February 9, 2012

One year ago today I popped open a bottle of champagne at around 4:00pm. I was celebrating getting through another fucking day. I pumped a bottle for my baby, and proceeded to drink the whole thing. The plan was to get nice and numb because that made bedtime more bearable. It wasn’t a daily routine (yet), but it was familiar. I had it all planned out.

But then my husband called and said he’d be coming home early from work. This really threw a wrench in things for me. Any normal person who is drinking champagne home alone on a Thursday evening with a 3 year-old and 6-month-old in her care would quickly switch to water and get her wits about her. But that’s not what I did. I opened a bottle of red wine, took a big swig and hid it in the bookcase in the hallway. My husband came home, kissed me, asked if I had been drinking and I lied spectacularly. I drank the majority of that bottle in secret for the rest of the night. The baby woke up at some point and I was faced with a decision; warm a bottle and have my husband ask me why I’m not breastfeeding, or go and feed her. I sat on the edge of my bed, nursing my baby girl, drunk as a skunk. I went back downstairs and “fell asleep” on the couch while we watched TV.

At 3:00am I awoke with my heart racing out of my chest. My head was swimming with guilt and self-loathing. I was used to this feeling. The middle of the night detox. Of course, I didn’t know that was what it was. I did know that it had been getting worse over the past couple years. As the previous night came into not-so-clear focus, I hit my bottom. I didn’t have to get arrested. No one staged an intervention. All that happened was that I saw myself clearly. My two major realizations were that I chose alcohol over my children and that I was capable of successfully lying about my drinking. I became fearful that if I could lie about this, then what else would I lie about? How far could it go? I then had not so much a vision, but the sudden knowledge that by summer I would be drinking daily. And as I looked over at my husband sleeping, the next thought that came in my head was, “He can’t save you. No one is coming to save you from this. It’s up to you.” And I suddenly just knew I was an alcoholic. I shook my husband awake in the middle of the night to tell him I was an alcoholic and needed help. I told him I was going to get help.

9 thoughts on “February 9, 2012

  1. Wow this is pretty powerful stuff and so so so similar to my story. I remember breast feeding my oldest boy (now 8) when he was a baby and I was really pissed after a wedding. Actually I remember breast feeding him stoned one time, that was totally weird I do not recommend it. Such a great post, thank you so much for sharing. It’s just the simple way you tell a simple story which is actually so very complex and, frankly, sad. I was just the same – bubbles to myself at home with the dies because my husband was off to a work function (I needed to have ‘my own party’)…one bottle went down so easy and so quickly. Strangely the party feeling never came, surprise surprise. For so long I drank in this way like it was normal and fun .. only now thank goodness I can look back and realise how fucking dysfunctional it was…xxxx

  2. Our stories are so different, but exactly the same. Thank you for your honesty and bravery to show what it really was like.

    And why is it always 3am? I swear that’s when the self-loathing would nearly split my heart open. Ugh. I hope I never have to feel that awful again.

    And here you are, almost 1! Yaaaaaay!!!!!

  3. This is beautiful, and blunt, and raw, and perfect. I’m so glad that your middle-of-the-night detox was the start of a much bigger and more life-affirming detox. Please keep writing and sharing your story–I hope that your words reach someone who needs to hear them today.

  4. What a powerful post. Brought tears to my eye (and I’m at work!), as it brought back the memory of that moment of surrender for me. I recall those 3 am detoxes – panic attacks, anxiety, sweats, heart racing, etc. wondering if I have booze in the house to keep the shakes down. Horrible. You are right – the desire to drink has to come from within. No one can put that in us, no one can save us.

    Beautiful stuff there.


  5. Bless your soul for bravely sharing your story, for telling your truth, for making all of us who have been there feel less alone. Thank you.

  6. Harrowing and heart wrenching. Lately i’ve been dealing with guilt over being such a shitty dad for so long and worrying about the lasting effects that may have on my kids, but then i remember to focus on the things i can change.

    Congratulations on your first year and here’s a dry toast to many more!

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