I have been waiting to tell this story. I have been sitting on it because I knew I would eventually tell it, but I tell parts of it in AA meetings all the time and I feel like I am always talking about it. However, my story is important to me, and since I know a lot of people who don't go to AA meetings need to hear it, I think that it's time for me to tell it here.
My name is Molly and I am an alcoholic. I was raised by an alcoholic. I am the product of two alcoholics creating life. I come from a long line of drug users and abusers and mental illness runs rampant in my family. My mom got sober when I was 11, so I have the unique experience of remembering her drunk, remembering her early recovery and the effort she put forward, and knowing her now at nearly 20 years sober. I try not to talk about my mom too much when I tell my story, but her story is a part of mine and knowing her in these three ways helped to shape my addiction and my recovery.
I should start by saying that drugs are a huge part of my story. I have done a lot of them and I have a lot of really good drug stories, but I try not to talk about them because I am, absolutely, an alcoholic and the drugs are just a part of my alcoholic spiral. So, if you want to talk to me about drugs, you should ask me, because I don't plan to talk about them here.
Because of my mother, who I have fought my whole life not to be like, I always promised myself that I would never drink. I knew what drinking led to and I didn't want that for myself. But, it didn't matter. I took my first drink at age 15 and I blacked out. I was a blackout drunk from that moment on. I drank to black out. I drank for that sweet oblivion. I drank so that I didn't have to feel. I loved that sweet, fuzzy feeling that happened early on but for the most part, I really loved the black out. That was always my intention.
I remember what I was wearing and I remember what I drank. I remember waking up with skinned knees and a sore neck, because I fell a couple of times and at one point I hit my head. The next morning my friends told me some of the things that I had said, I didn't remember, but I wasn't embarrassed. Maybe because it was the first time, because later on my blackouts became humiliating. I just wanted to do it again.
Growing up, I always felt awkward. I loved to read and be alone. Because of my mom's addiction, sometimes I went to school in dirty clothes. I had a big, round head, and crazy curly hair. I always felt different. I carried my mom's addiction around like a dirty secret. I remember covering for her when my siblings called child protective services, and I remember feeling terror that some day, I would be sent to foster care. The only person I could count on was my grandmother; she rescued me constantly. That first drunk freed me. I understood my mom. I didn't have to think anymore about that feeling that I had all the time, that I would never fit in and that I would always be different.
I really did feel like I had arrived the first time I got drunk. I felt like I had the key to happiness. I never again had to relive my childhood or feel the way I felt about my mother. I knew that I was free, but I also knew that I stood the chance of becoming the same type of drunken addict that my mother way. I thought that I could seek that freedom without actually becoming like her. I could be drunk and not be a drunk if I played my cards right.
The next years of my life followed a certain pattern—I would go long periods without drinking, but when I did, I would go balls out. I was a pretty typical high school binge drinker. I did a lot of dumb things when I was drunk. Once, I punched one of my good friends in the face. I would get grounded and drink alone in my room. Once, I woke up and I had finished an entire handle of vodka and vomited everywhere. I washed the sheets and hid it from my mother. I was raped when I was blackout drunk at a party. My high school years are the perfect tale of the budding alcoholic.
My senior year of high school, I got a boyfriend. I remember the first time I saw him. He had the perfect smile and he had his hat on his head tipped at a funny angle. He was wearing jeans and white tee. I thought he seemed really wholesome, but it turns out he was bad news. I quit going to school about two months before graduation. I had to graduate from summer school. My mom kicked me out right before my 18th birthday. I stayed with a friend until my boyfriend and I got an apartment. We started a cycle of drinking and fighting. We got evicted from our first apartment after only a couple of months. Our fights often got physical; I have a vivid memory of going to work with a black eye and a bleeding lip once.
My boyfriend got arrested a lot and whenever he was in jail, I took advantage by spending as much time as possible with my friends. I would go out and get drunk and have fun. I didn't have fun when he was around because I was always sad and scared and we were always fighting. When he was gone, my friends would rally. One of my best friends was constantly riding me to break up with him. She told me all the time how she felt about him. She told me that he was bad. She would come over and make me dinner. She would encourage me to meet other boys. She never gave up on getting me away from him. The only problem was that all of us, the entire group of people I had in my life, were party animals. We drank. We did drugs. We stayed up for three days in a haze of smoke and liquor.
Alcohol was my life. It was my celebration for the good and it was my escape from the bad. Things were about to get really bad.
To be continued...