The last two days have been good. Really good. Eye opening.
Yesterday was like a day long Facebook Memories of my drinking secrets. Places, faces and stories piled up to reveal that this struggle has been going on for years. I wasn’t as oblivious as I thought. Just in the throes of addiction. Denial.
When I look at all of the memories at once I cannot believe it took me this long to quit. I cannot believe I let it get this bad.
First up, I was on my way to a coffee shop in St Louis that I go to on a regular basis..but it was the first morning I remembered meeting a woman there 4 years ago to talk about a tv show idea I had…she shared with me that she had recently quit drinking..and somewhere in the conversation I broke down and told her I thought I had a drinking problem but wasn’t sure.
Later in the day someone shared with me over the phone that this past weekend was her “wake up call” to quit drinking…Her story jogged my memory of 5 years ago. I was driving home from a concert and had to pull into a hotel parking lot because I was too drunk to see the road. Passed out in my car for 4 hours.
A book arrived in the mail. A book from a women I interviewed 5 and 1/2 years ago. When the cameras weren’t rolling she shared her story of alcoholism and recovery and told me she was going to write a book about her entire journey. I remember thinking..I will read her book when I am finally ready to reveal my secret. She reached out when she saw the blog.
Then today I met with my recovered alcoholic friend and shared with him the numerous times I wanted to tell him that I had a drinking problem. We started to recall the interviews we did together for our show when I would break down crying as the person shared their story. I would come so close to telling on myself…but couldn’t bare the thought of never being able to drink again.
The biggest revelation is that the drinking wasn’t my core sickness. It was a red flag of what was really going on…and had been going on for the last 30 + years.
My core addiction is perfectionism. Co dependancy.
If I can just do everything right..make sure everything is running the correct way ..make everyone happy…I’m good. If I can’t fix the people..fix the situation- then it’s my fault.
When I can’t fix it, the pressure to make it right is too great or the pace to keep it going is too much- I find ways to numb the pain. Which is everyday.
Drown out the disappointments. Muffle the voices telling me I am not enough. Stuff the feelings so I never have to deal with them.
As long as I appear strong to others..I must be ok. But all that avoiding and stuffing festered. And the more I poured alcohol on it, the more my addiction to alcohol gained traction.
In the end, Alcohol pushed out all of my other self medicating strategies. It became the only way to numb out. That’s what it does. Slowly. Over time. It moves in. Takes over.
I told my husband last night that I am in recovery for a lot of things and I am being very selective and protective with my “yeses.” I cannot go back to that way of thinking. And definitely not to that way of self medicating. I refuse.
While this is hard..it is such a huge gift. For the first time in my life I feel “light.” I’m hurling bags of guilt out the window as I drive down memory lane.
The more I tell on myself, on my addiction, the more clearly I can see how sick I was. I am.
So fortunate I got out before I hurt someone.
In my efforts to moderate, I had rules.. Limits on the number of drinks in public, limits on drinking and driving, limits on drinking around my son. The limits on how many days a week I drank were broken long, long ago. My husband told me yesterday it’s been at least 3 years of 7 days a week.
In the last few months I was breaking every rule and drinking more than ever. The addict in me still tries to justify and forget.
I will continue to log my careless acts as a reminder.
I felt like I was failing in every area of my life. But what I see now is an opportunity. A chance to heal. To be present. To be honest. To learn true self care.
That is the kind of strong I want to be. These are the memories I want to have. This is the person I am becoming.