(Yes, all those are approximate and yes, I had to use a calculator.)
Four years it’s been since I stepped through the doors of the emergency room at Balboa Hospital. Four years since I was hooked up to IV’s that started a path to saving my life. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. Tears and pain. Physical and mental. Self hatred and hatred from family and friends. Guilt and remorse, agony and a sense of defeat that I’m not sure that I can ever explain.
A husband and two little boys, lost and alone. Not knowing what to do or where to go. A wife and a mother, completely checked out and ready to let the depression and the alcohol take whatever breath might be left in her.
Seven days in a hospital bed. Then, twenty-two in Sharp Mesa Vista. I remember trying to bargain with the doctor at Balboa. Just let me get my husband and my boys settled into our new house and then, I PROMISE, I will check myself into the facility. That would have never happened. So, off I went.
One week passed. Getting stronger. Hands not shaking as badly but, my stomach still churning and taking meds to sleep and combat my depression. I had ballooned back up to over 300 pounds from not eating solid foods and drinking my calories. But, this wasn’t all fat. Oh no. Water. I was swollen. Like a water balloon. They have meds for that. In one night, I lost 17 pounds of fluids.
Two weeks down. Opening up a little more in group sessions. Realizing that there are people that have it so much worse than I did. Models and grandmothers. Lawyers and doctors. Shaking has all but stopped and I can finally stomach solid foods.
Three weeks down. I don’t look or feel like the same person. Maybe I CAN do this. I remember standing in front of the soda machines, thinking about when Watson would pick me up to go home how we could stop at TGI Friday’s and have a drink. STOP.
Home. This is harder than I thought. I want to drink. I want to be normal. Normal people can drink. Can’t they?
One month. No drink. You go, girl!
Two months. No drink. Getting there.
Six months. Almost drank. Not throwing this away.
Year two. Look what I have accomplished! And to those that said I couldn’t do it??? I survived sitting on a beach in Hawaii and didn’t touch one fruity tropical drink! I got this!
Year three. Here comes another little man! Still sober!
Year FOUR! I can’t believe it. How in the hell did I do this? Why am I the lucky one that has been able to put down that bottle and to not look back?
Has this been hard? At time, the hardest thing that I ever have done. Has it been worth it? Every time I look at my boys and make a new memory or laugh at something that my husband says and know that he was there and stayed. Stayed when he could have just walked away so easily. Has it been worth it?
How could it not be?