I was a 32 year old housewife and mother of three young children. My husband had just uprooted us (again) and moved us to Denver. I was living in a little cracker-box of a house in what I considered a mind-numbingly boring suburb of this filthy city.
And although I felt in so many ways "too good" to be living in this tacky place - I knew in my heart of hearts that I was a disgrace to my neighborhood. I knew that my next-door-neighbor, who didn't graduate high school and who's husband worked in a tire shop, I knew that if she didn't feel sorry for me - she should have. She was actually capable of getting up in the morning and taking care of her kids all day long.
I got up in the morning and put beer in my coffee cup (thinking the kids wouldn't know the difference) and nursed that until I felt a bit better. I laid on the couch and told the kids "mama doesn't feel well, run along outside and play." I took long "naps" and when I woke I barely knew where I was.
I would clean up before my husband got home from work and make an elaborate affair of our evening meal, because I always loved to cook, no matter what. And then the evening drinking began. In the evening, I felt I could drink in the open. I could put my beer in a glass instead of a coffee cup! I could drink whisky in a glass with ice instead of a cup. (It is amazing to me the lengths we go to to hide our drinking when later we realize we fooled only ourselves.)
On the last night I drank (please dear God) my husband came home from work. We ate our dinner and decided to drive to the library with the children. As I headed north on Wadsworth Blvd., it occurred to me that this wasn't the best idea. I was driving drunk with my three kids in the car. I probably was going to make a drunken ass of myself at the library and embarrass my children. I asked myself why didn't I make this trip when I was sober - and the answer struck me like a bolt of lightening - honestly, I really didn't know this - I couldn't take the kids to the library when I was sober because I was never sober!
And actually the library was closed on Monday nights, so being new to this area, my husband and I decided to just drive around. Sure, our BAC was well over legal limit for DUI, why not take a drive with the kids? Made sense to us! Our greatest thrill that night? We found a liquor store with a drive through window. And that is where (unbeknownst to me) I purchased my last six pack of beer.
We drove home. The kids and the husband went to sleep. I sat at the kitchen table until about midnight, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.
When I went to bed that night, I had no idea my whole world was about to change.
I had just taken my last drink of alcohol and I did not even know it.
Thank you God.
p.s. I do not consider this my birthday - I celebrate the anniversary of my first day of sobriety - and that is July 24. Tomorrow. But I just wanted to reflect on the anniversary of the last day I drank. It always astounds me that I had no idea that as I drank that last can of beer, I was totally unaware that it would be my last (please God).