I hid many things while I was active in my addiction. I hid my bottles both full and empty. I went to the grocery store to buy a fifth and a gallon of vodka. I’d lie to the cashier about having a party. While, in fact, it was all for me.
If you’ve been an active alcoholic, it is likely that your behavior has been called insane. If you’ve ever dealt with the alcoholism of a loved one or an acquaintance, you’ve probably called their actions insane. Being with fellow alcoholics, it’s easy to see how crazy our behavior can be. This past week I watched craziness happen with someone I know. I witnessed the wreckage that followed. And I pray that the person involved will finally accept the reality of their addiction, as they are faced with having to pay the consequences of their actions, both literally and figuratively.
I hid many things while I was active in my addiction. I hid my bottles both full and empty. I went to the grocery store to buy a fifth and a gallon of vodka. I’d lie to the cashier about having a party. While, in fact, it was all for me. I’d get home, put the fifth in the cabinet, and hide the gallon amongst my sweaters. I’d go into my room to fill up my glass from the gallon jug so that no one would know how much I drank that day. I’d hide the empties until I could put them into a trash bag, so that my family and, yes, even the trash man, wouldn’t know how much I drank.
I hid how badly my body needed alcohol to survive. I didn’t let anyone see how my hands shook before I drank my morning vodka and OJ. The simple fact that I used alcohol to stop my shakes, continued drinking, and repeated this behavior over and over again was insane.
I would drink all day, thinking it was fun to start at a restaurant at noon for lunch, drive to another bar later for “dinner,” and stay until the bar closed at 2 a.m. It didn’t matter if it was raining or if it was a beautiful sunny day. I chose my drinking before my kids, not caring that they might need me or that they might be frightened that I wasn’t coming home. That I might end up in jail. Or worse, that I would die.
drank to not feel. I drank whenever an emotion was too much to handle because alcohol always made me feel better in the moment. Of course, most often, the emotion or the problem was still there in the morning and most of the time my drinking made it worse.
Another crazy thing I would do is drink and drive. I’d get into a 4,000 pound vehicle and think by driving slowly — and praying — I would make it home safely to my bed at night. I never considered the countless others that I put in danger because of my need to be comfy. Many times I drove with only one eye open because it helped me see one line instead of three. A sane person would have pulled over and called for help. I even had people follow me or I would follow them, so they could see me safely home. The miracle is that I never caused an accident. It’s crazy that a habit of mine would be to wake up in the morning, peek in the garage to see if my car was there. I’d be relieved that it was and with no dents.
All these behaviors now seem so crazy. I know today that they were signs that I had a huge problem with my drinking. My insane self justified my choices and behaviors. It was easier to lie to myself and hide behind the fear of changing my life. When I stopped drinking, I had to stop hiding and it was the best gift I could have ever gave to myself. Now I am showing up for the first time in years and loving my recovery journey.
Are you acting insane? Are your actions threatening your well-being and/or the safety of others? Are you hiding? Isn’t it time to come out of the shadows and into the light? Our horses and I am waiting here at One Neigh at a Time. See you in the barn.