Wine, in my view, is not a form of self-care. It has no sense to me. It’s neither calming nor stimulating. It is completely needless. It is not a tranquilizer for my nervous feelings or a balm for my insecurities. Wine tells me an entirely different story. Alcoholism can ruin my life, relationship, and family.
My husband is an alcoholic, and I saw firsthand how drinking was a sign of a serious problem. It was the self-prescribed remedy for the hole inside him. It resulted in quarrels, discord, tragedy, accidents, turmoil, aggression, and extreme chaos in our household.
The Beginning of Dysfunction
In our kitchen, it’s never one glass of wine. It certainly wasn’t a bottle. It was a relentless, obsessive, all-consuming frenzy with no end in sight.
This is not about the wine, but about a disorder of addiction that was far more sophisticated and strong than I could have imagined simply by looking at the innocuous bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay left empty by our sink.
The bottle was posing as self-care: a means to “relax, unwind, and let loose.” It was the payoff for a hard day at work, a rough day, a holiday of some sort, the weekend, or just a regular Tuesday. Drinking was socially normal, promoted, and cherished. However, no one outside of our household was aware of what his alcoholism was doing to our family. How could they? We refused, we hid, we pretended, and we wore masks.
Alcoholism threatened to take something from us: our marriage, our family, our sanity, and our wellbeing. It slowly and insidiously tried to consume the soul of my beloved. Fortunately, it did not. My husband, by the grace of God, became sober. I, too, abstained from drinking.
It demanded much more of me than it ever gave in return.
The personality differences brought on by his drinking are ironically reflected in me. I became what I said he was: manipulative, bitter, resentful, a thief, lonely, unforgiving, unreasonable, obsessed. Becoming almost as fixated on his drinking as he was on his next alcoholic beverage.
I went through his phone logs, looked for bottles in the house, lied to others about our home lives, covered up for him, called in sick to work for him, and blew up his phone when he didn’t come home. I insulted him, gave him ultimatums, called him names, and meticulously kept track of the ways he had wronged me to convince him to leave.
We were constantly fighting. I scolded him for how much he drank, and he blamed everything but the drinking for our conflicts. The drinking got worse, and the repercussions got worse until we had no choice but to face the demon we were attempting to flee.
It took a long time to put our lives back together again. Treatment, imprisonment, meetings, counseling, journaling, amends, supporters, prayer, new routines, and relearning how to reason and forgive are all options. It was arduous, soul-crushing work but was often challenging, profound, and life-changing.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever look at alcohol again. I don’t see it as a friendly relief, but more as a formidable foe capable of murdering the person I care for most in the world if given the opportunity.
The cause for utter destruction is a single glass of wine. One drink could mean the end of life as we know it.
Wine does not make me feel relaxed. It doesn’t get me any comfort. What I see is the havoc it brings. I’m not interested in going back in time.
I just want to be in the current moment. We’re still in recovery programs now. We strive each day to recover from the symptoms of this perplexing and progressive illness. We read daily devotions, go to church regularly, communicate frequently with our support network, and hold weekly meetings. We’re doing better one day at a time.
Self-care isn’t about changing my perspective. I value a mind that is calm and stable, free of fog, disorientation, buzzes, blackouts, and hangovers. I nourish my body and soul in ways that increase my awareness, not decrease it. More focused, cool, and in control.
I practice meditation, pray, hike, write, sketch, take a bath, inspire a friend, laugh with my kids, have meaningful talks with my husband, read the Bible, practice yoga, listen to birds, take photographs, travel, and go on adventures with my dog.
Alcohol is not necessary for my contentment or inner joy.
The key to taking care of myself can never be found in a bottle, and peace can never be found in a can. It will only happen if my spirit is filled. When my physical, mental, and moral desires are nourished rather than drained, my body becomes pretty healthy.
Against all odds, my family’s alcoholism inspired me to become the strongest, most genuine version of myself.
A full and happy life is the real testimony to sobriety and self-care.
Alcoholism – one second, one hour, and one day at a time.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, Harm Reduction Center is here to empower and support the recovery journey. Our highly individualized service to our clients, offering Integrated Medication-Assisted Treatment and all outpatient levels of care. Contact us today for more information.