Saturday, November 28, 2009

1980

I am getting sick of this!

But thanks be to God, I got sober in 1984, so I only have 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1984 to write about after today.

1980 is another one of those years I barely remember. There is only one outstanding feature of the year and it is pitiful. For a young woman with a young family, the only thing I remember from the year 1980 is a suicide attempt.

I remember those feelings as if they were yesterday. I remember sitting on my bed composing a suicide note. I remember drinking a Miller High Life beer as I wrote it and thinking how ridiculous it was to call a beer "High Life."

By then I was drinking all day long. I had discovered the secret to getting though my days without the dreaded hangover. It was to keep a pretty steady flow of alcohol through my system. I would stand in the bathroom ( a tip I picked up at that AA meeting back in 1973) in the morning and drink and puke and drink and puke until I could safely leave the bathroom and just drink without puking.

Some days I screwed up and got too drunk to properly care for my children. This was a big problem when my husband was out of town (most of the time). I remember one day praying that I could just keep myself upright long enough to get my son in the house - the girls were already in bed, but he was still outside playing. I was so drunk I didn't know if I could get outside and call him and get him inside. I prayed that God would give me the ability to do this. I don't know that I made any promises for what I would do in return, if I did, I know I didn't deliver. Thankfully, I was able to get him inside and I went to bed and passed out.

Pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. Yes, I understand what that means.

Perhaps there was a time when I could have blamed my misery on life's circumstances or my husband's lack of attention, but that was years prior. I was keenly aware of my own culpability. I knew what I had become. I was not one thing I wanted to be. I was a drunken mess.

A reasonable person would ask a young mother how she could be so selfish as to consider suicide when she has young children. But if you have ever been suicidally depressed, and particularly alcoholically suicidally depressed, you probably don't need to ask that question. I was convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that my children and the entire world would be better off without me. I knew that I was a liability to every situation in which I was involved. Again, a reasonable person would ask - why don't you just quit drinking? Well, honestly, that thought never even occurred to me at this point. Never.

So, my husband was home for a weekend, and I took an overdose of pills. He noticed. He dragged me to the hospital. They took care of my acute toxicity and sent me home. End of story. There was no aftercare whatsoever. (Working in psych, as I have for the last 15 years, I cannot even believe that.) I went home extremely remorseful and shamed. I felt that I had destroyed many many brain cells, I felt addled. I think my husband was shocked. My young children were too young to know what was going on, but my brothers, sisters in law, and nieces and nephews were freaked out and for that I am still sorry.

And I wasn't even done drinking yet.

8 comments:

Ed G. said...

I um, well, I understand. ...and I'm sorry.

I can appreciate how difficult this is as well.

Blessings and aloha...

Scott said...

man, tough stuff MC... but it's good to keep our past close at hand, it's the best thing we've got to offer a newcomer besides our sober life now!

Lou said...

I have never felt so despondent I wanted to kill myself. That is completely foreign territory to me. Reading about that here, and knowing you today (sorta), I realize again that complete change is possible.

enchantedoak said...

In 1988, two years before I got sober, I had a three-year-old at home in bed while I cut my wrists in the kitchen and flung blood everywhere. A suicidal alcoholic does believe the world would be better off without her/him. I called my daughter's father to tell him to come get our daughter, and thankfully he came right away, cleaned up the blood and called my family in the middle of the night. They came and took me to a psyche ward, where I lied about my drinking. It was two more years of pitiful, incomprehensible demoralization before I got to the rooms of AA, where I found sanity at last.

Syd said...

I am glad that you lived. God had another plan for you.

Pam said...

When I got to the last line of your post "And I wasn't even done drinking yet." - I thought, well of course you're not! Hell, after a suicide attempt I think the worse thing you could do was stop drinking. I think drinking kept a lot of us alive until we could figure out how to do something different. I'm so sorry you had to suffer so. Your path was hard sweet sister.

Scott W said...

Dang, that was 29 years ago. I was in Dallas for six months and hating it. I wasn't drinking yet, but I was acting out.

dAAve said...

I absolutely understand most of those feelings. I had them too, sometimes greater, most times to a lesser degree.
We are miracles, just to be alive and sober.