Monday, July 9, 2012

Twenty-five Years is a Long TIme Between Drinks


Twenty-five years ago today, I made a decision that changed my life. I finally admitted, in front of God and everybody, that I was (still am!) an alcoholic.

I drank for about fifteen years. Some of us sorta e-a-s-e into alcoholism, progressing from social drinker to heavy drinker, then crossing that invisible line into full-blown alcoholism. I didn't drink every day, but when I drank, I drank. Blackouts, vomiting and shaky hangovers were the norm. I didn't realize until I sobered up that real social drinkers don't drink like that. 

Sobriety, in and of itself, doesn't make life all rainbows and roses -- but it helps. Sometimes life sucks, and sometimes I suck at life and make bad choices, but being drunk would only add to the suckiness. In fact, I hit a real emotional bottom in my tenth year. I didn't want to drink, but I wanted to die. By Grace, I did neither.

I've learned so much over the years; I've delved into my dark corners and illuminated my shame, selfishness and shortcomings. I've deciphered the patterns and made amends for past wrongs. It hasn't been easy, but it's been worth it. I didn't do it alone either; I had help -- lots of help. And, of course, it ain't over 'til it's over. I'm still a work in progress; I'll be perfect when I'm dead.

These days, my issues are people-related rather than puke-related, and I find loving support with that, too. My peace and serenity skyrocketed once I seriously began addressing my interpersonal challenges. That part of my journey began seven years ago, and I am incredibly blessed to have these people in my life.

I'm so grateful to those who have counseled me, challenged me, and consoled me willingly, wisely, and without hesitation. And it has happened over and over and over again. I've never felt so unconditionally loved.

The greatest gift of the journey has been a relationship with God. I fired the mean, judgmental, punishing god and replaced it with a wonderfully loving, forgiving, generous and, frankly, hilarious God. I am happy. I am at peace. Life is beyond awesome!

Have you faced any demons? How goes the journey?

Have you been there?

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this Claire. I adore your blog and as a Publicist, I appreciate your transparency. Thanks for staying true. Mia

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  2. Thanks, Mia! A Publicist? Cool -- my novel is with an awesome editor. Maybe we should talk when it's ready for publication..... ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I love your honesty and openness. It fills me up.

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  4. Thanks, Linda! I really appreciate that.

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  5. CONGRATS on your sobriety!!!! Woo-Hoooo!
     
    Oh yes. I am not so special to have some kind of demons. *S* As previously mentioned I hail from an alcoholic abusive family, though never developed a dependency for alcohol. Shocking really.
     
    Alas! My addiction came in the form of cigarettes, over-self control, obsessive food relationships and workholism. None of them are healthy in their extreme forms. Through a decade and half of attending Al-A-Non, ALCOA and Co-Dependents and various other groups, I learned about truths in all areas of my life, found my true self, learned how to heal and to forgive. As the teachings advocate, I may not have taken a drink but I still possess alcoholic beliefs and behaviors. So practicing the steps was paramount for personal growth. In fact I “graduated” when 42 years old and still lean on my tools when stressed or in the company of alcoholic family and friends. My “little” red book sits proudly on my book shelf still. Also talk-therapy and self help books aided my journey.
     
    Like you I continue to struggle with people – people pleasing is my truest skill set. I still find myself drawn to enabling relationships, mostly friendships since I’m now in a healthy marriage. But those past demanding, emotionally draining relationships are now estranged – and for the better too. I pray daily for those peoples’ happiness, while praying that one day we may come back together in a healthier liaison.  The later prayer has yet to be answered…
     
    In the grand scheme of things, I shamelessly share my life experiences with this who ask. Emphasizing that I’m a resilient survivor… I cannot change the unpleasant old story, but can certainly write a really cool new one.
     
    I have been smoke free for 5 years (Sep 21st, 2012). I have been liberated from workaholism, emotional eating, starvation dieting, obsessive exercising, and made myself a priority since 2007. I have become an “un-enabler” for over 15 years now.

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  6. And woooohoooooo to YOU, Pamela! Great job on all fronts!! You rock!

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  7. Good for you, Claire! Congratulations on a road well-traveled.

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  8. Congrats on your success!  Love your open and honest sharing here.  Was married to an alcoholic for many years.  Am newly single and struggling with my own co-dependency that spills into every area of my life.  You inspire me. :)

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story Claire - and congratulations on staying sober! My demons lie within the relationship I had with my mother and I, too, am working through them, emerging from under her dominance to find who I relly am.  Supportive friends and online community have definitely had a huge effect on my journey.  I'm proud to be following yours Claire - keep it up!!! :)

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  10. WOW- 25 years! What a brave courageous honest person you are. We share the same loving and yes funny God and I'm so grateful for that too!

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  11. Thank, Holli!

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  12. I'm so glad you have support -- it's vital! Keep moving forward and thanks for stopping by!

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  13. Co-dependency is definitely something that threads itself through every aspect of my life. Ever tried Alanon? Couldn't hurt.....might help. Thanks for reading, Michele!

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  14. Thanks Suzy -- grateful I'm still traveling!

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  15. Emma Sarah TennantJuly 15, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Congratulations on 25 years between drinks, this is really inspiring. 

    This now seems very timely, I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award (with no obligation to do anything about it!) here: http://missapismellifera.com/blog-awards/the-sunshine-award-i/

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  16. Awwww.....Emma, thanks! I truly appreciate the award and your loyalty!

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  17. K, I'm a little late here, so HAPPY 25 YEARS AND 11 DAYS OF SOBRIETY!!!

    My demons are of a different nature, but always nice to see the home team pull through!

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Yes! I've been there, Claire!