This morning I woke out of a deep sleep to feel the bed beside me being depressed and warm little arms enveloping me. In a not so whispery voice my 10-year-old said “Mama, it’s a new day and I just love you.” She scooted in closer as I raised my arm to pull her into that super-tight snuggle we enjoy on the rare mornings when we have time. The love in the moment filled me so deeply, so fully that it pressed tears out of my eyes.
Laying there with my forever-baby in my arms, I inhaled her scent and floated within the lovely moment. As is typical, she didn’t feel the need to bask as I did and soon was skipping out of my room singing a far-too loud song. Arising from my bed I rode the loving feeling until the girls began a horrific cat-fight over a coveted school lunch snack. Ah, now that’s the normalcy I’m used to….
My life has developed a pattern, a routine in which I know I will play the roles of referee, policewoman, teacher and even first aider to my girls. This life feels overwhelming at times….the worry of being a Mum who helps the girls flourish can be heavy when you know you’re fallible.
Imperfection is a state of being which I’ve accepted, I’m willing to acknowledge my mistakes but there’s a chance I could lose it all because of my imperfections. Now this is truly terrifying, a daily situation which can snatch my life out from under me….that’s my reality.
As an alcoholic I have a disease which can take me to deep, dark places which I’d never choose to go to when I’m in my right mind. Each new day which promises the opportunity to perform these roles also threatens to end my life.
Alcoholism is Fatal
After 4 years of sobriety I am not cured; I’ll never be cured. It’s 9am and I have already had to face that reality today. My brain has somehow twisted the past and this morning I wanted to feel the all enveloping sense of freedom I’ve only ever felt while drinking. That release, the escape……I longed for elusive sense of freedom I felt back when I had the choice to drink.
Picking up just 1 drink can and will kill me. These are the words I mutter to myself daily, believing I can cement them into my psyche; creating a barrier. It’s not always a drink I want, in fact more often it’s simply that I want to rid myself of the bondage of this disease.
Recovery from alcoholism is work! It’s trudging along daily, expending energy to keep behaving and feeling….when something is whispering to me to let it all go; whispering….then screaming. It’s an unending urge that haunts me.
These days I don’t allow myself the choice, each day I stand against that closed-door to my old behaviours. I feel the texture of the experience and I begin to move the proverbial furniture in front of that doorway to firm up the barrier. Like running away from a monster on sand in a dream, I feel the very real terror if I look too closely.
If I don’t do the work, if my barrier isn’t strong enough I will die. In order to maintain my sobriety and just live day to day, I attend meetings, connect with God and am ever-mindful of my disease. Within all of this, I do get tired; there are days when that dark place begins to draw me in without me even being aware it’s happening. My mind begins to become twisted without my knowledge..
Before Anything Else, I Am An Alcoholic
So far I’ve been granted a daily reprieve, I haven’t actually stepped back through the doorway to my addiction but it’s ever-beckoning and I can only pray that I’ll continue to make the right choices.
Centring my life around God and keeping my spiritual foundation strong is my only answer. Knowing that I could never, ever cope with this on my own strength. I have tools I use, fellowships I frequent and my family and friends who support me. Even when I don’t want to I go to meetings, pray and don’t drink. That’s what I do first in my life…those 3 things come before everything else.
Because even with the joy I experienced this morning…..this alcoholic wanted a drink.
I admire your strength and openness.
Addiction is, at once, fascinating and frustrating.
Thank you for this.
Thank you so much for commenting SL, I agree…addiction is all of those things.
I grew up with alcoholism and I congratulate you on staying strong for yourself and your beautiful babies! You are beautiful and strong and get stronger every time you say NO to that drink which is beckoning you.
Every day sober is a gift, one I cannot take for granted.
You my friend are stronger than most people I know, you have come a long and will go the distance with God’s help. You are a rock and an inspiration to a lot of people. We love ya Hun.
We love you guys too Winny, thanks mama
Shannon Vary says
Happy Sober Birthday Julie!
I have mentioned before that my Mum is 30+ years sober and I so admire her (weird I know) for her courage and strength to face her “demon” and beat it. I know it was a struggle for her and I don’t know what she had to tell herself to make it through those tough days, but she did it. I always send her a card on her sober birthday because it was the day I began to get my Mum back.
Stay strong <3
That’s so wonderful, utterly beautiful Shannon
Your strength gives others the strength to carry on and face their own hurdles. ♥ Thank you
Your continued support is humbling xoxo
Julie G. says
Thanks for your honesty & insight. I have a family member who is an alcoholic & your posts give me a better understanding of what is going on in his head and the choices he is making.
