Back in Black

Then fast forward to a few years ago my husband and I were having a lot of parties at our house, kids swimming and adults have fun but then my husband would talk about something someone said, or a conversation from the night before, and I would have to fake the fact that I remembered it.  When in fact, did not recall the conversation or the remark.  I did not remember what was said or when people left.  I would not remember putting my kids to bed or conversations we had had together from the night before. It started to scare me and made me really question if I was losing my memory, Alzheimer’s potentially, but I did not really know that what I was experiencing were black outs.

I never really connected the amount of alcohol I was drinking to the fact I could not remember things.  I would wake up and have to lay there trying to piece together the night before and this was happening a lot! It was beginning to frighten me and make me begin to think that I might need to stop drinking. Finally, I connected the dots or maybe just got real with myself for once, about the fact my drinking was getting worse.

I did not want to live this way, not remembering things, not being there for my kids, not being present with my friends and family.  I did stop drinking for two months and I noticed how much I remembered and how present I was with my family.  But of course then I thought I was cured and could drink again and very quickly I was back in the black again.   

I drank for a while again, then quitting again for 4.5 months and life was great.  I was getting strong, healthy, rational and empowered but made a decision to have a drink at a party and threw it all away.  And by the way, that very night I drank to excess and did not remember most of the evening.  There I was again, back in the black.  Black outs that is!

As I tried to quit and shrink the number of nights I don’t remember the end or going to bed were still growing so I knew I needed to get real, get strong, and bring back the light.  

I am embarrassed of myself as I write this but once the words on the page you can’t take them back. I am embarrassed I keep going back to the thing that makes me numb, less present and ashamed.  When the clarity about what I have to do is so strong I know what I have to do to take back the light and live in the black anymore.

Living in the light is so much better!

The Struggle Is Real And The Time Is Right

Getting off the hamster wheel can be hard, tricky and a general pain in the ass.  The level of frustration, shame and general disgust of my lack of self control.  I know better, I am better, and I am sensing others are catching on to my behaviors.  This frightens me and I am afraid I am setting a bad example for my boys.

So, how do you slow the hamster wheel down enough to jump off? Cause you know if you just jump off, you will jump right back on.  And once you slow it down how do you ensure you don’t look for another hamster wheel to start a new cycle of destruction.  

Every once in a while the hamster wheel slows enough that you realize you don’t have to remain there and you feel amazing, strong, you immediately know the difference so why not just stay off the hamster wheel?

Lack of tools? Lack of self control? Insecure? The mess of everything around us too big to take in? For me it is all of these things.  It is seriously time to get the hell off the hamster wheel for good or I am going to trip and fall way too far down to ever get off.

So, how do you know the time is right? When do you make that call and then hold yourself to it?  I don’t know the right answer but for me the mess in the mirror is getting just too much to take. The lines I said I would not cross are becoming more and more blurry and inside myself – deep inside – I know the time is right.  The nagging in my soul and in my heart are getting too much to bear and the mess too big to clean up by myself.

The time is right when even you know you are bit too far gone and you see a look from someone who loves you and you know they are afraid and they are not sure how to look at you anymore.  That was the signal that my time was up! Enough was enough, now I am trying to figure out how I stay the hell away from the hamster wheel but I know what to do, when to reach out and how to move forward.

I just keep remember that look and how my soul cried out to me and said just STOP!

It Is Just One Simple Choice

Honestly, it all seems so simple you just don’t stop at the store, you just don’t worry about where you are going to be able to drink or get more.  It really is not that hard. It can be as easy as knowing the fact I would not drink bleach or rat poison. So why am I making such a big deal about buying and drinking alcohol when I know it is one simple choice to say no?  

It really is a simple choice to say no, not today.  Really, it is that simple but yet so hard.  I know it is addictive and that is part of the reason it is so hard to say no.  But if we look at like any other bad choices, like not dating a guy we know is bad for us, or choosing friends that make good choices, it should be so simple. 

We look at the weather before we walk out the door to know which coat to where shoes to wear, and we know not to walk alone in the dark in a strange neighborhood. So why is it so hard to just not buy or drink alcohol?

Addiction is a nasty, dark beast that makes us all do the worst things and make bad choices.  We know this as we suffer through the hang overs, off-the-chart anxiety and overwhelming, crippling shame.

So, how do we stop, stopping at the store or buying alcohol? We make plans, try new routes home, stop going to events or keeping patterns of activity that trigger drinking or the thought of drinking.  We play the tape all the way through and visualize the bad, ugly and chaos that ensues once we start and can’t stop.

It works if we just make one simple choice to stop. Change it up and more importantly find support.  I can’t say I have all the answers but I know by putting these words down I making the choice to move in the right direction and can help support you too.