June 7, 2020

How I Learned to Respect my Alcoholism.

Alcoholism: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

I was born and raised in Central Texas, where every year there is a threat of flash flooding. Flash flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in Texas.

As little as six inches of water can float vehicles and the passengers inside to their demise. I was educated from an early age that if you encounter a flooded road, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” Never try to walk, swim, or drive through swift water. I was taught to respect the force of water and what it has the power to do.

Then, I encountered alcoholism. I dipped my toe in that swift water as I could feel the pull of addiction starting to occur. The obsession, the cravings, the desperate attempts to control my drinking.

I knew in my gut something wasn’t right. I knew in my gut I was drinking way too much and it was getting worse. I knew in my gut alcohol was no longer a positive in my life—it had become a disturbing negative.

I have had the painful opportunity of seeing someone I love and care about very much be pulled into the swift waters of addiction. I have seen up close and personal the darkness, suffering, sadness, and devastation that it can result in. I have witnessed the utter heartbreaking consequences of being swept down the roaring river of addiction. I have experienced the helpless feeling of not being able to save them.

I respect the progressive force of alcoholism and what it has the power to do.

I believe that this wisdom is what saved me.

I recognized the warning signs. I did not ignore the red flags, because they were there for a reason. The fear of being pulled into the raging river of addiction was stronger than my pride.

I reached out to my doctor and I told him I needed help. I told someone I trusted with my feelings that I thought I needed to stop drinking. I started educating myself about high-functioning alcoholism and reading books from other strong women whose stories I could relate to.  I started listening to some amazing sober podcasts for inspiration.

I did not feel alone anymore; I didn’t feel shameful. I felt grateful and strong that I caught it before it had the chance to kill me.

While I still had some control, I made the choice to turn around and not drown.

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