It’s been a loooong time coming. I’ve woken up far too many weekday and weekend mornings wishing I hadn’t pounded glasses upon glasses (or bottle upon bottle) of wine, often until the wee hours of the morning. Hangovers suck, but they suck even worse when you have three kids under the age of six demanding your constant attention every waking second they are home. Not to mention school drop offs and pick-ups, and a full day’s work on top of chores, groceries, errands, and – oh yeh – all the snacks and meals everyone has to eat day in and day out.
I drank wine often and I drank it hard. What started as being part of the ever-so-popular “Mommies Who Drink Wine & Commiserate” Club, bursting with memes and jokes in texts and social media posts, gradually progressed (key word: progressed) into an uncontrollable problem.
Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I tried countless times to set boundaries for myself, take time off from drinking, or just quit on my own, with zero success. I started reading countless self-help books and blogs about women and mothers who successfully quit drinking. I related to every single one in some way, and was utterly inspired to have the clarity and freedom they seemed to have achieved. But I still couldn’t do it on my own.
Then, finally, THIS MOMENT came: Yesterday, I admitted myself to an intense outpatient rehabilitation program that specializes in rehab treatment, support, and continuing support throughout recovery (I loathe this word). They put me through a battery of interviews and cognitive testing, made me sit through a THREE HOUR group meeting (which I am to attend every. single. day. For 7 weeks), then ended with an hour long doctor’s visit to determine my treatment plan. Fortunately, I don’t need much for stabilization – just a low dose of Deplin, which is basically prescription vitamins for your brain. It supports my MTHFR genetic disorder by providing me with the methylation support I need to absorb essential nutrients. My body doesn’t do this properly on its own, and has a lot of trouble naturally detoxing – which partially explains why I’ve felt like dog shit the past couple years, only magnified by my excessive drinking and terrible hangovers.
Let’s go back to this group meeting scenario, shall we? Perhaps one of the biggest barriers for me in seeking and following through with treatment is being “seen” in a rehab program or even worse, AA. I live in a big little city, but know plenty of people in different and shared social circles from various phases, schools, and jobs throughout the years. I am extremely sensitive to and protective of mine and my family’s reputation. I don’t dare embarrass myself or our family, so just the thought of being there to begin with was mortifying and extremely worrisome to me. But I sucked it up and walked in there with my head high, reassuring myself there was no way I would know anyone in that small meeting room with a handful of people.
WRONG. When I walked in yesterday for the first time and looked around the room as quickly and casually as possible, the last face I (barely) made eye contact with absolutely floored me. My heart nearly popped out of my chest, and within a split second I didn’t know if I was going to run away, pass out, or start laughing uncontrollably over the pure probability that this was actually happening to me in real life. Of all people, it had to be him; one of the very few people I have a unique personal history with, and the only living in the same city as me (discounting my nonnative husband of course). Oh. My. God!
What happened during the next 2.5 hours of group talk is mostly a blur. Between my nerves visibly shaking and me trying to hold back laughter and tears (it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster), I don’t remember much of the material and conversation actually covered. Seriously, what were the chances? As if the dangling webs in my life couldn’t get any more tangled or interesting, let’s just throw this new little nugget in there for shits and giggles.
But then, during the break, he walked over to me and sat down. With a subtle confidence, soft eyes, and a gentle voice, he said some kind and comforting words to me and invited me to reach out to him with any questions about the program or process. He explained he’s been sober for 6 months and goes to this particular group once a week for ‘continuing care.’ Holding back tears of shame and embarrassment, I nodded and thanked him.
Through some crazy twist of fate, this gave me a bit more hope and determination to move forward with this program. During my second group session today, I continued to have feelings of doubt, questioning whether or not I really belong there. I just don’t see myself as ‘one of them!’ But, after seeing an (eghm) “old friend” there yesterday at my first session, and seeing how far he’s come, I understand that I’m not alone and we all have our reasons for being there. I am committed to seeing this through one day at a time, as I promised myself and my husband (and my kids, in my heart) when I took this giant leap forward.
Perhaps it’s not so bad, after all, to see someone you know when it’s the last thing in the world you want or expect to happen. And perhaps there’s a reason we have crossed paths yet again, only under very different circumstances.
I can still hear his teasing voice and his funny little accent from years ago saying, “C’Mon”… only now I hear the encouragement I need to stick with it.
The universe works in mysterious ways.