It must have started around the time I graduated from high school. At that time I was not yet aware of the lack of emotional support in my home, and suddenly I found myself lost on a university campus, trying to navigate life on my own. Now I understand that it was CPTSD, complex childhood trauma/post traumatic stress, but back then I figured I was just another college student, drinking, partying, having fun. Well, it wasn't fun anymore in my late 20's, when I would sometimes miss work due to having had a bottle of red wine on a week night. One glass often (almost always) turned into 3-6 or more. I remember one specific night, when I was 29, and I had finished a whole bottle of red wine by myself when a friend called to ask me to meet up for a glass of wine. We shared another bottle. Sitting there talking to my friend, I was wondering to myself "How on earth did you drink almost two bottles of wine?? This is not what normal people do. Or is it?" Becoming sober has been a two steps forward, one step back since then. I am happy to report that this year I have only had one drinking episode, and I am hopeful I stay away for good. It is just not worth risking even one more hangover. Speaking of which, I wish I could go back in time and hug my younger self, who was crouched on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet too many times. Crying, red veins popped underneath her eyes, yellow stomach acid coming out of her mouth in between dry heaving. There were nights of drunk calling or texting people, waking up covered in sweat, shame, and fear. The fear might have been the worst. All those years I was so scared of feeling and being me. Luckily I found a good therapist three years ago and have worked through and healed a lot of my traumatic experiences from childhood, but I want to keep an eye on self-care. It is too easy for me to slip back into self-loathing and fear and toxic shame. I want to be my own best friend and supporter, the person my inner child can trust to always have her back. Reading Mrs. D's book was one of the first things I did when I started looking around for actions to take to heal (or whatever it is you do to make it stop for good) my alcoholism. Ouch, that is still a bit hard to write down. Alcoholism. But I guess normal people just don't do what I did. They stop after one glass, and they do not have those day-long hangover days from one bottle of wine or more. So now that I created this profile, I will go back into the "real" world, where 99% of people look at me as normal and not an alcoholic. It has been a quiet "no more" journey, and even my husband thinks I never had a drinking problem. It is almost shocking at how good I hid it from others and myself. I don't want to drink anymore, and I don't ever ever ever want to feel hungover again. xoxo
Still sober….and woke up way late in the middle of the night….feeling a bit “blue”…I know those waves pass…they always do….And tonight I let myself feel it all. I had another dream about the one guy I used to briefly date in my early 20’s….He got “drunk-rage-mari135″…I am not proud of what I did and how I behaved back then….nor….do I wish to keep on punishing myself for that…..I’ve done that enough…God knows….the self-punitive thinking and acting…enough of that, already.
But man….it hurts. I saw more pictures from friends we share and of course on social media it all looks like he has the perfect life and a perfect wife and family. And maybe he does, and he deserves that. He was a good guy back then and probably still is. Or maybe I never got to know him and he’s awful and his wife is Googling “How to divorce” right now on Reddit. ***
Fact is…I will never know. The “What if…..”
It is fruitless and it would never end….but it still hurts at times.
What if…..my mother had loved us? Would my brother and I get along better, be closer? LIVE closer….the entire family maybe still enough-intact instead of this clusterfuck of grudges and pain and trauma and suffering…. What if my father had not been an abusive alcoholic who abandoned us when I was 3 or 4 or so? Would I have chosen healthier relationships with men all my life? Relationships that met my needs?
Of course it is not too late for many things….but it is too late for some. ***
Ouch. But I’d rather be sober and grieve and cry and feel that….than using my old methods…..Like the one where I’d go out and buy a 12-pack of Stella Artois because it has 8% ethanol content…..or two bottles of high voltage Pinot Noir because one would never be enough. Yeah, one was a joke, really. Just got the party-for-one started. Barely.
It is probably as good as it could get….life. For someone with major trauma and abandonment and substance abuse issues.
There….the bitter truth is that this is as good as I was able to manage my life. 35 years old. Married but not very much in love. I did it because he was safe and maybe we can make it work. I am all for working on things and after ten years together this may be it and I will find peace in it. But he doesn’t want kids and he doesn’t want to move closer to my loved ones. Old tape….old issues…..maybe time for new solutions, maybe not.
