Still Figuring it Out

I was at a party last night and had some good conversations with people I had just met.  Often times when I speak with new people, it makes me realize I still don’t know what’s next to come in life, which is somewhat scary, but also exciting.

When I was drinking I always felt like I had to prove something in conversations with people I was just introduced to.  I guess it was part of keeping up the facade of having it all together, when in truth, was not the case.  Now I’m open about still trying to figure things out, and although I feel like this gets mixed reactions, I always find it interesting to hear what people have to say when this comes up in a conversation.

For instance last night I had a conversation with a guy who has been sober for 20+ years and I told him I was looking to meet someone.  He of course had advice for me, which is typical of older men, especially when they find out I’m sober.  He also had advice on my sobriety, which is fine, but I was actually annoyed when I first left the party last night.  Although he was very open about his sobriety, I personally find it unnatural to tell someone I just met everything about my journey to sobriety, and how I got here.  I find that people in AA love to give unsolicited advice, which they think is helpful, but for me is just annoying.  I honestly feel like he was just trying to be a nice guy, so today I’m not as bothered by it as I was last night, but as a sober person I don’t want that to be the only thing that defines me.  I often feel like when I meet another sober person who is in AA, they automatically want to compare their level of sobriety, and then it turns into this conversation about how many meetings you go to, and who your sponsor is etc.

The thing I can best compare it to is when I was unemployed and everyone had advice on what I needed to do to find a new job.  People think they have the answer to everything without really knowing your background, and what you eventually want out of life.  I like my job right now, but I also think I eventually want to live somewhere warmer, so I’m still figuring that out which I’m open and honest about.  I feel like in many ways that makes people uncomfortable, so they automatically get into advice mode.

I have now learned to listen to this advice- and then think of what, if anything, I can apply to my life.  If it annoys me and there’s nothing that I find helpful, that’s fine, but overall at least I’m doing the one thing I never did when I was drinking-acknowledging how it actually makes me feel.


Dog Therapy

I adopted a dog yesterday and he has anxiety just like me!  I named him Francois or Frank for short.  He’s awfully sweet, but he’s still getting used to his new home.  I’ve been wanting to adopt a dog for some time now, and I finally took the plunge.  Frank is about 8 years old, and was a stray in the south that was brought up here to find a new home.

I’ve always been a dog person, but I’ve never owned my own.  My family dog, Hopalong Cassidy (Hoppy) was a huge support for me when I returned from rehab.  He was also there when I returned from my shenanigans in Florida.  When I got to my mom’s house from FL, I immediately went outside and gave Hoppy a huge hug.  The comfort he gave me at that moment, was so relieving I cried.  I found out that he also comforted my mom when she was upset about not knowing my whereabouts while I was on my bender.

Right after rehab I was unemployed and attending an out patient treatment program four days a week.  Going for long walks with Hoppy was one of the things that kept me sane.  Hoppy was the last being to see my father alive.  My father passed away while he was at our camp with Hoppy, but it always gave me comfort to think that my dad wasn’t totally alone when he died.

Hoppy became sick himself after I had been sober for about a year.  At that point, I no longer lived with my mom, but I missed him terribly and visited him on a regular basis.   When I was away on a short vacation, he became very sick.  My mom didn’t want to put him down without me being there.  Of course my flight home was cancelled, so I was delayed getting home.  My mom stayed up with him all night while he whined in pain, and called me early the next morning.  She told me to meet her at the vet, as he wasn’t doing well.  I rushed to the vet and met him in the parking lot, while he was still lying in my uncle’s car.  I got in the back seat and held his head telling him it was ok to go, and hugged him.  He passed in my arms while I was holding him, and I’m so glad I was able to say goodbye.

It was very upsetting, but in a way it made me feel like I was also saying goodbye to my father.  I’m so glad I was able to see Hoppy one last time, and I believe that his passing made me even more at peace with my father’s death.

That being said, I’m looking forward to spending time with Frank as I can’t wait to have a new friend to continue my journey with.


Ghosts of St. Paddy’s Days Past

As St. Paddy’s day approaches tomorrow, it reminds me of many drunken ones I celebrated in the past.  One that stand out to me in particular is St. Patrick’s Day 2003.

