This guest post comes from beloved community member @inthegarage66 (known by his shortened nickname as @itg). For a while now he has been promising to share the details of his final night of drinking, and explain what the tipping point was that led him to finally make the firm and clear decision that he will never drink alcohol again. Well finally here it is, his moving and poignant story.
I’m sharing this bizarre story with you for two reasons. One, it’s cathartic for me; and two, it might help those of you who are fighting this awful battle to understand that you are not alone. That booze makes us all do stupid and dangerous things. And, most importantly, that with the love, help and support we get from our friends on Living Sober, we can turn our lives around.
I guess we all have a Tipping Point. A potentially horrible event or situation which makes us realize that enough is enough, and we need to quit. We absolutely must quit!
For our wonderful Mrs D it was one instance of hiding booze from her lovely husband. For others I expect it might be the ending of a loving relationship, a serious health issue, a guilty conscience, an argument. The list is probably endless. And we’ve all been there.
For me, initially, it was Mrs D’s TV appearance two years ago. At the time I was hungover, feeling guilty as hell, too much Hiding In The Garage, and I knew it was time to quit. Which I did. For a few months.
Then I figured I had this booze problem sorted, tried the moderation game, and you know all the rest. Because most of us have been there as well. That said, I was still doing pretty well. Until a few months ago, when the wheels really started to come off. Almost literally.
Which leads me to my final Tipping Point. But to tell it I need to explain something first….
Wifey has never really come to grips with the fact that I have a drinking problem. She knows I drink too much, and is not at all happy when I get pissed. But she either doesn’t, or won’t, internalize the sad fact that for me, one glass is never enough. So, from time to time, when she is sipping (and I mean sipping) on a very small glass of wine, she will kindly offer me a small one. On the strict understanding that that is all I have. Which it never is, or was.
Now, we both really enjoy our motorhome. Several months ago, we were parked up in a lovely paddock in rural NZ for a few days. Magnificent totara trees, bell birds and tuis singing, bush clad hills in the distance. A balmy, warm summers evening.
What wifey didn’t know was that a few days before I had stashed a supply of booze in the motorhome lockers. Two six packs of beer, and two cheap bottles of Chardonnay. Four cans of beer were in the fridge, and wifey was sort of OK with that.
The first night I drank two of those, (acceptable drinking by wifey), then sneaked outside a few times to glug one entire bottle of wine down as quickly as I could. Tried so hard not to appear pissed. Staggered to bed after wifey, and crashed out.
Hungover the next day, felt like shit (we’ve all been there), went for a slow bush walk with wifey, and got away with it. Yet again. Yay.
But later that day, the second day in a row, I fucking did it again!! Same routine, except I had to hide the empty bottles somewhere, so I sneaked out in the middle of the night, and hid them behind a totara tree. How low could I go?
Shocking hangover next morning, and the plan was for me to drive for a couple of hours, over some tricky hills, to our next lovely spot. Wifey doesn’t drive the motorhome. Now, I have promised myself time after time after time that I will never, never drive the motorhome with a hangover. Yet here I was, with an absolute shit of a hangover, driving a vehicle worth six figures (yes, it’s a very nice campervan), towing a little car behind, with the most important person in my world next to me. Trusting me to drive safely, with no idea how I was feeling. Unbelievable.
But wait, there’s more.
About half an hour into the two hour drive, the steering wheel started to vibrate. Now this is not a small motorhome. It is, in effect, a motorhome built on a medium truck chassis. Big wheels. And a vibration in the cab is serious. The more I drove, the worse the vibration became. We stopped. I checked the tyre pressures. All good. No change from what they should be. In the meantime, I’m fighting with my hangover, realizing that it’s going to take all my tired skills to keep us on the road. By this time, we were in the middle of nowhere, steep hills, winding road, no phone reception, nowhere to stop. We finally got to a safe place to stop, by which time the motorhome was just about shaking itself to bits, wifey was scared stiff, and I was just holding myself together. The hangover from hell.
I crawled underneath to have a look, and one of the front tyres was delaminating and had almost, but not completely, blown out! That’s why the pressures didn’t change. But at any given moment, that tyre could have burst, and we could so easily have been plunging down a vertical bank, in the middle of nowhere.
I called the Automobile Association, and a few hours later, we were safely parked in a camp ground, with two new tyres. Whew! My lovely wifey could see that it had been a rough day for me. So what did she do?
She kindly offered to pour me a cold one.
And that, my friends, was the exact moment of my Tipping Point.
How could I let my loving wife be so kind to me, knowing full well what I had done. Hidden booze after two night’s secret drinking – in a paddock at night behind a tree for fuck’s sake. Driving our lovely motorhome when I was in no fit state to drive, with a shocking hangover, and a blown tyre. I could so easily have killed us both.
The realization of what could have happened hit me like a sledge hammer. As did the realisation that I couldn’t live with this deceit in my marriage any more. And at that moment, that very moment in time, I decided that I would never drink alcohol again. Never.
That was over 200 days ago. I haven’t touched a drop since.
My love to you all. @ITG.
