So yesterday was not the best day. I know there are people in the world who have much worse problems than I do. And many people, including myself, might think I am just feeling sorry for myself and they would be correct. However, I am in a sinking ship called alcoholism and I am trying to find my life boat. If you are not familiar with alcoholism or addiction than there is no way on earth you will ever understand my life. But for those of you who do… here is a little more of my story.
I was born into an unhappy marriage. I had an older brother named James. Not long after I was born our parents decided they would divorce. For some reason, not exactly sure why, my brother went with my Father and I went with my Mother. When I was 2, she decided she no longer wanted to be a Mom and abandoned me.
My Father then got custody of me. Not long after, Father then married my step Mom. I was 3 at this time. My step Mom used to tell me stories of when she would drop me off at daycare and I would stand at the door crying until she came back… for hours on end. We assume, because I was scared of being abandoned again.
Life went on and my childhood was ok. There was not a lot of love in our home. No emotion or affection was shown. No I love you’s or hugs. No encouragement. Just a lot of structure. There was a lot of yelling and slamming of doors. My father’s drinking became worse and worse. Step Mom drank too but nothing to compare with him. Eventually, he would drink until he passed out nightly. The fighting was so intense. Step Mom finally moved out of the bedroom and into the guest room. Through all of this my brother was my best friend. He was the only person that knew what was going on in our house. When he was 21, he got a job offer and an opportunity to get away and he jumped at it. At the time, I didn’t blame him…but deep down I felt abandoned again. Now I was left all alone to deal with the nightly fighting.
Life moved on… the marriage was basically over at this point. My Dad was going on a business trip to Canada and Step Mom refused to go with him so I took me. I was excited to see Canada since I’d never been. While there, we received a phone call from our hometown police, (we were from a very small town where everyone is in everyone’s business), they were calling to let my Father know that there was a moving van in front of our house. Step Mom was taking her opportunity while we were in another country to split.
We came home to a mostly empty house. There was that feeling again in the pit of my stomach. That lonely, devastated, sad feeling of abandonment. She had left me with an alcoholic Father. For me to now deal with, at the age of 14, the nightly drinking tantrums that would now be taken out on me. The next year of my life was hell. I had to get out of there. I would sleep with my bedroom door locked to keep him out at night. It wasn’t that he was doing anything “inappropriate”…nothing like that. But he would come up to my room after his nightly ranting and want to apologize and cry and talk to me like I was his best friend about all his problems. This was not my place. I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. I eventually convinced Step Mom to let me move in with her at the end of th school year. Finally, I escaped…or had I?
Step Mom was a cold person. Very hard to get through her outer layer. I spent most of my life just trying to get some sort of accolade from her. In high school I began to work for her… that is when lines of Mom and Boss began to be blurred. It would continue for over 25 years.
Somehow, through the next decade, I lost myself. I no longer had an opinion…or a thought of my own. My life was dictated by Step mom. I wanted desperately to please her and for her to be proud of me. But there was never any sign of that. After high school and college I began to work for her full time…eventually running both of her businesses. While she was traveling Europe…and going on cruises…I was doing whatever she said. Her drinking was also becoming a nightly habit. So I knew where this was going…..
My Father has since married Step Mom #2. Long story short, she was the miracle my family was waiting on. She also was an alcoholic. Misery loves company you know! She made a decision to go to rehab and told him if he wanted to stay married he would too. And he did. He remained sober until his death.
Meanwhile, my brother who lives across the country, has developed a severe case of alcoholism. Much like our Father only worse because he also did drugs. Just to make a long story short… my brother was very, very, sick… he eventually died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 49 leaving behind 4 very hurt and devastated children as well as a lost and once again, abandoned sister.
My world turned upside down when my brother died. I was lost. And I did what I knew…I turned to alcohol. This began a spiraling process that included me crashing my car into a ditch..going to jail for DUI….and then to rehab. The decision to go to rehab was an easy one for me…but paying for it was going to be a different story. But when I said step mom 2 was our miracle…well this is another instance where she stepped in and saved me like she did my Father. She paid for my rehab and I will forever be grateful to her for that.
While I was at rehab I made a life changing decision that I had to change my life. I was miserable working for step mom 1 and I had to break away. Her drinking had gotten to an all day habit. Vodka in the morning…beer in the afternoon… scotch when she got home from work and wine with dinner. I could not be around this lifestyle anymore. So I retired from the profession that I loved and had dedicated my life too for 27 years. It was time for a fresh start.
I came home and started a new life with a new career. My husband was a wonderful support for me. I stayed sober for 1 year. Let me correct that… I didn’t drink for 1 year. I wasn’t sober. See if you are a real alcoholic like me, you understand that not drinking and being sober are not the same thing. I was going to AA weekly as I was still on probation. I really enjoyed the meetings but I wasn’t working the steps…I didn’t have a sponsor. I was just listening and taking in the information. Needless to say…relapse was in my near future.
So here I am… many relapses later. I have a sponsor now.. I am working the steps. I am trying to learn the behaviors that set me off and trigger me to make bad choices. And yet, I wake up everyday convinced that I can get through this day without a drink… and only to give in after work. It’s madness.
What will today bring? Only time will tell….