It was my junior year of college, and I lived off campus with 3 of my best friends in a large house where we would throw raging parties on a regular basis.  As I’m sure is the case at any college, St. Paddy’s Day is an excuse to get absolutely wasted especially if you’re of Irish decent, which I proudly am.  My friends and I decided to throw a party which I believe started in the afternoon, but my memory is a little fuzzy, so don’t hold me accountable to when it actually started.

Per usual we had drinks flowing including beer, liquor, and whatever else we could get our hands on.  This was the time before everyone had cell phones, so we still had a landline and an answering machine.  At some point during the party, the phone rang and my roommate picked it up.  It was our good friend Jerry* who lived down the street calling from the police station.  Apparently he had had a few drinks before heading down to our house.  We’d had a bad snow storm earlier that week so the snow banks were the equivalent of small mountains on the side of the road.  Jerry parked in front of our house, and as luck would have it, the cops drove by and noticed his creative parking job, which was literally perpendicular to the street, up the snowbank.  They asked him to move it, and when he was walking back to his car they realized he seemed drunk.  They gave him a sobriety test which he failed, and even thought they didn’t witness him driving the car-it was clear he had just parked it since the engine was still warm.  They arrested him and took him down to the station.

All of this took place right outside of our house, but no one seemed to notice.  As to why the cops didn’t seem to care that there was a raging party going on inside, I’m not sure.  You could call it the luck of the Irish, or it might have been more of a headache for them to deal with than it was worth. Either way, we didn’t notice our friend being arrested and taken away right outside.

As I mentioned earlier, our friend eventually called our landline with the phone call he was given at the police station.  No one at the party heard the phone, but then my roommate heard the answering machine pick up, so she answered the phone.   The beauty of this was that the whole conversation was recorded on our answering machine.  The exchange included Jerry putting the police officer on the phone to ask my roommate who she was, in which she replied very seriously with her first, middle, and last name, and then the cop asked if there was someone there who could pick up Jerry.  She replied yes, even though we were all hammered by this point.

We were able to find a friend to go pick up Jerry, and then they both came from the police station directly to our party.  Everyone was laughing at the fact that Jerry had actually parked his car on a snow bank, and was caught by the cops.  We also played the answering machine recording over and over again then next day laughing hysterically as we listened.

Although this was a very funny situation at the time, it was not so funny for my friend who received the DWI.  He was actually going to school to be a teacher, and he was supposed to start his student teaching assignment the next semester.  The DWI ended up costing him lots of money in legal fees, and the next semester he was without a licence and had to rely on other people, including me, for rides to and from his student teaching job.

As I look back on this now, it is still a funny story to me, but I also realize how much worse the situation could have been.  My friend could have killed himself or someone else driving, and we could have been arrested for serving minors if the cops had decided to come into our house during the party.  Although I do believe many college kids behave in the way my friends and I did, I’m still amazed that I graduated college without getting arrested as this was a somewhat normal night for me an my friends.

Drunk Lisa survives another St. Paddy’s Day unscathed!

*The names of the people in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.


Drunk & Bloated

As I mentioned in my last post, I was at bachelorette party last weekend, and my good friend Katie brought photo albums from college.  Although they were very entertaining, they were also a shocking reminder of how bloated I was during my Drunk Lisa days.

I am tall and slim, and although my wait has fluctuated by a few pounds here and there, I’ve always looked pretty much the same-or so I thought.  The thing that was most noticeable in the pictures from college was how bloated my face was from drinking.  I always thought I looked pretty damn good in college, and never had a problem meeting guys, but looking back it was shocking.

In almost all of the pictures, my Drunk Lisa eyes were in full effect.  Drunk Lisa eyes were one of the first signs of my inebriation.  Basically my eyes would become glassy, and wonder.  Next was usually the slurring of words, which I always tried to impossibly control.  And then, there were be the growing of my extremities.  I’m tall – about 5’9″ and my friends used to always say that once I was drunk my arms and legs would grow even longer and I would flail them around.  This made it extremely hard for people to help me walk as I never could do so on my own once I was drunk.  My ex-boyfriend actually compared me to one of the inflatable air dancers you see outside of car dealerships.  Although this did annoy me, he was spot on.

