Just remember that phrase; It may never be clear. The truth is there simply isn’t a rule book or a list of directions out there for anyone to follow when they’ve chosen and in some cases been forced to become sober. The only clarity you may have is that this time, may very well be your last chance to get clean. Like any addict, I always felt like I had the upper hand in my addiction. I absolutely knew how to play the game. Well I thought I knew how to play the game. It’s a mix of sad and funny to think back on my drunken days. I was never going to be my dad, a painfully broken drunk that scared his kids and had stinky feet. Turns out I may have been worse. At least my dad played it straight. He was exactly the drunk he showed his kids and his wife. He never hid his drunken rages and certainly never stowed himself away in a spare bedroom or one of his kids beds to “innocently drift off”. He carried that guilt the rest of his life but Gary showed each of his colors to us. Proud as a peacock, God rest his soul. I on the other hand…I created a character. A make believe cast member in a make believe 1950’s TV show. We all have swords to fall on, mine will be losing time. Losing precious experiences and clouding priceless memories with my son and bruised husband. I have managed in a very small period of time to almost completely alienate the dream that I had for myself. For better or for worse…it’s my story, my non-fiction. And sharing it with you is my gift. I hope in some small way I can help you see through your shadows.
I was a classy drunk. I drank white wine with fish and poultry, when I was alone I drank it straight from the bottle…classy for sure. Red wine was my best friend for several years, she and I had plenty of laughs together. It just so happened that she was weak sauce and eventually what started as two glasses in a matter of about a year became three bottles a night. But I was classy. Vodka martinis had a certain allure…”filthy dirty” was how I ordered them. “Three ice cubes and three olives please, blue cheese if you’ve got them”. Beer was reserved for football games, camp fires and garage parties and only the best German beer for me, you see I was classy. Behind closed doors what you didn’t see was that if I started with a glass of wine at a party or a restaurant, I finished with a bottle of wine at home behind closed doors. If I started with a martini, I finished with a bottle of cheap grape vodka in the basement…and hid the remnants deep in the cushions of the couch. Classy. Every night before 5pm, I would finish “taking my tylenol” which consisted of a bottle of wine or two glasses of water (code for straight vodka) which was just enough to take the pain away. If I had some extra unexpected time before the husband got home, I would literally stand in the back office window, staring at the garage waiting for it to open while drinking without looking at the bottle or the glass. The more I could swallow before he arrived, the better. I would always manage to get dinner ready and have the house all shiny and clean you see, thats what sober people do they clean and keep things tidy, drunks are slobs and slovenly. Candles were lit, Food was on the table and eaten in short order, the sooner we could eat the better to cover up the smell on my breath. Bedtime for my son was always my looking glass moment. One of many times in my day to day that my conscience caught up with me. In retrospect it was never so hard that I stopped, just hard enough to remind me how big of a piece of shit I was. You see, the drink always followed me into the bathroom for my boys shower time. While he was safely showering away, I was taking the time to “drink in private” on the other side of the shower curtain. Anything I could do to keep the glass of wine or booze out of sight from my husband. It was after the shower that the heavy, hidden guzzles would sink in which was always the perfect time to usher my sweet boy to bed. That way if I passed out it wasn’t because of the booze, it was because I was warm and cozy with my sweet guy. Here’s something shitty, I devised a plan early on just how I wouldn’t let my kid smell my drunk breath. I would tuck him in making sure he was facing the wall and then I would prop myself up in just a way so that once again…my drunk breath wasn’t going in his face. It occured to me later that the main reason I always had a fan going in his room wasn’t to keep him cool or to provide him with white noise it was because doing so would blow my drunk breath away from him. More on my drunken “patterns” later. Inevitably I would in fact fall asleep. Over time, my husband stopped waking me and let me sleep. It was better for him to let me sleep in there that way, my snoring wouldn’t wake him and he could get a good nights sleep. What I regret most about that pattern are a few things. 1. In the last 6 years, my son never got the real Dadda at bedtime. I always imagined I was that parent that read Superman stories and talked till my boy would drift off and I’m now left to wonder how many times I drifted off snoring, leaving him to fear me or wonder why I wouldn’t wake up when he tried to stir me. 2. Though it takes a team to create co-dependant behavior and my husband is responsible for himself…how far did I push him away to make it okay with him that falling asleep (passing out) with our son, was a better alternative than waking me and asking me to bed. 3. How did I manage to make dinner DRUNK every night without serving something charred or raw? Drunks will do everything in their power to keep up appearances and NOT give themselves away. Noone is the exception. See you in the morning.