When I first knew I had to get help with alcohol, I was scared to death.
My doctor and I agreed that I would try “dry January” and give my anxiety meds a chance to work. We had a follow-up appointment scheduled for exactly four weeks.
I couldn’t make it three days.
I remember pouring the glass of wine, almost in tears because I did not want to drink it. I did not want to drink; I had to drink. I knew exactly what that mechanism was, and I was terrified. I was terrified because I felt alone.
Who else in my life could understand this or believe it for that matter?
Who could I tell?
Who would take me seriously?
I did not have anyone I could share those dark feelings with—not even my husband. I felt like he would just talk me down off the ledge like he had done so many times before. Out of love, he would do his best to calm my fears, tell me I wasn’t “that” bad, compare me to other friends who drank like I did, and comfort me back to denial aiding me to avoid the reality that I knew in my gut was true: I was addicted to alcohol.
The very first thing that my doctor did was put me in touch with another mom my age, who had quit drinking a year before. He mentioned that we had similar stories. He gave me her number and told me to call her. It took me four days to pick up the phone.
What I learned on that call was that “shame dies when you tell your story in safe places.”
When we shine a light on our experience and we share our truth with someone who understands, it feels like the weight of the world comes off our back.
I felt like I loved this woman after I got off the phone with her. Its almost like she knew what I was going to say before I said it. She knew exactly what I was feeling. She let me cry and I felt a sense of relief that I will never forget.