In the mornings, looking over the Ventura sunrise, I began to show up at the grocery store to buy liters of gross white wine.I was thirty years old, I had very little money at that point but I truly could not stop drinking around the clock. Alcohol had me in its clutches.
I thought I could fool the checker at the grocery store by purchasing a potato or something small with my wine so that they would think I was having the wine for the evening. I would also go to many different stores but eventually I was recognized everywhere I went.
One time I went to this liquor store at 8am sharp. I casually walked in slowly to pretend I was in no hurry for my wine. The guy at the counter rang me up and then smiled “I haven’t seen you in a while.” I felt caught and ashamed. I was not fooling anyone but myself.
While most alcoholics drink everything they can and pass-out, I always saved a glass for the morning. I desperately wanted to avoid the pain of withdrawals and therefore I stayed very disciplined about that rule. I rescued myself from myself in a sense.
But..more problems accrued. Beside the normal financial problems and relationship problems that most alcoholics create, I had essentially leaped into being part of some Jerry Springer Show production with no way out.
Pregnant! But by whom? I had been sleeping with two guys off and on during the summer. The days were blurry and my peculiar ability to remember dates and times suddenly disappeared while my life was being lived out in the fog of substance abuse.
Well, I did what any normal person would do and left a message on one of the guys answering machines about the pregnancy. It is fair to say this did not go over well. But I did not know when he would return my call and I needed to talk to him now. I had a hunch he was the father because condoms were used in all my sexual encounters except for one time when this guy (who I actually knew for many years) had sex with me in the middle of the night with no protection as I laid sleeping.
The message went something like this, “Hi (jerk -0ff) , if your daughter is there turn off this message immediately (long pause) but I am pregnant. Please call me back.” I heard from him shortly and he was like “get rid of it.” But I thought I was pro-life and I was very hurt how insensitive he was being.
Please know this: All my life I was exposed to the 12 steps of AA. I knew them by heart. I looked forward to some at an early age. For example, the inventory one…oh yeah. I was ready to do that by age twelve. But there was one..an important one I could never fully understand and nor could anyone else unless they are truly in the grips of addiction.
Step One: I admit I am powerless over alcohol; that my life had become unmanageable. Powerless? Unmanageable? Hmmm…that was starting to make sense. And for once in a long time I had a moment of clarity. My life had become unmanageable by me.
But powerlessness? I don’t know. I simply thought I am pregnant I will go to meetings and give the baby up for adoption. And when I say simply I mean…I was totally freaking out and was at a total loss for a solution. It is one thing for me to abuse myself and whole other to try to bring someone else in the world while I was so sick.
I got in the car, drunk, and headed to my first AA meeting. But I was spinning and inebriated therefore I ended up in Taco bell instead.
From then on…maybe every forty minutes I would declare that I would not drink every again along with smoking nasty cigarettes, too. But then the withdrawal would come and i had to have the drink. I truly belonged in the hospital but the only thing I figured out was that I was absolutely powerless over alcohol.
I fell to pieces and made an appointment with Planned Parenthood to see when I could get an abortion. In my eyes, I would have killed that baby anyway. At the point of no return nothing is clear.
The guy who got me pregnant paid for half and never spoke to me again.
I was early enough in my pregnancy to have the at-home abortion with medications. Therefore, early in the morning, completely alone, I follwed all the doctor’s directions and for 12 hours with a glass of wine in one hand and a Tylenol 3 in the other, I cramped, I cried and I died inside a little more that day. It was the loneliest day of my life. And I still live with the guilt of having to make that decision fifteen years later.
But I was powerless and unless there was a miracle, I was just going to continue to go down farther and farther into the abyss. Luckily, miracles do happen….