After well over one year alcohol-free, Club Soda member Melanie decided to share her story with us.
I’d like to think I was “normal” then.
“Like a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. I drank till I blacked out last night. My spirit told me no more when I got home and I pushed the voice aside like it wasn’t even talking to me. I didn’t even care….” January 14th, 2017 (from my journal)
I grew up a pretty straight-laced kid, so much so that I remember being called “prude” more than once. I married at 19. That lasted exactly 6 months. He said he needed to “sow his wild oats before he settled down”. I took it as I was too boring for him. Number two was shortly after and lasted 10 years and I remember him coming home smelling like liquor when I was pregnant with our first and being so angry. I eased up over the years and settled into the 1-2 glasses of wine on occasion drinker. I’d like to think I was “normal” then.
Therein lies my problem. My whole life I was warned “You know your father is an alcoholic…” but when you’ve only seen him a handful of times on holidays how much impact does that really have? After marriage number two crashed and I was starting over at 29, with two kids on my own, in a new state, where I only knew the people I worked with, I silently decided it was time to ditch the “goody two shoes” as it hadn’t served me well so far. My kids were older now and I had spent my early 20’s raising babies, this was going to be “my time”.
Franzia boxes in the fridge were for weeknights, and the hard stuff was for the weekend and holidays. Well, that and “had a bad day” because I need to take the edge off being a single mom with a high-stress job. You would think the weekday I woke up with 10 minutes to get to work hungover, from killing a handle of tequila with friends the day before, on the day I had a second interview for a new job would have woken me up. I was such a freaking mess I had to stop at the local drugstore to buy deodorant, a couple pieces of makeup, toothbrush and toothpaste and get freshened up in their bathroom. Shouldn’t I have started to think “something is wrong”? I still remember sitting through that interview thinking “Is this guy gonna shut up, I need to puke and then crawl in a dark hole somewhere so I can die” – I can only IMAGINE what was going through his head…
When you have a high-stress job and are a single parent it’s very easy to believe you have a lot of “bad days” and when you don’t then you “celebrate” and who doesn’t take a shot when they celebrate? You would also think the evening I was drunk watching TV and received a text from my ex, of my daughter with blood running down her thighs because she was cutting herself 20 feet away from me, in her bedroom down the hall, that I would have woken up. Which, in some ways, it did because it started my journey of healing and restoration that would eventually lead me to recovery many years later.
Looking back at it all now it’s kinda like you’re a marble sized snowball at the top of a hill. As you start to head down, the frequency and the amount you drink gets bigger, until you’re no longer in control and it’s only a matter of time till you start destroying anyone and everything in your path. It was easy to tell myself I wasn’t like my father, mostly because I didn’t really know him. It was easy to believe that he was weak, and I was different. The last time I saw or spoke to him was at my grandfather’s funeral that happened to fall during a brief stint of sobriety I was going through to peddle my MLM weight loss products. It was the first time I actually SAW alcoholism. People couldn’t get him to eat, and I lost count of how many black velvets the bartender served up with a splash of coke. He died just over a year later, 5 days before his 58th birthday. Five years after that my snowball of crap would collide with my mother’s wedding and destroy relationships with my siblings that are still being repaired.
In my early attempts at getting sober, it always amazed me how people remembered their sobriety date. I had a fantastic 60 day run initially. I had finally regained control and would just moderate the rest of my life and be normal. 13 days later I had moderated myself into a blackout watching God’s Not Dead 2. Not normal.
That was January 13th, 2017 and I haven’t touched alcohol since. I’ve gone through hundreds of “day ones” and people often ask “How do you know this is THE day one that’s going stick?” and the answer is, you don’t – but one of them will if you keep trying. As for how you remember your sobriety date? That’s easy. It’s the day you draw a line in the sand, you get honest with yourself, you call out your own bullsh*t, you reach out for support, and you fight through every day like your life depends on it – because it does.