Have you ever had something so devastating happen to you that it made you want to crawl into a dark hole and never come out again?
I can honestly say yes, that happened to me. When my dad died a big part of me died. I changed. Even with the support of my husband, and friends I seemed to be getting worse not better.
I went to my doctor almost immediately after my dad’s death. I told him I was depressed, having panic attacks, and problems with my acid reflux (which I already had.) When he asked about how much I was drinking I lied. Not only to him, but I lied to myself about my drinking. He prescribed me some antidepressants and told me to cut back on drinking. The antidepressants made me more depressed. I quit taking them and drank more.
I decided to go to a grief counselor about a year and a half after my dad died. When I met with her she was shocked when I told her that he had passed away almost two years ago. She was concerned because I was still so distraught and it was starting to affect my health. I was beginning to have GI problems. She asked if I drank, I said yes. When she asked how much, I lied. She suggested that I go to the doctor to get back on antidepressants. I continued to see her, but after a year I still felt stuck. I decided to stop going because I didn’t feel like I was making much progress and the bills were starting to add up.
I went back to my doctor and over the next several months I had an endoscopy, colonoscopy, and more blood drawn and tested than I would like to remember. My blood work always came out fine, some levels were a little higher than others, but nothing to be alarmed about. They found after I had the colonoscopy that I had some hemorrhoids that would flare up and bleed, but that could be fixed with more fiber in my diet and less alcohol. When I had the endoscopy I thought for sure they would find I had ulcers. When it came back that I didn’t I couldn’t believe it. No one seemed to know what was wrong with me.
Depression, stress, feeling sick all the time, and medical bills adding up at a rapid rate, can be slightly overwhelming. Alcohol helps that right?
Around the end of October I started feeling really bad. Another test, another colonoscopy, a different doctor.
Going in I didn’t feel the same as I did with my regular doctor. I had been poked and prodded without any real answer as to what was wrong with me.
During the interview with the nurse before the procedure I had to go through my medical history with them. When the drinking subject came up I decided to be very frank with them. I was tired of feeling so sick and if being honest about that one thing could answer the question that no one could answer over the last year I thought – the hell with it. So I answered it, honestly. When I did it was like I had put down a sack of bricks that I had been carrying around for three and a half years.
After the procedure the doctor came in to talk to me and Mr. D. I’ll never forget him because he looked like Colonel Sanders. He had the white beard and hair, even the glasses were a spot on match. He told me that I had a fatty liver. No scarring, no cirrhosis ..yet. He was very frank, which I actually appreciated (he probably heard I was a no-nonsense kind of person after talking to the nurses.)
Then he said something that I will never forget. He leaned over and looked at me straight in the eyes and said “if you don’t stop drinking you will be dead in two years.” Everything in my body stopped.
I had one single thought.
I sat there in silence for what seemed like forever. I imagined Kameron’s prom, his graduation, his wedding, and grandchildren that I would not be around to see. I saw Kameron’s face and I knew in that moment I would never want him to feel the hopelessness that I have felt for so long.
I looked at the doctor and said “I just won’t drink again.” The Colonel sighed and said “do you know how many people say that to me and they’re back in six months with the same problem they had before?” He was condescending. I could tell he was frustrated, he probably has said that to who knows how many people. I looked at him square in the face and said “you’ll never see me again.”
So today, on day 60 of sobriety I can honestly say I’ve never felt better in my life. I’m not going to lie, the first two weeks of not drinking was like the worst hangover I ever had.. it just lasted two solid weeks. After that I started feeling stronger everyday. All of my symptoms that I was having are gone. It really is amazing.
I always wanted my dad to be proud of me, and he was proud of me for many things I accomplished when he was alive. I now know this is the proudest he’s ever been of me, I feel it everyday.
I’d like to thank Shawnie Quick-Raflik for encouraging me to write this. I thought I might disappoint some of you, it’s a shameful thing to admit, that is why I waited to write this. The many of you I do know.. if I hurt you in some way I’m sorry.
*If you feel like you know someone struggling, please don’t ignore it. Even though I’ve chosen to take this journey on my own with the support of Mr. D, friends, and family there are places that want to help*
Much Love, SED