I had ambulances and seizures. Apparently those seizures were what we would get when we drink a lot of alcohol and suddenly stop. Once, I was sitting at the bus stop, and all of a sudden my hands and body seized up. I couldn’t move and I literally tipped over like a wooden doll on the bus bench. I had fallen another time in the kitchen, just completely blacked out and fell, and hit the floor. I remember my head bouncing. I thought it was just a second, but I don’t know how long I was down for. So there were signs like that. So I thought, either I’m going to die, or I got to live. I have to make a choice. It can’t go on like this.

I did not want to drink. It’s the most bizarre thing in the world to be in an addiction and to continue doing the very thing I do not want to do. It made no sense.

The greatest pain for me was seeing how much I hurt my mother and daughter. I was actually suicidal for a while, not because of what they did, but because I just felt that the best gift I could give to anybody was to remove myself from this world. I was an inadequate mother. I was hurting my beautiful child who meant more to me than anything. And I can remember looking at my mother’s face and seeing the disgust and the shame. To this day I remember that, it just cuts me like a knife. I just felt hopeless, with so much remorse, I really thought the right thing to do, the right answer, was to die. I tried to step out in front of a bus on King George Highway, that was my plan. I don’t know why, but I thought, in front of a public transit, it would be nobody’s fault. Crazy lady stumbles out in front of a bus, nobody will be blamed. But I got impaired first, and I got too drunk to do It. I can’t even remember…I stepped off the curb or tripped or something…I just couldn’t pull it off. I was too impaired to pull it off.

The turning point came when I was at home watching a movie, Michael Keaton’s “Clean and Sober”. It was about Michael Keaton getting sober at a treatment’s centre. I was watching it and I thought, “wow look at that, Michael Keaton can go get sober and it actually looks like it’s possible. If he can do it, maybe I can do it”. So I called a recovery place, and attended a meeting. The woman there really took me under her wings, and supported me. I noticed that the women there kept coming even when they were sober for more than 20 years. They shared their stories of remorse and shame with me. Just the act of sharing our story to help others, is really powerful. We think we are the only ones who have done degrading, neglectful, shameful things. We think we are the only ones, but when others share their stories, it feels like someone else understands. That connection incites a little glimmer of hope. A little bit of faith.

So they shared their stories, just like how I’m sharing mine now, because I believe what was given so freely to me should continue be given away to others. By recounting my painful stories to help others, it in turn helps me. It helps me be sober.

The healing process, for me, has been a spiritual journey. Surrendering my will, my best thinking. I needed to reach a point of such surrender. Accept it, face it, fall on my knees, completely embrace the fact that I’m alcoholic. We must remain humble and teachable with an open mind, and listen to others’ stories and be willing to follow their advice.

For me, by staying sober and seeing my family heal, has filled me with so much gratitude. I am so grateful for life itself, just being able to wake up in the morning and still be living and breathing and to be attached with arms and legs, and to have my family. And to not be putting drugs in my body, and to be having a normal life. It’s like winning the hugest million dollar lottery but better.

 

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