Sober as a Mother...
Damn. It's 3:45am on Saturday morning and I did it again. "Oh no" is my immediate thought as I wake up on the living room couch. I don't even know how it kept happening. One minute I'd be awake and then the next...it's 3:45am. I'd also be fully clothed in whatever I was wearing before I passed out. I'd walk upstairs, brush my teeth, change out of my jeans, and get in bed. "Damn. I have to stop doing this", I'd think to myself. At a decent hour, the same conversation always played out. My husband would tell me he tried to wake me up to go to bed and I either wouldn't respond OR he will get me to sit up, just to lay back down again. SO he'd cover me up, check on the kids, and go to bed.
I'd try to rationalize to myself that at least it's MY couch that I wake up on. At least I'm in MY home. At least my kids are safe in their room, in their own beds. The guilt usually wore off by noon, and why wouldn't it? I was able to get a workout out in, everyone is fed and dressed and all the chores are done. Anyway, Happy Hour is just around the corner, and I don't really have a problem, I just...got tired. Saturday night, we would lay low, pour drinks and watch some TV. I would make sure I put the kids to bed this time. I would make sure they knew how much I loved them. That I was really trying. That's when it hit me: at best, the last memory my kids would have of me before they fell asleep was the smell of alcohol on my breath. At worst, that I didn't even come up and say good night. Fuck. I really did have a problem. The only way I knew how to deal with the guilt around my drinking was to just keep drinking. I may not have drank all day every day, but the times I did were becoming increasingly out of control. 1,000 drinks were never enough and 1 drink was 1 too many.
I think back to the times my husband tried to wake me up, and it actually terrifies me. I was legitimately incoherent. What would have happened if something was wrong with one of the kids? What if I did try to make my way upstairs and fell backwards down the steps? What if I threw up? Holy shit.
It would seem like such a logical thing to just stop drinking. For me, though, it took a decade of my oldest child's life to recognize what I was doing to myself, what I was modeling for him, and the vicious cycle I was perpetuating for him and his sister. Alcohol was part of my identity. It was how I socialized, how I coped, and how I had fun. Over the years, however, the "fun" came with increasing consequences. It wasn't fun feeling the guilt of the night before. It wasn't fun feeling like a failure in front of the kids. It wasn't fun forgetting half the night. It wasn't fun ending date night on the couch. It wasn't fun. It was frightening.
Every time I question whether I overreacted by getting sober, I think back to a Saturday morning at 3:45am, and count every blessing I have that the what-ifs never manifested. I think back to the forgotten date nights and unsaid "I love you's" and know I made the right decision. Never drinking again means I am always showing up for my family...sober as a Mother xoxo