I remember vividly what the first month was like when my husband came home. I had actively decided not to care anymore. I was going to sleep in, drink, eat, do whatever the fuck I wanted, and maybe die an alcoholic death. I was hoping that the death part would come sooner than later. I crawled into bed and basically never came back out.
I thought that maybe a change of location would help the way I was feeling, so my husband moved us from Washington back to Colorado before he got out of the navy. It didn't actually help because I think my hometown is a cesspool. I became more depressed and my drinking actually began to escalate. Not to mention, he moved the kids and I before he moved, so I was once again alone with my children.
I had a rotation of liquor stores, especially the ones with drive-thrus. I would go to a different one every night so that no one would catch on to how much I was drinking. Over the course of a year, I went from a 2-3 day per week binge drinker to drinking six days per week. That window of sobriety was closing up faster and faster. I was starting to drink at 4 p.m. rather than after the kids went to bed and I was usually blacked out by dinner time.
This was the phase when my health started to go. I gained weight and looked bloated. I never ever ever left the house if I could avoid it. Once my husband joined the family in Colorado, I would go weeks without crossing the threshold of the front door. I progressed rapidly from not leaving the house to not leaving my room. My spouse brought me food in bed. I woke up to eat and drink again and then I would pass out. I ruined the mattress because I was the kind of drunk who peed the bed almost nightly.
One night, my husband and I were drinking together and I blacked out. The next morning, I woke up and tried to stand up to go to the bathroom. I hit the floor and immediately vomited because I had broken my foot and didn't remember. It was pulverized. My foot was swollen and crushed and I still have no idea how I did it. I was bedridden for nearly a month due to the injury, so I laid in bed and drank over it. When my foot healed, I went out one night and fell getting out of the car. I hit my head on the concrete and woke up with a sore head and an immovable neck.
One night, I was nearing my usual black out so I threw a full wineglass at my husband's head and screamed at him that I hated him. I will never forget the look on his face as he avoided the projectile and stared at me. He didn't look hurt or sad. He looked disgusted. He woke up almost daily and had to wash sheets that I had urinated on, he picked me up off the kitchen floor completely naked, he herded me out of nightclubs and bars when I was kicked out, he fed me and made sure I stayed alive. How dare I hate him, when I was the disgusting one? The look on his face was horror, due to the fact that he was married to such a drunken slob.
I was in the house all the time, but I would go days without speaking to or interacting with my children. I couldn't handle them, they gave me anxiety, and I knew that I was failing them so I would rather get drunk and not deal with the feelings. My husband had to find a babysitter so that he could go to work. I was incapable and completely refused to care for my own children. He would often try and refuse me alcohol, but I would get mean and terrorize him into buying me beer. One night, he woke up in the middle of the night and I was vomiting and choking. He rolled me over without waking me. He saved my life and I resented him for it because ultimately I wanted to die. I went to bed every night hoping that I wouldn't wake up. I wanted it to end, but I didn't want to do any work or face any of my problems. I was too chicken to kill myself, so I thought that an alcoholic death was my only solution.
My whole life I have always wanted to be an academic. I always wanted to get a PhD, so even though I was a completely dysfunctional alcoholic, I did all of the leg work to get into a graduate program in history. I wrote to old professors and obtained letters of recommendation, I wrote admissions essays, and I compiled work from my undergraduate studies. I got into the program and I was scheduled to start in the fall. I was overjoyed because having an advanced degree was one of the goals I had carried with me my whole life.
I started school and much to my surprise, I was unable to do the work. I felt awkward and uncomfortable in class because I was sober and having withdrawals. My hands shook and my mind wandered. My head would ache dully and I would start to sweat (which usually smelled like booze). When I would leave class, I would head straight to the liquor store to ease my pain. I couldn't do my homework because I would read and immediately forget what I had read. My brain was mush. I found myself incapable of typing because my hands shook and I was unable to produce an essay because I could neither retain nor reinterpret information.
I have no idea what it was about not being able to stay in school. I don't know why the disassociation from my family, the many injuries, the high blood pressure, the failing health, the lack of friends, the loss of my hobbies and passions, the fading of my looks, and the despair did not achieve what failing out of school did. What I know is that losing graduate school was my bottom. I remember it vividly. I remember sitting at the computer desk, trying to do an assignment and thinking, 'alcohol is robbing me of my master's degree. I have to quit school now so that I can find a way to quit drinking.' The next thing I did was to call my mother and tell her that I was an alcoholic and that I wanted help. Three days later, I went to treatment because alcohol had robbed me of my education.
What follows is the story of my recovery and it is beautiful. Someday, I will tell it.