written 3/6/15

My darling husband, my supportive, loving, patient husband, who day after day asks if I want to talk about anything and I have nothing to say to him. I call people from my phone list, friendly faces in a cold room- people who don’t know me, only know my struggle. I call 6 in a row until someone answers because I need so badly to talk to someone, but I have nothing to say to my husband, who loves me far more than anyone on that phone list.

I have nothing to say to him because I don’t think he will understand, that it will just confuse or scare him or worse- he will worry more about me. His worrying about me is not my problem, it is his, yet as always, I yearn to take care of him and “make” him happy, something that I can not do. So instead, I just say nothing.

Here are the things that plague me every day.

I’ve lost my best friend. Alcohol.

It took care of me and loved me and I miss it. Alcohol made me fun mom. Happy mom. Yes mom. The kids loved me the most when I was yes mom and alcohol helped me enthusiastically BE yes mom. I was creative and fun and lively and happy and playful and made them laugh.

Other times, alcohol made me very mean mom, and the trade off and the risk of it was not one that I could continue to accept. When I was mean mom, I probably said things that they won’t forget, I ignored them so often, in a way that they can probably still picture. I told them to “leave me alone” and “get away” and other things not with a kind heart. And I screamed worse things than that. And then I DID worse things than that.

So the fun mom liquid in a bottle was wonderful but the risk in it became to great.

My best friend Alcohol gave me courage and strength and balls like I don’t otherwise have. I said things and was funny and was courageous in a bold, awesome way. I wrote emails and said things, especially within my codependent relationships with J, A & M that I couldn’t have otherwise said. I loved people more fiercely and accepted them fully and built them up beautifully when I was drunk.

I drove around drunk but certain that I was not “that drunk.” I knew that I was, but rationed out that for some reason it was safe for me. I drove with the children in the car, intoxicated, with alcohol in a sippy cup in the car with me. I was super woman who could do anything without getting in trouble because my very best friend promised me that.

So now without alcohol, there is just me and my life. My God given life that is beautiful and wonderful, but not so flashy sometimes and not so numb sometimes and oddly, I have to experience everything that happens all the way.

There is no substance to take away my boredom, my sense of failure, my bad thoughts, my memories of pain and hurting. These are the things I have to deal with every day, all day. The days are long.

This is really the thing, is that I’m all alone with myself. I exist within my one body with my one brain and my real memories and they are always there. I am always me.

This is something that normal, healthy, sober people accept, I think. Because since they don’t know how good it can be to check out every day, they accept life just how it is to be not drunk constantly. They don’t know how delicious it is to take that first sip of liquor right around 11 am after obsessing about it and clenching fists all morning waiting for it. My best friend Alcohol told me that as long as I didn’t hide it next to my bed and drink it FIRST thing in the morning, that 11:00 was lunch time, and lunch time was fine to drink. From 11:00 until you pulled in to the driveway, I would drink and slam the last glass right before you walked upstairs. That’s after I started hiding it because of my own self imposed guilt. Before that, I’d drink all night too. I still drank at night when I was hiding it, I just couldn’t do it openly. Not that you would have cared- it just told me that I should be more careful about drinking…. so I was.

Alcohol takes on a life of its own after drinking it daily for years. And when it is gone, like now, everything that was covered up in the daily drunkenness is back. So it is all sad to know what happened and to realize it in real life, where I am awake and alive and not numbing every little thing. All the pain that my best friend helped me deal with, my best friend TOOK the pain away from me, better than any drug or self help book or therapist, my best friend Alcohol just took it away.

No matter what the pain of the day was, for the past 2.5 years, and then before I was pregnant, the past 2 years before that… starting when Bi was about one year old, my best friend helped me deal with everything. Every. Single. Frustration. And. Disappointment. Little things and big things.

Having to “deal with” loading up my infant and 2 bigger kids in a car and drive them to school. In many ways, realizing that motherhood had become more of a burden than a blessing: drink. Having to deal with waking up early. Having to deal with my husband coming home irritable. Having to deal with my husband not smiling at me any more. Hurts too much to think about? No big deal- drink. Being annoyed with a client, a friend, my therapist, another friend, another client? Drink. Frustrated with something at night, wake up with it still on my mind? That’s enough of that. Drink. And with every sip, every time, my best friend Alcohol was able to SOLVE THE PROBLEM! What a great friend! I woke up thinking about it, being thankful for it, looking forward to visiting it again, waiting until I “could” visit it again (various rules over the years for when it was acceptable to drink.)

