Friday, March 2, 2012

Confessions of a Failure

Today's post is not at all on topic so you may wish to skip it. If you are looking for something fun to read hop on over to PK's place, Sunnygirl wrote another lovely Friday Fantasy story that I guarantee will be much more entertaining.


Today is a momentous day for me. It is the one year anniversary of something I am very proud of. Yet that thing I'm so proud of was a result of something that causes me great shame too. It's something I hid from all but the closest people in my life. Something I never really talk about, even now.

I never thought I would write about this here, but I find I am struggling to move on. I'm hoping if I write about it, get it all down in black and white that I will finally be able to put it behind me.

Today is the one year anniversary of my sobriety. I'm an alcoholic. It makes me cry just to type that. I never thought that would be a label I would have to own, but I do.

I come from a long line of alcoholics, my father and all 5 of his siblings were alcoholics. Both of their parents, my grandparents, were alcoholics. All 3 of my siblings as well as myself have had issues with alcohol.

I know there is a gene that puts people at a higher risk for alcoholism, I would hazard a guess that I have that gene. I also have had issues with depression and anxiety on and off my entire life which I know also puts me at a higher risk.

Much like sex my father introduced me to alcohol at a young age. There are pictures of me as a toddler sitting on his lap drinking a beer. I hadn't even finished grade school before I was regularly raiding the alcohol cabinet in my parents home.

When I met Musicman we were both drinkers. During the early years of our marriage we went out drinking with friends almost every weekend, but we didn't keep it in the house and we rarely drank at home. At that point it wasn't a problem as I had worked very hard to learn limits with some success.

I stopped drinking when I became pregnant with our first child, we also stopped going out very much because I was not comfortable being around people who were drinking when I wasn't. I wasn't tempted to drink, I just didn't enjoy being the only sober person at the party. I did not drink during my second pregnancy either. During the interim and following my second pregnancy I did drink occasionally, but it was not a problem.

I don't really know exactly when I let the drinking get so out of hand. I was busy working, raising kids, taking care of my home and family. Musicman and I became the primary caretakers for first his Mother and brother and then later my Mother. Musicman became very ill and required a transplant to survive. During all that time alcohol was not an issue.

It started innocently enough, Musicman took a second job working at a beer distributor. It was owned by a family member of his and he did it as a favor to them. They needed the help of someone they could trust so when they asked he agreed. He started occasionally bringing home a case of beer for the weekend. Still it wasn't a problem.

After a while I started asking him to bring it home a little more often. I found a beer or two after work while I was cleaning and cooking dinner was relaxing. At this point it still wasn't a problem, I'd have a few beers then dinner with the family and everything was good.

I started experiencing job burnout and decided to change careers. I signed up for school and started taking classes. I loved my classes, I really enjoyed the physical and mental challenge of it. Then I lost my job. I found a new job a few months later and I realized I couldn't keep up with both school and work, so I made the decision to quit school. At the time it was the right thing to do for my family, but maybe not so much for me. A few beers before dinner became a six pack or more a night and I'd skip dinner. Things were no longer so good.

Musicman tried to help me but I was not receptive to his help. I  didn't think I had a problem.

A year and a half ago two things happened. I got stuck in the middle of a huge fight between my brother and mother and I lost my job. I spiraled out of control quickly and was drinking a 12 pack a day or more. This went on for many months. I realized I had a problem but I didn't care anymore.

I tried twice to quit but failed. I realized that if I didn't do something I was going to die and I didn't want that. I tried again, it was awful, I was physically ill from withdrawal for over a week. Musicman took care of me.

Since then I have worked very hard to recover. I started eating right and exercising and have had great results. That was the easy part. Facing the guilt and shame of what I did is much harder to deal with and is still ongoing.

I still cry when I think of how badly I failed, what a disappointment I've been to Musicman. I've come a long way in my recovery and he has been by my side every step of the way supporting me. I still have a long way to go, but I'm determined, I will not fail, I will not let Musicman down again.



