My son was only 9 years old when I first raised my hand and announced sheepishly, “My name is Katie and I’m an alcoholic.”
Jordon knew that I was drinking around the clock and he had seen me at my worst. Barely upright, I had screamed obscenities, punched a hole in the wall and kicked in 2 locked doors all in one evening. I awoke from this blackout on a cold, cement slab. My husband at the time had called the police and I could not fault him for that.
It had begun innocently. I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks and I thought I had found my ‘medicine’ when I purposely drank a half bottle of wine. Yes, that chemical did the trick and I felt calm and serene for the first time in years. Little did I know the ramifications that would follow…
Within 4 months I was addicted to my elixirs and in the process of destroying my small family. Although I was aware that my behaviors were affecting the people that I loved, the people whom I had lived for, I could not stop putting the bottle to my lips. That small boy had no control over a mother who was a monster that metaphorically sprang from underneath his bed and stalked him from his half empty closet.
“I hate you,” Jordon would cry out from time to time. We had been the quintessential family- a hardworking professional man, a precocious, bright and precious child and a stay at home mom. We lived in Rural, USA in a nice home. Of course we had our issues, but none that weren’t coped with successfully on a daily basis. Jordon felt the pendulum swinging and was holding on with a fierce some grip with hands that were just too small.
“I’m sick Jordon,” I would respond. “I really am going to be well one day.”
I hated myself. The idea of taking my life was never far from my inebriated thoughts. “Dear Lord,” I would pray as I vomited yet another batch of bile from a stomach that protested often. “Dear Lord, I need to stop. Help me to stop.”
My hands would violently shake, my mind would scream, “Give me some!” and twice I seized after attempts to quit. I would pick up that evil bottle and go at it time and again to stop my angst. Little did I know that my self-medicating left me not only unable to function, but was the diabolical purveyor of even greater panic attacks.
The man that I adored finally said, “Enough!” He had to protect my little boy and get him away from his diseased mom. Oh, he had tried to get me to attend a Twelve Step Program or therapy or both. He had talked until he could talk no more. His words fell on a numb psyche. My psyche was always dull and always in need of just one more gulp of the bitter poison. I gulped hundreds of times each day.
A never ending roller coaster became my norm; upside down, tossed around, falling, climbing and chronically nauseous, I desperately held on. I lost too much weight yet had a grand belly. My ankles were the size of tree trunks and my skin oozed booze and bile. I drove drunk and I fell asleep while smoking a cigarette more times than I can count. My guys were in emotional and physical danger.
Alone now, hiding in a tiny apartment, I wept inconsolably. I sobbed for my lost family and for the damage that I had created. I wept for the future that would never come and I cried out for my demonized soul. In all honesty though, I felt like a victim. “Just walk a mile in my shoes,” I lamented to an empty room. Molested as a child and genetically predisposed to addiction, I hadn’t a choice but to be where I was. Or, had I?
“The definition of insanity,” I heard at that first meeting, “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I was home after a 30-day stint at a good rehab and was to attend these meetings daily. I’m not sure how I had survived alcohol poisoning once, nor how I had called 911 after eating a handful of Valium. I do know that a social worker at the medical hospital had convinced me to give sobriety a chance.
During rehab I was blessedly reunited with my son. My man had served me with divorce documents and I suffered a loss like no other. My little guy was seeing an excellent therapist as he was wetting his bed and had developed a transient tic. Within a month or two, both subsided and Jordon was allowed to visit with me.
I celebrated my first anniversary with Jordon by my side and gave him that milestone coin to put in his trinket box. I was learning about myself each day and I was learning about psychology. Professionally medicated on a non-narcotic anti-anxiety medication as well as an anti-depressant, I slowly rallied. I made a few dear friends at the meetings- friends who will undoubtedly last me my lifetime. I joined the twenty first century and used a computer to write. Fortune was forthcoming and I did well with my prose.
Jordon, through the grace of God and through his nurturing father, mended. An excellent student and a young Karate black belt, he got to the other side of the chaos that I had created.
Almost 2 decades have passed since I had my last alcoholic drink. My Jordon is married to a wonderful lady and has recently begun his career after finishing his Master’s degree. I write about my passions which are animal rights, psychology and child development. I live with my critter pals and lead a quiet life.
Author, Edwin Louis Cole wrote, “You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”