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[ Personal Narratives ]

Time for a change

I never thought alcohol was a problem. I thought other people can’t handle it, but I can. I started drinking when I was 13 and got a fake ID when I was 16. I went to bars all the time. My whole life I turned to alcohol to cope: parents’ divorce, my mom left and was addicted to drugs and alcohol, lived with my dad who was an alcoholic and had schizophrenia, dealt with watching my dad attempt suicide 3 times, abuse—the list goes on. I moved 27 times … I lost count at 27. As a young adult I lived on my own at age 17. I worked three jobs and put myself through university. I received my honors in Psychology and Bachelors in Education, while in a series of terrible relationships (druggies, physical abuse, emotional abuse). On the outside I looked like I had it together. I left bad relationships, “dealt” with family drama. Held a good job and saved money. I was the happy go lucky, all around great friend..a role model but I drank…on the weekends, after work…all the time. I felt like my whole life was one social event after another. During my marriage of 16 years I did horrible things while drinking. I felt so much shame and guilt. I ended up leaving my husband for many reasons but mostly because of shame and guilt. I couldn’t live with myself. I blamed him. I left a big beautiful home, 2 beautiful girls and a life of drama ( so I thought). Throughout my marriage I would decide to “get healthy” and quit drinking for 3 months. I got in shape, felt great and then slipped back into old habits of drinking all the time. My divorce last year started a whirlwind of chaos and confusion and guilt and frustrations. I was a “part time” mom now. I had my girls a week on and a week off. I was a great mom when I had them but as soon as I put them to bed I drank and drank. I wasn’t sleeping. I had anxiety and depression. I went to a psychologist and started a new relationship. Again thinking I can handle this. I can keep my feelings in check. I will deal with this like I always do. I thought…Look how well I am coping. I even had the psychologist convinced that I was dealing better than the average person and that I was so “resilient”. I wasn’t coping. I was drinking. I drank by myself. I drank with neighbours. I drank with friends. I laughed when people commented, ” You bringing the shit show tonight?” I laughed about my drinking. Thought it was normal. I believed everyone drank like me. I came home early one day to find the wind knocked over the recycling bin and on the road were bottles of wine and beer cans. I was humiliated but continued to drink. My 40th birthday I went to Miami. My fist day there I was in bed by 4:00 pm. I woke up not knowing where I was. I guess that’s what happens when you power drink at 4:30 am. I woke up and started drinking again. For three days I have some memories but I was drunk for 4 days. Recently I yelled at my boyfriend’s daughter for crying about getting into a car with us after I was drinking all day. I said I was fine and I wasn’t. I drove over curbs and almost ran into my garage door. When I woke up I didn’t remember how I got home. I drove. I put put lives at risk. I would never do that with my kids. Yet…did that stop me. Nope…I drank more. My relationships were in jeopardy. I am a teacher too for heaven sakes. I missed a lot of time last year. I blamed it on the divorce but in reality it was my drinking. The straw that broke the camel’s back…well one of them. I had a party and was drunk and someone said, “Wow. This is who we have educating our youth”. It hit home. Who am I? I don’t know. I’ve never been sober long enough to figure out. My friend is seeing a guy who is sober and I asked her how she could date someone who doesn’t drink. I said I could never do that! Laughing to myself I can’t help but wonder if my friends will feel the same way. If my boyfriend will like “sober” me. After all its been a year of partying and drinking. I realize more than ever that I never dealt with anything. I masked the pain with booze. I realize I finally need to cope. Break down, let down my guard and feel everything I should and let go!. I am so ready for this change. Ready to be me…resilient, loving, strong, smart and beautiful the true person I am! I know it’s not going to be easy.