Friday, July 23, 2010

Twenty-Six Years Ago Today...

The sun was rising on the last day I would drink - but I didn't know that.

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).

15 comments:

Syd said...

I am glad that you remember and are here to share this. Happy Anniversary, MC.

AnyEdge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnyEdge said...

I didn't get that right, in my first attempt. Congratulations, MC, and thank you for sharing your moments with us, those crucial moments that lead us to the light.

Em said...

Wow! 26 years, what an inspiration, thank you so much for sharing this with us :)

Mary LA said...

Congratulations on 26 years of continuous sobriety Mary Christine. You are an inspiration for me.

Patty said...

Thanks for staying sober, Mary.

dAAve said...

26 years. 9,490 days. Weekends and everythang.
Golly. Gee.

For some reason, I thought your day was Sunday, the 25th. My bad.

Happy DAY.................

Scott W said...

Happy, Happy Birthday!

shadowlands said...

'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.'

Tears welled up in me, as I read that last paragraph.

Happy birthday Mary Christine.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

doggielover said...

That is wonderful, thank you for sharing that. Amazing job!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. Your humility speaks volumes.

Scott said...

I am grateful you got sober :-) So much good has come!

Willa said...

Congratulations on 26 years sober, Mary Christine!

Carrie Burtt said...

Sharing your story is both brave and powerful! 26 years is an awesome thing! Thank you for being such an inspiration! :-)