It was fun reminiscing and looking through the photos last weekend, but it was also a great reminder of what an ass I made of myself in college, and how much better I not only look,  but also feel being sober.


My Best Friend is Getting Married, and I’m Sober…WOW!

I’ve known my best friend since I was 5 years old.  Our dads worked together, and we met by chance at a McDonald’s playground when our mothers happened to bring us there for lunch one day.  Little did we know then that almost 30 years later we’d still be in one another’s life.

I am fortunate enough to have many great friends who have been supportive of my sobriety.  I know there are many people who can’t say that, but my friends saw me at my worst and stuck by me through it all.

Although my best friend an I didn’t plan on attending the same college, we ended up at not only the same school, but also in the same dorm.  Obviously we were meant to be in one another’s life for the long term because we really haven’t missed a beat since that day we met 29 years ago.

My best friend knows literally everything about me.  She has been there with me when I have been drunk, embarrassing, and down right stupid-but she has never once judged me.  Even when I’ve felt horribly ashamed about my drinking, she’s always been able to make me feel better.  We also had some great times together while drinking, but in the end it all comes down to the fact that we were friends a long time before my addiction was in full force.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting her bridal shower and bachelorette party.   I would have never imagined that I would be hosting her bachelorette party sober 4 years ago.  This just never seemed like a possibility.  I’m sure there are some of you wondering, how can you enjoy a bachelorette party sober?  I’m here to tell you it can be done.

I will tell you that I would not have been able to do this 4 years ago, or even 3 years ago.  I have personally come a long way in my sobriety, so I was able to enjoy myself this weekend without feeling the need to drink.  It also helps that I am 34 years old and not in my 20’s.  I partied very hard in my 20’s, and so did my friends.  Now many of them have settled down so they aren’t getting rip roaring drunk like we used to, which works out well for me.  I’ve also come to realize that many people weren’t getting as drunk as I did in my 20’s like I thought they were.  It’s amazing how once you stop drinking, you notice that non-alcoholic people don’t pound their drinks like I used.  Yeah, they might have a few too many over the course of the night but no one at this party including the 20 somethings who were there, was FDD (Falling Down Drunk) like I would have been.

Needless to say, a lot has changed in the past 4 years.  I was able to enjoy my time with my friends last weekend, without craving a drink.  This seemed unfathomable to me until the past year or so, but one thing that I’ve learned in my sobriety is never to test myself.

Even though I was able to go out and dance at a bar, I always knew I could leave at any point.  We were staying right across the street from where we were, and I was just about ready to go when someone else suggested it.  I’ve put myself in uncomfortable situations in the past where I’ve pretended I wasn’t bothered by other people drinking, and it’s just not worth it.  Now I know to leave or tell whomever I’m with that I’m uncomfortable, and get the hell out!

This may sound very easy if you’re not and alcoholic, but for those of us who are, it’s not extremely difficult.  Alcoholics are people pleasers, so we don’t want to upset anyone by leaving or not going to a social event, especially when it’s hosted by a close friend or family member.  My best advice is never commit to something 100%, and always have an exit strategy.  I still attend parties, but I always say that I might stop by, and I often arrive late and leave early.  I’ve also come to realize that if you’re really friends with someone and they’re supportive of your sobriety, they would rather you be honest about not feeling comfortable in a situation, than put your safety at risk.

It’s okay to say no to things, and set boundaries. This was one of the hardest things for me to do in early sobriety especially with my family.  I wanted everyone to stop worrying about me, so I pretended I was fine in certain situations when I was really in a private hell.  Always remember that your sobriety is more important than other peoples comfort.  Your friends and family will be much more upset if you have a relapse than if you don’t attend an event because you feel uncomfortable.  I will also say that as an alcoholic, I always thought I had to have an explanation of why I was or wasn’t doing something.  I now realize that it’s no one’s business in the end, so if I don’t feel like explaining my reasoning I don’t.

One more thing, no one misses having to take care of Drunk Lisa.  She might be fun for a little while, but then she’s falling down, slurring her words, and being obnoxious. I’m now doing everyone a huge favor by not attending a party or just stopping in quickly.



Remember that time you…..