If all I ever achieve in life is to stop beating myself up (Tara Brach calls is the “second arrow”) on top of natural suffering that arises in my life from the sheer fact I am human, I will die, and my choices are limited and become more limited as I age…..then I will consider this journey successful. I am soooo tired of hating on myself for having ruined relationships that had potential because I was having mental health issues due to trauma and self-medicated to not feel that.
It wasn’t my fault. It WAS a problem I had to address…and continue to address with professional help….But nobody is born and requests:
“I’d like that dysfunctional dad who will beat up my brother black and blue and green and who will walk out as soon as he gets bored of not being allowed to abuse and control.” or “And then give me that mother over there who kind of hates children and is narcissistic and leaves us alone all the time to do fun stuff. And who tells me I am stupid and good for nothing and should marry a rich engineer since I won’t fill her shoes in her business, ever. I’d also like for her to regularly use physical violence and have her chip my tooth off when she beats me in the face.”
You don’t get to choose that starting ticket in life. That deck of cards is given. Mine could have been worse. At least we had access to money, education, and a nice house and vacations. Material-wise, we were provided for. The basics were covered. At least there was that and for that, I am grateful.
Being back home and so much time around “the past” has been wonderful…and so very painful…my first longer time at home since I got sober over two years ago…..It feels like all the feelings I drank down growing up here….they all lined up to knock on my door, one by one…reminding me that I once pushed them away….kicked them….and then ran off somewhere abroad so as to never feel them ever again.
And above all else…I do feel stronger…calmer…more grounded and connected…I have my tools lined up once I am back home state-side….My therapist….the gym…..a full-time job with an office-hours routine and hopefully evenings and weekends off for once….(less teaching, more admin, more routine)….My circle of girls with whom I have dinner 1-2 times per month….walks around the little lake I love so much….maybe a few hiking trips with the husband, who, all things said, is a stable and calm and kind human being who treated me well. It is also not his fault that his deck of cards at birth included an abandoning mother who walked out when he was 5 and a genetic illness (schizophrenia) wrecking havoc in his family of origin…with a high chance of him passing this on to kids (= hence, his wish to never have kids). Police showing up at his house all the time due to physical altercations with the ill brother and father….watching his brother suffer so much from his mental illness….
*** I think I am in a phase in life right now where I am actively turning over every darn stone…really confronting “where is this headed?” And that is a good thing….but it’s also a wee bit heavy. I trust I am not alone and other women (and men) have similar feelings right now and had them in the past and will have them. We are guaranteed others “feel it too”. That gives me hope…..
Life really does start when you get sober….they were right all along…. (those guys on this forum with intimidating 500 plus days under their belts when I first signed up and thought I’d never reach that kind of day count!!!) ….and that doesn’t mean every day is a fun party. But it surely beats my downhill hay-ride on a bottle-sled……singing along to J-Lo and Shakira, thinking I am Beyonce on some surfboard (I don’t even know how to surf, by the way)…..or some Dr. Dre and Eminem protege that can rap real good in English…lol…(Although I am proud I know a few of the old school ones and CAN rap along, hah!)…..or how about never really feeling sadness…joy….connection…intimacy…..all that….I would not trade feeling it all for anything in the world.
So back to bed…..I may snack on something for a moment….and then start a new week tomorrow…..A wee bit of home office is due since I teach two online courses for my college this summer….and I want to stop eating so much sugar….goddamnitsugarrrrrr…….I am an addict…I should know better than to give into those “duh” things…..like today I literally melted Kinder chocolate into fajitas to make a super-choc-crepes….But I never just have one…..hahhaaaaaaa….No…I had farking five…..and then the sugar rollercoaster….No bueno.
Lots of love to anyone out there who is struggling with similar issues…..Please know you are not alone. It was never your fault and it is not your fault today, should you still drink. It REALLY is not your fault.
I am so glad you are here. I am so glad I get to be here.
Like where does a sober addict turn to….in the middle of the night….while traveling abroad-home….? I don’t know. I got this place. It makes me feel safe and less alone.
