stop myself from cheating on him once I was trashed. I cheated on him countless times and I slept with his best friend. Even as loose as my morals were, I felt a deep sense of shame for that one.
They’re still best friends to this day and that’s why this story comes to you completely anonymous. My living amends is to do all I can do in my power to make sure my ex never knows. I’ve learned that we don’t implicate third parties when making amends.
After the rape, I drank and used for another 3 years.
I started stopping around that time, though, and it only made my disease worse. In those 3 years, I ended up in situations and places so seedy and dangerous that I felt like I was watching a movie of myself.
But I couldn’t quit. My life sucked; alcohol was the only thing that took away the pain – the pain of my abusive childhood, of the rapes, the promiscuity, the betrayals, the abandonment, the violence.
But then I met him – Mr. Right (Now). He was a normal drinker and the first person to ever say anything about my drinking. I told him it wasn’t a problem – that I could quit anytime, (the battle cry of the alcoholic).
“I bet you $100 you can’t quit for a year.”
And just like that, I quit drinking and smoking and using. Cold turkey. And we moved to LA together.
It was a nightmare. I wanted to drink so badly. I still went to bars and white-knuckled my way through. I had my man – who was really my higher power at that time – but I needed him to fill me. There was no way that man could give me enough love to fill the gaping hole only alcohol filled up.
We moved back to Reno. All the emotions I’d been numbing out since I was 12 came to the surface, but I had no tools to deal with them. I ended up having a nervous breakdown and soon after, my higher power dumped me.
I had a drink in my hand within an hour.
I drank for 5 more months before I hit bottom. I got to experience the progressive nature of alcoholism – my body had been clean, but my brain wanted the same amount I used to drink. I had no tolerance, but I couldn’t stop. At the end of it all, I decided to kill myself.
Or go to AA.
I chose AA. I had no money or insurance, so rehab wasn’t an option. I looked up Alcoholics Anonymous in the phone book – I got sober in 1997 – and the man on the other end gave me the 20 questions.
I aced the quiz.
I went to meetings, occasionally. I didn’t do it perfectly at all. I moved back to LA at 6-months and relapsed on a whip-it at 9-months.
My life didn’t start to turn around until I got a sponsor and worked the steps. That’s when I started to taste freedom. I learned that the first drink gets me drunk – that I lose my willpower once alcohol hits my bloodstream. This took away the guilt and shame. It wasn’t my fault. I always felt so weak at the bar ordering that fifth drink after I promised myself that I’d have four and go home.
This was all I needed to know to concede to my innermost self that I was alcoholic. It was clear. My life was unmanageable and I was powerless when it came to alcohol. The only power I have is not taking that first drink.
My body has been physically sober for 14 years, but those years don’t safeguard me against alcohol. I still go to meetings, I sponsor women and I read the book because a drink still looks darn good sometimes.
Today, I’m a married woman and a mother. I’m capable of love so big it hurts and I’m able to take the actions that backup that love.
I haven’t cheated on my husband ONE TIME. I have nightmares that I do just like I have drinking dreams. If I pick up that first drink, I can guarantee I’d be in bed with someone else the same night.
And the best part? I’m no longer ashamed of myself. I have self-esteem from taking esteemable actions. I love myself today and I want to live.
So I’m not going to take a drink until midnight tonight. I hope you’ll join me.