The Seven Year Lie

I got this question on my Super Sekrit Spilling Box, and since I promised to answer ALL the questions I am asked in the super sekrit box, I will address this issue today, which is not at all a sensitive subject OH NO, not at all. 

Hey, I got myself into this. No whining, self.

Here's the question, from the always curious "Anonymous"

As a regular reader of your blog I'm dying to know more about your drinking days, and specifically the details of what happened two years ago. You don't talk about it much, though, except in tiny doses. Question: why don't you write about it more?

Well, for one, thanks for reading the blog, that's first and foremost. There are a bunch of reasons I don't talk a lot about my drinking days, or, as I refer  to it, "the seven year lie." There is a lot of guilt and shame associated with having an addiction, and although the good people back at the 'hab did their best to help us drunks deal with that guilt and shame, it is still quite palpable. I mean, I lied to everyone I knew for seven years. Seven years!

That's seven years of hidden bottles, DTs, lies to get out of driving since sure, it was only 2 in the afternoon, but I had been nursing a bottle of cheap vodka since 9, so there just wasn't any way I was making it to the movies or that job interview or a lunch date. 

It was seven years of agonizing paranoia that I would be found out. 

It was seven years of constantly being sick, whether it was from too much, or too little booze. 

It was seven years of doomed relationships. A broken engagement, and a heartbreak that put me in the hospital for alcohol-related purposes the first time, but certainly not the last. 

Most of all, it was seven years of untreated bipolar disease, seven years of self-loathing, paranoia, crippling depression, wild mood swings, and everything else that goes along with having a totally unmedicated mental illness. 

I don't talk about it much because it wasn't fun, and it wasn't funny. I drank alone. I have agoraphobia, and leaving the safety of wherever I was living at the time was and still is really challenging, and the booze gave me just another excuse to stay put, stay hidden, stay away. I didn't deserve friends, my mind said. Look at you, you're just a pathetic, broken drunk. You should just hide, where it's safe. 

I lied to the people I love the most for seven goddamn years. If that doesn't give a person a hefty dose of guilt and shame, I don't know what does.

So yeah, I don't talk much about my drinking days. I don't feel sorry for myself, and neither should you. What's done is done. It is what it is, and I got myself into, and out of it. I've worked hard. I don't pity myself, and I am working on the biggest challenge, which is just LIKING myself. That's the long road. That's why I have a therapist and a medications doctor and wee fistfuls of psychiatric drugs I take faithfully every day.

It's why I don't go to the liquor store.

But it's also why I do things like write for MamaPop, and (usually) here, and make people laugh, hopefully. Amber has said to me on several occasions that I'm not a performing monkey, and that I don't have to be funny all the time. But I like being funny, dammit, and lemme tell ya, talking about losing my britches at the grocery store is a hell of a lot more enjoyable to write (and I would imagine, to read) than sordid details about puking up my stomach lining every morning for years on end. 

Also, it makes my parents sad.

So please. Go read something I wrote that's FUNNY. There is no end to the embarrassing things I do every day dead sober, and I'll keep writing if you keep reading. I just hope that more times than not, you leave this site laughing and shaking your head at the goofball chick in Jersey who trips over her own feet and lands spread eagled in the produce aisle. More than once. More than twice.

And remember, if you're living your own lie? There's light, man, at the end of the tunnel. And if you do the work, you can get through the lying years. 

That's when the real work begins.



The Seven Year Lie — 23 Comments

  1. I know a few people with bipolar disorder, and they all (almost universally) are also recovering addicts. I think it has something to do with self-medicating the illness.
    I’m glad you’re on the other side of it.
    P.S. You so purty. šŸ™‚

  2. I will agree with BaltimoreGal – you are pretty darn close to being funny all the time.
    Good for you for getting yourself on track. *hugs*

  3. Miss Banshee, you are just made of awesome! You have been hilariously funny (particularly The Bach-caps) but your writing about addiction has done so much to bridge the gap between me and my sister (she of the two-year lie).
    You’ll never know how important the serious and the funny have been.

  4. You’re awesome šŸ™‚ You may not think you’re strong sometimes – but you are…ALL the time. I watched my ex go through rehab and fail…along with EVERY. SINGLE. other person in there with him. And one of them passed away.
    You deserve only good things to come your way. You are funny and it’s a truly delightful break in my day to come here and read your posts. I look forward to it in fact.

  5. Thanks for the brutal honesty. You’re a real trooper, honey, and you make me laugh – a shiny gold star to you!
    My ex-husband is bipolar and did not take medications until the end of our 10 year marriage. He’s off them again and it breaks my heart. For a brief time he was on meds, we both realized we lived the lie together: He thought I would never change, and I thought I could fix him. So we ended the awful pain and moved on.
    Healing happens slowly, in increments. My heart-break was already almost 7 years ago, and the only thing that gets me through the day at times, is knowing that the bad stuff is over. No more guilt, no more shame. Forgiveness (to myself, my ex, our families and friends) is highly underrated.

  6. Thank You for sharing, took lots of guts to share, kudos to being such a brave soul. Second of all, OMG, look how long you hair has grown, sparkle on kitten and when your ready for some Savannah food, I shall overnight a plate šŸ˜‰

  7. You are one tough cookie so I know you will continue to persevere. The bipolar people I have known in the past typically go on and off their meds and fade in and out of addictions. I am so glad that you are succeeding in this. Just know that we are all in your corner cheering for you through both the funny and the difficult times.

  8. I know you didn’t do this to get responses like this: but honestly, you are one of my favorite interweb people. Favorite to the point where I was scared you thought I was stalking you (I was, a little, from WI, so not in your windows or anything). You make me want to write again, and you give me hope that awesome, funny, gorgeous gals can be okay hiding away in their apartments, with their 2 cats and the interweb and teevee. If I lived in Jersey, I’d totally come over and enjoy a smoke in my jimjams with you.

  9. This is beautiful.
    My best friend is two years into sobriety and writing like this gives me a lot of insight.
    I love getting to know you through the things you write. Thank you.

  10. Thanks for writing this. You’ve described my mother. It is not a secret, from some of us. Others didn’t believe it until she had a household accident a few months ago and went to the hospital after injuring herself severely and the doctor finally could give us her blood alcohol. She was a few drinks away from dying. I quit drinking then and I hope, forever.
    I’m so glad you got well. I know from her and other family drinkers that it is not easy. (None of them are in any recovery process but I always hope.)

  11. The way you talk about your addiction (the secrecy part, more than anything) reminds me (almost too vividly) what bulimia was like for me, for six years. Hiding it, lying, afraid people would find out, more lying when they did, losing friends, losing my mind. I joke about it now, it’s who I am too, and it makes people so uncomfortable. NO ONE LIKES BULIMIA JOKES, NOTED. But, well, in short, thanks for being brave, for being you, for being so wickedly smart and funny, too.

  12. i heart ur blog for many reasons… its enviably written, its funny, its ridiculously silly, its relatable… but i fell in love with it for ur “realer” moments… those snapshot confessionals that i relate to so well it hurts a little bit to read. but in a good way:)

  13. Funny is much better/easier than bleeding your heart out for all to see, isn’t it? I have a time in my past that was quite similar to yours, but I just call it the Bad Old Days. And in the deep dark scrapbook of my mind is where I prefer they stay.

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