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Emma's Awakening: An Alcoholic's Tale

Updated on January 30, 2015

Good Morning

She wakes in the usual way, nothing on her mind but the tall glass of ice cubes she left waiting in the fridge last night, ready to go at any time. Another dandy day in store, she is sure. Richard stirs as Emma crawls out of the bed, grunting his usual greeting, “What time is it?”
“Six forty-five, give or take,” she answers, stubbing her toe on the snoring dog, “Damn dog! Always in the way.” There are far too many animals in this house...

Emma's morning drink isn't too far away, only she's not absolutely sure of her supply. Who knows what would be left of her stash on any given morning? She is pretty sure Richard wouldn’t dare drink it without asking, but she's never certain. Not these days. Nobody trusts her anymore, and she trusts no one in return.
She drags her 50 year old bones down the hall to the kitchen, anxiety growing now to get a glimpse her alcohol supply. Truth be known, she hasn't been able to stomach much of the old Seagrams as of late. She needs to drink just a bit to ‘get steady’ but her belly is in rebellion mode. Up it comes, as soon as she tastes it. Well, today is new, she is probably all over that. A contrary stomach, that’s all it is.
Her slippers squish softly over the kitchen tile, coming to rest in front of her favored cupboard for the whiskey, and reaching for the bottle, she finds an unnervingly light vessel. Emma brings it up to the dawning light in the nook, squinting her eyes at the disappointing reality. “Christ,” she curses, "Shit!"

A Plan

Now for a plan, quickly before they wake and come into the kitchen. They have one vehicle in this household, only one, which can be a logistical pain in the ass when she is out of liquor. She stays home daily, tending to herself the best she knows how. And occasionally she tries to care for the others who live here, 7 animals, her hubby Richard and their 17 year old son, Michael. Since she still has about 20 minutes before they get up, Emma makes her first drink of the day. The trembling is still there, though not as bad as it was yesterday. What she really needs now is one little sip.
“Hey Mom,” mumbles Mike as he reaches for the opened carton of milk, “What’s that?” she tries to hide the empty scotch bottle behind her robe, but is unsuccessful.
“Damn it Mother…Have a cup of COFFEE for God’s sake, fuck!” and disappears around the hall corner. That went well, didn’t it? Teenagers, she thinks to herself, what on earth do they know? Soon, too soon, his father. Gratefully, she sips.
Shambling to her purse on the dining room table, she coaxes out her hairbrush and drags it through her tangles. Richard appears from down the hall grumbling and searching for something to drink. “Thirsty?” she asks as he downs a large bottle of chilled water, trying to charm him in some pitiful and desperate fashion.

“Hey, is it all right if I drop you off at work this morning?"
“Why, what do you need, more booze?” asks Richard with only a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
“Well, as a matter of fact…” she replies.
“Emma, are you serious?”
“Well, what the hell happened to it last night? I did not drink all that on my own!”
“So you’re saying that I drank it? Why would I drink your whiskey?”
“Are you saying that I did?” she asks, appalled.
“Christ, Emma, do we have to do this every time?”
Emma lets the tears fall. She is caught once again. Weak with the guilt of it all, she collapses into a kitchen chair.
Why is she so damned surprised at all of this? And she nurses her scotch, ice cubes tinkle their familiar tune.
“Go wash your face, hon, I’ll get the booze before work, just get cleaned up, won’t you? I'll be right back.”
Relieved, Emma goes to take care of her face, feeling defeated yet victorious as an alcoholic can possibly be.

Defeat Looms


The Last Day

Relieved that she doesn't need to dress to take Richard to work, Emma makes Michael his lunch-a hurriedly put-together PBJ and a bag of chips. She needs to sit down to keep the scotch from coming up again. Michael enters the kitchen, gives her a dutiful peck on the cheek, then leaves for school without a word. She is comforted to think that he has his own life now, and does not have to worry so about his mother.

When Richard returns, he finds Emma in her usual place on the couch, watching the morning news. He hands her the fresh bottle with cautious words, "Emma, now you know you're drinking too much, but hey, I love you, so just be careful, Okay?" "I will, babe, thanks," she says, literally snatching the bottle from his hands. She follows him to the front door, gives him a short kiss, and watches sadly as he leaves her alone.

But alone is what Emma wants, who is she kidding? Now for a real drink.

No....not now! She rushes to the bathroom to vomit once again. This is beginning to get tedious. Emma regards herself in the mirror, and disgusted at the woman she has become, returns to make her drink. Still clad in her pajamas and robe, she settles in for another day with the television and fifth-at least. Her mind wanders to the man who married her so many years ago, the man who has watched her deterioration with silent love. Richard, though wary of her drinking, is not one to criticize or call her what she knows she is.

No More

Her loving thoughts can no longer keep her stomach from its protests, and she returns to the toilet time and time again. Each trip weakens her, her body now wracked with the pain of the efforts. She tries to keep the liquor down, but it rebels. Exhausted, she collapses on the bathroom floor.

