Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church
 

Normal

05/18/2016 8:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Growing up in an alcoholic home I had a strange sense of what was normal.  I thought all grown-ups had drinks in the middle of the day, in the evening and at bed time.  One really did have three martini lunches. I thought all 5 year olds drank from their parents’ champagne glasses on holidays.  When I was out of college and looking for work, I drank at lunchtime because that’s what grownups do. I did it in graduate school too, even if I had afternoon classes. Every Sunday a group of my parents’ friends gathered at our house for after church drinks.  All very normal, right?

The one place I did notice that things were not normal was in the things I was not allowed to do which others my age could do.  I think primarily because many of them involved my being driven somewhere or inconveniencing may parents in some way.  Additionally they were so out of touch that I was always sent to school in jeans or overalls—everyone else wore dresses.  I was sent to the pool in swim trunks because at 8 or 9 I didn’t have noticeable breasts.

I did not know that what I was experiencing had a name---shame.  I not only made mistakes, I was a mistake, an inconvenience, who fit in nowhere. 

I truly think that I drank against the shame, drank to not be shy, drank to finally fit in. Unfortunately I over shot.  I drank more than anyone else and it became a source for more shame.  I managed to get tranquilizers but was careful to not mix them with booze.  I always waited 30 minutes between stopping my drinks for the day before I took a tranq. or a sleeping pill. At some point I realized that might not be normal.

I drank because I couldn’t not drink.  Sometimes I stopped after 2 or 3 but once I put the first one in my mouth I could no longer predict how much I would consume.  I swore off alcohol many nights as I fought the “twirlies” in bed and had to keep one foot on the floor. The next day it was “well, I won’t drink anything tomorrow”.

A side benefit of getting sober was that I could buy a high four poster bed because I no longer had to be able to get my foot on the floor to keep the room from spinning. But the greatest benefit was that at age 40 I found a program that not only got me off booze, it gave me a road map that got me to the goal I had always chased.  My skin fit.  I was comfortable in my own skin and didn’t grimace when I looked in the mirror.

I still make mistakes, we all do, but today I know I am NOT a mistake.  The shame is gone, and I belong somewhere.  Not just in AA but in the wider community.  I have been given the opportunity to be of service to God and my fellow man. As they say, if I’d said 30 years ago where I wanted to be at age 70 I would have short changed myself. As a friend who died 52 years sober always said, “I don’t drink, and I’m not mad about it”. I’m thrilled about it!  Sober is the new normal. Thanks be to God.

Lisa K

Comments

  • 05/20/2016 1:17 PM | Anonymous
    Thank you for this Lisa. Keep coming. A life second to none is before us each day.
    Link  •  Reply
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