No, I don’t remember.  I was a blackout drinker, so there are many things I have no recollection of doing.  This came up this past weekend while I was visiting my mom.  She has no idea what it means to be a blackout drinker.  It’s not her fault, she’s lucky enough not to be an alcoholic.  She thought blacking out was equivalent to passing out until I explained exactly what it means to black out.

I would equate blacking out to sleep walking-which I actually used to do until I was about 18 years old.  When I blacked out I would walk, talk, and function, but the next day I could never remember what it is I did or said.  There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning with no recollection of what you did the night before.  Although this didn’t happen every time I drank, it did happen a regular basis.

I decided to be candid with my mom this weekend, when she brought up a night I have no memory of.  She often brings things up that are embarrassing especially when I was heavy in my addiction, and I usually play along by pretending I remember, when really, I have no clue what she’s talking about.

We were chatting Friday night and since it was recently Ash Wednesday, she started to say remember the Ash Wednesday when you lived here?  I replied, actually no, I don’t remember it at all.   I told her how there are so many instances that she brings up that I truly have no memory of, and I’m extremely sorry that they have made an impact her life, but I honestly don’t remember acting or saying many things while under the influence.

I have avoided being honest about my lack of memory since I began blacking out, and I’ve made the choice that I will no longer do this.  I’ve been sober for almost four years now, and by continuing to pretend I remember instances that have happened in the past, I’m not being honest with myself about my addiction.

Not being able to remember things while drunk has always made me very ashamed, but I’m not doing anything to further my recovery by continuing to pretend I remember certain events.  It may seem silly to anyone reading this that it has taken me this long to realize I no longer need to lie about these things, but it once again brings to light how tricky this disease can be.

I feel as though I am comfortable in my sobriety and extremely honest with my friends and family about my addiction, but the weight I felt lifted when actually confessing to my mom that I don’t remember many things I did during my addiction was tremendous.


Rehab’s for Quitters

I entered rehab on May 13, 2013.  I’m just realizing now that this might be looked as a very unlucky date as it has the number 13 in it twice, but for me it was one of the luckiest days of my life.  It gave me a second chance at life.

Entering rehab was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I didn’t want to go, but at that point in my life, it was the only choice I had if I wanted to continue to live.  I was home for over a week between leaving the hospital in Florida, and entering rehab in Pennsylvania.  In all honesty, I was hoping that I could somehow find a way to get out of going, but in the end I knew there was no other choice but to confront my issue with alcohol.

Before entering, I spoke with a close friend who had completed a rehab program about a year prior, and she made me feel much better about going.  She said it was tough, but she came to like it and by the end she was sad to being saying goodbye to the friends she’d made.

When I checked into the facility, an old mansion with beautiful grounds, I was scared but ready to move forward with my life.  My mom and I met with the intake counselor who asked me some questions, and then my mom went on her way.  I didn’t cry, but I was sad to see my mom go as I wasn’t sure what was next.

After my luggage was searched, I was introduced to my buddy, a 19 year old named Meghan.  She immediately asked me what my DOC was.  My DOC?  I replied.  She said yes, your drug of choice.  I answered alcohol, and she then went on to tell me that she’d been in and out of rehab multiple times since she was 14.  Her DOC was anything and everything she could get her hands on, most recently crack.  I was shocked!  Where was I?  Was I supposed to be in with people who used hardcore drugs like crack?  I tried to play it cool, but wondered if I’d made a huge mistake.

I was placed in the detox unit even though I’d  been sober for ten days.  Apparently it was protocol, which I actually didn’t mind since I had a room to myself.  I attended the sessions and was overwhelmed by the different people in the program.  There were men and women of all ages and backgrounds.  This facility had nationally recognized programs for doctors and pharmacists with addictions, as well as a specialized program for law enforcement workers.  The men and women were kept in separate wings because fraternizing was forbidden.  We did come together for morning and afternoon meetings as well as recess where we could play games and go outside -weather permitting.  All of the women I met were friendly, and many of them had been in rehab programs multiple times, which seemed like hell to me.

I was still questioning whether or not I would survive a full month in this place since I really didn’t feel like I could relate to many of the people there.  On my second night, another woman was placed in my room with me in the detox unit.  Her name was Kate, and she ended up being my saving grace.

