I am 6 years old. My dad and mom are fighting—this time over a field trip that I missed because my parents slept in too late. The screaming starts. I go into the kitchen to see what the commotion is about. I hear my dad yell at my mom and then push her into the glass door. That is my first memory of my parents.
I am 12 years old. It’s late, and my parents are drinking again, like every other night this week. My sister and I are lying in our bunk beds, trying to go to sleep for school the next day, when the fighting starts again. This time, I blame myself. “I should be doing more to protect my sister,” “They always fight. Maybe it’s me?” “Please, universe, if they stop drinking this instant, I will never drink in my life, I promise.” My sister and I sneak into the kitchen to pour some of their alcohol down the drain so they won’t get so drunk.
“If they stop drinking this instant, I will never drink in my life. I promise”
I am 16 and offered my first drink. I imagine all the nights I stayed up crying in bed about my parents drinking. I imagine my little sister’s big brown eyes looking up at me in disappointment if I accepted the invitation. With ease, I decline the drink and don’t even second-guess myself. I wouldn’t start drinking until nineteen.
I am 21 years old and a new mother. My son spent ten weeks in the NICU and is now home and safe. I embrace the “mommy wine” stereotype and have my weekly wine. Weekly wine turns into a couple of times a week, but that’s all. I couldn’t possibly have a problem because I am paying attention closely to make sure I don’t fall into the habits of my parents. I am simply rewarding myself for what I went through with my son’s birth. I know the warning signs. I am solid.
I am 26 years old with cop lights behind me. “You’ve really done it this time, Lacey,” I think to myself as the officer asks me to perform sobriety tests. I spend the night in jail. Everybody I know has an OWI/DUI, so it’s really no big deal. A night in the slammer always makes a good story, right? I don’t have a problem because I am aware. I know what I am doing. A week later, I get into an “accident” while blackout drunk and tell the paramedics I wanted to die. I spent four days in the hospital in psychiatric care and came out with my second DUI.
I am 28 and now court-ordered to attend two AA meetings a week. I don’t care about these meetings, or life in general, and go to get my paper signed… that’s it. I assumed all the old guys who claimed thirty years of sobriety were full of it. There was no way someone could abstain from alcohol for thirty years. I could barely abstain for a couple of days.
I am drinking a half a fifth to a fifth of rum every day now. I am depressed beyond belief with severe anxiety. Yet alcohol seemed to make me feel happy, so that’s what I went back to, repeatedly. I don’t have a problem because I can quit when I want to. I just choose not to. Everybody else concerned about my drinking was merely being overdramatic. The fact I had two DUI’s and two stints in the mental hospital, all after drinking a lot, wasn’t my problem. It was just the luck of the draw.
I keep attending meetings. Nine months into going to meetings twice a week, while still drinking, something clicked for me. I wanted what they had. I wanted happiness. Stability. Fellowship. Calm. I realized I had become exactly what my parents were, even down to the fighting with my sweet husband. My life was in shambles, and I was the biggest denier of them all. Every day I woke up in a sheer panic after a night of drinking. What did I do the night before? Who did I text? What did I post on social media? Delete. Delete. Delete. Debilitating migraines were a constant in my life now, thanks to my binge drinking, which causes me to spend most of my mornings and afternoons nursing a gnarly hangover and cuddled up to the toilet. I can’t look at myself in the mirror without being disgusted. Something has to change.
On November 14th, 2020, I said “enough.” I finally wanted to escape alcohol like a girl to a bad boyfriend. I loved alcohol, but it was no longer serving me and my life. And just like a bad breakup, I knew I had to be gentle with myself in the beginning. After all, I was only experiencing what alcohol was made to do: get us hooked.
I jumped into “Quit-Lit” (literature about quitting alcohol) and submerged myself into the sober universe. I learned how alcohol exacerbates mental health issues and how it increases your risk for cancer. I made a “sober” Instagram separate from my personal account and followed hundreds of sober people. Any and everybody. I started taking AA seriously and started going four times a week. I started actually listening to what people had to say at the meetings. I discovered new hobbies, went for long walks with my dog, and babied myself. On the days the cravings were bad, I’d go for a run, take a nap, or take a bath. I nursed myself to sobriety and strength. Something clicked.
I am still 28. I wake up before the sun, six months sober, to make coffee and care for my kids. I kiss my husband as he goes off to work. I breathe in my morning cup of joe and take a look around. Calm. Life is good.
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About the Author: Lacey Fox is a mom of two from the beautiful state of Michigan. She enjoys doing volunteer work in the recovery industry and setting a good example for her kids.
Follow her on Instagram @thee.sober.millennial
Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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