Hi I’m Ruth…. and I’m An Alcoholic

words by Anonymous | art by Shannon Willings | Jan 25, 2017 |  sassy

About 2 years ago I was pulled over for a random breath test and blew .1, I was completely shocked. I had no idea I was that far over the limit, I thought I might have been between .05 and .08 but not .1, I felt fine.

What followed was possibly the most humiliating experience of my adult life. The car was impounded, my license was suspended for six months and I had to go to court. The worst part was the look on my partners face when I told him what had happened.

i was so ashamed of myself that i couldn’t look at myself in the mirror

The next day I agreed to go to an alcoholics anonymous meeting. At the meeting there was a sign that read ‘after this meeting you need never drink again’. I found myself hoping, wishing, that it could be true. I’d lost all hope.

I wept the whole way through. For the first time in my life I was identifying with what people were saying. I thought I was the only one hiding alcohol around the house, lying about how much I had drunk. Living with the shame daily of how I was living my life.

I also learned that I was in fact an alcoholic. To be more specific, a top up alcoholic, meaning that I was rarely ever sober. I’d drink, get drunk and go to bed. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth and not be able to get back to sleep. I’d be worrying about what I’d said, or done, if I had upset anyone, or whether my partner/children had known. Whether they were mad at me.

I’d get up and have another drink and go back to sleep. I’d wake up in the morning, hungover, nauseous and shaking and have a couple of ‘quiet’ drinks to soothe the nerves. Some mornings it was very difficult to keep those first drinks down. When they wore off I’d have a couple more about lunch time, then a couple more about three o’clock. I’d crawl into bed early and sleep, so grateful that the day was finally over. The next day the whole cycle would start again.

I tried, unsuccessfully, to ‘control’ my drinking telling myself I’d just have a certain amount. I rejoiced when Jim Beam started being sold in 4 packs instead of the usual 6 packs, because I thought that if I could limit myself to just 4 cans I would be ok. But the problem for us alcoholics is that 4 drinks is never enough. Pretty soon I was having 8, then sometimes even starting on a third pack of four.

One thing I never understood as an alcoholic was that its the first drink that does the damage, not the fifth, the seventh or the tenth. That’s something I learned when I went to AA. I also learned that alcoholism is a progressive disease, it only ever gets worse, never better, and as of now, there is no cure. The only hope is abstinence.

2 years on from that first meeting I would like to day I haven’t had a drink. I really, really wish I could. The truth is I have had a couple of relapses, the first time was when I found myself in a particularly nasty situation, which I felt I had no control over. I picked up a drink. Not surprisingly it didn’t help, in fact it made the situation even worse.

That taught me several lessons, the most important one (I feel) being that no matter how bad a situation is, alcohol for an alcoholic, will ever only make things worse.

The second one was, that life is going to happen, whether I’m drunk or sober, and since drinking isn’t the answer for me, I had to learn how to cope with life without alcohol, something I’d never been able to manage. I had to grow up.

It’s been hard sometime, I still have hard days, and I still go to meetings. Sometimes when things are going well, I forget and I become complacent and thats dangerous. I can’t guarantee I won’t have a drink ever again, but I can promise that I won’t have a drink today.

i have to keep reminding myself, one day at a time