My friends – (Is it ok if I call you my friends? Because really, I have come to think of you as my friends) –
I can’t begin to tell you what your words meant to me yesterday. Your support, your generosity, your reflection of my deepest, darkest moments back to me in the stories of your own – they meant everything.
I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating – when we dig to the farthest reaches and shine a light into the darkest places, then and only then do we find our truth. And when we do, when we find that truth, if we then share it – if we blast through the doors and say, “This. This is what I’ve found,” we free not just ourselves, but everyone else who recognizes their truth in ours. And when they say “Me too,” – whether they whisper it timidly from the corner or shout it boldly from the top of the mountains, when they say, “Me too,” the circle is complete. The circle of truth, the circle of support, the circle of understanding and compassion and You Are Not – will never again be – Alone.
There is something magical in that moment. That moment of affirmation, of community. That moment when the shame – the worthless, toxic, self-destructive shame rises to the clouds and floats off into the ether and together, we are free.
I invite you to read – no, I implore you to read – what follows. If the story is not yours, I ask only that you read it with care and without judgement. Because we all have a story. We all have deep, dark places and scary cob-webbed corners we all have shame.
If the story is yours, I ask you to take heart. You are not – and will never again be – alone in carrying its weight. And I ask you – no, I beg you – to get help.
This is Cheairs. She is a member of our community, a friend through e-mail, and she has something to say.
I Am An Autism Mom and I Am An Alcoholic
by Cheairs Graves, Redefining Typical
Copyright Cheairs Graves March 22, 2012 – used with express permission
So beautifully packaged.
Pouring you into a cup so that I can breathe.
Waiting for that five o’clock hour so that you can help me.
Shhhh….nobody can know.
It is our little secret.
I will only bring you forth from your bottle when nobody is looking.
When he is with the kids I will sneak to the kitchen and grab you.
I will pour.
Don’t worry I won’t leave you alone for long.
I need you.
You help me.
I deserve you.
My son has autism.
Six letters no mother should ever have to hear.
Six letters that leave me on the cold kitchen floor.
Holding my knees.
Clinching my fists.
My back hitting the wall.
And I am alone.
So very alone.
And my sweet boy rolls on the ground.
In a world that I do not know.
And my precious girl. She needs me. Oh, how she needs me.
And I stand.
I walk to your most sacred place where you are kept.
I take hold of you.
My heart begins to slow because you…..my most beautiful wine…..you will help me.
And I pour you.
I take a sip.
Because you my friend – you help me to stand.
And the one glass of wine to take off the edge….. turns to two.
Two turns to three.
Three to four.
One bottle of wine turns to two bottles of wine.
And I yell at my children.
And when my husband travels I drink more.
And when he is home I drink more.
Trips to the store to make sure I have enough of you.
Because I can’t do it.
I can’t do it without you.
My sweet, sweet friend.
And then I pass out.
I wake in the middle of the night.
Face splotchy and red.
I can’t remember conversations with my husband.
My marriage-slipping away.
My daughter’s questions-“What are you drinking mommy?”
And more lies come from my lips as I laugh, “It is mommy juice.
To make sure I have enough of my new best friend.
But I am still there.
Curled up on the cold kitchen floor.
Hands around my knees.
And this best friend.
This lovely liquid that I chose for my Oxygen Mask.
It is choking me.
It is killing me.
And I will die.
But I can’t give up my best friend.
I am scared to give her up.
I don’t know how…..
What will I do without her?
It has been two years and ten months since I have had any alcohol.
It was on bended knee that I started seeing an amazing therapist whose grace, gift, and loving hands have helped guide me on this road of recovery.
It was with great hope that I went to see my physician who started me on an antidepressant.
It was my husband who held me tight and whispered the words “I love you. We will get through this.” when I told him that I did not know how to stop drinking.
It is with encouragement of family, friends, and you that I began to share my journey through my blog. To cry the tears in the written word and let others hold them and wipe them away.
I had to let go of that friend.
I had to say good-bye to my most precious wine.
Oh, she still calls my name.
But I won’t go back.
I can feel the pain.
I can feel the sad.
They won’t crush me.
I am not alone.
I have my husband.
They lift me when I can’t stand.
They hold me when I cry.
They rock with me when the pain feels like too much.
Yes, they are my oxygen mask.
My glorious and wonderful oxygen mask.
And they – yes they – help me to breathe.
Ed note – I am so grateful to Cheairs for sharing her story here. It’s not easy to do. I know. Please join me in offering her some of that magical love and support that you all share here every day – for me, for each other, for our kids. And if you recognize yourself in her story, please, PLEASE ask for help. For you, for your children, for all the people who love you.
You can do it.
You are not alone.