I always wished I could drink like other people. But I never could. I thought it was the third drink that got me into trouble. If I only had two, then I’d be fine. Thing is, once I put that first drink to my lips, I could no longer accurately predict what would happen next. I might go home, but I might not.
You’d think if I made it home, then my drinking was a success. Wrong! If I made it home after two drinks, there was an insatiable need raging within me and I was gonna take it out on you. After all, you’re the reason why I had to come home. I would punish my family by being silent, or mean, or emotionally distant.
Chances are I’d stuff my face with food, and find passive and not so passive ways, to get back at you – all night long.
That was on a good night.
Then there were the bad ones.
Looking back, it was never intentional. I didn’t purposely choose not to go home. I didn’t leave the house with a suitcase containing a fresh set of clothes, a tooth brush and my cosmetics. Seriously, I was only going out for ‘a few.’
It really didn’t matter who I went with. It wasn’t the company I was after. Whether alone, or with friends, I always knew someone in the bar. Even if I didn’t, and we’d just met, by the end of the night, we’d be best buds. The drinks would flow. It was all so… grand. Everything was shinier. To tell the truth, I liked you a lot better, with a couple of drinks in me. I don’t recall how many drinks it took me to completely forget. Maybe it was a combination of too many drinks, or the cocaine I just had to have, whenever I was drinking.
I can’t put my finger on the precise moment, but at some point in the evening I’d go from – I better get home – to screw it!
‘Screw it’ is never a good place to be, when you’re an addict. It gives you permission to do things you would never do, when sober.
The night would fly. I spent half of it in the bathroom snorting little white lines on the back of the toilet. Although I lived pay check to pay check, I’d spend money with no thought of tomorrow. Tomorrow didn’t exist. Nor did my kids, spouse, or job. There was only now and getting as much into me, as I could.
There was this magic window of time when everything was perfect. It was like the ultimate buzz. Tomorrow’s regrets hadn’t kicked in, the party was still on, we were all having fun, and then… it was over.
Last call had arrived. God I hated those words! I’d order another three drinks. Sometimes the waitress would even serve them to me. If you tipped enough, you were liked – and over served.
The crowd thinned out and the ones that stayed behind were like me.
They didn’t want the party to be over, either.
We’d pile into cars and drive to someone’s house. We’d drink more and order more drugs. If there was enough booze and drugs, the party could last for days.
It was sunrise that was the worst. Darkness was my friend. As long as it was dark outside, I could fool myself into thinking I didn’t have a problem.
But I couldn’t hold back the sun. When it came up, I came down – crashing down.
I’ll never forget the shame. Demoralizing, incomprehensible, and agonizing, come to mind.
I’d sneak into my house hoping that everyone would still be asleep, but usually I’d left it too late. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the party and now I had to face them. My family.
I couldn’t look them in the eyes. I’d make up lies. Whoppers! I’d lost my keys, or lost my purse. I’d gone to my friend’s house and fallen asleep on her couch. I was good at lying. Most addicts are.
I knew how to turn your words back on you. If you were worried, you were a ‘control freak.’ Somehow my using was going to be your fault.
The good news, addiction is progressive. At the end, it unravels fast. Eventually, we all fall down.
When you’re down, there’s only one way to go. Up.
If you’re thinking – but I haven’t shot up, or smoked crack – I still have my job. I haven’t lost my family; just add ‘yet.’ Because you will – you’ll do things that blow your mind.
In early recovery you learn, your mind is like a dangerous neighbourhood. Never go there alone. The most difficult thing any addict or alcoholic will ever do – is coming to the realization that their best thinking is killing them. By the time you realize this, your life is a serious mess.
I’ve heard it said – one is to many and a thousand not enough. I guess it’s like being a pregnant. You’re either sober, or you’re not. Personally, I’m not going to test the waters. I’ve seen others do it, and it never ends well.
We all have another relapse in us. I was lucky I didn’t die. If I picked up again, I don’t think I’d make it back.
The thought of getting shit-faced drunk, falling down, overspending and breaking hearts, just doesn’t hold the same appeal it once did.
Just for today, I think I’ll pass. I hope you join me.
Best wishes, Lorelie Rozzano.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 1.888 614.2379.