About a week ago I had a big dinner for some of my friends and family. I decided to create a fancy meal of spare ribs, potatoes and two types of salad. The table was set with a gorgeous gold and purple display and I was proud of the meal I had made. I thought I would celebrate early with an afternoon aperitif and then proceeded to continue to drink until I ended up passing out around 9:00 pm.
I woke up around 3:00am with a headache I wouldn’t wish on my worst nightmare. I was dizzy, and sick, and ended up being bedridden with a hangover until around noon. It was neither cute nor glamorous. If this were a one time event, I probably wouldn’t be writing about it. But honestly, with the exception of the brutal hangover, this is what happens to me pretty much every Friday night.
I love to drink. I love cocktails and champagne and wine. I love the feeling of total relaxation and happiness and spontaneity and laughter that all comes from being hammered. When I drink I feel like I am more myself than when I am sober, and I like that feeling. No, I don’t like it, I adore it!
Slowly the Friday night drinking was also happening on Tuesday, and Wednesday and Thursday. It wasn’t quite as bad, but I would have around three glasses of wine a night. I found if I ate a large meal before going to bed then hangovers weren’t a problem. As a matter of fact, the reason my last hangover was so brutal was because I hadn’t eaten anything since around 2:00 in the afternoon the day before! So stupid.
At first it was fun. I thought I was a better mother because I wasn’t nearly as wound up when I had a few drinks. I was the fun mom! The mom who would put on music and we would have impromptu dance parties. The mom who didn’t get angry when something went wrong. I was so cool.
But then 3:00 would roll around on a day I didn’t really feel like drinking and suddenly I was pouring myself a glass of wine, just out of habit. Or I would be annoyed because I wanted a glass of wine but knew I couldn’t until after 5:30 because I had to drive my daughter too and from dance class. Drinking was becoming an issue, and it was something I didn’t really want to acknowledge.
I was the fun one! The one who was always up for a good time. The one who people liked at their dinner parties because I was fairly interesting to talk to and I love to make people laugh. But without alcohol I was just another guest. I wasn’t as quick with a witty retort or a funny story. I was more subdued and appropriate. Without the alcohol I am, dare I say it, boring.
If I stop drinking, who am I? Am I still special? Will people still want to be my friend?
I am not proud of these feelings, but they are real and they are mine. What becomes of the person who goes from the party girl to the what? The teetotaler? The alcoholic? Who wants that girl at a party?
Plus I wasn’t really an alcoholic. I mean I never drank before 3:00pm. It didn’t really affect my day to day living. Until it did. Until I wanted a drink at 10:30. Until I couldn’t get out of bed because I was hungover and sick and my little girl came in and asked me why I didn’t feel well. She wanted her mommy and I couldn’t be there for her! I have never felt so low in my life.
But one bad morning? Is that alcoholism? Do I really have a problem?
I don’t hide my drinking, or drive while intoxicated, or make a total fool out of myself, or act inappropriately. I don’t even usually get hung over. But alcohol has turned from a fun thing to do once in a while, to an almost daily event, and I have found when I don’t really want to drink I do anyway because it makes me feel so good. So yes, I think I have a problem.
They say the first step is acknowledging that there is a problem in the first place. For over a year I have known, deep down, that my alcohol was an issue, but I didn’t want to do anything about it. I even sort of tried cutting back, but after a few weeks I just gave up and went back to my regular habits.
So ladies, this is it. This is my big announcement, mainly to myself- I have to stop drinking. Have. To. Stop. Drinking. I have to face the fact that alcohol is controlling me and not the other way around. That I can’t just have one drink because if I have one then I have three.
I am not so far gone that I have to go to a treatment facility. At least I don’t think I do. Time will tell. But I figured I share so much of my life on this blog, I might as well share this. Because even though I am ashamed of my weakness, and scared of being clean, maybe there is another person reading this blog and thinking to herself, “oh my goodness! That is my story too”. And maybe others will have a different issue that is similar to drinking- like overeating, or smoking pot, or some other vice and realize that it has stopped being recreational and has become a big ugly habit. And deep down, I just wanted to put this out into the world because by admitting it publicly, maybe I can get the discipline and willpower to make a positive change in my life. Thank you for listening.