Hiya again @Mari135! Wow, what a post. I am so sorry what you had to endure as a child, teen. Brutal and criminal behaviour. And yet you have emerged from all of that with a lot of empathy and kindness. I just love this line: If all I ever achieve in life is to stop beating myself up (Tara Brach calls is the “second arrow”) on top of natural suffering that arises in my life from the sheer fact I am human, I will die, and my choices are limited and become more limited as I age…..then I will consider this journey successful. – Part of the reason why I love being sober is that I feel like I’m my own good friend, looking out in a way that I wanted to, but did not SO many times. And I think that people from dysfunctional families look outside ourselves for validation, for guidance, or at least I did. And it’s taken me til now to listen to my inner self, what she wants. Sometimes it may look selfish from the outside, but it’s often sheer self-preservation. Good thoughts from Canada, xoxo
Ohh thanks so much, JM! xoxox The blue wave has passed indeed and today is the start of a new week. It’s always like that, isn’t it….just hard to remember in the midst of it that this won’t stay, the feeling. What you said about looking outside for validation makes so much sense. Lots of love your way and hope you get to enjoy your summer break by now without any grading left!!!
They turn to their sober self and give themselves a hug and say you have come so far and done so well, thank goodness we are sober. Sounds like there is some deep healing and releasing happening for you. Lots of hugs to you, you will come out stronger 💖
Thanks so much for this! oxxooxxoxo I do hope I come out of that stronger. And yes…thank goodness we are sober. I can’t even imagine what if I had kept on boozing those last two plus years. At least now there is room and space to heal all of this for once.
Hi @Mari135. What a fantastic post. Made me cry–not because it was sad but because you are one beautiful woman who gets us alkies including me. You make me feel as though Im not alone in this “space” Im in. I too want to stop beating myself up and look to a future ahead. Thankyou so much.x
Hi @mari135 those blue times are tough. I do have them too but they are less frequent and sometimes I think they do serve a purpose in allowing us to lick our wounds so to speak and move on. It is a good opportunity for some self love to say to ourselves “yes you were treated unfairly, yes you did not deserve that” give ourselves a hug and tell ourselves we will be alright now, we are in a better place, now we can do all the things we have wanted to, we can be who we are, we can be stronger because we have known pain and we are here, tall and proud and now it is our time. So keep on doing things you love to do, keep on being you and believe in you, you are here in spite of all of it❤️
Well Mari, I can so relate to some of the depression and difficult times, my heart goes out to you, but I know you are sure strong and wise enough to get through it! I don’t give a flying fuck what your mother told you about not being smart or good enough! You may be the wisest 35 year old I have ever met ( well not really met). Your mother was wrong and had a lot of issues and some people can only push themselves up by pushing others down! I totally get what you are saying about old flames, I constantly wonder/fantasise what my life would be like with old girlfriends. Many of them were wonderful caring people who really cared about me but I was so immature and self centred that I couldn’t recognise it at the time! I now realize that I have to move on, these fantasies don’t serve me, they are some deep seated need to be liked, desired, or to feel wanted! Enjoy, your vacation and like you say it is ok to have these feelings and you are strong enough to work through them!
Oh I hear you today @mari135 I’m doing a lot of that as well, reviewing everything that is currently in my life, looking at its trajectory, people, plans. And lots of what -if’ing. Sobriety does do that, doesn’t it. But feeling it, moving through it, and making new plans if needed is how we do things now, right! May feel strange and new, but that is a good thing. No more “ole familiars” in how we used to deal with things. Real life HAS begun and no matter our ages, it is the perfect time. 💜
What a heartfelt insightful post my dear and I’m glad you realise that it was not your fault. What happens now and the decisions that you make can make you proud. There’s no shame now. Just pride truely deserved. Xx
You really are dealing with every stone unturned, with such courage and honesty. I wonder what the dream really means? I guess it could be that longing for the ‘normal’ life that you believe others have – and I guess some do… or do they? But at least being loved in those first 3 years, gold, pure gold. There must have been something good poured into you early though, or could you get to this profound understanding? Perhaps your mum was ok with babies? Anyway, you are moving through such a vast amount. I only hope you do not wait too long for that love who does want a child – if that is your desire… However, if you do not end up in that place, your beautiful and powerful energy will be poured into something, there is no doubt about that. XXXX