Perhaps it was the perfect storm; the day before Mother’s Day, less than a week before my surgery, just two days after receiving a job offer for a management position. There was just a lot going on in my head. Until I woke up Saturday night in a puddle of my own vomit, so drunk that nothing could go on in my head anymore.
That was a low point for me. To be completely honest, maybe one of my lowest points. Even in my prior days of being a blackout drunk, I never found myself passed out on the floor laying in my own vomit. And to make it worse, it was the woman who took me in who found me. Everyone saw me, her husband, her younger son, in one of my worst states. But I didn’t feel the shame until the next day, because that night, I was too drunk to feel anything other than the urge to pee.
I thought I was handling myself quite well, considering. I had a few crying moments throughout the week, a few brief fits of rage whenever a Mother’s Day commercial came on TV. But it was all controlled, it left as fast as it came. We had a game plan for Mother’s Day. I wasn’t going to spend it alone. I was going to go and spend time with their family, a welcome distraction to me. It was going to be okay.
But I guess it wasn’t, and I knew it that night when everyone left the house to celebrate the oldest son’s prom. I was grieving.
It wasn’t grief about Mother’s Day or failing health or anything that one would assume would be the thing to grieve over. It was a grief I had been feeling for weeks now, only growing the more time I spent here, in my new home, with a new family. A grief I was not prepared for. A grief I never expected.
As the days go by here, I see everything I never had as a child. A safe home free of violence, two parents that love and care and support and talk to their children, children who have freedom to eat when they’re hungry, to leave the house when they want to leave, to do the things I never had the opportunity to do until now. But I am 31 years old. I wanted these things when I was a child.
And that day, as I watched the family come together to celebrate, I could feel the emotions come up again, I could feel the loss of my childhood smacking me right in the face. I wanted that. I wanted my family to be happy for me. I wanted my family to dress up and take pictures and celebrate every event with me. I wanted to feel special, as every child should feel, as every child deserves to feel.
That was my tipping point. The grief flooded me, along with all of the anger and anxiety I had already been feeling about everything else, my emotions took control. I hid in my room, trying (and failing) not to cry and ruin their night. Because I knew it wasn’t about me. I didn’t matter, in this moment or in others.
And then everyone left. An empty house, and a grieving, angry, emotion-ridden me. I didn’t want to feel anything. I cried and I cried and then I felt nothing at all. Like a switch had just turned off in my mind, with each gulp of vodka I drank, it washed away the emotions until I felt nothing at all.
But I wasn’t thinking straight. Instead of stopping, I kept drinking and drinking, even after the feelings were gone. I drank most of a 32-ounce bottle of straight vodka, not even thinking about how it was going to affect me, not even caring that my heart had barely been working right even when I was sober.
For a brief moment, when I first fell to the floor and realized the severity of how drunk I was, I contemplated taking my bottle of pills and ending it right there. I knew if the alcohol didn’t kill me (and that amount very much could have, even without my heart condition), the combination would have been certain death. But I couldn’t do it because even though I didn’t care about myself in that moment, all I could think about was this family finding me dead. I couldn’t do that to them; I had already done enough.
So I ended up laying on the floor for hours, in misery, painfully vomiting nothing but phlegm and bile because I hadn’t even eaten food that day. I knew they weren’t able to lift me. All they could do was make sure I was still breathing and not choking on my own vomit. Hours later, I was steady enough to make my way to the bathroom and pee
Hours later, I was steady enough to make my way to the bathroom and pee. I looked at myself in the mirror. Hair a mess, broken blood vessels on my face, a rash from laying in puke for who knows how long. I did this to myself. And this is now how the family saw me. The shame started to settle in
The shame started to settle in. I woke up in the middle of the night to clean my mess, but I knew there were some things I wouldn’t be able to clean up, for myself or for others, things that could not be forgotten.
I lost a lot that night. And there are some things I wonder if I will ever be able to get back.