Hi. I'm Tina, and I'm an alcoholic. Here's where you all chime in with, "Hi, Tina."
To write an intro blog detailing my life up to now would take a long time and you would get bored before I was done. As I tell the audience when I am asked to share my story at a 12-Step Meeting, "It's my job to speak and your job to listen. I promise to do my best to make sure I get done before you do."
Over the years, the way I tell my story has changed. Early in sobriety, I would share as many details as I could. I wanted to sound big and bad and wild and awesome. Over time, I've learned that the details matter less than the message. Today my message is one of HOPE. At the bare minimum, this is what sobriety gives me. HOPE.
I come from a very loving family where we always had our needs met, heard "I love you" on a daily basis, and were covered with hugs and kisses on a daily basis. My family did not make me an alcoholic. I was raised as a Catholic who went to church every Sunday and Catholic School during the week. Fire and brimstone all over the place and God was up in the sky with his tally sheet of sins and good deeds and if you tipped the scale too far toward sin, he was going to strike you down. The Catholics didn't make me an alcoholic either. Bullies, abusive relationships, good friends, bad friends – none of these made me an alcoholic either. You know what DID make me an alcoholic? Everything and nothing. The day I stopped trying to figure it out and just accepted the fact that I AM one, life got easier.
I don't know when I took my first drink. I come from a HUGE family (125 Aunts, Uncles, and 1st cousins. That's just my dad's side.), weddings are prefect places for kids to try sips of the grownup's drinks. I DO know that the first time I drank and FELT the effect of alcohol was when I was 10. It tasted bad and burned on the way down, but within a few minutes, I felt it. That feeling of ease that let me know that everything was going to be all right. Guilt, shame, sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, abortion, drug abuse, abusive boyfriends, premature babies, self-injury…alcohol could numb me to all of it. As long as I never sobered up, I could keep the feelings at bay. Alcohol wasn't my PROBLEM, it was my SOLUTION. It didn't become a problem until the solution stopped working.
(to be continued)