Sobriety Corps... December 8, 2020
Updated: Feb 1, 2022
I listened in on a TLC meeting yesterday when I was out running errands, and I heard a wonderful speaker named Kim Palombo talk for about 25 minutes about her experience with sobriety. Her story sounded eerily similar to mine; she started drinking early in high school. She is a teacher, a mom, and she ramped up her drinking in early motherhood. She started blacking out more and more, forgetting important conversations with friends, forgetting conversations with her husband in the evenings, just trying to get to 5:00pm until she popped that bottle of wine. She struggled to plan those sober nights of the week, bargaining with herself that she would only drink three nights of the week instead of seven, but then inevitably finding a stressful reason to have a drink by the evening hour. She would drink through her children's bedtime routine, so much that that time of night began to become a blur. She talked about having a glass of wine during story time as a regular occurrence, something she couldn't do without. This resonated with me. I didn't always have it with me in the room, but instead I was sure to chug a glass before we headed upstairs. Often times, when the kids were in the bath, I would run downstairs and slug another glass, or grab a vodka shot. Just to get through that hour. Like it was SO painful that I couldn't do without a drink. One thing I have realized in the last week alone is this: that hour in the evening is precious. It is NOT painful. I need to remind myself this in the morning, because it is definitely exhausting and frustrating but it is not worth being drunk during. Yes, there are arguments, there is fighting. I sometimes yell at them to get in the tub, brush their teeth. But none of that warrants alcohol. None of that requires me to be wasted. That time really requires my presence, and my children deserve a mom that is not absent, not hiding in the kitchen avoiding her responsibilities. Kim Palombo began to realize that as well. And after one night out with a girlfriend, who confided in her about something very personal, and Kim forgot the conversation the next day, she realized things had to change. It wasn't a serious rock bottom or a huge accident or event that changed her, much like me. It was a series of events that lead to her decision, much like me.
So, after realizing that Kim was on a path she didn't want to be on, she decided she needed to get sober. I connect with this, recognizing that path, seeing yourself for the first time as someone you don't want to be, realizing all the things you are doing wrong and wanting to change them. That is what happened to me as well, just over a week ago. I felt tired of the charade and exhausted from LYING to myself, to my kids and to my husband.
Lying. That is another thing she spoke about during the meeting. That "we" addicts all become really good liars. This is not something to be proud of, by any means. But we start to lie to ourselves at first, letting that voice in our head take over, and slowly ignoring what we know is right. Then lying to the ones around us that we love. We all become really good liars by the end. But it's then at that point, when I became so exhausted and the guilt of it all settled in so thickly, that I couldn't lie to anyone anymore. The anxiety, stress, fear and sadness blanketed my subconscious on a regular basis that I couldn't feel much else. It is so much more freeing not to live this within this lie.
Kim has an incredibly supportive husband, just like I do, and she did it with him by her side. Not everyone can say they have such a support system. For this, I know I am lucky. For Kim, this was around four years ago. Kim's podcast is called Sobriety Corps. I started listening to it yesterday right after the TLC meeting. She interviews everyday people and asks them a set of questions. 6 standard questions. I really connected with Kim and her podcast and dove headfirst into it. I tried a few other podcasts this last week, but this one really got to me, probably because she talks to normal, regular people and her story is so similar to mine. She interviews people that are 3 days sober to people that are 3 years sober, and she doesn't discriminate. She just wants to explore and help others learn and grow. Her podcast is called Sobriety Corps. I have been thinking about her questions and will attempt to answer them in my next post.
One thing she left me with is the notion that the opposite of addiction is connection. I feel that so deeply. When I was drinking, I was disconnected - from my kids and my husband. At the time, what I actually thought was that I was probably better connected to my friends. I don't think friendships have changed or become less connected in the last week like I feared they would, if anything I actually remember text conversations and am more engaged with my groups of friends. This is all over text, because of Covid, I am not seeing anyone. Everything is so skewed right now because of this pandemic. I haven't told a ton of friends about my decision to stop drinking, but that will come in time.
For now, I am focusing on the relationships within my home. I am more connected to my children and husband, and that is what is most important to me in life right now, because that is what I feel I did the most damage to. I will continue to focus on bettering these as my sober journey continues. 9 days sober.