My High Bottom
My friend told me that it is customary to write a post thanking WordPress for Freshly Pressing me (or however you say it) so I want to take a moment to say thank you to WordPress for the honor. I also want to thank the WordPress bloggers and readers who liked and commented on Barbie Dolls – Don’t Be Hatin. I was a little concerned that the post would push buttons for some people but those fears were unrealized. Instead, I had the pleasure of interacting with a ton of polite, thoughtful people who respectfully shared their thoughts. It could’ve gone the other way. I could’ve shared my opinion on my little blog (like this person) and inspired the snarky satire of someone else (who ends up being Freshly Pressed and picked up by the Huffington Post), instigating a firestorm of vitriol and heated debate. Whew! That’s my worst nightmare.
You see, I don’t usually write about my opinions. I write about my life and my journey in recovery. I put my heart out there for all to see as I try to make sense of my world. So, for those of you who are new to my blog, I’m going to give you a little bit of my back story (hee-hee).
I’m going to tell you about my high bottom. Oh, how I wish I was talking about my toned yoga butt but I’m still a few squats and lunges away from that idealistic goal. The high bottom I’m talking about is in reference to drinking, which I stopped doing a little over 2 years ago. In sobriety-speak, a high bottom refers to someone who stopped drinking before hitting a hard rock bottom. For me, there was no dramatic conclusion to my drinking. There were no DUIs, no spousal or child abuse, no broken friendships, no destroyed family relationships. I just reached a point where it became obvious that to continue drinking was to continue being stuck – stuck in anxiety, stuck in depression and stuck in a cycle I was trying to end.
I used to love to drink and I mostly had a lot of fun. I often thought I drank too much but I didn’t seem to be hurting anyone so it felt harmless. Then, around the time that my husband and I decided to have kids, I started feeling discontent. I can look back now and see that I was changing, or more accurately, I wanted to be different. I wanted to do more than bar hop on the weekends. I wanted hobbies, goals, a life. I was 37 years old and I wanted to grow up.
After I had my two children, drinking just wasn’t as fun as it used to be but I had no intention of stopping. It wasn’t even an option that I considered. I needed to drink a glass (big, BIG glass) of wine in the evenings to deal with the stress of raising 2 kids 18 months apart. I couldn’t unwind without a little help and who was it really hurting? My kids were young. I convinced myself that they didn’t even know the difference. Most days I counted the minutes until my husband got home so that I could count the minutes until it was acceptable to say, “Hey hon, want a glass of wine?”
The anxiety over drinking became unbearable but somehow, I was sure that drinking eased my nerves. I couldn’t believe that there was any other way to cope. It was all I had ever done but it wasn’t fun anymore. I noticed that I could fill my day with positive affirmations and then as soon as the wine touched my lips, those affirmations would morph into self-doubt, regret and shame. I could be swimming in positive thoughts and one alcohol-soaked fight with my husband would sink me to the bottom of the pool.
I read a lot of mommy-blogs at the time and it seemed like just about everyone drank wine in the evenings. Some waited until their kids went to bed and some drank in front of their kids but everyone did it. Just about every comment I read seemed to be saying, “Whoo-hoo! Mommy wine parties make it all better!” But every so often, a lone comment would stand out and that person would be saying, “Drinking drove me crazy. It made my anxiety worse. I’ve never been happier since I stopped drinking.” I started seeking out those people because it was all starting to make sense to me.
I wish I could say that I woke up one morning and said, “This just isn’t for me anymore. I’m going to be a non-drinker.” Instead, in the wee hours of August 1, 2011, I was jolted from a deep sleep by the overwhelming urge to puke. I ran to the bathroom and lay on the floor while the room spun violently. My first thought was, I didn’t drink enough to cause this. I better not be pregnant.
A crystal clear voice in my head (that I know was God) said, “You can never drink again.”
The nausea eased and I went back to bed. When I woke up, I remembered very clearly the voice I heard. I stopped drinking that day. For the next 3 days, I was so nauseous I took a pregnancy test. When I saw the negative result, I said to myself, “Thank God I’m not pregnant. I’m just an alcoholic.”
I’m a born seeker. I search for answers to life’s big questions and I look for God everywhere. It’s life changing to not have to contend with alcohol poisoning my thoughts and setting me back. When I have an ‘aha’ moment, it sticks. I can progress and grow and when I do have a setback, I have the comfort of knowing that the setback wasn’t caused by being drunk. Believe me, it’s a comfort that never gets old.
If you’re drinking (or drugging, or cutting, or bingeing, or smoking, or whatever) and are questioning whether you should, keep questioning. You’ll probably make excuses and find rationalizations for a while but eventually, you’ll be ready to hear the answer. That answer will free you if you let it. It’ll free you from shame, from crippling anxiety, from an endless cycle of self-abuse and free you from being stuck.
No two bottoms are the same. Stop thinking about what people will think of you and save your life. Create your life. Live your life.