My name is Tara, and I am addicted to alcohol. Before beginning my recovery, I could be classified as a “functioning alcoholic.” I graduated from college. I have always been successful in my career. And most of my family and some of my friends didn’t even know I drank. But each night after work, I would bury the worries of the day in a whiskey and Coke or some other drink to make the stress go away.
I thought I was handling everything. Sure, I turned to alcohol to take the edge off every single night (and starting at noon on weekends), but I never missed work and always fulfilled my responsibilities. That’s why the term “functioning alcoholic” applied to me.
This went on for 8 years. Even when I would wake up hung-over and promising myself I wouldn’t drink (as much), a few hours later when the headache was gone, I was counting down the hours until 6:00pm.
I got to the point where I couldn’t remember anything that happened in the evenings (blackouts) – who I talked to on the phone, what I watched on TV. But instead of acknowledging this as a problem, I simply trained myself to write everything down, in case I wouldn’t remember the next day. “8:15pm – talked to Mom. Don’t forget to call her tomorrow about lunch this weekend.” “9:00pm – Merryl called to see if I was going to the game on Saturday.”
One night, as I was spending time with my best friend, Jack Daniels, I realized that I was actually, literally, missing out on 1/3 of each day of my life. I had stopped going out with friends or visiting family, because that might mean I couldn’t drink. If I could drink with friends, I’d have to watch it so that I could drive (which means I couldn’t consume enough to make all the worries go away). I was actually living for that time from 6pm to midnight, when I could lose myself in a bottle of Jack.
I started wondering – why am I trying to lose myself each night? What in my life is so bad that I have to run away? I have a great family. I have wonderful friends. I like my job.
That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks – I was completely caught up in an addiction. Despite the fact that I was “functioning,” I was trapped in my dependence on alcohol, and I needed help to break free.
A girl at work had talked about Seeds of Hope before, so I made an anonymous call there to see about the program. Although I would have to physically move into the house, I was able to keep my job – AND keep my recovery completely confidential. Instead of spending time with my friend, Jack, each night, I was spending time with new friends who were helping to support and nourish me in a new, healthy way. I needed that structure to help me “undo” an 8-year habit.
I have been sober for 3 years now, and my body, mind and spirit feel better than ever! I see life from a completely new perspective now – and appreciate so much more the blessings that have always been there…but that were blurred from my drinking. I truly feel a sense of freedom, that I thank God – and Seeds of Hope – for providing me!