The Awakening

Emma opens her eyes groggily to a collage of unfamiliar faces. Focusing now, she seeks out Richard and Michael, but these are not family, these are doctors and nurses. As she tries to rise, a nurse calms her, asking "Would you like to see your family now? They're just outside." She relaxes, then notes the various tubes inserted into her veins. Both Richard and Michael are allowed to enter the ICU, and they greet her with looks of concern.

"Emma, you almost died," Richard began, "your Pancreas is simply shot. The doctors claim that you must have been drinking far more than I thought." Guilty as charged. Now for Michael's two cents. "Mama, please, please don't die."

Michael's words were all it took this horribly ill woman to give up alcohol. Out of the mouth of babes, as they say.


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    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      9 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      You rock, my friend. I am in the midst of a relapse and not proud at all at the moment.

      God help me. I know I can't.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      lorlie6, a poignant view from the bottom, so I'm thinking your closing in or just past 3 years now, eh? It's been a long time for me, I spent the better part of 3 years medicating a sick mind after my discharge from the Marines, trying to get rid of a monkey by adding 3 more.

      We can and do recover. God Bless, dust

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      I AM my worst critic...and you are my best!!!

      Thanks so much.

      PS: I'm 2 years sober now!!!!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      10 years ago from Wales

      That was so honest , well done ,you should be feeling very proud of yourself!! I hope you told yourself how well you have done because at times we are one's own worse critics. That was so inspiring and honest. Well done!!!

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      That is so very true, dallas. Sorry about your son's alcoholism, but it's an amazing thing to admit it-then get treatment.

      He must be one strong person!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      10 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Thanks for sharing. My son has accepted he is an alcoholic... He is in a year-long program (Teen Challenge). None of us are immune...

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Right back at ya, Cathi!


    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      10 years ago

      Beautiful Laurel, I am so touched by this Hub. I don't really have the words that my feelings want to express. You are blessed with loved ones, this is clear. And your recovery is a profund example of winning against the odds. I am so glad you made it! Bless your heart! I'm proud to call you "friend"!

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Petra-You are too kind, but I'm all ears.:) I am so very sorry to hear of your first husband and the misunderstandings that plagued the relationship. It's all a process, and not pleasant. Thanks so much for commenting.

      myownworld-Thank you, as well. I sincerely appreciate your words and encouragement. I'll keep writing if you will!:)

    • myownworld profile image


      10 years ago from uk

      You write beautifully....and each hub is like a gentle quiet story full of wisdom and inspiration. Keep writing....

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      10 years ago from Los Angeles

      Your story brings a first hand experience into the world of alcohol addiction; and what a story that is. My first husband had that problem and I never really understood him; in fact I thought he was a weak man and could not control himself. I never knew his struggle and his daily misery.

      You are a very powerful writer and this piece proves it; make writing “an addiction” and enjoy the many rewords this sober world will bring you. Your literary success will be cause for real celebration. Best of luck and congratulations

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Thanks, habee-I appreciate it!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      This is wonderful - uplifting and inspirational. Thank you for sharing this.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      11 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Congratulations on your 5 years, chefaifa! I appreciate your words so very much.

    • chefaija profile image


      11 years ago

      Wow what an amazing hub I have been sober five years now it brought tears to my eyes. You accomplished something great today to touch someone like that I am glad that was not me. Thank you for the inspiration that I did the right thing

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      11 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      You're so very right, Ralwus. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Life is grand, like a piano. So play it like a maestro. Can't do that while under the influence of drink or drugs. At least you are alive and so talented, this is good writing. good luck now. My middle son is struggling with it also. CC

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      11 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Thanks so much, BEAUTYBABE, and I take your words into my heart. Always appreciate prayer in my life, I will do the same for you.

    • BEAUTYBABE profile image


      11 years ago from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA.

      I was truly touched by your story Lorlie6. It takes a strong person to find the courage inside themselves to fight so bravely and win such a terrible battle. You should be v. proud of yourself. You are an inspiration for others who are on the same path you were. I will pray for you.

      from Beautybabe

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      11 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Thank you dohn, it is all in the past, I am happy to say.

    • dohn121 profile image


      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      What a powerful piece of writing Lorlie6. Thank you for sharing this story/experience. Your writing about it tells me that this is in the past now. I hope it is and that a solution was found. Thank you.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      11 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Thank you so much for your comments. Who did I think I was fooling to make this fiction? :o)

      It really did happen this way-back in 2008.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      11 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      A very uplifting hub, it might help someone that's going through the same hell that you went through. That's why I write from my experiences to help someone else that might need some insight. Godspeed to you. creativeone59

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This was beautiful and I agree with Green,you are so very talented, and I am so very proud of you - bravo

    • Green Lotus profile image


      11 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Oh Lorlie this is beautiful. So poignantly written and so moving. I am all choked up.


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