Thursday, August 14, 2014

The 6 month mark...

This Saturday, August 16th, marks my being 6 months of being sober. That almost seems surreal to me. If you had asked me around this time last year if I thought I would be sober, let alone for 6 months, I would've laughed & took a chug of my beer.

I could sit here and write about all of the amazing things that I have learned about myself in the past 6 months. I could tell you about the things I am still learning almost every day. I could list all the pro’s of quitting drinking.

But I am not going to do that.

Instead, I am going to share a small moment that happened a few weeks before I quit drinking (please note the few WEEKS before). No one knew about this…not even my husband up until a couple of weeks ago. But I am sharing the story here, today on my 6 month mark of being sober, in hopes that maybe someone who is reading this and might be in the similar place that I was in at the time, gets comfort and help and doesn't feel so alone. (Just a heads up for any family that may be reading this...the following contains a pretty sensitive and upsetting situation so you may or may not want to continue reading...I figured it was best to give you a heads up but it is up to you of course.)

The death of Robin Williams is very sad and very tragic. As someone who has dealt with depression her entire life (with a serious, debilitating case in my early teens) his death hits me very hard. I too had tried to take my own life before. Thankfully I was unsuccessful. But just like Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death was hard for me, as it shined a light on my secret struggle with alcoholism (and I was a very big fan of him & his talent since I was young), Robin Williams death has made me look at not only my battle of addiction (that he unfortunately battled as well) but also the importance of watching and maintaining my mental health. It was said that Phillip Seymour Hoffman told a friend that if he ever died by drug overdose he would hope its legacy would be to teach others about addiction and to help themselves like he could not help himself. That is exactly what it did for me. His death pushed me to really quit drinking and to be honest with myself about my alcoholism. I would think that Robin Williams would want something similar to come out of his passing…for someone to connect with that kind of pain and see that there are options…there are other ways.

I had this blog post planned out for the past two weeks and while it is sad that is coincides with the recent passing of Robin Williams maybe it makes it that much more powerful.

I don’t remember the exact day…but I remember it was around 1:30-2 o’clock in the morning. I had been drinking of course. Frankie had gone to bed pretty early that night and as usual I stayed up. TV was boring so I turned on some music and began to get lost in it (it’s one of my favorite things to do). Only I got lost in a very deep, dark place. Over and over in my head I beat myself up. I thought of every mistake, every poor choice, every regret, and every failure. It played in my head on repeat just like the song I was listening to. I kept drinking and at an accelerated pace. I was hoping to quiet my stupid fucking mind up, but it was only getting louder and darker. Thoughts grew to places I hate to go…thoughts of death…thoughts of suicide…thoughts of ways to truly shut up that deep, dark voice. 

I began to take count of every pill I had in my house. What was strong and would work the fastest.
Then for some reason instead of picking up the bottle of pills I picked up my phone and looked up the number to a local suicide hotline. I dialed it twice. First time it just rang and rang and rang. The second time it was a busy signal. I felt alone and helpless. Again, for some reason, I just went to bed and cried myself to sleep.

Come morning I would figure out that I was so drunk that I dialed the number wrong. I can’t even being to describe how thankful I am. The shit storm that would have created would have been MASSIVE!! And as you recall me saying before…this was a FEW WEEKS before I actually quit drinking. At that time I was not ready and was not even contemplating giving up alcohol. If they had tracked my number and came to my house to get me I don’t even know where I would be today. I don’t even know if I would be here to write this. But this definitely opened my eyes more. It definitely made me see that I was not in a place I wanted to be. I wanted to live. And I wanted to be OK.

It was the first time in over 10 years that I had seriously contemplated taking my own life. Now you are probably saying "what about your husband?! what about your stepson?!" and you have every right to say those things...but if you have ever been engulfed in a certain stage of depression you know that the only person who can truly save you is yourself. My family's love keeps me going and keeps me strong...but it doesn't save me. People can *help* you...you can *save* you. 

I can’t say that I will be sober 6 more months from now. I can’t even say that I will be sober tomorrow. Every minute or every day that I spend sober is hard work and is celebrated. I now know that I am not someone who can just have one drink. I mean maybe I could, but the risks are far too high and it’s a chance that I hope I never take.

My alcoholism isn't the cause of my depression and my depression isn't the cause of my alcoholism. But they definitely enjoy each others company and that is something that I have to be very, *very* aware of. I, just like Robin Williams, will be battling alcoholism and depression every day of my life. And in the wake of his tragic passing I am reminded to keep fighting. And that there is love and help out there. If I should ever fall, I hope to remember this.  And I hope you do too.


If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Also if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please seek out help from your Doctor or visit www.recovery.org to find localized help & hotlines. 


11 comments:

  1. Wow Suzi....what an incredible thing to share.....it seems to me that sharing this story shows how mentally strong you are right now, and I applaud you and the way you have decided to live your life. Kia Kaha.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have been through suicide attempts with my Army vet spouse and I'm a healthcare professional and for those reasons want to add that I hope no reader will be discouraged by this post if they need to call a suicide hotline. Perhaps it varies by state but here no one is going to track you down and come to get you. I'm a little bit stunned that message is being put out there. Let's hope those words don't stop anyone from calling for help. Calling a suicide hotline is not like calling 911. You're not going to be abducted from work by the suicide hotline folks. Even if calling did cause a "shit storm" it is nothing in comparison to what your death will cause your loved ones. Please, people, do ask for help when you need it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't get the impression the author was saying she was afraid someone was going to come abduct her. Many suicide/crisis hotlines DO have the ability to trace your number, but they are not in the habit of doing so unless they feel it is warranted. They usually will call you back if you hang up on them. And they can indeed send the police if they think you are going to harm yourself or someone else. They don't just magically dispatch the cops, there's a whole procedure in place to do this and crisis lines are very aware that they should not overuse the police.

      As you said, I'm sure there are different policies and practices in place.

      Delete
    2. Also, congrats Suzi on your six months!

      Delete
    3. I was certainly NOT driving anyone away from calling a hotline for help...especially considering that in my post I included phone #'s and web links for people to reach out to in times of need. I am aware that people do not just "show up and take you". Given my state of mind that night I don't doubt that help would have been sent for me and what I am saying is that for ME, that night, because of the alcohol fueled state I was in that I am glad that I dialed that # wrong. Because what I needed more than anything was to be sober and have a clear mind. The core point of this post is that I was an alcoholic who one night let her drinking drive her to wanting to take her own life and then she woke up the next day and starting seeking help. If anything my hope is that this post shows others that no matter how low you feel you are that you can rise up again and that there is help out there...thankfully the majority of people who have read this have understood this. And I will again encourage those who need help to reach out to the sources I have listed at the end of the post.

      And to Anonymous #2...thank you! I have a golf function for work tomorrow that I would normally drink like crazy at...but I've prepared myself with non alcoholic beverages to enjoy instead :) Still can't believe I've made it this strong for 6 months!!

      Delete
  3. Hi Suzi looking forward to going back to read your earlier posts but I did want to acknowledge as a sister in sobriety what a wonderful accomplishment your 6 month anniversary is. I rolled over 26 years sober in May & it's the best gift I ever gave myself or have received. I'm trying to find an email address for you but don't seem to be looking in the right place. It works if you work it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for your transparency! I'm sure it will help others! And I'm SOOOO happy that things turned out 'better' for you!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Suzi - congratulations! I have followed you for a long time and this is so exciting to watch, for more exciting and inspiring than all the weight loss posts before....Keep it up...one day at a time! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Girl, you've got this. So proud of you and happy for you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Glad you're still here. Congratulations on 6 months! I'm extraordinarily happy for you. Thanks for sharing—I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cheap suddenly startled by barbour sale uk loud, barbour quilted jacket sale but when. moment the eyes of admiration barbour international sale and worship, the teachers thought to myself in the future, there has been a model of educating students. barbour sale uk I have been trying barbour sale womens for my dream. Entire office people all eyes fell on the cheap in the body, barbour sale uk exposing students to the

    ReplyDelete