One of the many things I have tried to teach my son is how important it is to be honest. As he has grown, there have been times when “little fibs” have come into play; you know, the little things we say to someone that saves them from hurt, like “yes, your new haircut is very nice” even if you don’t like it. Trying to teach him the difference has been difficult. I try very hard to live an honest life and I want my son to know how important it is to be honest – to others and to himself.
After getting sober, I realized, that while I was teaching him this lesson, I was the most astute liar of them all.
While I was drinking, I was a professional liar. I wouldn’t have been able to be the secret drunk that I was if I wasn’t a great liar. I was so good at keeping my drinking from my husband. I did all the shopping so I was able to buy booze without him knowing and I always snuck it in the house. I hid it, often in my underwear drawer. I never acted drunk. I knew all the tricks. I lied to my friends too. I don’t think any of them would believe I was drinking the amount I drank everyday. I think most of them will be surprised when I tell them I had to quit drinking.
But I was best at lying to myself. The ones that allowed me to keep drinking, keep sneaking around, keep pretending that I didn’t have a problem. And those lies were the ones that caused the most harm, because they kept me in my secret world. The world of lies. While I was trying to teach my son why lying is so bad, I was being the biggest liar of them all.
I am amazed when I think about the many lies I told myself each day. “I’m not hurting anyone.” “I don’t need to stop drinking, it’s not causing any harm.” “Many people drink everyday, it can’t be that big of a deal.” I had myself convinced I wasn’t hurting myself because I knew of people who drank longer than me and they were healthy and doing fine. No one ever said I should quit! I took care of my family, did well at work and never neglected my responsibilities. Obviously, I didn’t have a problem.
Getting sober has changed my life in many ways; in ways I haven’t even identified yet. But one of the biggest things I have gained from sobriety is Freedom. Freedom from the world I had trapped myself in. My world was so small. My world revolved around booze. As a mom it’s really hard to admit that; even my sons life was limited by my drinking. Until I found sobriety, I was trapped there, and sadly, I didn’t even realize it.
There are a lot of things in life we don’t realize until after its ‘over’. I guess that’s where the saying, “Hind sight’s 20/20” came from. Now that I’m sober, I can look back and say, what the hell was I thinking?? How on earth did I convince myself that things were ok? But, I can’t go back in time and change it. So, I look forward. I look at the big world I am a part of and I do the best I can to teach my son so he never ends up trapped in a small world of his own making like I did.
Freedom is an amazing, but scary thing. In my sober group we have talked about how it’s a choice whether or not to drink. If I want to drink, I can. No one is making me abstain from booze. That freedom can be paralyzing for some. But for me, it’s empowering! I know if I make the choice to drink again, my freedom goes away. The freedom I gain by choosing not to consume alcohol is my Super Power! I am no longer trapped in the tiny life. I hold my head up high knowing I am finally the honest person I pretended to be for so many years. I can look the world in the eyes and smile!
~ Ms. K