23 comments:

  1. You might feel like you are a failure but YOU ARE NOT!!! To get to the place you are now took a LOT of work and determination. I cannot begin to understand just how much work but I am sure it seemed so overwhelming at times but yet you KEPT GOING. For yourself, Musicman and your children.

    Please do not beat yourself up. Today you should hold your head up high and be proud of everything you have accomplished.

    I grew up with alcoholic parents. Emotional and physical abuse until I left home on my 18th birthday. I have never drank alcohol. Because I am positive it IS a genetic disease. You are predisposed to it and yet you have worked very hard to make a better life for yourself and your family.

    I don't know how old your children are but every day you are there for them they will remember.

    Stay strong. Sending you positive thoughts and wishing you nothing but the best.

    Fondly, Sky

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  2. There is no shame in alcoholism. There is no shame in admitting you have a problem. Celebrate your accomplishment! ! ! Every day you stay sober is a good day.

    Have you tried AA? It is a place to find people who are fighting the same fight you are.

    God bless and congratulations.

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  3. Faerie, thanks for sharing about your struggles. I can imagine it will help others who have been through or are going through the same or similar struggles. You're not a failure. You had a problem, you took steps to remedy that problem, you continue to take steps to make sure you don't go back there again. You're doing a wonderful thing for yourself and your whole family. It may not always be easy, but it's worth it, you're worth it, and I'm sure Musicman wouldn't want to be anywhere else than by your side. (((hugs)))

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  4. WOw...failure is certainly not the word I would use...successful, hardworking, strong....This is an anniversary you should be very proud of and celebrate! abby

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  5. You failed at something, but you're not a failure AT ALL. Sometimes we have to fail a little so we treasure our successes more.

    You are amazing and triumphant, and I applaud you. Congrats on your one year anniversary!

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  6. You are NOT A FAILURE. Alcoholism is a disease. You have a disease and like any disease it can be cured. You have accomplished the cure. That's not FAILURE that is SUCCESS.
    Be proud of yourself and your accomplishment. I am sure MM is happy to be at your side just the way you were at his.
    Now that you have told your tale, bury it and live the rest of your life without the guilt and shame you have needlessly heaped on your shoulders.

    As for my story, that is fiction. True life is much more interesting and heartbreaking because it entails the real lives of people. Your story invokes sympathy,compassion, courage and bravery of a real person. YOU.

    Put that head up and keep marching forward friend.

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  7. I'm very impressed. You've done one of the hardest things in the world to do. Not only have you battled an addiction but remained sober during a very stressful year with your Husband's surgery. Happy Anniversary!

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  8. I think that there is a difference between failing, and being a failure. It's how we learn from our mistakes that creates the difference.

    Sounds to me like you have turned it into a success.

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  9. (((Hugs, Faerie!))) I think it's great that you're getting on with your life and I agree with everyone else, you are NOT a failure.

    Love,
    Kitty

    P.S. My uncle was an alcoholic and it destroyed his marriage. Good luck!

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  10. congratulations on your anniversary. a massive milestone. be proud. own it. you rock.

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  11. I believe the only true route to being a failure is not to try. Nothing I have read here indicates to me you are a person who does not try.

    Congratulations on your anniversary and I will mark my calendar to say it again next year.

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  12. Faerie,
    Sorry, I'm late here. I think you have conquered something HUGE and there is no doubt that your Musicman is terribly proud of you. Your determination is proof that you will not fail or slip and with him at your side you'll both be okay. Thanks for sharing this with us! It only makes me respect you more.

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  13. Thank you all for the wonderfully supportive comments. You have given me a lot to think about. I will continue to work on putting my life back together and getting stronger.

    I've learned a lot about myself this last year as I have faced the hard questions surrounding what I did. In many ways asking and answering those questions is what led me here to this community and this lifestyle.

    I'm learning to ask for help and support when I need it, something I've never been good at. I'm learning who the "real" me is and embracing it. This whole experience has changed me in ways I could never have anticipated but I do believe it is a change for the better.

    Most importantly I'm learning to accept that I'm not perfect and I can't do everything for everyone all the time. I was stalled on the journey of life for a little while but I'm moving again and I like where the road is taking me.

