Updated: Jul 24, 2020
First of all, let’s touch on how easy it is to hide a “mental illness”. 60 days sober.
“I didn’t even know you drank.” “I didn’t know there was a problem.” “I don’t consider you an alcoholic.” “You don’t have a problem.” These are just a few of the things I’ve heard over the last few months.
(This isn’t a place to debate if addiction is a mental illness- that’s not the point I’m making). Y’all, Addiction isn’t a text book problem, it’s personal. Let’s stop pretending like we know what everyone is going through. And instead just listen to them. Hear them.
No, I was not tipping over drunk in a club, forgetting my days or passing out each night. Hell, my kids hardly saw me drink.
I would drink alone. I liked it that way. I had already secluded myself. I didn’t want to be around people. Now I was at the point where I was wanting to escape my own mind. Drink alone on my kitchen floor after the kids went to bed, having a glass of wine upon waking up and drinking just because I could was enough. I was exercising my right to do whatever the fuck I wanted.
I could have read a book, went to the gym, journaled etc... but even that felt like too much work. I drank because it was easy and acceptable.
Here’s a little back story for you, roughly 8 years ago I found myself on a strong 6 month drinking binge. Wine in a plastic cup on my way to the park with my son. (it was walking distance y’all. I’ve never drank and drive. Calm down) Partying every weekend, sipping on a drink throughout the day opposed to drinking water & taking shots at noon. It was then that I knew I was headed down a dark path. Shots at noon. This was a pivotal moment in my life. "shots at noon" became a code for myself.
It's saved me more than once.
I’ve been raised by 2 alcoholics.
I’ve watched the roller coaster of addiction throughout my entire life run through my family.
I’ve watched my parents experience withdrawals, I’ve seen my grandparents detox, I’ve called rehabs for my mom and I've found water bottles of vodka stashed. I was 7 years old and I would gather cans around my dads chair counting them. I loved getting to smash and recycle them in the garage!
I've had to accept the fact that my mom would die from her addiction & I learn to forgive her before that happened. I’m eternally grateful she’s now 18 months sober after a 10+ juggle of drugs & alcohol.
Forgiving her, finding compassion for her & letting go of trying to save her is where I ultimately found peace in our relationship. I'm no stranger to addiction.
I am blessed enough to be able to recognize my patterns and stop myself. That’s what I did then and that’s what I’m doing now.
I’m now exercising my right to say no. It’s been uncomfortable, but It hasn’t been hard. I know myself well enough & I trust myself to know what needs to be done. I’ve got a small support system of 3-5 people & I lean on them when needed.
I’m doing OK.
I’d rather talk about addiction than avoid the subject. Let’s normalize the communication of any “illness”.
It is no longer a taboo subject.
No matter how naive society pretends to be.
Regardless of how often addiction/mental illness is shamed it’s not going away. It’s a unique struggle that we may not all share. It is apart of our world. We can accept that fact & help each other through our own struggles or we can continue to shame and struggle alone. Maybe, just maybe if we held a safe place for people to talk about their illness, their struggles and their addictions then maybe we could help each other recognize our coping mechanisms and work through them. Just because addiction is apart of someone’s life that is close to us, does not mean that we have to make it apart of our own lives .
Point being- it’s possible to love someone through their struggles without making them our own. It is possible to hold space for the struggling addict.
With all of that being said .... I'M 60 DAYS SOBER !!
Thank you to everyone that has loved me through this even though it was an invisible problem to you.
"God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference."