I want to share about my struggle with alcohol. Oh, where do I begin? I’m Linda, 38 years old. I’m a mum of two kids. One is a ten-year old boy, the other is a six-year old girl. At the peak of my career, I got pregnant, quit my job and decided to be a stay-at-home mum.
At the time that I made that decision, I was so sure I was doing it for “the greater good”. My biggest purpose was to raise my kids right. Now, I am not so sure about that. I am not so sure about myself.
Honestly, I am sick and tired of pretending to be who I am not. I am not a really good mother. I am not a really bad one either. The problem is, I am an alcoholic. I have been keeping it from other people for a very long time.
I think nobody really knows, except my husband and my immediate family. I’ve been keeping it mostly to myself.
My decision to go to rehab was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Ever, ever done. But it had to be done. I am not going to lie to you. I did not do it for myself (at first). I did it for the kids and for my marriage.
There is a horrendous wound on my daughter’s forehead.
It was caused by a motorcycle rider. He hit her while she was crossing the street. But I do not blame the man. I blame me. I was with when it happened. I was distracted and I was looking forward to my drink when it happened.
I was not watching out for her, I was not careful. I was selfish and I was at fault. I have come to grips with that. Now, I need atonement. I need to repair the damage I have done.
My daughter’s accident brought me to the doors of addiction treatment programs. There’s nothing more sobering than hurting your own child.
Or in my case, it was complicated by my husband’s outrage. (He blamed me a lot.) After bringing my child home from the hospital, and after everything calmed down and normalized, my husband took me aside and said,
“Look, we have a problem with your drinking. It has gotten out of hand. You really need to change. Stop with the denial.”
One of my biggest fears in life is being unloved, being disapproved of and being judged. So, there I was, at my rock bottom. I had nowhere else to go.
Before the accident happened, I periodically checked their website, so I was quite familiar with what they offered. But it still took me several sleepless nights before I decided I had to go. I read the reviews of Abbeycare on-line and they sound ok.
Maybe it won’t be as bad as I think. Anyway, I don’t have anything to lose. At least I’ll go and meet some interesting people. I needed to get out of the house, to leave the sadness and blame behind. At least for a while.
There is some thing, though, that I had to get off my back, particularly when it came to the twelve steps in alcohol rehab.
First of all, I am a non-believer, and I don’t feel comfortable when people mention God. Is it possible for me to do the 12 steps and not say “Higher Power this” and “Higher Power that?” I snooped around the internet and found this video.
The message I got from the video was that even if I am a non-believer, there is a place for me in a 12 Step Rehab. The video struck a nerve because the speaker (Beau Mann of Sober Grid) simplified the 12 steps in an approachable secular way that I could relate. Here they are:
- Discipline & Action
- Knowledge and Awareness
- Service & Gratitude
Simple, isn’t it?
Another video that helped me immensely was Russel Brand’s Podcast Under the Skin. Here, he invited Dr. Jordan Peterson as his guest.
Dr. Peterson talked about the spiritual dimension in the 12 Steps and said,
“From a psychological perspective, partly what you do, when you move from an addicted state, is move from a viewpoint of the gratification of immediate desire—and maybe the accumulation of things as a marker of success—to the notion that, no: you actually have a higher purpose, and that higher purpose might involve being of service.
That could be of service to yourself—which means you wouldn’t be addicted anymore, because that’s not a good way of being in service to yourself—and to the broader community, however you might define that. That’s a higher-order purpose. It can integrate your motivations at a level that doesn’t leave you at the whim of impulse. That’s the purpose of a higher-order motivation.”
So my higher purpose is to be a better mum, a better wife. I will sign up for that. Rehab? I can do that! (As I said, at first, I was only doing it for my family, not myself.)
I guess my biggest fear in rehab is being judged. I don’t want others to look at me and think, “Oh, she’s a bad mum. A wankered, bad mum.” But if I don’t correct myself, I won’t change, won’t I? My previous thought process brought me to this dark place. It’s insane to think that my old, broken thoughts would heal me.
I need some help. I need other people. I can’t save myself. I need, for the lack of better term, a Higher Power.
In rehab, they don’t judge. They don’t. In fact, I felt really safe. As if I could just be myself and say what I want. I did not need to hide that I am an alcoholic (all of us in there are alcoholics). All of us there had faults. We were all broken people, but we were not hopeless.
One of my biggest problems is I don’t like letting go of my old habits. I’m the type to stay in my pyjamas until noon, but in rehab, that had to go. Since I was working with the mantra “For a higher purpose… For the greater good…” I decided to give it shot. Actually, what kept me getting up every day despite the headaches was what one of the counselors said,
I woke up a little bit less hesitantly every day, ate my breakfast, and focused on myself. For once. In rehab, we have morning meditation classes and therapy sessions. These sessions were painful but eye-opening. I also discovered how much time I gave to drinking. Without the alcohol (the buying, storing, hiding and indulgence of it), my days were pretty much…vacant.
The longer I stayed with the program, the more I hoped that change could happen. I once read a book by Paul McKenna, where he said, “Your imagination is more powerful than your discipline.” I think that applies to me now with my recovery.
What if one day I wake up and I do not have to deal with my demon anymore? What if one day I wake up and I am not a distracted, alcohol-obsessed mum, but a mom with a life to live? I don’t necessarily have to get an office job or go back to my career. I can start over. I can have a new life. Maybe there is something left of this brain to work with yet.
Being in rehab gave me this dream, this vision, and this vision sustains me. It is priceless and it is mine. I will hold this vision in my mind until one day, it will come true. In the meantime, I am quite thankful I found the right place to go to when I was really, really down. I am no longer purposeless, sad and hopeless.
In the end, I did go to rehab for me. Maybe you will too. Start the journey. It’s not that scary.