Silencing that Voice
In the last few months of my long and illustrious drinking career, there was a voice that began to whisper melodically to me. I heard it’s song nightly near the end of the second bottle of wine. The voice was darkly magical, very seductive and beautiful, and I was luckily still present enough to find it terrifying.
That voice said,
” you are mine” “we are a team” “we are beautiful together” “we are powerful together” “everything is us” “nothing else matters” “nothing else matter” “nothing else matters” ….
I did not stop drinking four years ago because I was troubled by hangovers or weight gain. I was the classic high functioning alcoholic, still at the stage where no one knew but my kids and husband. I was fit, healthy and outwardly together. I was an admirably successful closet drunk.
The reason that I stopped drinking was that voice.
That seductive whisper of
“nothing else matters” “nothing else matters” “nothing else matters”.
That voice was addiction. That voice was death. I knew that if that voice had a chance to grow it would win and I would not only lose everything, I wouldn’t care that I had.
I read a lot of addiction and recovery biographies in my first sober months. Reading stories of women like me who had loved drinking but fought to stop and were surprised to find empowerment in sobriety, really helped me stay on track and look forward with hope. But of all the brave recovery biographies that I read the one that spoke to me the most was not written by a woman like me. It wasn’t the story of a high functioning middle-aged mom who drank to black-out most nights and hopped back on the hamster wheel each morning. The story that mirrored my love affair with the effect of the drug and the seductive voice in my head was written by James Frey. His biography, A Million Little Pieces, begins with him at 23, half-dead from his raging addictions to everything lethal, wheeled into rehab by his desperate parents. That was the story that was my “ah-ha!” moment from beginning to end.
I have never been concerned with the scandal surrounding the fact or fiction of the sensational details of James Frey’s biography and I will most likely skip the movie that has been made from his book. The power of his story for me was his ability to reflect that voice back to me. To actually speak the feeling behind the words in my head. To hold up a mirror to me and to say yes I’ve heard it too. It is deadly. It is that bad. It will destroy you. Don’t let it. You have a choice.
As different as we were in every way James Frey helped me see my truth.
2015, the year that I stopped drinking, was also the year that we discovered Death Rates for Middle-Aged White Americans were rising un-expectedly, in good part due to alcohol-related liver disease and suicide. Ann Dowsett Johnson’s book Drink had been published in 2013 and reported that Female alcohol abuse is a ‘global epidemic’. I read Drink, as well as Gabrielle Glaser’s book Her Best Kept Secret over a three day weekend the second week I was sober. I found tremendous relatability in all of the stories that I read by women like me who had been caught in a cultural trap of thinking that Drinking like the Guys was empowerment.
But it was that voice…
The voice depicted exactly as I had heard it and reflected back to me in James Frey’s biography. The voice that I knew I needed to silence for good by staying sober. It is a universal voice. One that those of us who need to stop and stay stopped have all heard. There is nothing Grey Area about it. It is addiction.
With love and in sincere gratitude to those who helped me through my first months sober, I started a community blog and opened a private community forum to reach back.
We are not here to judge, or to compete, or to impress each other.
We are simply here to support and inspire each other in working through a difficult but tremendously rewarding process. The process of reclaiming ourselves.
Each of our wonderful, unique, multi-dimensional selves.
Tell us your story. Ask a question. Offer a resource. Share your experience.
Rediscover your voice One Word at a Time. That's Why We're Here.
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