By the time I quit drinking, I was pretty much married to alcohol.
A professional woman in my early 50’s with a master’s degree and a decent job, I was slowly, steadily losing my grip. I don’t remember how I went from occasional drinking to obsession with drinking, but I do remember night after night on the sofa, glass after glass of wine in front of the TV, my spouse long gone upstairs to work or talk on the phone or engage in some other life I was no longer interested in. I’d wake up at 2 and go to bed, telling myself I was exhausted, but most of the time, I had just passed out.
I thought of myself as healthy — a runner and biker. But, I was losing my ability to focus at work, spending more time planning my drinking. My relationships with people I loved and who loved me were deteriorating, either from neglect or distress. I had no tolerance for making plans, paying bills made me nervous, and discussing anything difficult was out of the question. I snuck drinks before going to social events and finished off after we got back home.
My spouse had tried repeatedly to get me to change, but I was self-protective and threatened. Finally, though (and slowly), I got scared. Something in me sounded an alarm. I could lose my job, my love, my home. I started seeing a counselor.
It took a while to get to my relationship with alcohol, and when I finally did, I had moved from daily drinking to binge drinking – trying to control by abstaining, and then having a blowout intermittently. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun.
At the suggestion of my counselor, I landed on the doorstep of the Turning Point Center. I talked with a young man whose external life could not have been more different from mine, but whose internal experience I shared completely. In his journey with alcohol and drugs, he had experienced the same fear, isolation, panic, and detachment that I was feeling. Talking with someone who had walked this path gave me hope. I wasn’t alone.
Since that beginning, I’ve had a few ups and downs, but the coaches and peers at the Turning Point are steady presence, always available with encouragement and a good ear, an easy smile.
I’m a slow learner, and no one could get me to seek help until I was ready. But, if I hadn’t asked for help, I know I would have done many more dangerous things, and could very well be dead, in jail, or really sick today. Instead, I’m healthy, I have friends, I do good work, I pay the bills, and I have energy for fun and projects. I don’t take my recovery lightly. I stay in touch with a coach to keep me focused, and with friends. I try to help others.
It’s why we’re here – just to be here when you get ready. I hope we get to talk with you soon.