I peel open my left eye and look around the dimly lit room. A sliver of sunlight shines in through the curtain next to me, allowing me to recognize that this is in fact my bedroom. I lay still for a moment, allowing the objects around me to come into focus. I see the outline of the foot of my bed, the chair nearby and the TV hung on the wall across the room. Yes, thank god. This is my room. I roll over onto my side ever so slightly, head throbbing, my hair spread across my forehead. A faint smell of cigarettes remains.
When did I smoke?
My stomach heaves at the stench.
I need water.
I lean over in search of a cup, but alas, there is nothing on the bedside table.
Shit, where is my phone?
I frantically prop myself up on one elbow and glance around the room. Oh fuck, oh fuck. Where is my phone?
Evan is not in bed and I look at the clock. It’s only 6AM. Where is my husband? What happened last night?
The questions start firing and the shame and dread envelop me. God damnit, why do you always fucking do this? Why, why, why?
Okay get it together. I remember paying the babysitter. Sort of. I remember coming upstairs and peeling my jeans off. I remember arguing. I think I threw my shoe. What were we fighting about? Shit, I hope he didn’t catch me smoking cigarettes again. Was that it that he was mad about? Shit.
I roll out of bed and manage to land on my feet, stumbling into the bathroom. I flip on the lightswitch and slowly lift my head, hesitantly looking at the person in the mirror. Who is this woman, pale faced, mascara smudged in deep, black circles beneath both of her hollow, empty eyes? I can barely hold my own gaze.
“What are you doing to yourself?” I ask.
My mornings look a lot different now, and the anxiety and dread no longer permeate my daily life. I don't experience the awful self-loathing and shameful feelings throughout my days, wondering how I can fix it all. There is no more frantically searching for my phone or wondering what happened the night before. No more trying to piece it all together. No more sad looks from my husband.
I am so grateful that one morning I found the strength to finally look in the mirror and say, enough. My husband, my kids and I all deserved better.
One of the best parts was discovering over the course of these last several months, that every day I wake up sober feels like a gift. I no longer have to ever hide from myself and that is truly something that cannot be wasted.
Instead of nursing a hangover this morning or planning when we would start drinking again in the afternoon with friends, Saturdays are slower. Easier. Calmer. I can appreciate the early mornings. I can allow the day to unfold with comfort and joy. It feels safe. I feel free.