In a rational state of mind, I can separate reality from my inner addict’s voice. I need to document reality before my inner addict takes control of the amusement park and puts me back on the rollercoaster.
“You’re over-dramatizing your addiction. It was never that bad. You didn’t go to rehab, you didn’t lose your marriage, your family never stopped talking to you. It was never that bad.
You don’t belong in 12-step; you’re a fraud. These people have experienced the worst of addiction and what it can do to a person. By pretending to be one of them, you are minimizing their struggles. You are a fraud.”
– my inner addict’s monologue
When I hear of other people’s experience with addiction, the inner monologue begins. This post is my reality, to serve as a reminder to myself when I start to believe “it wasn’t that bad.”
My days would start early because I could never sleep soundly. Too much guilt, too much worry, too much thinking. The first thing I’d do in the morning, usually before I even opened my eyes to the dimly lit room that I knew would still be too bright for my pounding head, was try to piece together the previous night. When did I go to bed? What was I doing before I passed out? Was I shopping online? Did I make plans with a friend through email (that I will, without question, ultimately cancel)? How did hubby seem? Did he seem to know that I was drinking? What did we have for dinner?
Then, on to the most important matter of the day: how much vodka do I have left? Do I have enough to get me through until lunch, when I’ll be able to buy more? Do I have enough cash on me, or will I have to stop at an ATM beforehand? (Because, you see, I could never pay using a debit or credit card – that would leave a paper trail. Yes, I believed I was being stealth.)
The mornings were all the same, the only difference was whether I simply felt ill or I vomited. At least 1 day a week, I would leave the house thinking it was a “feel ill” kind of day, only to later find myself in my car, vomiting into a grocery bag. I always made sure there were empty grocery bags in the car.
Workdays were spent just trying to get through the day. Almost daily I would try to think of different excuses to be able to leave early. I only left work early a handful of times, but I always felt so sick that I just wanted to go home. Go home and drink.
Weekends were spent drinking from sun-up to sun-down. I would mentally measure how much I had left and how many hours it would last me. In the morning, I would start formulating my plan to get more. What reason can I give my husband for me to leave the house for an hour or more? Many times I told him I was going to get a car wash, only to come back with a grubby car: “the line was too long; I waited a while, then gave up.”
I had to frequently restock, because I was usually only buying 26oz at a time. This was in part because I would fool myself into thinking “this is the last bottle; I’m going to use this one to slowly taper off so that I don’t become violently ill, and then that’s it.” It was also in part because it’s very easy to smuggle a 26oz bottle in an oversized purse.
That’s how I got the booze into the house, but a new problem came up every time I finished a bottle. (At the rate I was drinking, a 26oz bottle only lasted 36 hours, at most. I was easily polishing off 20oz a day.) I could only get rid of so many bottles, half way down the kitchen garbage bag, one at a time. Bottles piled up. They piled up so much that after my first major attempt to get sober, I returned more than 50 bottles for recycling. I put the bottles on the rolling counter for the college-aged kid to tally up for my pennies per bottle and he couldn’t help but nervously laugh. “Oh my god, these are vodka bottles; I thought they were wine.” Yes, kid, they’re all vodka bottles. And I didn’t have a single party.
When I’m in the depth of my addiction, bottles are everywhere. I’ve been sober for 76 days and I’m still finding bottles. They’re tucked into the back of almost all of my kitchen cupboards, they’re in the spare bedroom closet, in the drawer of my nightstand, under the bed in the spare room, in the trunk of my car, under the passenger seat.
It’s thoroughly embarrassing to see these truths on the page. And there’s so much more… some I’m not quite ready to admit to myself. However, I think that for now, this will be my black and white reminder for when my inner addict’s voice is too loud to ignore.