This morning while I was browsing through Babble I stumbled across the story of an Indiana mother who got drunk and passed out in the middle of the street. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she passed out with her 3 year old daughter. Apparently, the police found her, woke both and her daughter up, and promptly removed the child from her care after she blew a .225. Her daughter was placed with Child Protective Services and she’s being charged with child neglect as well as being drunk in public.
Although Sunnychannel pokes fun at her, my heart goes out to her because she could easily be me. What most of you don’t know about me is that I’m a recovering drug addict. It’s not something I go around proclaiming. It’s something that I am careful and cautious to disclose. It wasn’t always this way. There was a time in my life when I told EVERYBODY about it. For example, if you met me then, our conversation would probably go something like this:
“I’m totally a junkie but I’m sober now. Hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m like living in a halfway house now and it’s been super helpful. I can’t believe I’m clean. I never thought I’d get clean. It’s so crazy. I mean, I sorta didn’t have a choice, ya know. I was looking at prison time. Don’t worry, I didn’t kill anybody but I never graduated high school and I just got my GED. I can still read and write. Who knew. I’m about to get my first real job. A real job. Whoa.”
And then they would like at me and say-“So, do you want paper or plastic?”
I’ll spare you the details of my Oprah Winfrey story, but suffice it to say that I spent the majority of my adolescence in and out of treatment centers and other juvenile facilities. I sobered up at 18 and stayed that way for 8 years. During graduate school, I had a momentary lapse of sanity and decided to do an experiment: Could I drink and not do drugs?
Let’s just say the experiment did not go well at all. I’ve been sober again for almost six years.
Becoming a mother brought the seriousness of my addiction to the forefront again. See, there’s all types of alcoholics and drug addicts. There’s those individuals who have an addiction, but are able to function fairly well in their lives in spite of it. They have families, hold jobs, and meet their responsibilities. Lots of women put the kids to bed and drink themselves into oblivion every night, but are up to cook the kids breakfast in the morning. And then there’s those of us like the woman from Indiana. She’s my kind of alcoholic.
I’m the type of addict who destroys everyone’s lives I touch. If you are unfortunate enough to be near me at the time you can be certain to be affected. I am a train wreck. I can’t function. Not even remotely. And I always end up in handcuffs.
If I don’t stay sober I’m her. I’m that woman. I’d be lucky to be laying in the street with Gus next to me because most likely I’d leave him to go feed my need. I’m that kind of a monster. And it is one that I pray Gus never meets.
Today I’m taking a moment to be grateful for my sobriety.