A few weeks ago I was given a gift.
It came in the form of an email. My friend Heather warned me that she was writing a post for her blog about being an alcoholic. Turns out she thought I’d understand.
And my world turned upside down and inside out when I read that email.
Because she was right. She knew. And I responded, after hesitating over the send button, with tears and empathy. I fully understood.
The next day she published her post. I hung on to every word. I felt like she was in my head, and spilled what I was thinking out on her blog.
A few days later, hanging by a thread to the coat tails of Heather’s courage, I mustered up a bit of my own. After a few drinks, I looked at my glass of tequila with a splash of juice, and said out loud it’s not you, it’s me. And that’s the truth. There’s something in me that cannot stop once I start. It’s an addiction. It might not have happened every night, but once I picked up a drink, I could not stop. The first made me edgy for my fourth. And if I wasn’t drinking, I was thinking of drinking, and trying to figure out why I hadn’t stocked my wine racks with my companions Cabernet, Shiraz, or Merlot.
On January 26th, 2010, I quit drinking.
And I think I’ve been crying on and off ever since. It’s freeing, but terrifying. I feel broken, battered by the abusive relationship I’ve had with the bottle for years. And I do mean years. It was kept at by while I was bearing children, but after Paige was born it came back with a vengeance.
Three days into my sobriety Maggie came out with her truth. And again, I cried. Another gift. These stories are what help. Our truths, showing that we are here, not alone. No matter the story, there is that one common thread. Alcoholism.
I feel the same way about AA meetings. I’ve been to several, and can feel warmth the minute I enter the chilly church basement or side room. The first meeting I attended was indescribable. I physically shook for the first half, and cried the second. But there were arms that reached out to me. Tissues were handed over, as well as phone numbers and countless hugs. Strangers, tied together by this common thread, told me I was going to be ok. To keep coming.
So that’s what I’m doing. I keep going. And it’s gotten better. There are good days, and there are terribly rotten days. But I’m still standing, and I’m still sober. And I can do this.
I woke up this morning, and for the first time I wasn’t pinned down with self loathing or self-pity. Truthfully, the thing that’s really getting me through is knowing I never have to wake up hung over again. Never have to wear the shame of missed wine stained lips to a playdate. From here on out, my kids will never see me drunk. Those are powerful things. I have a beautiful life. Imagine what it will be like to live it fully aware and conscious. Sober.
So here it is. I’m Corinne, and I’m an alcoholic. And I’m going to learn to fly again.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
~The Beatles, Blackbird
**And Heather & Maggie – thank you for your courage. For your honesty, your compassion. I have so much love for you both!