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  • Kim

How Other Perceive Us

A friend of mine asked me recently how bad my drinking got at the end. "I'm assuming it never really got too bad, or else I would have known," she said to me.

She did not know though. No one knew. My husband didn't even know how deep I was until I asked him for help at the end of last November. People like to think they know what is going on. But no one truly knows what is happening in your head except you.

This isn't the first time I have heard this. Many people have said to me, 'I had no idea how much you were struggling.' My good friends had no possible concept of how stuck I was. So constrained by alcohol. So absorbed by booze, so much of the time. It consumed my every thought, and at the end, I was sneaking vodka and refilling it with water so my husband wouldn't notice. Just like I did as a teenager in high school, sneaking sips from my parents. I would drive to the liquor store while the kids were in school to consciously replace handles of water filled Tito's before the weekend rolled around, because I feared Evan would try to pour himself a drink on Saturday night and discover my secret. Little did he know, I was pouring myself stiff cocktails mixed everyday in the evenings, acting like it was normal to hide a drink from your husband in your closet. He didn't know how bad it had gotten for me.

I realize that right now, some people might read this and think, 'well, I wasn't that bad. Phew! Thank god I never got to that point in my drinking.' Or, on the other hand, you might think, 'wow, that's all she did. I was WAY worse than her!'

I know I have been there before and thought those things. Compared myself, my habits and my story. It's easy to view your own behavior and rate it based on how others act. I try not to do that anymore. I try hard to refrain from judging or comparing. It's hard, though, and I work on this with my therapist on the regular. I am constantly trying not to worry about how others interpret what I do.

Because it comes down to how I perceive myself. How am I able to view me? Am I able to see myself clearly these days? Am I able to look myself in the mirror again? Wake up and feel proud?

The thing is, when I would sneak the bottle of vodka underneath trash bags in the garage last fall while Evan was at work, I would try not to cry. I hated myself for it. I knew what I was doing was utterly wrong. It was the inability to look myself in the eye, the hurt I knew I was causing myself and my family, deep down. Regardless of how normal it all looked on the outside, I was totally and utterly shattered on the inside.

I connected with another friend today and was reminded of some things I did last fall right before the end of my drinking. Rehashing some of these shitty events was tough and hard to hear, because I may have done some things I am not proud of and many that I even regret. That sucks. I don't remember some of these things because I was very, very drunk a lot of the time. I was upset to momentarily go back there, but I am happy that I never, ever have to wake up and feel that shame again. I am happy to be moving forward and to be free of that awful cycle.

I am grateful that I view myself differently now. That I can look at myself with pride and joy and not feel sadness and defeat on a daily basis, and that self worth is what truly matters in the end.

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