Kate was 37 and pregnant, but we were very much alike.  Her family had pressured her to enter a program because she was pregnant, but besides that she didn’t think she really had a problem.   I had more in common with Kate then any of the other woman in the facility.  We had similar senses of humor, and were able to laugh about being in there with all these crazy addicts.  The main difference was that Kate didn’t consider herself an alcoholic and I did.  My rock bottom was so bad, that I knew I literally would die if I drank again.  Kate on the other hand, had not hit her bottom quite yet, but she would in time.

I am a big believer in the fact that people come in and out of your life for certain reasons, and Kate came into my life to help me get through rehab.  We became very good friends and were lucky enough to be placed in a room together when we were done with detox.  We talked late into the night about our lives and how we ended up here.  We also laughed about the situation we were currently in, and wondered how the hell things got so bad that we were sleeping in twin beds as grown women.

If you go to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, you’ll hear many people say that AA is the only thing an alcoholic needs to become and stay sober.  I do not agree with this.  I think AA is one avenue that works for some people,  but for me this was not the case.  I tried AA when I first attempted getting sober, but I needed to go to rehab to really learn about my addiction.  Before rehab, I didn’t understand that alcoholism is a disease.  It is a mental health illness that cannot be controlled by sheer will power.  I cannot speak for others, but for me personally I had to really understand that alcoholism was in my make up, and that I have no control over the effects it has on my body.  Coming to this realization was my biggest takeaway from rehab.

I do believe that AA is a great option for maintaining sobriety, as I still attend AA meetings occasionally.  I have recently found podcasts to be a very helpful tool in maintaining my sobriety as well.  I personally enjoy the Bubble Hour: – a webcast where women share their personal stories of alcoholism and becoming sober.  I’ve also found yoga to be an important part of my recovery.  I started taking a pilates/yoga class when I got out of rehab and then continued my yoga practice which has helped me learn to meditate, as well as take time for myself to heal.

I believe that recovery is a very personal thing, so there is not a one size fits all solution.  If you think you might have an addiction, I encourage you to really think about yourself and research what options might work best for you.  There are so many resources on the internet that can be helpful, but i will say the first step is at least seeing what is out there, and then maybe reaching out to someone.  I wish I had done that a lot sooner than I did, so please contact me as I’m very open to helping others.



Rock Bottom

If you’re new to sobriety or thinking about becoming sober, you’ll often hear people talk about their rock bottom.  This is usually the turning point in an individual’s life when he or she realizes that they can no longer continue to drink the way they have been.  For some people it may not take much for them to realize that they need to stop drinking, for others it can take something major like an arrest, hospitalization, injury, or even a near death experience, before the person realizes that there are only two choices-stop drinking or die.

Oh how I wish my rock bottom was as simple as an injury.  I had been falling and hurting myself for years.  I had staples put in my head twice, and was hospitalized on many other occasions where I have no recollection of how I ended up in the hospital.  Although embarrassing, I still couldn’t stop drinking.

Like many alcoholics, my rock bottom was as extreme as my drinking.  There were many times over the years where I tried controlling my drinking which always failed.  I knew it was a problem, so I would often hide my drinking from others, and drink before I went to social events.  I know now that it was due to anxiety, but at the time I just thought it was my way of loosening up before parties.  I would also try to control my drinking in front of people, but then go home and binge.  It truly was a case of once I had one drink in my system, I couldn’t stop drinking until I passed out. On some mornings I would wake up hung over and start drinking again.  I was so ashamed and embarrassed, it was truly a horrible time in my life that I’m glad is over.

I finally admitted that I was an alcoholic after a boyfriend, who had friends in recovery, made me realize it.  I was not happy about this, because although I admitted it, I was not ready to accept it.  I felt pressure not to let him and my family down, so after detoxing in a hospital, I had my first go at sobriety.  This lasted for three months.

I attended AA meetings, and saw a therapist, but I still couldn’t relate to other alcoholics.  I thought I had nothing in common with them, and didn’t actually listen to their stories.  Looking back now, I know that I wasn’t ready to accept all of my issues and really work on myself.  I was trying to remain sober for everyone else, which ultimately led to a relapse that lasted for seven long months.

