Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A post I am guaranteed to regret by tomorrow morning

Note: when I'm in writing mode, I don't edit. So excuse any typos and such.

A few months ago, I came to grips with realizing that I had a problem with alcohol (we won’t use the “a” word, because that would attach an adjective to my very self and that’s scary. I told my immediate family and two other confidantes that I would be removing alcohol from my life. I met with a friend from church who is 7 years sober and is awesome, and I really thought I was on the path to greatness. Mmm-hmm.

I gave up alcohol for a while (almost a month) and it was wonderful and effing AWFUL all at the same time. I felt so sad. Ugh. And yet, the relief from the guilt of the cycle of alcohol was wonderful. Bob was so supportive of me and wanted to do whatever it would take. Problem is, I wasn’t sure myself. I convinced myself that I would be fine having an occasional drink here and there and that I could be a “normal” person who had a “normal” relationship with alcohol. Except, that’s not how my body works.

So tonight, I took my last sip of wine from my stemless glass (ever tried to knock one of those over? They just roll, it’s pretty sweet), and, and before swallowing it, I held it in my mouth. I’d already had enough wine to be drunk and not care about very much. So I held that last sip in my mouth and savored it. I tasted the burn of the alcohol in my mouth wanting to remember forever what it feels like. I knew as soon as I swallowed it that it would be my last. This relationship with alcohol IS NOT WORKING. I do not have balance. I am not in control. This is not what I want for my life.

Reluctantly, I swallowed that sip. I flipped over on my back as if entering into a meditative yoga pose and instead savored the feeling of being totally uninhibited, knowing that it wasn’t going to happen again. I’m sad. I love this feeling. I feel like I NEED this feeling to deal with every bump that comes down the road. I will miss the degree of not caring that comes with having enough alcohol in your system to dull your senses.

Look, I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want you to feel weird about having a drink around me or about talking about alcohol or posting memes from someecards about getting drunk. Please. I want anyone in my life to BE THEMSELVES. And that’s why I’m telling you. Telling you not because I want the accountability (because, let’s face it, now that I’m telling you, I’m up a creek should I choose to relapse) but because I want to be myself and be the best at that. I LIKE myself. I have a great husband and kids, wonderful friends, and a general positive self-image. I just feel emotions very intensely and alcohol sometimes helps that feel more manageable. I am not the first in my family to deal with this. Many of you know that I have bipolar disorder and my brain is just wired a certain way. I’ve already beat (ha! or maybe not?) an addiction to food and now I’m working on this. God didn’t make a mistake. God made me this way, someone who feels life intensely, and it’s up to me to figure out how best to represent that. Surprisingly, I’m not unhappy, I’ve just chosen a bad way of dealing with the stress in my life and the intensity with which I feel those feelings about it. Since my thyroidectomy last July, a lot has changed about how my body metabolizes everything, which includes alcohol. I’m not blaming anything on anything, but circumstances have changed, and this is the place where I find myself.

Some of you will read this and re-coil and judge. That’s fine, I get it. Follow the illuminated “EXIT” sign and proceed to the street. The rest of you will realize that this is not an emergency and will stay. You’re free to do as you wish. I don’t need “help,” per se, I just need love (don’t we all?). I need your prayers. And your friendship. And you not to be weird about it. We can talk about it. Unless you’re superhuman, you probably have something difficult to deal with as well. So you’re in good company. If you didn't see it coming, I'm sorry. I didn't either. Life happens! Hi, my name is Ali. We're all figuring this out, one day at a time. 

I SHARE THIS NOT FOR ATTENTION BUT TO PROMOTE COMMUNITY. I actually don’t want attention for it. I want you to share this with someone and say, “Look, _____, here’s someone going through what you’re going through. You’re not alone.” My name, Allison, means "truthful," and I just for the life of me cannot live without being truthful about this. You are awesome and wonderful and so am I. Let’s understand and love each other and move forward together. I love you. 

UPDATE: It's the next morning and I don't regret posting this. I mean, a feel a little silly, but I don't regret it. I do feel relieved, and I'm also humbled by the outpouring of love and support I've received through various forms of communication. :)

I also felt it necessary to add that while I can't guarantee that the boys haven't been affected by all this, I've worked really hard to keep things removed from them. I haven't had a scenario where I've been drunk while home alone with them or anything like that. I've fought many a day through the day with them only to fall apart while they're asleep. So I hope it's helpful to know that. Even still, I'm sure they will notice a change in me (even if they can't describe it) once I get a handle on this. Onward and upward.


Anonymous said...

I have complete faith that you can do it, and if you backslide that's ok too. You're human. I, for a long time, chose to dull my stress and emotions with pills (pain, muscle relaxers, anxiety ... whatever I had available). I knew I shouldn't but d*mn it if it didn't make my days, even if only briefly, better. You know my struggle(s) so I won't bore you. Anyway, did I mention we're human? Adulting is hard some days.


Renee B said...

Beautifully written, Ali. We know the first step to fixing a problem is to admit that it exists. You are brave and strong and have an all powerful God who walks beside you. I will be praying for you, as always. Your words WILL give incredible strength to someone who needs to hear them. Thanks for posting. ~Renee

Bobby Shenk said...

My wife, you are so amazing and I am so proud to call you my life partner. I thank you for your authenticity and desire to live in joy and freedom. You lead us by your example, showing us that we don't have to be defined by our burdens but can be liberated by who we truly are. I am so proud of you and I thank you for showing us all how to live life freely.

I will always love and support you....

redaunt4 said...

Hi Precious.... I'd love to come live with you for a short while and be your octopus!
WHEN I WAS A YOUNG MOM I WONDERED.... "Why didn't God make women to be Octopus and have 8 arms? GOD KNOWS we need them."
I KNOW that it is because he gave us other people to be those arms (and legs) and you don't have to do this alone.
You can email me and I'll send you my credentials and why you might want to use me temporarily and just make it better!

Mary Poppins.... practically perfect in every way. <3
In Christ, Gracie's Grandma

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