July 28, 2023

Alcohol Swallowed my Voice.

I was in a dark place and light was hard to come by.

I was backed into a corner of my own choosing and that corner was no longer comfortable. I felt everything but numb.

Dread. Intoxicating and incapacitating dread.

Today was to be my last day.

I had been working myself up to it for months. I had set today as a goal. My line in the sand.

I opened my eyes and I wavered.

The bargaining began.

Negotiating and pleading followed.

What about next week? Or, right after Thanksgiving? The holidays are always hard…how about just after Christmas? I’ll be good.

No. Today is the day.

I had done this before. I’d identified my “sh*t or get off the pot” day, marked it on the calendar, and then given myself umpteen ultimatums and a zillion stern talking tos only to go back on my word.

I grappled.

No one knew.

No one knew the depth of my addiction. Perhaps they had an inkling, but no one asked, or questioned, or expressed concern enough to raise a red flag.

I was such a good liar—so good at the cover up and even better at the con. No one suspected the debilitating pain that enveloped me, or the excruciating pressure I buckled beneath. No one understood the level of my self-hatred, or the equally dire hatred of my life choices.

No one knew I was drinking at least a bottle of Pinot Grigio every evening, beginning at 5 p.m. sharp. Of course, I would keep it in check while feeding, bathing, and tucking in my sweet toddler, but once he fell asleep, all bets were off. It was just me, and my stemmed glass, and the television. And after that, just me, a ton of water, and several ibuprofen to help mitigate the level of hangover to come. And then, drunk fitful sleep.

There were no witnesses. I drank alone.

And I wanted so much to continue to drink. I yearned to be the kind of person who knows her limits and stops at just one, or two if celebrating, and be in control of my alcohol consumption.

The fact of the matter was that alcohol controlled me. I was its b*tch.

I also ached to be the person who didn’t live in a cesspool of silent shame. The person strong enough to “just say no!” The person who could in fact thrive without a drink in hand.

I wasn’t sure that was even possible. Impossible was more probable. I wondered if I was destined to be forever in its grip.

It was my ride or die day; I have no other choice but try day.

I continued to struggle.

My brain couldn’t wrap itself around giving it up for forever. To never ever again have a glass of wine. To never ever again feel the luscious liquid grace my lips and know that relief was only moments away. To never ever again feel its power transfer from cell to cell to cell, filling up my empty, ravaged, broken being to half-full once more. To never ever again don an invincible shield or supportive crutch when feeling decimated to hobble forward.

I thought I needed it. It was my savior. My only friend.

I knew it would be the death of me.

With each gulp, I could feel my desire to live lose its upper hand. Sounds melodramatic I know, but it’s the truth. I knew I would die if I continued to drink. I needed clarity and healing and neither was attainable with alcohol running the show.

Alcohol had swallowed my voice.

My relationship with alcohol had begun innocently enough in my late teens with ideas of freedom, fitting in, and living La Vida Loca driving the experimentation.

Alcohol is a subversive drug. Its influence operates in the background, behind the scenes, biding its time, waiting patiently for your vulnerable underbelly to be exposed, and then makes its play for total domination. And, if you are prone to its subtle manipulation like I was, you willingly relinquish complete control and allow it to take over your life. You think you are actually better off for it too. You needed a co-pilot. Alcohol helps take the edge off; it makes social situations easier. You have free will and you chose this life and this love affair.

Alcohol fancies itself an internal operator and it prides itself on being a momentary helper. Whether you need a “pull up by your boot straps” motivator, a “buck up” instigator, or a “you deserve this” break from reality—alcohol is your girl.

It’s there to celebrate with but gets its juice from watching you cry.

I went from partying in public to drinking alone in the dark.

Once alcohol addiction has you, it won’t let go. Ever. Its grip will only tighten.

And here I was looking to quit alcohol in a day. My plan was audacious and that is exactly what I hoped would free me. Surprise left hook, out of nowhere, delivered full force. I needed a knock out for a clean break.

Now, I just needed to actually go through with it.

Besides being bold, my plan was simple—drink like a fish tonight, and tomorrow confide my addiction to my mother.

I knew she was the one person who would hold me accountable. She would know if I went back on my word. She would make sure I couldn’t hide out any longer.

That is as far as I had thought it through besides buying a yummy bottle of “Mommy’s Time Out” Pinot Grigio. I thought it fitting.

The next morning, I came clean over coffee.

“Mom, I need to tell you something,” I whispered. Gulp. Gulp again. Clear throat. And then with vulnerable strength from deep within I revealed, “I am an alcoholic, and I need your help.”

~

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