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
*** Passenger Aaron Scherb said he noticed the flight attendant was behaving unusually, according to ABC News. He said March was leaning against the galley and not making any eye-contact with the passengers as they boarded the United Express flight, the regional branch of United Airlines. The attendant then went on to make a ‘slurred’ security announcement and knocked into passengers while walking down the aisle before appearing to pass out in her seat without fastening her seat belt, he said.
Waking up this morning to news about a flight attendant being drunk on a local flight here in my geographic region….and man…..What if teachers had breathalyzer tests in the morning…I sure as fuck wasn’t sober a few days there. Hungover does not equal sober after all….It just means you stopped putting shit into your system, and your poor system is fighting hard not to die from this poison and is getting rid of it slowly. This particular woman had been in her probationary period (I am still in mine in my new job position until December) which also made me think she may have lost work due to drinking before. You don’t just go from one glass of wine to being wasted at work in a few weeks. I guess one could. But this sneaky disease creeps up on you. It did on me, for sure…..starting at age 15 and working its way into every corner of my life until my early 30’s. Bah.
Today for example I feel a little under the weather, could be a cold brewing….something like that. The other day I slept badly and went to work totally exhausted. But not ONCE did I feel guilt or shame….Because nowadays when I am not 100% it is because of natural causes. Sleep issues. A cold. A random tension headache. The stomach flu. So you can look people in the eye. That struck me the most about this flight attendant’s story…her avoiding eye contact. And I get there have to be legal consequences but I also wish they had tested her BEFORE the flight as part of on-boarding procedures to keep passengers safe, but also to give her a chance to go to rehab without having a massive criminal file on her back from now on. I mean look at us humans…now we decided to legalize marijuana. We don’t know what the fuck we’re doing and it is hurting those who are probably already the most vulnerable, most traumatized, and most suffering.
Oh well. Can’t change the world with an internet rant now can ya, lol. I do believe Gabor Mate had it all right in his book. The one about Hungry Ghosts. And how every single one of the heroine addicted women he treated had experienced sexual abuse in their lives. Without exception. We wouldn’t numb if reality was a field of pink and white marshmallows, unicorns prancing around us, and random blonde angels with golden crowns feeding us grapes while we lounge, both feet on an ottoman.
I still want to get wasted sometimes. If only to relive that “carefree” younger-years feeling of my early 20’s. When all my peers were free all the time and all we did was go to uni and party. I also never want to do that ever again.
That is what sobriety feels like for me. It’s not black and white, and it shifts. Part of me was even a bit envious that the flight attendant got to drink. How insane is that? Thanks, addict brain of mine.
*** I will never forget coming to work hungover a few years ago….and one of my 6th grade students said: “Oh, you look VERY tired today, Mrs. Mari135.” I lied and said I had the flu. Everyone believed me because I was so good at hiding it. And I wasn’t responsible for helping keep an airplane in the air and passengers safe, my students still did not get to have a good teacher that day. They got a sick teacher instead. Of course they will never know….but I know. That’s enough for me. *** And that is also the past and I no longer drink. Thank God.
So today, I will schlepp my little cold to work with me and stay away from people, not to hide or out of shame…but as to not spread any potential cold-stuff. I can look people in the eye and not worry. Because this is authentic and honest. Deep down we all want that, I think. Authentic and honest. To show up as we are.
Next week I see my therapist again and he always says that….” Come as you are.” I miss that man. Saw him at the gym the other day where he swims as well. In another life I wish he could have been my father. What a difference compassion makes. Still blows my mind. I can say hands down until I worked with him, I had no clue what compassion for self was. I kind knew what it was like to have compassion for others, but even that has grown way more since I learned how to have it for myself. That’s where it starts.
And there is no better natural high….than a moment of raw and honest compassion for either the oneself, or other people. Mirror neurons firing and all. I find that to be probably my favorite part of the human life experience so far. And it is still new to me. And I had to be sober to get there.
Keep going. It is so worth it to stay sober. Not always easy. But so worth it.
good morning, @mari135. interesting, not looking people in the eye. remember the days well, too hung over, i did not want to look at anyone, talk to anyone, you are right, we had the flu, the bottle flu. how many times have we sat with friends who go ha ha ha he had the flu, the bottle flu. i have a couple of friends that have told me that they were fired for drinkingbut did not quit, if she needs to quit, and wants to talk, i am here. sober, staying sober, is certainly a life changer. good to hear from you.
Being authentic and honest … oh I love that. When I was drinking, I think that’s what ate away at my soul the most … the hiding, the secrecy, the lies. I didn’t think it made a difference but it did. When you’re living your life in opposition to your values, it messes with your mojo. Haha put that on a bumper sticker. Thanks for your insightful post (as always). Happy Friday. 😊
Thank you for posting this @mari135. Wow. Is she not popular today. I would have not known or heard anything about this had you not mentioned it but I really needed to see this example. I feel terrible for her, only knowing to well of how we lose control. I am quite sure she didn’t plan for that to happen but the booze takes control, tells us when and where we need to drink. What a great loss for this woman, her picture and story are everywhere. She’s about my age as well and it gets harder to bounce back and be able to prove yourself. There’s actually a story in the back of the big book about a pilot who’d lost his career from being intoxicated while flying. He was able to re-establish himself but it was a long hard road in doing so but he got sober and things changed in time. This story makes me think about some of the disenchanting situations that I’ve been in through the years that were alcohol driven. I could have easily been her and still can if I continue to drink. It got me again recently so I am not at all past it’s power but am doing my best to rid it from my life. Your insight on this topic is keen. How hard would it be to test people before the damage is done. This country would likely not be able to operate with the enormous amount of addicted people we have here. What a mess.
A really gut wrenching (different) story here too in the last few days. Ongoing tragedy for the family. Don’t we all kid ourselves when we’re drinking? It won’t matter, no-one will notice, I’ll be alright, I’ve had a few but nothing I can’t handle. This is what everyone does, it’s nothing out of the ordinary, so I’m a bit woozy today, so what. I just won’t look at anyone and they won’t notice. I just need to get through the morning/this shift/the next few hours….I look fine, I can pull this off. Our judgement is massively impaired!! Could have been me. Definitely worth it to not add more chaos and tragedy. I’m with you on Gabor Mate.