So Part 1 left on with the fact I thought spending time in a mental institution was a good idea… If you haven’t yet read https://aussiebutterfly.com/2016/03/29/part-1-once-a-ghost-now-a-butterfly-my-journey-of-recovery/ please click and read first.
So back to the journey…..
The fateful night that started my journey with recovery was yet another decomposing night of drinking that ended with me in a jealous rage because my partner was ‘flirting’ with the barmaid. I don’t recall what happened from the point that of the evening because I was prone to blackouts. This blackout was to be my undoing.
I came out of one only to find myself sliding down a wall screaming at my partner. I tried to stop myself from being crazy but I couldn’t. I knew what I was doing was bonkers and yet I couldn’t stop the madness from consuming me. I embarrassed my partner in front of his friend and his wife whom I only meet that day.
The next evening as we lay in bed, after avoiding speaking about the incident all day, I whispered ‘I think I have a problem with alcohol’, he said bluntly ‘No shit!’. That was the 4 Jan 15. The next day he left and my world finally crumbled enough for me to seek help. I drank only twice more after that day and the final nights of drinking were thankfully uneventful.
I drank 2 litres of red wine on the 25 Jan and didn’t even remotely feel drunk. I wanted to escape but I couldn’t get drunk. I knew it was over. That was the last drink I took!
I went to the Doctor a week after I first said ‘I think I have a problem with alcohol’ and told him my story thinking he would put me in a mental institution and I could sleep. Mind you it took me nearly an hour to tell him. I was crying and unable to talk. He saw other patients while I cried. He had no plans to send me to a mental institution, instead he sent me to be assessed by the Defence Force Alcohol Rehabilitation Education Program (AREP). I lied about how much I drank because I couldn’t imagine that I needed to do an inpatient program. Plus I had 2 dogs who would look after them.
Though my dogs being a major worry I was more embarrassed that everyone would know I had a problem with alcohol. How utterly humiliating! Now how I didn’t think my behaviour when drunk wasn’t utterly humiliating is something I can’t even figure out! Seriously at one Christmas work party I was rather amorous with one of the bosses in front of his wife WHO was a boss as well!!! Eeek how mortifying!
My lies didn’t work! I was informed that I be would required to do the 28 day inpatient program! I was devastated but was slowly realising that my life was completely unmanageable. Siting in my Officer Commanding’s office and telling her and my direct boss that I was going to rehab was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do behind asking for help in the first place.
When I entered AREP I had been sober for a number of weeks but I was still saying that I just was struggling with life and that alcohol wasn’t my problem, he was, she was, that was, this was… but not my best friend.
The fateful day came when they loaded us on a minivan and took us to a 12-step recovery meeting. As we were walking in the counsellor stopped us in a circle, he held my hand and said looked directly at me then said to the group, ‘Listen for the similarities and not the differences’.
For the life of me I was pissed that he was talking directly to me. There was a group of us yet he seemed to speak to me only. We sat down inside and the first speaker told my story. The fear, shame, hatred, suicidal thoughts! All of it, she shared my story.
We were required to keep a journal in AREP and I was sure they had given her a copy!
The chairman asked if anyone from AREP wanted to share. I don’t know what possessed me but I stood up and went to the front. I didn’t say ‘Hi I’m Robyn, I’m an alcoholic’ I wasn’t there yet. Instead I almost proudly said ‘I’m Robyn and I have alcohol dependence issues’. Like really issues I had plenty of issues but I was more than just dependent!
The older, sober members laughed. I didn’t get it then but later I would. After the meeting I said I wanted to go to another one. The counsellor gave me a woman’s number who I called. She picked me up the next morning and took me to a women’s recovery meeting.
By the time that meeting was drawing to a close I knew what my problem was. I didn’t yet know how I would come to feel free but I knew I was a very sick young lady. When the chair asked me if I wanted to share I said yes and then for the first time said the words, ‘Hi my name is Robyn and I am an alcoholic’.
The journey to recovery was on its’ way!
Join me in Part 3 for the battle to get sane….