On this day 5 years ago I woke up in a bed in mom’s house and it was not a special day. I had called in sick to work, again, and I was sweaty with a pounding head. The sun insisted on attacking my face. The bed was under the window, in prime sun-assault location. It was 10 or 11am. I probably heard a leaf-blower or gardeners, a car cruising by on its way to work, or somewhere, engaged in some life, somehow. My mother was at work. She let me come back to her house a few months earlier. My children were at school, though I didn’t drive them there and I hadn’t in months. Years?
My husband was at work. My dad and stepmother were at work. The whole fucking world was at work, or so it seemed. But I was in that bed, again. Twenty-nine years old at 10am in a bed in my mother’s house, shaking and sweating and not going to work, again.
More lies. More deceit. I knew that bed.
I rolled over and looked at the nightstand. I specifically remember rolling over and looking at the nightstand. Another day. Another 24 hours. Another span of failure, of deceit, of faking it. Another 24 hours of Tylenol and water and a shower, cigarettes and some food and smiling at my mom when she came home, pretending I was sober and she needn’t worry now. Another 24 hours of the haze in my brain, the low hum of failure rolling on and on and on in my gut until the whole thing is fog.
It clears with the first drink. Or it did, before, when alcohol still worked.
I had no idea why I lived the way I lived. I had given up examination. There was nothing left to explore, no corner left to illuminate. Five visits to rehab countless psychologists (DBT, CBT, Jungian, biofeedback!) psychiatrists and an institution of mental health – I take my pills to fix me. They never fix me.
I looked at the nightstand again. Books piled up. Glass of water. Maybe a journal I hadn’t written in. For years.
The sun keeping on and fucking ON and the cars going by and me, there, one more time a heap of not-in-the-world. Failure. Cannot hang. Cannot work, drive kids to school, be a wife mother daughter employee friend.
It crushed me, that truth. I have never felt a pain like the one that morning. I had never and probably will never again feel reality eat my heart and guts and soul into nothing. I writhed. I physically writhed under the crush of the other worldly.
I saw my life roll out ahead of me like a carpet might unroll across an empty room, or a street. A walkway. It went on for a long time, rolled fast and hard all the way to the end. I saw it all. I knew I would end up a desperate drunk. I knew alcoholism was THE ONLY OPTION FOR ME. I would die a useless alcoholic. And there was nothing, nothing I could do about it. Freedom was not for me. Life was not for me. I was not a victim. I deserved it. I made it. I lived it.
I am this. This is me.
I was out of moves. I was out of fight. I was out of new angles, approaches, bullshit. I had no new perspectives, ideas. I had not a single source of life.
The bottle killed me that morning.
You don’t have to stop breathing to die, you know.
It’s 8:49am on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.
I can’t keep writing. I have to take a shower so I can get to work on time.
My kids had some eggs this morning, my mom drove them to school because she helps me out on Wednesdays. I brushed my toddler’s hair and yelled at my tween to get off her brother’s case. I reminded my son to brush his teeth. When the kids got in the car I yelled ‘Have a good day at school!’ I walked in the house and had a cup of coffee.
It’s March 5, 2014.
It’s the best day I’ve ever had.