Only after the kids were in bed.

Only with dinner.

Only if H refused to look me in the eye.

Only if I had a low ordering appointment.

Only cheap beer.

Only fancy beer.

Only wine.

Only red wine, because it’s “healthy.”

Only in the kitchen.

Only if my best friend hurt my feelings again.

Only in front of the computer if I was really being productive.

Only if H refused to acknowledge me wearing lingerie.

Only if H wouldn’t kiss me.

As long as I didn’t drink before the kids got home from school.

Only if H wouldn’t have sex with me the night before because of a sore knee/stomach ache/headache the night before.

As long as I didn’t drink before 3:00.

Only if a client stood me up at a session.

Only if the kids had a half day of school.

Only if I drank only one bottle of wine in a day.

Only if my best friend and husband told me I deserved to drink that much.

As long as my kids still accepted my apologies for screaming too much at them.

As long as H still came home.

As long as he still was there physically, even if he wasn’t there really.

As long as I still had some soda in with the liquor.

As long as I didn’t drink while moving down the road, only when stopped.

As long as I could sit upright behind the wheel.

As long a I did it before, and didn’t get in trouble.

As long as the children seemed to accept that it was normal for some moms to sleep on bathroom floors.

As long as B & L could care for M while I lied on the couch sick all day.

With any of these As long as or Only if’s were in place, drinking was fine.

I was unable to not.

To not drink, to not obsess, to not buy it, to not have it, to not get more, to not drink, to not make new rules that fit the moment to make it acceptable to myself.

So now that is all gone, and it has been almost 8 weeks, but all that really matters is this one day. People tell me sobriety date matters but I don’t think it does- it is just one day that I haven’t drank- this day.

It doesn’t matter if it’s been 8 weeks or 2 days or 4 years or whatever, because this one day still sucks and hurts and all of that pain that I refused to deal with, that Alcohol took care of for me, is actually there waiting. And hurting.

I drank so much when you were gone, when you were leaving and my heart was trying to let you go. It was a problem before that, it was a problem in WT when I asked you to get rid of all my alcohol, to get rid of all my sweets and cereal and cookies because if I wasn’t drinking early enough in a day, I’d be binge eating, which hurt just as bad- it just didn’t hurt other people too, so it seems less dangerous. But it isn’t. Both just take away reality for a little bit.

It has been a problem for years, but when you were gone, it became a bigger problem than I knew I could sustain. God gave me the insight to know that our relationship, mine and Alcohol’s wasn’t worth it. That the good things it gave me weren’t really good and the bad things it I did when drunk were not ok any more and were only getting worse.

So when I’m sad every day and crying on and off all day long and grasping at anything to distract and support and help me pass these days, I’m not sad because I’m struggling to not drink. God has taken that obsession away from me.

I do not have the urge to consume alcohol, though I have to remain aware and mindful and not tease the disease. God took my obsession away, but He is letting me deal with the fallout from being gone for so long. He is letting me experience the consequences that I set up for myself, and I know He is protecting me from them because things could have been much worse.

Alcoholism is a disease of choice. I became so reliant on that escape that I couldn’t not have it. My brain could not allow me to make another choice until God made me ready for that. No matter how many times we gave it away or poured it out, it still existed in and around me and I reached for it.

Like a best friend who you love, who you just don’t want to let go of. Who you know is dangerous and bad for you and you try to get rid of but can not. Just can’t.

And now I CAN and I have, but it’s so very sad. So very boring and harsh and sad. I miss my best friend and what that friend gave me and I feel all the things that my best friend hid for me and protected me from.

I am processing all that I never had to process. I NEVER had to process these things, these big, hard, painful things that I “went through” but I wasn’t really there when I went through them. At any moment, I had my best friend Alcohol in me or with me to some degree. Even if not intoxicated, I was dealing with life holding onto the hope and knowledge that I would soon be having it, and if it hadn’t been too long, the hope would be enough.

