Recently I’ve found I’m being asked about my story. People are curious how and when I realized I’m an alcoholic and how my journey of recovering from alcoholism has looked. I have written about this in many ways on Sober Julie Doing Life and on guest post on other blogs, but now I’ll try to put it in one location.
If you’d seen me two years ago me you may not have guessed that I am an alcoholic.
What do we think one should look like anyway?
At the time I had no idea that I was an alcoholic until I finally felt how close to the edge of losing myself I’d actually gotten.
I grew up in a stable home, did well scholastically and had many friends. I was married to an awesome guy with 2 children, a house and a dog.
How the hell had my life gotten so off track?
Throughout my life I was a fantastic chameleon, appearing self-confident and assured yet inside I somehow felt “less than”.
I’m not sure why but in my early 20′s I began to drink regularly. LIKE A SAILOR. I took pride in the fact that I could drink with the “big boys” and leave ‘em in the dust. Thursday – Saturday nights were drunk fests, when most people were making memories I was blacking out. I had a great job, great family and all were well on these fronts…in my mind at the time it was normal for the youth to party like this.
I went to college for my 2nd diploma at 23 and didn’t really do the drinking thing because I commuted but Saturday nights are all a blur. Actually to be fair I was working 3 jobs and school so didn’t have much time but when I did, I binge-drank to oblivion. I think I had created a habit for myself of living my lives in different boxes, student, employee, sister, friend, daughter, party girl and never shall the two meet.
By my late 20′s I met who was to be my future husband. I got my first “real” career job and life was good. I remember feeling loved by someone other than family for the first time and my joy was huge because I loved him too.
Fast forward again to recent years…I was a Mom who worked, commuted and was often overwhelmed by the feeling that I wasn’t the June Cleaver type Mum which I strived to be. I compared myself to those other women who did it with seeming ease.
I was the Mum who ran out 20 minutes late with the diaper bag that I had forgotten to restock, not showered in a few days, frazzled, and dying for a coffee or perhaps something to eat for the first time in DAYS ….and I never talked to anyone about it.
My Alcoholism Began to Show Itself
This stress caught up with me….a glass of Shiraz on a Friday or Saturday night bled over time into a bottle. My husband loved the gregarious wife who had come back to him on weekends; I was carefree again for a few hours, witty, fun, SEXY!!
I was pretentious with alcohol, it was so important to me that it be “quality” booze until later when boxed wine and buck a bottle beer worked too. Heck I even drank sweet white wine my parents friends gave them for Christmas when I was in a pinch.
Monday to Thursday I waited (without consciously realizing it) to like myself again. I loved my daughters and enjoyed them totally but ultimately felt like I wasn’t the best Mom God could have chosen for them. I beat myself up with my internal thoughts as we women are apt to do. The only time I felt “free” in my own skin was when I was drinking at the end of the week.
This drinking had begun to take a turn, I could be fun tipsy Julie and suddenly for no apparent reason to those around me become Mean Nasty Drunk Julie. It was totally unpredictable by the number of drinks or type. Frankly I didn’t remember most of it. Black outs were common for me.
The time came after just another Drunk Julie night when I’d had enough, the shame of my behaviour was too much to bear. I told hubby (not for the first time) that I was done with drinking. That I had to admit I needed help. I had known for a long time that I had an issue, that I abused alcohol and didn’t know why. I also knew that the day I quit I would be changing my entire life.
FRIGHTENING doesn’t cover it. I was terrified to face a LIFE-time surrounded by alcohol and not being able to imbibe. I thought this would be excluding myself FOREVER.
Thankfully I was wrong, I’m almost 2 years sober and LOVE my life as I never had before….life is so much sweeter when you stop chasing happiness and ask for help.
Why not take a chance and learn to see the happiness right in front of you!