- Mental Health»
Caught Off Guard
I would have to say caught off guard is an under statement. I always prided myself on the ability to avoid the the evils of alcohol. The evils that plagued my family and caused the death of older brother was kept at bay. I was a social drinker, limiting myself to a drink or two for the most part, keeping my drinking down to a dull roar. Every year or two I let myself cut loose when my responsibilities allowed and the next morning my friend the hangover reminded me that I was more suited for social drinking.
I was one of those mother's who felt there wasn't a need to keep beer or alcoholic beverages in the home unless it was a social event with family and friends. I did however exclude the children's birthday parties in that realm. No one can convince me otherwise, that alcohol should be allowed at a children's birthday party. Even when the devil entered my soul I never thought or would ever think differently.
The day the devil entered my soul I wasn't looking and he took advantage of that. I was enjoying a nice dinner at the neighborhood restaurant and lounge with my boyfriend getting ready for a night of karaoke with some of the locals. This was our Sunday night ritual. I had been drinking diet coke and he had a CC & Ginger, Canadian Club and Ginger Ale. I decided to take a sip and proceeded to finish his drink and had three more that evening. That evening I began a love affair with Canadian Club, Jack Daniels and Crown Royal that lasted eight months.
The evils of alcohol that I avoided for years seamed to sneak up on me and take control of my life. There were unpaid bills, late mortgage payments, disagreements about my drinking, irresponsible behavior and strained relationships with my three daughters. I became a different person and by the end of this treacherous journey I didn't like the person I saw in the mirror nor the mother I had become to my youngest daughter who was 14 years old at the time.
I found myself at work, carving the taste, getting excited about dropping my car off at home, walking down the street to the local watering hole and having a few before going home. I was taking advantage to my older daughter, she and my grandchildren were living with me and I knew she would take care of her little sister. There were also the side trips to the liquor store after work where I would grab a few bottles of diet coke or ginger ale, pint or a few nips of whiskey to bring home and put in my bedroom. I would stash those, make supper and once clean up was complete go to my room and " read ". I did read and also had a few drinks, hiding away so nobody would know.
What initially was one night of drinking turned into 2,3,4 nights of drinking. This evil took a hold of me and wasn't about to let go. I began to use any crisis, or what I deemed a crisis as a reason for needing a drink and there were nights that I didn't hide the fact that I was quite intoxicated. Those were the nights that my common sense went out the window as I crossed the line from responsible drinking to making a fool of myself. I recall a few times still being drunk in the morning, having to get myself ready for work and drive my daughter to school. I prayed that I would get her there safe and sound, convincing myself that I was just tired, not still drunk. It's amazing the lies we choose to believe in order to justify our drinking and the aftermath the drinking created.
This behavior began to take it's toll on me, my mind wasn't where it should have been and the excessive drinking created a deeper depression that I ever experienced before. I created another excuse to drink. The more I drank the messier my life became between work, home and my daughter I felt overwhelmed, wanting to drink my problems away instead of putting my big girl pants on and dealing with the mess I created, I watched the mess gain momentum until it was out of control. My work suffered greatly, I was written up for my error rate increased dramatically and in turn miss out on a promotion within the department. The relationship with my daughters began to suffer. They had an " intervention " where they voiced their concerns and ultimately my oldest daughter warned me that when she began to have children I wouldn't be allowed in their lives if I was still drinking. My middle daughter who had two children voiced the same with the exception that I wasn't allowed to have them for sleepovers if my drinking continued. My youngest wasn't involved in those conversations though she has shared her opinion of my drinking and my behavior several times.
I said all the right things, giving them a sense of accomplishment and putting them at ease. Knowing that I had no intention of stopping because I didn't have a drinking problem. A few drinks here and there is no reason to panic. They were overreacting and being melodramatic. I saw no issues therefore there were no issues. I was the life of the party when I drank. Wasn't I? Apparently this is how others saw me. Obnoxious Cat, I love you man, I love my family, I love my friends Cat, mixed in was the hyper lets dance my feet of Cat, so you think you can sing Cat, stand up comic Cat, blubbering crying like an idiot Cat and the infamous, drunk dial Cat. From what I was told my family and friends didn't like any of those personalities, they preferred sober, quiet, less annoying Cat.
Now, lets be honest. I was only fooling myself, I knew something wasn't right yet couldn't stop myself, I didn't want to stop myself, I liked my drink of choice and wasn't about to give that up. At least not on purpose. That was my train of though on August 10th @ 11pm when I came back home from Sunday night karaoke. My youngest daughter opened the front door, said I can't believe you, you promised me you wouldn't drink anymore, just go to bed and don't talk to me. That weighted heavily on my mind that night, was the first thing I thought of when I woke the next morning and continued nagging me. I knew I had to stop and made the choice that the drink I had the night before was the last one. I found a local church that had an afternoon AA meeting and I went there during my lunch hour. That was the first of many meetings.
I received a meeting booklet showing meetings that were held each day, the locations and times were listed. I faithfully attended that afternoon meetings for the first year of my sobriety along with many others in local churches, town halls, school rooms in my town, the surrounding cities and towns. I met fellow AA members who offered words of encouragement, their support if ever I needed to call someone and they shared their stories with me. They inspired me to take it one day at a time, that one day turns into another, then another, then another and before you know it you've made 24 hrs, then one month, two months, and those baby steps will eventually turn into 1 year of sobriety.
There are those fleeting moments where I contemplate having a drink I consider the possible consequences and the aftermath that decision would cause. I choose not to give into the evil of alcohol because I know that I can't drink in safety any longer. That dreaded disease has invaded my life and is always lurking for the chance to strike again. There is no cure for this disease and to avoid a relapse I must abstain. That is something I have to keep tabs on daily so that the devil and the evils of alcohol don't win the game. I ask God for help in all the life matters that I am faced with and know, By the Grace of God go I. My faith and sheer determination keep me alcohol free. Each day I push back, push back and push back the temptations to have just one drink because I know that one is never enough and one is to many.
Currently I am 2 years, 7 months and 25 days clean and sober.