At times I find myself looking backwards in time. I know that you are supposed to close the door on your past and look steadfast into the future, but I have a slightly different view. I believe leaving the door to my past open just a tiny crack, just enough so I can occasionally peek back into the chaos, helps remind me of how far I have come. It also helps me remember just how terrible things were for a while and how much better they are now.
For the sake of this blog, I would like to take a glance back into time in order for reader’s to gain a glimpse into the ”everyday” of an alcoholic. We say in twelve step meetings that we are to share “What is use to be like, what happened, and what we are like now.” Well, this is what it use to be like.
I wake up and the sun is filtering through the windows of my bedroom. The very first thing that I think about upon opening my eyes is alcohol. I would feel annoyed the sun was out, because cloudy days seemed to fit my life much better. I didn’t care for the cheerful nature of the sun. It cast a light onto the piles of clothes, garbage, and vodka bottles that littered my bedroom. I felt nauseated and anxious. I knew I needed a drink. First I would go get sick in the bathroom, sometimes more than once. Then I would rush to the kitchen to find out how much I had drank the night before. I usually had only about a fourth of a bottle remaining, and knew that wouldn’t last long. I would pour a drink and start to plot about how I was going to get more. If I happened to have money, I needed to plot about when, where, and how I was getting to my liquor store destination. If I didn’t have money, I had to get some.
Today it is a Saturday, so I am pleased I have all day to drink and not worry about work, or other people finding out I am drinking. It is 8 am so I take my drink and head into the living room, which is also piled high with junk: dishes, old mail, bottles. I sit and stare blankly at the floor for awhile. I only had 3 dollars left. I needed 16$. I rummage through my DVD’s and CD’s, seeing how many I can go sell for some dollars. I pour another drink, being careful not to drink all of my supply, and go to the bathroom to get ready. I shower quickly, put on makeup, and get dressed in dirty clothes. I pour the remainder of my vodka into a empty pop bottle and put it in my purse. Nobody but the state of North Dakota knows my driver’s license is suspended, so I get into my car and drive over to the used CD store to sell my items. I only get eight dollars for the whole lot, so I am feeling very angry. It is 8:45. I take a swig from my pop bottle and gag, nearly throwing up but I stop myself. Time for plan B. I head over to my parents.
I manage to convince them I need to borrow ten dollars for gas. I wish I could say I felt guilty for lying to them but I didn’t. I only feel satisfaction that I now have twenty-one dollars, which can buy me two 1.75′s of the cheap vodka if it is still on sale. That would be enough to last me through the weekend and the first part of the week. While I am there, I pocket a few of my mom’s CD’s to sell later. She would never miss them, I noted her huge collection with disgust. “Must be nice to have all that money to waste on CD’s.” I would think. I didn’t need to feel bad about taking a few, she had way to many to begin with. I was justified. I plaster on a smile and thank my parents, then tell them I am off to meet a friend for coffee. I get back in the car and head over to the liquor store, feeling satisfied that soon I would be at home with my booze, and I wouldn’t have to do all this stuff. At least not until the next day.
At the liquor store I would buy my vodka and usually tell the clerk I was going to a party that night. Then I would head home and with a rush of adrenaline, fix myself a drink that wasn’t about salvaging what I had left. I would settle onto my couch, turn on the TV, and that is where I would stay all day. In between trips to the kitchen for a refill of course. I would eventually pass out, and either wake up later and continue drinking until I passed out again, or just stay passed out.
It is hard to look back on a life like this. It is hard to think I spent years of my life doing this routine, day in and day out. Although I never want to return to this lifestyle, I think it is important to never forget the desperate circle of this crazy nitemare I use to live. My days are now filled with things “normal” people do. I go to work. I meet friends for coffee. I hang out with my family. Where I once woke up with dread and reached for my bottle, I now wake up with hope and reach for my Bible. And although I remember, I know I am not going back there, at least not today. Today is really all anyone can plan for. And each day, I choose to put my trust in Jesus.
Now I wake up in the morning and sun is filtering in through my windows. Even on the cloudy days. I need to get up because I have a lot of things to do that day. But first, I reach for my Bible…