MY LIQUID JOURNEY
The nightmare began when I turned 14. Before that, I had been at hells door since birth. I witnessed things children should not have to witness. Most of the time, early in the morning, one or two am, as my father wntered throught the door after a night of drinking vodka. In the beginning, I tried so hard to sleep, to turn on the mute button in my brain. Of course, each time I tried, it was as if the mute button was broken. First the car keys were slammed on the table, then I could hear my father mumbling something to my mother, then, her screaming at him, chairs pushed against the florr with such force, that the vibration could be heard two rooms away in my bedroom.
Creeping out of bed, I tiptoed to the doorway and poked my head out to see what was going on. In the meantime, my 5 year old brother came up behind me, his eyes full of tears. I grabbed his hand, and told him it was going to be ok. He cried harder. What I saw in the kitchen was horrifying; chairs were flying, my mom had a knife–had it raised to my dad, and was screaming at him to shut up, shut up. From there it got worse. He grabbed the knife out of her hand, and pushed her up against the refrigerator, ripping her nightgown as he did so. I started to cry, and led my little brother back to his room, sitting with him a while, until he calmed down and stopped crying. I couldn’t take anymore, I hated this house, especially my dad for the grief he caused.
The years passed, it got worse-there was no rest, especially at night. Most of the a good night. At age 14, I felt like I was time, if I got four hours sleep, I could say I had going to crawl out of my skin. I was on edge all the time, had no self esteem or respect. One night, I went out with a boyfriend. As we were driving around, he asked me to reach under the seat and grab the bag. I said, “what is this”? “Want to try some”? he said. So, that I did….and let me tell you folks, from the moment that liquid fire hit my gut, I knew I was home. I loved the feeling-all of my inhibitions were gone- I felt like I was on top of the world. But, when I crawled in the door later that night, my dad was ready to rip my world apart. To say the least, I received one hell of a beating. My dad, most of the time, used the strap. Oh, he was so upset to see his daughter in such a horrible state, but did he ever stop and think of us as a family putting up with his terrible states? No, I think not. Did that stop me from drinking? Absolutely not.
When I was seventeen, I met a man who had just returned from Vietnam. Six months later, we were married, and I gave birth to my first daughter. My theory was if I can get married, I won’t have to stay in this house any longer, and put up with dear old dad. Was I happier? No. I married an alcoholic, who chose to spend every night at the bars and not come home until the bars closed and sometimes till the wee hours of the morning. I became pregnant immediately and was introduced to morning sickness so the furthest thing from my mind was a drink.
And so it went–I gave birth to my daughter and only a week later found my way to the bars and proceeded to make up for lost time. Four years passed-I filed for a divorce. To celebrate I had to go out not only on the weekends, but during the week. A few years later I met my second husband, and gave birth to my youngest daughter. It was the same thing-no alcohol during the pregnancy, but after that, the wild woman was on the loose again. Two years after we were married, the abuse started. I was thrown out of cars, I jumped out of cars, and more than once served as my husbands punching bag, or if he wanted to practice his Judo moves, it was on me.
The insanity continued for many years, my drinking became out of hand. And my poor kids- oh, the things their little eyes had to see- my nightmare had become my children’s nightmare. My drinking progressed, from a couple of days a week, to daily drinking. The beer that I drank for years was not working anymore- besides it was getting very expensive having to buy a case of beer a day, especially if you are living off the state. So, it made perfect sense to me to switch to vodka- after all, it was only three dollars a pint. If the pint didn’t work, I would go back to the store and get a couple of forty ouncers, eek, forty ounces of Old Milwaukee- also known as pond water.
It was at this point I started driving my vehicle around, something I had vowed not to do in former years. It wasn’t too long after that I got into a car accident, drove up on a meridian and tore my undercarriage off my car. I was quite the manipulator, so when the cops arrived on the scene, I told them that the guy that was driving got out and ran away. They believed me , so I got away with it and thought, wow, are they dumb. Then, I thought that I could continue to drink and drive; after all I got off the first time. Wrong folks. Every alcoholic at one time or another develops this thinking pattern. Having totaled my car, I thought, I should be ok now, I can’t drive anymore. Well folks, this thinking did work, at least temporarily. A month later I was sitting behind the wheel of a Plymouth Horizon, and I began to drink and drive again.
A couple of years passed, and then the big one came. It was a cool night in April of 1992. I received a phone call from an x boyfriend, asking me to meet him at a bar. I was on my way to catching a good buzz, when I left my house and the party that was going on
there. I spent two hours with him at the bar and then left the bar. Next thing I know I am waking up behind the wheel of my car with a medic telling me not to move that I had been in an accident. returned. Luckily for me, I escaped with minor injuries, only hitting my head against the windshield and my throat against the steering wheel. Did I quit drinking? No way. That night I blew a .08 into the breathalyzer, which here in Vermont was just at the limit. I lost my privilege to drive for a year. I had to attend group meetings weekly with other women who had experienced similar situations. But, that wasn’t all- I was placed on probation for six months, only serving four for good behavior, and for staying out of trouble.
This is it, I knew I had hit my bottom and I was at the end of my drinking career. I had to walk everywhere, until I was reissued my drivers license a year later. Finally, after twenty-eight years of drinking, I realized that I was sick and that I had a disease-the disease of alcoholism. I checked into a rehab, stayed for twenty one days. I learned so much in my short stay there. But the biggest thing I learned was that I was no longer alone. I began attending AA meetings and the end of July of this year, I have nine years of sobriety. I was told that I could stay sober, one day at a time. I love sobriety; today my life has changed tremendously- I have a great relationship with my two daughters, and I have two wonderful grandchildren, both boys, who I love dearly , and who by Gods grace are never going to see their Mimi drunk. I continue to go to AA meetings, at least twice a week, but most of the time three times a week. AA has taught me not only how to stay sober, but how to live sober. I have met many people in the last eight years-accumulating many phone numbers and friends, wonderful people.
Unfortunately, my daughters have acquired my disease, and are not doing well. My youngest daughter recently entered into a year long program called Families in Recovery So far, she is doing well; but as for my older daughter, her disease has a very tight lock on her, only giving her some moments of clarity or insanity. Today, I have hope for myself and my children-they are going to be just fine, and are in Gods loving hands, as are my grandchildren. But, there are times when the thought of taking a drink enters my mind; it is at these times that I need to examine my program, and the way I am living my life and treating others. I hope that writing this article has given others hope, a hope for a new life-a wonderfully sober life.