I ask myself this question multiple times every day. Most alcoholics have had some sort of life altering trauma, especially when they were younger, that changed them. Abuse, awful childhood, a rape, a death of a loved one. That’s not my case.
I had a fantastic childhood, in a wonderful home, with perfect parents. I wanted that life when I grew up. I wanted that marriage. I wanted that house. I wanted that family.
I also never had a sip of alcohol until I was almost 21. Why? Get this. I was afraid of becoming an alcoholic.
We lived in the same house for 20-something years. It was home. I had the best boyfriend. I loved him so much. I wanted that life with him. But I never quite knew if we were on the same page. We dated for years and years. One day, he asked me to marry him. All my dreams were finally coming true. I was on Cloud 9. We coincidentally were leaving for a vacation to Mexico the next week. We celebrated our engagement and talked about all of our plans. Everything was perfect. My life, perfect.
We came home on a Saturday. We both still lived at home with our parents. On Monday I’m getting ready to leave for work, to show off my nice tan that looked even better with my sparkling engagement ring, and the doorbell rings. It was a process server. We were being foreclosed. My family packed up 20 years of our life in about 4 days. Most people would say “it’s just a house,” but no. It was my home. The only home I ever knew. In a matter of a little over a week, I went from being the happiest I had ever been to the darkest days I had ever seen.
My fiancé and I started to build our own home. This made things a little easier on me, knowing I had somewhere that could be home again, and MY home! It was very hard to not be excited around the rest of my family. I didn’t want to see like I was rubbing it in. My parents weren’t getting along. My oldest brother started getting into trouble. My middle brother was leaving for college. My youngest brother, my best friend, somehow seemed to be fine with it all.
I guess looking back, this was probably when I should have seen some signs. My in-laws owned a bar that we basically spent every weekend at. I remember being very devastated still about the loss of our family home, and stressed out with upcoming wedding plans. I binged on vodka lemonades every weekend, throwing up almost every time. Throwing up or passing out. I was numbing myself. I was self medicating.
Anyway, we get married, we have our home. We had two babies. Two beautiful baby boys a year apart. I didn’t drink often back then. Hell, I was either pregnant or breastfeeding for three years straight. Our friends all had babies around the same time too. It was wonderful. We all lived happily ever after, right?
As the boys got a little older we became really great friends with our neighbors. Saturday night bonfires in the driveway became a weekly event. We all had the baby monitors plugged in as we sat around laughing and drinking, sharing stories about which kid said the F-word that day or who punched Johnny at school. Usually the wives would head in to go to bed first. Maybe around 11:00. Then a few couples would call it a night. I always ended up being the last one to go in. I wish I could say it was because I loved the company I was with. Honestly though, at 2:00am, I’m only still there to keep drinking. I’m almost always the last one to go in. The weird thing is, I still didn’t see a problem with my drinking at that point.
As I said before, I had two babies basically within a year. I never lost that baby weight. In fact, it was the opposite. I gained. I gained and I gained. I gained until I weighed 250 lbs. I don’t know exactly what did it. Eating, drinking, not taking care of myself whatsoever but I could not stop. So I did something so drastic, which I truly wish I could take back. I had my fucking stomach stapled. I had RNY gastric bypass surgery. I lost 130 pounds in ten months. I was skinny and I loved it. Some people have these surgeries and are fine. I, on the other hand, had every possible complication there was. I was hospitalized several times in the two years after my surgery. Several ER visits, a few surgeries, and lots of prescriptions. My food was taken away. But that high from the meds was able to fill that void that food no longer could. And you know what?
I learned really quick that booze does the same thing. Sadly, this was just the very beginning of my downfall.