I provided a brief intro about why I am here, but I thought I would come clean and provide a bit more details about my history.
I have been drinking since I was legally allowed to – but worse – even before that!! I remember sneaking some from my mom’s bottle of rye and putting it under the bed in plastic cup. I’d take just a bit at a time so she wouldn’t notice it. Then I’d pour it into a pop can and I’d go out and have drinks and share with my friends – boy was I cool (NOT lol). Then one day my mom was dusting under my bed and found it as she spilt it over and said ‘if you want a drink as for it’. My mom went through a phase where she drank heavily – I mean like a 40oz a day of Rye and she was NASTY when she did. I hated her like that.
My dad too – he would normally just have a couple of beers after his shift but I recall some earlier days where he was literally fall down drunk and heard stories about him before then too. He used to drink moonshine at xmas. I recall him laughing as he told a story of going to the bootleggers to get drinks (in those days the hours to get booze was more restrictive) and with the stroller (yup he had my sister with him), on the way back home picked up the jug of milk and fell down but didn’t spill the milk so he thought it was all good.
I also have many memories of my godparents as I spent many summers and they both drank a lot! Me and my cousins would hide upstairs, hear the arguing and my uncle would get down right crazy at times – I remember a time he took a shotgun out – although I blocked out more of the details.
Then my oldest sister – she became an alcoholic at one point in her life. She came close to dying about 3 times and then she was sober for 18 months. Four years ago, in November she passed from her disease as she started back up – she was only 50.
My own history beyond those early days… when I turned 19 I couldn’t wait to legally get into a bar. I spent my time hanging around people who drank – a lot. The first guy I lived with was abusive with me (psychologically and physically). At a party one night – he was having fun and I asked to leave – he says no… then I start having fun and we HAVE to go and I said no – I’m having fun now… well I paid for that. When we got home, we argued and somehow I managed to get beat for that. He stepped on my face and I had a nice black eye – nice for the company we had coming the next day. I had to make the excuse that I fell and was clumsy of course.
Abuse is something I think that has been a theme for me and probably a big reason for my issues around alcohol – to numb or forget some of those experiences… yet the alcohol ended up bringing more on.
I was taken advantage of by some close friends (a couple) who made sexual advances to me and well – it went too far and I blocked it out (I was beyond drunk and the next day felt like SHIT). I also had family members try, friends’ husbands try with me… I just wondered if I was asking for it because it seemed to be happening so much. I even have memories of instances that a priest tried to grab my breast when I was an alter girl, my cousin trying to fondle me, a neighbour asking me if he could show me his penis for candy money… URGH – no wonder I was MESSED UP!! At the time of course I never said anything to my parents.
When I met my now ex-husband (father of my children) – I jumped from the frying pan into the fire so to speak. I had just broken up with the abuse man I lived with for 2 years. Met my ex when I was working a 2nd job at my sister’s restaurant to make ends meet – at the time he was drinking a 40oz of rye a day and getting into fights pretty much every weekend. Talk about being a magnet for the WRONG kind of man in my life!
After we divorced – I was alone for 4 years and let another man in only to be literally broken down again because he too drank too much and was into cocaine way too much too. That ended horridly – with police coming to get him in the middle of the night from my home (while his daughter was visiting us) because he had propositioned a 12 year old.
I wrote a lot of this story in a story I published in a book but a more ‘G’ rated version – without as much detail (I was limited to 3000) words – here’s the book author’s description/link if you are interested: Passwords – Passing on Words of Wisdom and Strength Volume 2 – it was a great experience and therapeutic to write this and show an outcome that proved anyone could overcome their difficulties.
But since then – I’ve still had my ups and downs – even though my life is much better. I have been single for the past 10 years (I don’t count that last one) and I know that the issue with alcohol and my relationships with men is also a bad mix.
I met a man recently and for now I call him my friend. He doesn’t drink. I didn’t ask him why (yet – but I’m curious) and so far it’s been great – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced… He is a hard worker (has his own business dealing with productions/entertainment; he works in a union position doing some real interesting work; and he’s a photographer), and when we do get to spend time together, I can lose myself without really losing myself (because I’m not doing it in a drunken haze – I’m sober and it’s amazing!!)
So where am I today with all of this you ask? Well I’ve done a lot of reading, soul searching, accessed counseling and now hoping to bite the last piece of the puzzle and kick my dependency on the booze. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic – but I know the tendencies and danger is there for me. What I’m hoping to achieve now is a new level of sobriety – and beyond this 100 day challenge – I’m not sure what will happen and for now, not going to think about it.
I know sober I can make better decisions. I know sober I will NOT let myself be taken advantage of or give in to ‘bad’ situations because when I drink – that’s exactly what happens and the regret and shame is just NOT worth it.
I know that my issue with booze was that I was using it as a crutch – hiding from my problems, the shame of it all and most people who know me don’t know all these details about me. They see me as I am today – happy, positive and hard working – but inside, I still have days when I’m not so strong and it’s a constant fight, but I’m going to fight the good fight … for me, and most especially for my girls. I don’t want their childhood memories of me be of that of a drinking mother who was mean/nasty when she drank or didn’t do much with her life besides sit in front of the TV and drink. Don’t get me wrong – my mom did get out of that phase to where she didn’t drink at all – she was an amazing woman. What did it for her was one night – she got so drunk and was visiting a neighbour in an upstairs apartment and on the way back, tripped on her robe and fell down the stairs and cracked her skull open. Luckily my dad was there or she might have died. That was the scare that pulled her away from the alcohol.
I don’t want to get to that point – where something really bad could happen – because I am all the girls have! I have worked too hard to be where I am today and looking forward to building a stronger and more purposeful life – SOBER!!
** Update 2016 – I FINALLY hit my 100 Days after years of trying (September 8 to December 16) and doing it again (started January 1st) and seriously considering perhaps going longer. **