In my last post, I talked about how my alcohol addiction impacted my education, my finances, my health and even my dreams for the future. Now I’d like to talk about the impact of my addiction on my parents.
Initially I focused on the financial damage I caused… The cash I stole from their wallets, the over-written checks and, most significantly, the three cars I totaled and the cost of my two DUIs. What I know now is that the real damage I caused can’t be compensated for by money alone.
My parents shared with me that the worst part of my alcohol addiction was the fact that they could no longer feel safe, or at peace, in their own home. Wallets and car keys had to be hidden. Uninterrupted sleep was a rare luxury. Not to mention the painfully lingering memories of their daughter as an active alcoholic. Like the time I ended up in the ICU, intubated after an alcohol-induced seizure. Or the countless times I yelled and cursed at my mom during drunken blackouts. And let’s not forget about the time my mom found me passed out and unresponsive on the couch clutching a bottle of vodka. My parents can’t forget.
My mom also told me that during the last year of my drinking she could rarely sleep for more than a few hours at a time. She was terrified of what she would find the next morning when she came downstairs to check on me. It would be an understatement to say that my parents were held hostage by my addiction. I existed in a terrifying, exhausting cycle of fleeting periods of sobriety and weeks-long alcohol-induced blackouts. Everyone around me was collateral damage.
The Police. My Pink Suitcase. And More Empty Promises.
The best advice my parents received came from my sponsor at the time: “If she comes home drunk again don’t let her in the house. Pack a suitcase for her and drop her off at a homeless shelter.”
Of course my prior experiences led me to believe that they would never actually follow through with this. In fact, it would be a few months before my parents began enforcing the boundaries they were trying to set.
Three months before I came to The Raleigh House I came home drunk, bright and early at nine in the morning. They called the cops, and I spent 36 hours in a detox facility.
I vaguely recall another incident around this time when my mom came home from work, saw that I was wasted again, and told me I had to leave. I packed a small pink suitcase, grabbed my bottle and went out into the rain to find somewhere to drink.
A few hours later I was back, soaking wet, crying and begging to be let in. I promised to go back to treatment. My parents spent all night calling treatment centers and talking to the insurance company.
Of course, the next morning I refused to even entertain the idea of treatment. Instead, I replaced that promise with another. I said I would start attending Alcoholics Anonymous again and also start looking for a job. I honestly don’t remember how long I stayed sober after that… three hours? Three days? The two months leading up to my stay at The Raleigh House were a total blur.
Diary of an Alcoholic: Part 3 – My Road to Recovery
Part three of J’s remarkable recovery story is coming soon. In the final chapter, you’ll get her first-hand account of the residential addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House, and a glimpse of what her life is like today as a recovering alcoholic.
In the meantime, if you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol dependency, please call The Raleigh House today.