What it’s like to hit rock bottom - My victory over booze.

The first drink I ever had was a rum and coke.  The drink was horribly sweet and strong.   Once the booze hit me I was hooked.  I was fifteen.  I knew that alcoholism ran in my family.  My great grandfather was a “dreamer and big drinker” according to my Mother.  She’s heard stories about him and how he could never keep a job because he was always drunk.  I knew the gene ran in my family, but I convinced myself that it wouldn’t affect me.  “I could control it”.  “I knew when to stop.”  “I never got really drunk.”  These were the lies I masterfully told myself everyday for the next forty plus years.

If I had a quarter for every hangover I’ve woken up with….I could buy several round trip tickets to Europe, or several new wardrobes.  What I’m trying to say is that I had wicked hangovers, but I could still function .  The term for it is “a high functioning alcoholic”.   What that means is that I hid my drinking very well and acted like it never affected my work or my life.  The other key to understanding the illness of alcoholism is that your work and life are dictated by when you can start drinking.  If I wasn’t drunk and slobbering I was hung over and slobbering.

All of this “self medicating” came to an abrupt end one morning six years ago.  I woke up with a wave of nausea and a pounding head.  I went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror and what looked back at me was a fifty-something floated drunk who needed help.  My eyes were red and swollen..  My face was red and splotchy.  My hands were shaking.  I was a mess.  I’d hit bottom and I knew it.

I made a promise to myself that morning that I would quit drinking.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy and it wasn’t.  I’d been drinking at least four martinis every night for years.  I literally dived into a bottle of vodka every weekend and drank my way to the bottom of my glass for the olives.  I drank to numb my feelings.  I drank so I didn’t have a face my fears.  I drank because I didn’t have to think or feel or do anything but drink.

I wish I could tell you there was a magic secret to my sobriety.  There isn’t.  I didn’t go to AA.  I didn’t go to rehab.  I faced my demons in my own way and with the help and support of my husband and family.  I’ll you all this because I want you to know that there’s hope.  Alcoholism is an illness.  It’s a disease that can be treated.  If you think you’re a problem drinker you probably are.  If drinking is affecting your family, your job, you relationships, you can take action for get help.  It’s never too late…. I’m living proof!

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