    Since I write primarily for myself I never considered that this post my actually help someone else. I believe everyone has a story to tell, this is mine with all its ups and downs. It always surprises me that someone might be interested in hearing it, to think that it may actually benefit someone who may be struggling also.... it kind of boggles the mind a little.

    Thank you again to everyone, your support and friendship has helped me more then I can express.

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  14. I have an enormous amount of respect for people who work to overcome the really hard stuff, their mistakes (because we all make them), and to stay on the path they want to be on. Good for you - you should be proud.

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  15. Hello faeire,
    I am aware that this is a rather personal entry for my first hello; however, your words really struck something inside of me.

    In my world you did not fail, you experienced. You had a journey, lessons that you needed to learn and you have and you continue to do so. Shame is an interesting feeling, isn't it? We often feel it drastically when it comes to our own personal choices yet we tend to give others the benefit of the doubt and judge with a softer word.

    Accepting responsibility and accountability for one's actions takes courage and shows a strong character and perhaps you might want to view yourself like that: brave, strong, willing and wanting to survive.

    Your journey will most likely be filled with even more bumps but remember there is always an opposite, a balance to everything we call life.

    Wishing you peace,
    ~a

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  16. Congrats, congrats, congrats. You are not a failure. You are an amazing success story. Remember, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are suffering from an illness. And you are doing a great job of battling the illness. And, gosh, you are a strong young woman, overcoming both abuse and alcohol in your life.

    And one blogger asked if you go to AA meetings. If you stayed sober without the meetings for a year, that is quite an accomplishment. But, remember, the fight is never won. It is one day at a time. The disease is always doing pushups hoping to get you at a vulnerable moment. So I hope you give AA a try. You will find many supportive people. And I think it is great that you shared your story. Many alcoholics are so ashamed they try to hide their disease.

    Good luck and many cyber hugs.

    FD

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  17. I don't think you are a failure at all faerie. You have battled with this and came out stronger because of it. That is success in itself. I'm sure MM is very very proud of you, as you should be of yourself.

    Dee x

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  18. I didn't see this post yesterday. I didn't know it was up until I began reading the one you put up Sunday. Look at the friends you have made here and the support you've been given by those you have touched through this blog. You've managed to control your drinking, you have shared some of the pain you experienced growing up, you've taken care of your husband and you've let Musicman help you. It seems to me you've accomplished a lot in a short time.

    Hugs,
    PK

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  19. Faerie,

    You have failed and you should be ashamed.

    I hope you are still reading and have not banned me for life, because that was meant as encouragement. I am a big believer in the value of failing. I hate to garner wisdom from Mythbusters, but “failure is an option.” We are all brought up to believe that if we try hard enough we will succeed. Well, it is simply not so. No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to carry a tune. I am tone deaf and monotone is my singing. SM is an armature flutist and can easily carry a tune. It hurts me, because I cannot reproduce the sounds I hear, even poorly. You cannot drink, don’t convince yourself you can handle it now that you are aware of the problem, because you will not be able to. I wrote yesterday about people who lack self awareness, you are not one of those people, don’t let yourself become one.

    As for the shame, carry it, own it and never let it go. It will keep you from falling off the wagon. Don’t live in shame, but be proud of your shame. My biological father was an alcoholic and knew it, his shame caused him to drink himself to death – he did not own his shame. My step-father (the only one I called Dad) was a recovering alcoholic who owned his shame. He admitted to the damage caused by his drinking, spent his life making it up to his family and could recount his shame to other alcoholics without letting it rule his life.

    The person who succeeds at everything does not know what a challenge is and has never overcome adversity. Love your failure because it will make every single success after it feel so much better. Sorry for the longwinded and late response, but your post moved me and I had to let you know

    TTFN
    Mr. No Name

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  20. Thank you for the lovely comment, longwinded and late are perfectly fine. Funny, I too am tone deaf and married to an amateur musician.

    I understand what you are saying and I think this post is just the next step in owning that shame. My goal is to be like your step-father and not your biological father. I'm an optimist at heart and have every reason to believe I will achieve that goal.

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  21. congratulations on the year of sobriety - that spells success...

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