I’m so glad to hear that my writing helps in some way
Elyse Ferland says
You’re truly amazing, Julie!
awe Elyse, I adore you
Oh Julie, I just love you. You are such a role model of strength and inspiration.
Your support is wonderful
Doris Calvert says
One day at at a time, all addictions are only a drink, a snort, a slot machine away, so you are not alone! You have your beautiful babies just look at them and know they deserve you as the mother you are now! Congrats on 4 years that’s amazing :)
They certainly do!
You are a true inspiration Julie. Congratulations on 4 years sober! Sending strength and good vibes your way as you continue your journey through recovery. :) <3
Suzanne G says
My daughter would love to open this Christmas morning
I admire you so much. I am dealing daily with an addict that had now been off of drugs for about 4 years but he can’t seem to stop the alcoholism. The most he is able to stop is about 5 weeks at a time and then he starts again. I have never been a drinker maybe drinking once every six months and have never been drunk. I know how hard it must be but I also have a hard time understanding why he can’t just have control and say no I am not going to drink. Anytime he gets near a beer (he does know he can’t have liqueur anymore) he can’t control himself. We always end up in fights because I worry about him and his health and our money. I am the only one working and he is not helping by drinking all the money up, he can’t stay sober long enough to go get a job or even try. He gets so anxious when he does stop that he doesn’t want to go out in public. I’m trying to get him to read your blog so he can see what it is like to be sober for awhile.
I’ll be praying for you and your friend who is struggling
Teresa Claire says
The way that you write brings me into the picture that you create in every post. You have an amazing gift and in doing so I think you have saved more than 1 life with this blog.
Thank you so much Teresa, knowing you’re reading makes it worth being vulnerable
Hi Julie –
Thank you for sharing. I am starting this journey myself and am today Day 1.
This IS a wonderful day to begin Holly, I’m always here if you need to chat
I am at day 0. But I am seeking… desperately
Thank you for your inspiration.
Today is the beginning Donald, just live in today and know you CAN go without for just 1 day.
Julie I just found your blog yesterday and I’m so glad I have your words this morning. Day 2 for me and already this day this morning has been a challenge. Your words hit the nail on the head ” My brain has somehow twisted the past and this morning I wanted to feel the all enveloping sense of freedom I’ve only ever felt while drinking. That release, the escape……I longed for elusive sense of freedom I felt back when I had the choice to drink”.
This is the second time around for me trying to maintain my sobriety. I went 10 years without a drop and thought I could handle just drinking socially. Wrong…. It got me in its grips again without me being aware it was even happening until I did a really stupid thing.
I’m off to my first meeting in many years and I’m praying I can just make it through today.
I’m also happy that you found my blog! Amazing how our disease sneaks up on us. Just keep at it, one day at a time my friend.
I found your blog through your Samsung Galaxy S5 giveaway, and WOW, and I am so glad I decided to enter the giveaway! As a recovering addict of 3 years, I want to say thank you for sharing your experiences. I have been struggling more lately than I have in the last 2 years . It’s like it snuck upon me in the last couple months out of nohwere… the burning desire to give in to this horrid disease. That feeling has always been there; hiding deep. I’ve just been giving in to it more in the past couple months… But, I have fought hard, and it’s getting better… day by day. :)
Day by day is the key, don’t ever forget that
Matthew Tully says
Whenever I’m have a rough day or just feeling a little down, I tend to turn to this page and read and see what your struggles were. It tends to put me in the mood to push through as I realize that it’s just a state of mind and it’s how bad you want it. Thanks for that Julie, fathers day and all I just needed a little push and this did just that. Funny thing is I was entering a contest when I remembered it.
Love that Matthew, we all need reminding now and a again how blessed we are
I am almost 5 years since I drank my last drink. Have you heard of a book called, “Rational Recovery”? I really enjoyed it.
I love what you you said about centering your life around God and others, as the only means to stay sober. After 14 years of sobriety, I can admit that God, and God using others to speak truth, and encouragement, into my life is the only thing that has kept me alive and thriving.
Bravo Michael, it’s amazing to hear that someone still had God in the centre after 14 yrs.
Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) says
I’m just reading this as I saw it on Twitter. I’m glad that you took the time to share it because I truly believe that the support you can receive via blogging and social media can be a part of your armor.
I think that sharing is a huge help, for those inflicted with an addiction and for those who are hoping to support them. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thanks for stopping in Andrea, that armour is key