A tiny bit of history to set the story:
I started drinking at a VERY early age. During my years in college, I did as most college students do. Went to all the parties and drank. More often than not, getting drunk and doing stupid things. I never drank to a black out stage (not that I didn’t try), and I (unfortunately) always remembered what I did. I did not drink daily or purchase it to drink in the privacy of my home. I was a Friday or Saturday night party girl only. Who wants to drink alone at that age right? Then I had my first child. I didn’t drink at all while pregnant. After I stopped breast feeding I went back to smoking (cigarettes) and drinking. I was slowly becoming the at-home white wine drinker. (I lived near Napa Valley, I had to drink wine!) I rarely drank on work nights but generally always on Friday night. I would wake up hungover and not drink again until the next Friday night. Same holds true for my second child. I rarely drank after she was born. I probably didn’t start slamming it again until she was over a year old.
Again, I was the weekend drinker unless there was a mid week celebration or party going on. And of course, when I drank, I drank until a little sloppy. At parties I drank whatever was available: Shots of tequila with beer chasers, margaritas, G&T’s… At home, I just drank beer. Coors Extra Gold (ha!) Now that dates me!! Then I met and dated a guy (for 11 years) who drank unlimited quantities of booze but always seem to remain pretty sober. More so than me. So, when he drank, I drank. Good liquor, good wine. . . That’s where I acquired my taste for a good martini. And that’s where I began to step over my pre-set boundaries.
By the turn of the century, I drank more frequently, but I still had some semblance of what I like to call ‘control.’ When I drank, yes, I drank, but I didn’t HAVE to drink and I didn’t NEED a drink. I wasn’t obsessed with constantly thinking about drinking. Not yet. That hit me about 2006. I turned 50. That’s when I realized I might have a more serious problem than I thought. For a long time I thought someone who was alcoholic lived in a ditch, had no job and drank out of a bag. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.
History session over.
What dawned on me last night was this- For the first year’s of my first grandson’s life, I would baby sit as necessary. I didn’t have to coordinate it around my drinking. This was 2004. Yes, I still drank (a lot) but at this point I wasn’t scheduling my life around it. And if I knew in advance I needed to watch him, I just didn’t drink. I was a very calculated boozer for most of my life. (as noted above) I knew when I could get drunk and I knew when I needed to abstain. I crossed the line to stupid from time to time, but not when it would involve kids or grandkids.
I ramble — Pretty soon, my daughter had another child and I realized I had a definite alcohol problem. When she needed me to baby sit, I had to decide if I wanted to drink or babysit. Half the time I chose booze. HOW SAD IS THAT? I’d rather drink than spend time with my two grandkids? I, at the time, had no idea that was what I was doing. Totally rationalizing the whole thing. I was in total denial.
So last night, when she called me at 6:30pm and asked if I could watch the boys, I was like “Of course. Bring them over.” They ended up staying the night.
Wow, long story for a little outcome. For me, last night was an AHA moment. For 7 years, I have – more often than not – chosen alcohol over my family, the bottle and secrecy over my own flesh-and-blood. So glad I’ve “seen the light.” Another tool for my box.
Thanks for listening. My words of wisdom for the day: Know that it is NEVER, EVER too late to get sober.
(Happy Birthday, mom)