I was in a very bad place during those seven months.  My boyfriend and I broke up, I was still grieving over the death of my father, I was unemployed, and I had to move back in with my Mom.  I would go weeks without drinking, and then break down and go on a binge that would last days.  This cycle continued, and I continued to hurt my family and friends.

What I initially thought was my rock bottom took place in April of 2013.  My friends and I were hosting a wine tasting for a charity we had started, and I still wanted to be involved.  My friends even said, they were fine with me drinking at the event as long as I didn’t go overboard.  Being in the throws of my addiction,  I actually thought I could handle this, but of course I was wrong.

I took the bus down on a Friday night and drank vodka during the four hour trip.  I arrived at Port Authority happy as a clam, and decided to quickly stop at a bar for another drink before heading to my sisters.  This is literally the last thing I fully remember.

I vaguely remember being told not to attend the event on Saturday.  On Sunday when I was supposed to leave, I checked into a hotel and decided that was it-I was done with life and going to kill myself.

I was drunk this whole time, and I should also note, that I had stopped taking my antidepressants about a month before because I didn’t think they were helping me.  As I’m sure you’re aware, drunk people do not make the best decisions. My plan was to take a whole bottle of Tylenol PM and hopefully die in my sleep.  Please, never, ever try this.  It made me horribly sick, and also led to me losing control of my extremities.  I remember lying on the bathroom floor, and trying to get back to the bed but I couldn’t actually move my legs properly.  When I was able to get up, my legs were like jello and would come out from under me.  It was truly scary.

While all this was going on, I didn’t arrive on my bus back and my my called my sisters searching for me.  My sister called me and finally figured out where I was-I kept telling her I was in different places, partly because I didn’t want her to find me like this, and partly because at one point I was so disoriented, I truly couldn’t remember. She showed up to the hotel, found a suicide note I wrote, and called an ambulance.  She told me later that she honestly thought I might have brain damage because of how out of it I was acting.

I was taken to the hospital and put in the psych ward.  At one point I thought there were bed bugs crawling on me, and insisted they let me leave.  I was eventually released without having to stay for 72 hours which is usually the protocol.

My whole family was very upset and my mom and aunt who picked me up and drove me home, made me agree to attend an outpatient program.  I agreed, but still was not in acceptance.

The weeks following that incident I attended the out patient group only once, and then lied and said I went another time but really drank instead.  On May 1, 2013, I woke up hung over from a night of drinking.  My mother was very upset with me, but I got ready for work (somehow I was able to land a decent job during this time) and ran out of the house.  I went to work, and decided I was done with life.  I bought a plane ticket to Fort Lauderdale, grabbed my things, and told my boss I had to take my dog to the vet.   I rushed out of the office, stopped at the liquor store, bought a bottle of vodka, and drove to the airport.  I chugged the vodka in the airport parking lot, and rushed to make the flight.  I ended up missing the flight to Fort Lauderdale,  and a kind woman who could see I was drunk, arranged for me to get on another flight to Jacksonville later that afternoon.  I really didn’t care where I was going just as long as I could leave.

I had time to kill before the flight so I went to the airport hotel, got a room, and took a nap.  Then I ordered a pizza (Drunk Lisa loved her pizza), and eventually went to the hotel bar and had a few drinks before heading back to the airport.  I boarded the flight, although I don’t remember it at all.

The next thing I remember is being in a cab and asking the driver to take me to a hotel by the beach.  He took me to a hotel and I continued my drinking.  The hotel didn’t have a bar, but they did have bottles of wine you could purchase so of course I did that.  I holed myself up in my room and continued to drink through May 2nd and 3rd.   My phone was ringing off the hook, but eventually it died.

Meanwhile, my family was doing everything they could to figure out where I had gone.  They called the police who weren’t much of a help, although they eventually did find my car at the airport.  My sister was able to get a hold of my credit card company to see the last place I used it, and that’s how they tracked me down at the hotel.

