It woke up.
There’s only one way for me to describe my addiction. It was like another being was living inside me. Its fun side was wild, carefree, charming and always ready for adventure. It was magical the way it got me out of my shell. It also had a deeply dark side as years went on. It was conniving, persuasive, cutthroat and undeniably problematic. It had strength and adaptability. It had strong negotiation skills and was never afraid. It kept a close eye on when it was at risk and ensured we kept it safe at all costs. I protected it, fiercely protected it. I fed it willingly and unwillingly near the end. Almost like I was on auto pilot. It kept me in the throws of shame, anger, blame and anguish. As long as I kept feeling that way, it knew I’d need us to numb out and give us the only thing it wanted, wine. Copious amounts of wine.
Finally, somehow my little broken voice buried deep down was able to come up for air whimpering, begging to be saved. With all the strength in me, love of my family and God I got sober. I fought like hell, never have a fought for anything more. I got to the other side where I found joy flowing more rapidly than ever expected. I bonded again with my beautiful adult children. I started to listen to my knowing, ended my people pleasing behavior and found what I truly loved in life. My addictions voice was almost nowhere to be heard, if it slightly whispered I knew exactly how to shut that shit down!
My husband was the love of my life. I really thought we would be forever. In sobriety I turned myself inside out to get out all the nasty debris of my past traumas and pain. I was truly clearing out the wreckage and slowly finding me again. My husband was incredibly supportive and he loved me fiercely as well. He however did not know how to do the work he needed to. I turned myself inside out and he just polished out the dents. He held on to the behaviors that still brought out the scared Julie. The one that hid and numbed out just to make him happy. My soul was screaming and didn’t want to live a life trapped in someone else’s box. I knew if I stayed, I would need to be ok with doing everything on his terms to create the life he wanted.
I remember telling my counsellor that I was fearful that my addiction wanted me to leave so I could drink again. My counsellor looked at me with the softest, kindest eyes and said “I’m more afraid that you’ll drink if you stay”. With those words ringing in my ears, I knew what I needed to do. I have the belief that you’re either protecting your addiction or you’re protecting your sobriety. You can’t do both. I will always protect my sobriety, the same way I’ll protect my children. Nothing wants to mess with that. Trust me.
In some silly way I think I actually thought he’d do the work, try to see his side of it all and we would find each other again. Romantic notions of a very beautiful kind. There has always been so much love there but love isn’t always enough.
How often society speaks of a woman scorned but I’ve learned of something equally as dangerous. Nothing pretty comes from getting between a man and his money. Not only do they lose their most prized possession during divorce (the wife) but they lose their dignity and then they sometimes have to pay financially for it. This creates some pretty angry feelings.
Mine took no time for pay back and replaced me with a much younger version, laced with all the things he once claimed to dislike. This proved to not only be confusing but bloody painful. He took no time rubbing it in my face, showing her to all our friends and bringing up the fact that she was in his bed. I swear there were times he’d just call me to make sure I didn’t forget.
I was pummelled. Like having your back to a really big wave…pummelled!! I rolled under the destructive force of the wave and had a hard time grounding or even catching my breath. Repeating flipping under water unable to find my sense of direction. Once I finally landed on shore, I gathered myself and tried to save face. It hurt, I had scrapes and felt weaker than ever. I was able to hold firm in the weeks and months ahead but something wasn’t right. I wasn’t feeling like myself at all. My sober joy was dulled and I was just simply being.
Here I was filled with anger, blame, pain, anguish, regret, shame, and all the other glorious feelings that came with every waking day. I tried pulling myself back. I meditated, talked to friends, went for walks but still felt lifeless and dull. I did try finding joy in other ways like travel, shopping and eating. I was a weightless shell, empty and so broken. I was on auto pilot.
Fuck! I’m on auto pilot! Going through the motions, not making the best decisions, my brain is keeping me in pain, shame, anguish, anger, blame. I’m not running the show, something else is.
It woke up! No, no, no…It woke up.
It woke up in the great pummelling and I’ve been unknowingly feeding it since. I’ve given it all the feelings it recognizes with an extra dab of pain and hatred! If I can be completely honest, I was probably weeks away from full brain takeover and giving it what it was really after…the wine.
I heard many people in recovery share that when they relapsed it all started weeks maybe even months before they finally drank. They didn’t think they would but somehow, they found themselves in it. Addiction is cunning, it’s baffling and it’s powerful.
I’ve never been more scared in my life. Once I was aware of what was truly happening I got help. I got help fast! I’m starting my AA stepwork again and I’m really excited about my next chapter. “It” seems to be on a break, maybe back to sleep. I know one thing for sure, it’s just resting, it will come back again. It will show up undoubtedly when another wave hits.