I know at this time last year I was hungover. And asleep. There was probably an empty glass of water beside my bed. I’d probably been up drinking until who knows when- I was getting really deep into my drinking at this point- blacking out almost every time.

Thinking about it now, I can still pick out things to blame. Excuses for having a bottle of wine by 8 o’clock a few times a week. My job was in an awful place. I needed wine to be able to hang out with the kids and not go batshit crazy. I never saw my husband and the only way we could spend time together was to drink together after he got home from work. I wasn’t walking the dogs enough. I didn’t know what to make for dinner. Life is hard. Blah blah blah.

I was charging full speed ahead into full on alcoholism.

Each trip to the store I was buying not one but two bottles of wine. And a twelve pack of beer, to be sure I would have enough. This seemed like a lot, but not like too much. I might have to share. I was adding seltzer to my wine to make it last longer because I’d started finishing the bottles too fast. I’d started drinking bottles of Prosecco since sparkling means celebrating and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I can still picture myself in the kitchen after two glasses getting dinner ready. The boys in front of the TV. Me sneaking out into the back yard to smoke just one more cigarette and then finish dinner. I picture this shell that was me, but not me. I picture me, but I was vacant, disappearing. More wine, dinner, bath, stories. The relief of the back porch when everyone was in bed. The annoyance when one of them would get up and come find me.

It’s really hard to remember this stuff. To think about my little boys in their pajamas standing at the porch door wanting me, but I wasn’t emotionally there. How they must not have understoond why I wouldn’t pay attention to them, or leave the back porch to tuck them in one more time. Maybe they didn’t see it as unusual, but I knew it was wrong. They never knew what mom to expect. I suspect they were starting to know which one to expect: none at all.

It’s hard to think of my husband coming home from work and finding me in some sort of drunken state chain smoking on the porch. How much that must have sucked. How I would launch into some big talk about how he wasn’t good enough at being a husband, or father, or housekeeper, or person, or whatever. How I unloaded all the stuff I hated about myself onto him. I made it about him instead of me. He never knew what wife to expect. I suspect he was starting to want no wife at all.

But I always knew what to expect. I was either going to be drinking or hungover, or in one of those two to five day spaces of trying to not drink. And I was always going to have that tape playing in my head- the greatest hits version of “You Suck At Life” playing over and over again.

There comes this time in all of our lives when we have to decide.

And I’m not talking about “I need to” or “I want to” or “I’m going to try”.

I’m talking about “I AM”.

It was not until I told myself “I AM GOING TO BE SOBER” and “I AM NOT DRINKING” that I did it.

There’s a difference in the way “I AM” and “I WANT TO” is. “I AM” means it. “I WANT TO” gives you an out. “I WANT TO” means that you mean it in the morning when you feel awful and hungover, but that when later rolls around and you’re having a drink it’s OK, because you didn’t say you were going to quit. You just said you wanted to.

It was not until I told myself “I AM GOING TO BE SOBER” and “I AM NOT DRINKING” that I did it.

The biggest thing I remember from the last day I woke up hungover and said “FROM THIS MOMENT ON I AM NEVER DRINKING AGAIN” is the relief. I was laying there, it was noon. I decided. I put down my weapons and surrendered. I felt that surrender, deep deep down. “I AM GOING TO BE OK.” I wasn’t sure that could be be true, but I believed it anyway. 
I knew that there were going to be two ways things would turn out. My truth would either be “I AM AN ALCOHOLIC” or “I AM ALIVE”. I had to decide.
It’s one of those things sitting here writing to y’all and me. If I said what I want to I would say just this: Quit. Quit right now and never look back. It is so much better, I promise, promise promise. I put it in writing. I say you can do it. You can. You can. You will be amazed at yourself, and so proud. Do it! But things just aren’t that simple sometimes. And maybe you wouldn’t believe me, or maybe you wouldn’t believe that it was possible for you. I sometimes feel like it would come off like one of those weight loss infomercials where you watch and go “Oh! Look how good he/she looks! I want to do that!….. I could never do that.” 
But you can. It will be true for you, just like it has been true for me. Your people will know who to expect. You will too. You will feel that relief, that surrender. It’s always the right time to decide.