In Her Words: Life as a High Functioning Alcoholic

I asked my friend Jim to write about alcoholism and kids, and then I decided to do it myself. After all, I should be an expert.

When you wake up, immediately see if the scene is safe and if there where mishaps. Best done an hour BEFORE you have to wake up. Say 5. See what happened last night and what has to be done immediately. Nothing was burned, right? It’s all good.

Do you have to do the dishes from your trashed kitchen? Does evidence need to be hidden? Get the last of the wine bottle that you left behind last night. Realize that you have an hour to drink it before getting up for the day. That’s enough time. Reset your alarm.

Wake up just before the alarm at 6:30. Find the clothes that you thought were a good fit the night before. Shower. Wake the kids up. Screw coffee…you don’t have time. If there is ANY alcohol left in the house, consider a small dose. Freak out on your kids for not….finding their clothing, or their iPad, and try to make them responsible for finding your glasses, your phone, your keys. Stress over what they can take to school for breakfast. Argue all the way to the bus stop.

WORK. Take benzos that have been prescribed to you for anxiety so that you can manage yourself. Smile a lot. Meet with people. Feel better. Postpone conversations with your boss until after 10 am….you’ll be more appropriate.

After work, stop by the store and get yourself some alcohol, and oh yes, the kids, some food. Take advantage of the fact that they are now teens and will love pizza or spaghetti at least twice weekly. It’s OK. Every Mom does it.

When you get home, put your alcohol in a closet and in the garage. Tell your kids that you are having “your time” and go to the garage where you can play scrabble on-line and drink. Smoke a few butts that you had given up and don’t be within sight of the house. Give yourself a time limit….”I will be in by 6 for dinner.” DO IT. Be in by six. See, you’re responsible.

Make dinner and complain that no one ever helps you. Find the hidden bottle. Do laundry, wash the dishes, make jokes….it makes you look normal.

Try not to pass out before 9…just say that you are exhausted from taking care of EVERYTHING and go to sleep. Text your Ex. Blame him for stuff.

Reality :Your kids know you and your patterns. They might tell you or they might tell someone else. They hurt. It is scary and lonely. They miss their mother. They want to play games with her or get her to watch their funny videos, but she is always “busy.” They learn to have their homework proofread in the morning.

You might get surprised and have DHHS call you to see if there is a problem in the home. Mandated reporters at their school, those asses. You get through it, but it scars everyone. Your child apologizes even though you never even brought it up. You seethe.

You give up alcohol for a few days, just like you have done 8 times this year. You silently promise this is the end, the last straw….the bottom. And you hope like hell that your kids will not leave you.

Fantasy: You are beautiful. You were right to divorce your husband, their father, because he didn’t pay attention to you. No, he paid too much attention to you: he was indulgent, abusive and controlling. He was always watching you, because you are so beautiful. He was always in your business because he was insecure and obsessed. You are so much better off without him. He is someone else’s problem now. You’re so smart.

Tomorrow is a different day. The weekend is LONG. You will get everything wrapped up, taken care of. You can clean and you can cook and you can shop for all the things you need to make your home pleasant and your kids comfortable. Your dog is gorgeous and that’s all that matters anyway. Soon it will be spring and all different. All will be well.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.