I took my first drink at age 15. It was three years after my dad had died, I was heartbroken at what I perceived my family had become. It was a delay in grief for me. I can remember taking a bottle of wine from our refrigerator and proceeding to drink from the bottle and did not hesitate to polish off the entire thing. It’s slightly odd that wine was even in our home, my mom doesn’t drink. At roughly 115 lbs and 5’9″, it didn’t leave much for the alcohol to go to. Shockingly, I don’t remember being hungover, but I do remember it being the beginning of a hard path filled with hurt.
The years that followed were a struggle between the girl I felt I was inside and the outer girl/woman that was struggling with her identity. I believe there is a calling inside of us all, a true north that leads us. Outside influences, wolves in sheep’s clothing, people who I thought were my friends but in reality far more lost than I had ever been… were scattered along my path. Even when I was sober, I learned the hard way that some people used my sobriety as means to belittle me or excuse their bad behavior. I learned the hard way that empty promises are just that and actions speak louder than words. On the outside, I think it may be difficult for someone to understand alcoholism. While I never drank every day, I couldn’t keep it in my home, because I would know at any given time there was a bottle in a cabinet in the other room and that alone should be an indicator of a problem. Sobriety was what carried me through my three-year divorce and ultimately what gave me the clear mind to leave my marriage.
It was about a year ago that I started to drink again, socially. At first, it felt seemingly harmless to be able to laugh with coworkers or feel a little giggly. That first taste of a beer after flying all day is something that many pilots romanticize about. And I am sure to most, many whom I have even shared a cocktail with would have no idea that I am an alcoholic. I am sure I appear to be a mom that has it all together. What I am is a woman who damn nearly lost herself in an abusive marriage to become a survivor and a woman that fought so hard to be the woman I was born to be…almost. You see while I was born as an alcoholic, I was never meant to become one. So why did I drink again you ask? I don’t know why other than maybe I thought I would drink one and be fine. It’s the age-old question that is often asked in a rhetorical manner, however, the answer is quite simple. It’s because I’m human. Or why does relapse surprise you when you’re on top of life and not at the bottom? At any rate, it reveals another layer of depth and getting to know more of who I am. The process of continuously growing as a person.
As a mom, I am just going to throw it out there, we live in a world consumed with checking out. That it’s somehow humourous for a mom to escape in a bathroom with wine, or that somehow it’s this fruit juice that gets us through the day. There’s a notion that girls day out has to be around alcohol. Yes, life is messy, yes life is chaotic, and I don’t find fault in those that partake in a glass of wine even every day, but for me, I can’t. For me, even a glass, isn’t good. My life doesn’t become more alive with it, it becomes damaged. My laughter doesn’t need anything to help it. And the truth is that I am one of those people that doesn’t need a glass to let my hair down. Unbridled love for life and love of laughter gets me checking into life. Yes, at first I thought I was going to miss the idea of a glass of wine at sunset, a beer at the ballpark, and even my bourbon…but I will tell you what I would have missed more if I didn’t pass up on those ever so small footnotes in my life…I would miss my life. I would miss feeling with everything that I am and have inside of my heart if I continued to pick up a drink.
The unbridled spirit in me, this girl, this woman is filling her own glass up to the brim of unsurpassing love and the sheer joy of living her life to the fullest extent that she can, and that is one glass I will partake in.