People tell me to do new things, to get out more, to try and not be so isolated. I don’t think they understand me. I of course, am unique, but they say I’m not. The days I don’t go out are the worst, the days are so long. I want so badly to give in to a transfer addiction, to suddenly allow the consequence of obesity if I just allow myself to binge eat constantly. But I know I don’t really want to. I fight it every day. Last Sunday was my first time ever not giving in to an urge. I have always given in to every urge.

A thought, a feeling…? Drink! Go buy just a little bottle of liquor! Just one bottle of wine, and really, I’d only have one glass! (Not humanly possible.) Stuff oreos quickly into my mouth! Go to a drive through and get 4 donuts!   With any of those things, I would not have to deal with the other thing… whatever the other thing is, it could so easily be gone.

But I’m really trying not to do those things and it makes me very sad to have to deal with real life without them.

That’s why I’m sad every day. I had a good day once since not drinking. It was Wednesday, it was a weird thing, to feel alive and awake and present in my body and oddly happy to be alive. Super weird. I showered in the morning and put makeup on my face and put jeans on instead of stretchy pants. I changed my earrings and painted my nails. I drank coffee in the shower and saw the absolute gift of my life.

That one good day was so bizarre that I’m still confused about it. It’s like how you feel good when you’re at the happy-just-right point of being drunk…. just GOOD. Except that it was real life and not from my ex best friend, it was just my own real happiness, which…. seems so foreign.

It reminds me of times in the past when I was recovering from the pain of your first betrayal 12 years ago. I was existing IN a state of pain and sadness and unhappiness and then good days came … then things eventually flip flopped- I existed in a state of reasonable normalcy and “happiness” (even though it wasn’t really), with a rare BAD day. So the happy days became more and the sad days become less. Maybe, that was one glimpse of what a new normal could become. And bad days and remembering the pain from the years of suppressing everything while drinking will still come but maybe THOSE will get more and more rare…. maybe things could change.

And because I don’t have any other options, I will just hold on to that. People tell me it does get easier, it will get better, and I don’t really believe them, yet I have no choice but to try and believe them. I do not think I will be the same, that that elusive “normal” happiness could come. I don’t know if I’ve ever had it because of my codependency issues…. so maybe a new normal will emerge. Maybe life could be better than it was while I was numb and refusing to realize how HARD life was the past 4 or 5 years. Maybe life could be real and hard AND good all at the same time. Maybe it doesn’t have to be one way or the other (either too much or too good and joyous or too hard- either of which would require drunkenness.)

Maybe this path that God has me on is one that will eventually be used for good, even though most of the time right and for the past 8 weeks now it looks like despair and before that, it looked like insanity and stupidity and abuse, both verbal and emotional, and eventually, physical.

Only one time since I went to my first AA meeting have I yearned for alcohol and it was horribly difficult. It was the day I got the phone call that it wasn’t cancer. I called people and got through it, God sustained me. And THEN, after that… God removed my obsession and compulsion for alcohol. It is gone.

When I went to that first AA meeting on 1/11, I thought that the hard part about “getting sober” would be the not drinking part. I was wrong. There was only one brief time of that type of challenge. It lasted a good half hour from beginning to end, and then it was gone, and it has remained absent. I pray every day that God keep me free from that obsession, that He free me from my other obsessions and compulsions (to binge eat, mostly) and pray that He gives me the strength to live a clean life in the present moment. I can not give up on this because giving up on this would be like giving up on God, like not trusting His plan for me. And I DO trust His plan. The hard part is not the not drinking, it is the sadness and missing the numbness and the realization of actual sadness when not covered up. It’s heavy because life is hard. And I’ve been through hard things that make me very sad.

I’m allowing myself to feel the sadness, to write about it, and to sometimes, distract myself from it. I am seeing all sorts of things about myself, most of which are bad and sad and hard to accept. For example, yelling mom. I genuinely always thought that I only turned into yelling mom because of the alcohol. So about 2 weeks after giving up alcohol, I had a yelling mom afternoon. What?! This was horrible. This said and meant so many different things all at once. Mostly, that I wasn’t perfect without alcohol- I thought it was alcohol that made me both fun mom and mean mom, but I experienced that I could be mean mom all on my own, and have yet to experience being fun mom on my own, which is quite sad. I’m “fine” mom, I know that, but it all is just so sad to me. Even basic, regular sadness is too much for me and so hard.