At this point, I was trying to get the courage to kill myself, but once again drunk people aren’t good at completing tasks, so this proved to be another failed attempt at taking my life.  I tried the plastic bag over the head trick, but I couldn’t do that.  I then broke a glass and tried to slit my wrists but the glass was too dull and didn’t do much.  The hotel phone was now ringing off the hook, and finally I answered it.  My brother was on the other end, and when I heard how upset he was, I knew the charade was over.  He said that he thought I was dead.  I was so ashamed for putting my family through everything that I had, and I knew I couldn’t end my life in this way.  He eventually called the cops, and I was escorted to the hospital.

Given all that had happened you think I would have been in a bad mood, but at the hospital I was hitting on a nurse and cracking jokes.  My brother in law who was in Florida for business, came to the hospital to meet me.  It was good to see someone I knew, and I really appreciated him coming to see me.  Apparently my blood alcohol content was around 0.3, which results in death for many people.  The doctor said he was shocked I was coherent and speaking.

I was once again placed in the psych ward, but this time they were holding me for 72 hours.  My mom and aunt flew down to the hospital, and seeing them was one of the worst days of my life.  My mother was so upset she probably should have been hospitalized herself.  My aunt is in recovery, so thankfully she understood the troubles of being an alcoholic, and was able to comfort my mom.

I met with a psychiatrist and explained that I had gone off my anti-depressants and was drunk when I wanted to take my own life.  He put me back on my medication, but also said that I clearly had an addiction and needed to seek treatment.  I was also visited by a social worker, Les, who was a savior for my mom.  He was able to help her cope with everything she’d just gone through, and said that as long as I sought treatment for my addiction, I would be very successful.  He also said that I was from a “superior gene pool” which we still laugh about today.

I had to agree to enter some sort of treatment program before the hospital would release me, which I did.  I couldn’t wait to get out of there, since the floor they were holding me on was filled with severely mentally ill people.  Although it was scary at the time, it made me realize how lucky I was to have a disease that could be treated by not drinking, and dealing with my issues.

I left the hospital and entered a rehab facility 10 days later.  There were no beds available until then, so this was a real test of my commitment to myself and my sobriety.  Because my bottom was so bad, I actually didn’t want to drink at all during those 10 days.  I didn’t want to go to rehab, but I knew I had to, so two days after my 31st birthday, I entered a rehab facility in Pennsylvania.

Oh what a long road I still had ahead of me….

Not So Drunk Lisa?

Why is the title of my blog Not So Drunk Lisa?  It all goes back to college….where I really began my career as a raging alcoholic.  I loved drinking.  I lived for happy hour, and ladies night.  I would get black out drunk on a regular basis and became know as Drunk Lisa, which I HATED.  Even though I hated this nickname, it didn’t stop me from continuing to drink like a crazy person.

Although I knew I drank a lot, and did some stupid things while drunk, I did not consider myself to be an alcoholic.  All of my friends drank as much as I did, and the college I attended was knows as a party school.  You were somewhat respected for binge drinking at a party on a weeknight, and then making it to class the next morning.  I also managed to do well in school, graduating with honors which shocked many of my peers. I still remember the looks I received from a few people when the honors program members were asked to stand up during the graduation ceremony. One friend actually thought I was joking and then whispered to me, “should you be standing up?”.

I was honestly lucky to be at graduation considering I partied so hard the night before, my best friend and I didn’t wake up to our alarms blaring.  Luckily my roommate had to work that morning, so she woke us up.  I changed quickly and we ended up making it on time, although still drunk.  My family was not happy.  I was supposed to leave the tickets for the graduation in the mailbox the night before, but never did.  When I rushed outside to get to graduation, they were waiting there annoyed.  I realized on the way to the ceremony I had dozens of missed calls from different family members, but in the end we were there, so I felt like there was no problem.

After the ceremony we had our families to our house, and my Mom was very, very upset with me.  I actually ended up crying because I felt so bad, but not bad enough to stay sober.  We continued our celebration through the night.

A normal person would possibly take a step back, look at the events of that weekend, and question his or her drinking.  Drunk Lisa on the other hand, did not!  This was my final weekend in college, and I honestly thought I would grow out of this phase of binge drinking.  Unfortunately this cycle would continue for another 9 years before I accepted that I had a problem with alcohol.

This is one of many stories I will share in my blog in hopes that there are women and men out there who understand the struggle of finding the path to sobriety.