Wow @ITG – what an amazing story and so familiar. I did the same stupid thing and thought I had this in the bag after 2 years! And slowly it caught up with me and next thing I am hiding bottles and throwing them in the bottom of the recycling bin before it goes out. Bad eh? Hiding, deceit, shame. Only way to describe it. What makes it worse is the lying to hubbie. He knows I only like bubbles and when I declared I was giving up a couple of weeks ago he asked if I wanted all the still wine removed from the house (there were no bubbles left!) and I said “no I’ll be fine with that – I don’t like still” and guess what…. got to Wednesday, had a stressful day at work, huge cravings, big argument going on in my head, the angel on my right shoulder was winning by a hair’s breadth, avoided the supermarket and went straight home, then the little devil on my other shoulder whispered “there’s still wine in the little fridge in the garage”. So what did I do? I got that wine and I poured it into a sodastream bottle and I fizzed it! Well that was the end of my Wednesday night. Then same as you, had to pretend like hell I was sober, which is actually very hard to do! Good on you @ITG. We are in the same boat. Thank God for Mrs D eh? Life changing. Hope you are doing well now.
I am proud of you @ITG for your kind heart and for doing the right thing by your wife and by yourself.Now you will have many years happy,healthy and free from guilt to travel and explore in your camper. No shame any more is a huge thing for all of us.Hugs xx
Wow! Thats great, thanks for sharing it with us. 200 days is fantastic and I bet you’re enjoying your travels so much more. No doubt your confidence is growing all the time too knowing you are present and at your best to drive your camper and keep the both of you safe xxx
Thanks you for being so honest and telling your story @ITG
Scary! Glad your still here with us 🙂
Thank you for sharing that story!! That totally sounds like the kind of behaviour I would partake in. And that’s when I step back and think – “Hold up, no ‘healthy’ drinker would do that. That’s pretty messed up.”. Good on your for accepting you need to change – and for wanting to, and doing it!
I am hoping that that resolve clicks into place for me…
Very happy you shared your story and you stayed safe and are now sober. Well done! 🙂
Thank you so much for this moving honest story with which I can relate to so totally. The secret drinking and pretending to not have had any more than a few. Ugh.
Your life sounds so wonderful and I salute you for realizing the love your wife has for you and you for her. So many times life could have turned out differently for us all.
Again, thank you I am sure this was hard to write, to admit. Take care and travel safe~
Wow thank you for sharing your story. Alcohol has such a pull and you have managed to free yourself. Xxx
Thank you for sharing, that must have been a frightening day x
Thank you – from the very depths of my soul – thank you for sharing your turning (“tipping”) point.
Thanks @ITG. I am sure we have all had moments when things could have panned out very differently. I also watched Lotta on TV amazed at her honesty and thought about her for a few months before finally, after a particularly bad binge, (I now know the triggers better) I joined this site along with a dear friend and have never felt better, it truly had been life changing. I wish you all the best. xxxxx
What a moving story. What a great remo der of how different and yet how similar all our lives are when it comes to alcohol.
How fortunate in a sense, many of us are to have had that ” tipping point” so we can wake up and start living a different, better kind of life.
Thank you for sharing.
That wifey’s a keeper ITG, and so are you. I am so grateful that somehow you were both kept safe that fateful day, and I think it is a beautiful and profound thing that what finally tipped you was not actually the danger you felt responsible for, but the grace and kindness of your loving wife.
Cherish her, and know that now, more than ever before, you are a man she can truly and fully cherish too. Thank you for your straight talking honesty, as always. xo
Good job you didn’t tip off the cliff mate! : )
Thanks for sharing @ITG ♡ ♡ ♡
I too have driven when I shouldn’t have, still affected by the effects of booze. I am ashamed to say I’ve driven when affected with my children in the car too. Saying that now just makes me cringe with shame.
I’m so glad for you that this horrible experience has resulted in you becoming alcohol free. What a great outcome!!!
Thanks so much for sharing your story @ITG. I needed a reminder today of the awfulness of this cycle. It’s crazy isn’t it, how we convince ourselves we’ve ‘gotten away with’ the hangover from hell, and that we can therefore do it again the next day. Maybe we can even push it a little bit further!
So glad you recognised your luck for what it was. Hope this was cathartic for you. 🙂
I’m a movanner too @itg, I’m typing from it now. I’ve had many boozy nights in it, too many that have ended up taking away from the joy of the journey. Now I’m loving it being about exploring our beautiful country and nourishing the soul. See you on the open road my fellow, sober, brave adventurer
Thank you so much for sharing this. I am so very glad you and wifey survived! Many of us here look back at stupid and dangerous things we did when under the influence of alcohol, it’s truly scary. It really is mind altering stuff. I can certainly look back and think how differently certain incidents could have played out, there but for the grace of god or who ever.
I hope writing this out was helpful for you xxx
Wow thanks for sharing , good on you !!!
I have just read your tipping point story and would like to say thanks for letting people know about it.We all have one thing in common,we have all done the hiding,lying,guilt,remorse and numerous other things run through all our stories.
I stopped because I was bleeding to death and given 3 hours to live…I survived ,not sure how but I have two daughters and I couldn’t give up,so somehow pulled through.That was nearly 4 years ago….or 1348 days according to that great calculator up there on the right !
Sometimes I feel that I am one of the lucky ones because I know that I CAN’T have one more drink, ever or I will die and if that wasn’t the case , would I be so strong ? I’m not sure but I take my hat off to you and all others for seeing the monster of alcohol before it is too late.
Well written @ITG . Thanks for sharing . Having that moment of clarity and certainty – about what you want/need to do and why you need to do it – is a wonderful thing . . . All the best!