Cold Heart Truth

I’m hating myself right now. I did it again, I drank last night and didn’t stop after a couple drinks – I kept going until the party was over, and even snuck in a few sips after we got home and tucked the kids in. (I was not driving). A beer, a margarita here, some wine and champagne. What the hell is wrong with me?! I have a problem and need to admit it.

I’m terrified of being that person. Of being the recovering alcoholic. Of being the one who doesn’t drink. The one who is no fun. Mostly, I don’t want to give it up entirely because it’s my stress reliever and my liquid courage. It’s what I reach for in times of happiness or frustration or sadness. It’s what helps me feel ‘normal’ and manage my anxiety. It helps me make new friends and keep the old.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong about that. I’ve had some pretty embarrassing moments the past couple years because of the booze getting the better of me. Arguments with friends, tears over the baby crying non-stop, and snapping at my husband for unreasonable things. Rambling about random shit and wondering the next day just how much I’ve embarrassed myself. The truth is, I’m always ashamed of my drinking the next day – whether I was doing it alone at home (possibly hiding it) or out having a good ole’ time.

The urge is so strong. The past few days, I’ve caved before evening events and told myself ‘I’ll just have one or two to get me through’… just to get me there and not be so self-conscious, and help me be a happier and friendlier person. The other night I was so anxious about meeting up with new neighborhood friends for a kids’ Halloween party that I drank half a bottle of wine before going (without my husband knowing).   Once I got there, I was able to ‘sip socially’ and behaved perfectly normally. At least, I thought so.

Last night I had some pretty heavy and lighthearted conversation with two people who have different terminal illness.   They are both in their early 30s with precious young children. They were both drinking (a little) and sharing some laughs and sarcasm about their respective situations. They are trying to stay as hopeful and positive as they can, at least on the outside. They have no control over their eventual outcomes. All they can do is hope and pray and enjoy each moment to the fullest, for now.

But the cold hard truth is that none of us have control over our eventual outcome. We have no crystal ball. But we do have a say in how we live our lives and how we handle our affairs and situations. This I know. And yet, it’s one of the biggest challenges I face.

There are some strong drinking genes on one side of my family.   One of my siblings is most definitely an alcohol-abuser (far worse than me from what I’ve recently witnessed) and sadly the other is no longer with us, due to ‘complications’ from being a serious alcoholic.  We’re not sure if it was an accident or intentional, although we’d like to think it wasn’t. And the saddest part is, we never had a funeral.  When it happened, every immediate family member was living in a different state or country, and our mother was such a mess she was in no condition to make any arrangements let alone.  One million ‘excuses’ from all of us. My wedding was the only time my husband ever met my brother. When I was a little girl, I adored him. I thought he was taller than God and he was so goofy he always had me laughing.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as family affairs go. I have a lot to work through.

Now I’m off to meet an old friend who’s in town for Sunday brunch. It just so happens that she’s a recovering alcoholic, sober for over 10 years now. She recently earned a master’s degree and has become a counselor in these matters. I wonder if I’ll have the courage to confess and confide in her and ask for guidance, or if I’ll order a beloved Bloody Mary instead to shake off this mild hangover.  I mean, it is my second favorite brunch menu item after eggs.