I grew up very poor with alcoholic parents and 8 brothers and sisters. There was a lot of abuse. I started drinking when I was 5, and by time I was 8 I was an alcoholic and addict. I smoked pot and took speed and downs every day. Nothing was better than to getting up and smoking a joint.
When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I found the world of dealing. Actually, my brothers would have me sell stuff at school in exchange for getting my own drugs for free. Getting high was the most important thing. When I was in ninth grade, I tried to get sober with the help of a probation officer, but I didn’t make it very far. It just hurt too much; facing life sober was impossible.
This went on for years. Funny how you can function when you’re trashed. I worked and paid my bills and thought, since I did that, I was a responsible adult. I got into dealing big time with a friend and told myself it was okay since I worked my 40 hours a week. Well, you know the rest. Before I knew it, 27 years had rolled by.
I had quit drinking because of some blackouts and driving issues and decided I wasn’t going to be an alcoholic like my parents. So I threw all my efforts into staying high. My mother and I would argue about which was worse, my drugs or her being a fall-down drunk.
About 15 years ago, I got married to a man who drank. He didn’t smoke pot or do any other drug. So, he would get drunk and I would get stoned. Eventually, he came over to my side, gave up drinking, and just partied with me.
Growing up, there were times I tried to kill myself, thinking if I took enough drugs I would die. I thought God was pulling a cruel joke on me. I would take a handful of pills and drink — and still wake up in the morning. This would just compel me to do more, to push it to the limit.
About 11 years ago, I found myself pregnant. Man, this was awesome, I thought. I was very excited as soon as I found out and I quit taking everything, almost.
After my little fellow came along, things started to change. Life was actually starting to mean something. Then 2 years later, a little girl came along. Together, they changed my life. I knew there had to be something better out there, something more, and I didn’t want them to grow up like I had. I didn’t want them to have to pick me up off the ground like I had done with my mom and dad. So I started going to different churches and met a friend online who is a minister and helped me find the Lord. I knew that was what my heart was searching for, and for the first time in over 27 years I was able to stay sober.
A friend suggested I go to AA for additional help, but I thought AA was for sissies. I thought, “I have the Lord and don’t need anything else.” And for a few years, it did work. Well, I actually had a drink once a year on my birthday and smoked a joint with some friends every so often, but overall, in 8 years having only a handful of incidents didn’t seem too bad.
During this time, my mother and I had become good friends. You see, she had sobered up, gotten remarried, and become the mom I needed. She often apologized for all that happened as we grew up and desperately tried to make amends with us. I have to say she became my best friend and biggest supporter. She would ask me, “You clean? You sober?” “Yes mama,” I would respond and we would talk.
Last May, however, she passed away suddenly. It threw us all for a loop and as the passing months went by, I found myself drinking again. Around Thanksgiving I went on a 3-day binge that turned into a two month drinking fest. Then I came to the Sober 24 website one night — drunk and falling off my chair. There were some really nice people there who didn’t judge me. I was waiting to get thrown out of the chat room, even hoping to get thrown out. But, it didn’t happen and I have been coming back ever since (sober though). I met some good friends who are very encouraging, and I now have 18 days sober.
I have actually become that sissy I disparaged before and have been going to AA meetings. I know this time will be different. Instead of being bullheaded and prideful, I have let things go and I want to change my thinking from the inside out. I truly want to change my life forever, not just for a while.
I recognize now that I can’t do it alone. It is great that it’s not just me anymore, but “we.”
For my children, this time will be different. For myself, it will be different.