The grass is always greener on the other side. Sitting across from me is my husband enjoying a Christmas ale I used to love. He sips it with care. Savoring it. Actually enjoys it along with his dinner. I envy him or is it jealousy? I envy how how he can take his time and actually taste the beer. I’m jealous he gets to drink. As all these thoughts roll around in my head I realize tomorrow is my sobriety birthday. I am 2 years old.
When I was drinking there was no savoring or taking my time. I drank in a fast and furious manner. I was trying to chase away those demons with intense vigor. Not to mention how much it changed me. I became a master manipulator, liar, and victim. I hid my alcohol from both myself and from my husband. However I was not a very good drunk, especially towards the end. I became volatile. Either cried or yelled. Jekyll and Hyde. All the while shame flooding me.
My drinking career started in college. I found myself seated at the table for the first time. My shy demeanor and fierce insecurities would disappear. I could hang with the big boys and this was my in. But even back then, when it all started, I drank fast and furious. I couldn’t wait for the liquid to ease my anxiety, allow me to rest. I would watch the other girls with beer in hand, while I’d be on my 2nd or 3rd.
I am just now realizing I have been depressed much of my life. Just 18 months ago the diagnosis changed to bipolar I. None the less, I was drinking to ease the pain. Whether it be loneliness, guilt, sadness, anxiety. The thing is alcohol is a lie. The fantasy I made it into always let me down. I thought for sure if I just took a couple shots it would lift my mood. Which it did, maybe for 10-15 minutes. Just enough time for the stress in my shoulders to subside and I could breathe. But inevitably my demons would quickly return. So the obvious answer was to pull that bottle back out, pour myself a miracle. A miracle that the heaviness in my body, soul and mind would be set free.
The miracle never came. Fights with my husband emerged. My language changed. I could never remember what I said the night before, so I would start just about every sentence with…did I tell you? I didn’t call in sick to work but I didn’t answer my phone or talk to anyone. I was the epitome of a person I didn’t want to be.
As the madness of bipolar took over my life, there were times I desperately wanted a drink. Through hallucinations, delusions, suicidal gestures, abusive voices and paranoid thinking I have stayed sober. Just last month I had a manic episode where I jumped in my car and left town. I made my way down the freeway thinking no one would know if I got drunk. I stood in front of the vodka bottles for at least 2 minutes. But deep inside I knew I didn’t want to lose my sobriety. My mental health is quite unstable but my desire to stay sober is quite stable.
So the very grass I think is greener is unsafe for me. But really, for me it’s not really that green.
123 RV, SA, JW, RW, JZ, PH, PA