This is not a blog entry about stroke recovery, but it is an entry about recovery, so I hope the themes I touch on in telling this part of my life's story will be harmonious with the themes that echo throughout this blog. This is a long story, so let's dive in, shall we?
My name is Liz, and I'm an alcoholic. Those words are still extremely hard for me to say/write.
But, Liz, how did this happen?
I've thought long and hard about that, so this may be part of an answer:
In 2004, I underwent a serious health scare that at the tender age of 24, I was ill equipped to handle rationally nor could my 25 year old live-in boyfriend, due to this health complication, our relationship went downhill, fast. And I mean straight down, vertical, things did not go the way I thought they should have gone. He did no act the way I thought he should have acted under the circumstances. Because I liked getting my way and was completely incapable of seeing things from other people's perspectives, I believed he was mistreating me, and began acting out and treating him, and myself, like shit which, obviously, made our home less than peaceful, serene and harmonious. So, in stead of heading straight home after work, I would go across the street to "one" drink at the bar across the street, well, ans any person with a substance abuse problem knows, one drink would turn into two, three , then it would be 10:00PM, I got out of work at 5:00PM, an, yes, I would drive myself home. Drinking became a way for me to avoid the uncomfortable conversations I did not want to have with my partner, we wouldn't discuss anything important if one of us was drunk. So getting drunk after work simply became a habit and a way of avoiding reality and the hard stuff that life throws at us. I loved the way I felt when I was drunk, I felt invincible, as unsure of myself I felt when I was home, I KNEW I was hot shit when I was drunk.....
Then, I moved to New York City, THE WORST place a blossoming alcoholic could possibly move; You don't have to drive anywhere if you can't, so you don't have to worry about that, the bars stay open almost all night and you can pretty much always find a bodega that is selling alcohol at any time of day. After I moved I dug myself into a trench of righteous anger at my, then ex-boyfriend,
Then, Matt moved to New York to be with me, asfter six months of talking on the phone and talking about getting married, we decided to take the leap, so he moved to the last place he ever thought he would live and he found a version of me, he didn't recognize; an, angry, self-involved, self-righteous drunk, parading around as the woman he loved, I'm surprised he stuck with me long enough to make me stop:
On Cinco de Mayo of 2007, we had a party at our apartment and, as usual, I was wasted. When the tequila bottle got passed around one more time, there was onlu one shot left for Matt and I, he took the last shot, I demanded it, he told me I didn't get it because, unlike me, he knew his limits. I got mad at this truthful comment and fumed my way into the bath room, Matt followed me in, locked the door and proceeded to inform me that I was acting like an asshole, that I was an alcoholic and had to stop, because if I did't, he would leave. I can honestly say now, that, at that point, if I had three more months of drinking like that, I probably would have said, fine. Go. Being drunk felt safe, comfortable and easy. Did I stop that night? No.
Afew things happened in the following week that made me realize that I did, indeed have a problem with alcohol. The first occured at a party, after all of the guests had left at 2 or three in the morning, I spent the rest of the evening finishing off the half drunk beverages that had been left behind, disgusting, I know. I passed out oin the couch and did not call Matt to tell him where I was, it was the one year anniversary of when we decided that he should move, so, basically, our one year re-anniversary. He sat in our bedroom window all night, waiting for me to pop out of a taxi, which I didn't do until that morning. A few days later, Matt myself and our roommate interviewed a girl to be our fourth roommate, it was May 12, 2007. It was a beatiful spring day, we sat outside on our patio and talked, so, I cracked open a beer and Matt, sticking to his guns, as usual. Informed me that we would be sharing that beer, I did not get it all to myself.
As the afternoon wore on, I found myself getting increasingly angry at the fact that I was not allowed to have a whole beer to myself and at one point. I stopped and thought about what was happening,
" I shouldn't be this mad about this, a normal person without an alcohol dependency wouldn't be mad about this. "
That scared me.
May 12, 2007 was my last drink, it's been 7 years today.
Being sober is hard, when I first quit, my emotions were raw and extremely sensitive because I had lost my coping mechanism. So, any negative emotions that emerged were not easy to handle or process.
I would be lying if I said that I have not yearned for the safe, warm embrace of alcohol during my stroke recovery process.
It is through the grace of many Gods, Matt and Charlotte that I am here, clearheaded and sober for seven years, and it feels great!
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,And wisdom to know the difference.