Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mrs. X Y Z

You can call me Mrs. X Y Z. I can't reveal my identity because of so many reasons but I would like to share my experience of recovery with others. It might help other females to get out of their shells. I know there are so many females like me wanting to quit alcohol but are unable to do so. They need to get educated and accept the concept of disease of alcoholism the way I did.
I am married and a mother of two sweet children. My history of problem drinking goes back to 20 years. I started drinking at age 20 because of my husband, who was an alcoholic. Now we both are free from the disease of alcoholism. I am in recovery for more than one year now.
I was 16 years old, living abroad and studying there. This was the time when I met somebody who was much older than my age. I fell in love with him and got married against my parents' will. Before getting married I knew he was heavily into drinking but for me it was acceptable or may be it was my childish thinking. I didn't know it will mess up my life.
After getting married we came back to Pakistan and started living in a posh area. I got everything, which a girl could think of like a nicely furnished house, a force of servants, a lot of money to buy anything I would love to, and a number of cars to move around or to go for shopping. You must be thinking that I was the happiest person on earth. May be yes, I was the happiest person but for some time. My marital life remained ok for 3-4 years but it was not a happy marriage at all. To my knowledge marriage means having a companion whereas my husband couldn't become my companion. Material things can give you comforts but not companionship. So, deep inside I was a lonely person. My husband used to be away from home for days and days. He used to go abroad for his work and after coming back, at home he used to be badly drunk.
I was unable to accept my husband's drinking pattern. My mind used to wonder "why can't he become a normal person?" "Why can't he keep himself in control while drinking?" In other words I had no objection on his drinking I just wanted to see him as a normal person, the way others drink and remain functional. They have a peg of wine or vodka and remain functional but my husband was different. His drinking was not in his control. I needed his love and his attention. I started asking him to control his drinking. This was the time when we started having problems with me. He never liked my interference….he didn't like my telling him to control drinking. I raised my voice and I became a victim of his verbal and physical abuse. We started having fights on this issue quite frequently. It used to affect me very badly. I used to get angry, resentful and depressed.
I was helpless and was unable to share with others. I went to see a psychiatrist, who had put me on medicines. I used to pop up a few pills at night but I was not at peace….no mental peace at all but fight only. We kept fighting, fighting and fighting but reaching nowhere.
One fine day he offered me a peg of wine saying "from today onwards if you give me company I will be able to control my drinking and I will become a normal person the way you want to." At that time it seemed to be a great deal. So, I joined him to give him company. I was thinking in this way I will be able to stop him after one peg of wine. I had a peg of wine and I felt as if all the tension and stress had melted away. I was flying and I was enjoying. My husband managed to manipulate me and I got manipulated as for me one peg of wine was more than enough but his drinking was endless. He kept drinking, drinking and drinking. I was angry again. I left him with his drink and went off to sleep.
From that day onwards it became our daily routine to drink together. Initially I was confined to one peg of wine a day but with time I became a regular drinker. Now I was drinking and I was on prescription drugs as well.
I never thought of myself as an alcoholic, because my drinking and occasional prescription drug abuse occurred within the confines of the upper class home. For a long time, it was easy for me to deny that my drinking had become a problem for me. I never drank in the morning or at lunch time. My kids never came home from school to find me drunk. Despite a daily hangover, I would get out of bed each morning, get my children off to school, participate in community activities, keep lunch dates with friends, and shop at the supermarket. I looked like a normal house wife. I wasn't bleary-eyed, my teeth were fine, and my clothes were fine. I went through a lot of effort to look inside. That was very important for me because if I looked okay on the outside, maybe I was okay on the inside. But I wasn't.
If I look back there was not a single day that went by in which I didn't drink alcohol. But I always considered my husband being responsible for all the mess in our lives. I never looked at myself having a problem. Because I used to think that my drinking pattern was not that of the stereotypical alcoholic like my husband. I didn't go out and have affairs, didn't go to dance parties, or crack up my car. I drank at home. I didn't start drinking until around seven o'clock each night and it used to be with my husband only. When he used to go out of country because of his work sometimes I used to be with him but the other time I used be at home in Pakistan. In either case my drinking behavior was the same. Despite knowing that my drinking had gone up to one bottle a day or may be more than that, I remained in denial "I not an alcoholic but my husband is". I can clearly recall I would drink until I went to bed, and, the next day, I would be amazed at how much I imbibed….often nearly a half gallon of wine. I felt horrible physically.
I tried to quit for a number of times, but my vows of abstinence were always short-lived. It's amazing: You wake up every single day and say, 'That's it, I'm not going to drink anymore. But by four o'clock I knew I would have to take a drink that night. Then I'd say, Well, I am going to stop at two, or stop at three. I went to Mass every morning and I would pray that I could stop at three drinks, which in fact I did, but they were in vats. The glasses got bigger and bigger and the problem was that I was dying.
I drank mostly wine out of a stem glass and I drank very large quantities. You don't have to be drinking vodka out of a bottle, to become an alcoholic. My drug of choice was wine, and I was a full-blown alcoholic. This I realized after my treatment. It can be hard for non-alcoholics to imagine the alcoholic's overwhelming desire to drink even when it's destroying life and health. In the morning you say, 'I am not going to drink.' Then you seem to hit like a blind spot in your brain, where you go on automatic. You're not thinking anymore, 'What about the kids? What about the house?'. . . You just hit this blank spot, and you go to the refrigerator, you open it, and you pull out that bottle of wine. Now I realize that I was a full-blown alcoholic but at that time I used to think my husband should seek professional help. To my knowledge he needed treatment and not me.
So, I started seeking help for his recovery but he was not ready for that. He was also in denial the way I was. My journey towards recovery began when I passed out in my bed one night and woke to learn that my younger child had become ill in the night and tried to wake me up, but was unable to. Finally, the child had instead woken me up went to 11-year-old sibling, who took care of her. The thought of putting my children at risk was the push for me to take back control of my life. After staying sober on my own for about three days, I sought treatment.
I was "falling apart" when I started recovery. Having to admit that I was an alcoholic was one of the most difficult things I had to face. But now I realize that one of the first steps to accepting the disease of addiction is acknowledging that the drug has taken control of one's life: "Once you admit, 'I am completely powerless over this, it's got me beaten, my life is ruined,' then you have a chance."
Also, identifying alcoholism as a disease helped me. It helped me enormously to think that I had a disease, that it was not just a moral failure on my part or on my husband's part. I think alcoholics and other addicts should be viewed as sick people. Finding spirituality also helped me on the road to healing. There is now a spirit within me that gives me strength to be in recovery.
I also realize that I can rely on my treatment team to help myself in the process of recovery. Now I realize that there are many different routes to recovery and believes that once a person is given a chance, he or she should go for it: "We didn't ask for the disease, but it's our responsibility to…. once it's presented to you…. grab a hold of some ring and try for your own recovery."
My recovery has given me freedom to be honest and not wear masks. Now I realize that active addiction is like a "terrible monkey on your back, this terrible weight you carry around." Today, after more than one year of sobriety, when I think about alcohol or looks at a glass of wine, I am reminded of what they did to me. "I can look at a glass of wine and say, 'There goes my whole life in that one glass. There goes the best part of me.'" Recovery enabled me to learn to love my life and like myself. I don't want to sign up again for feeling so terrible.
http://go.ad2upapp.com/afu.php?id=887509