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I Almost Drank Today.

You guys, I want you to know that just because I run this community does not make me impervious to the pull and cravings of alcohol.

As I write this, I’m still tearful and shaking from a blowout with my teenager and the razor-thin line I just walked to not drink.

A little background: some of you know the history I have with my mother – my childhood was not good largely due to her mental health and drug/alcohol abuse. I spent years not speaking to her and years trying to mend things…the list goes on. At the end of the day, I still love her and in the past few years since she’s been sober due to health reasons, our relationship has taken a major turn for the better and a lot of healing is taking place internally for me. Long way to go, but it’s night and day from how it used to be.

In 2017 my sister Kaitlin and I supported my mom through her first bout of colon cancer (my other sister still does not speak to her) followed by a pretty serious cancer recurrence that lasted all of 2020 and we almost lost her more than once. That’s a big reason why Kaitlin and my nephew, Cash, uprooted themselves from California and moved out to Kansas City (with my mom) this Fall, so we could all be closer and I could help more as my mom grew older.

In October 2020, she had her last cancer-related surgery and was cleared from all masses, etc. Obviously, she has to continue to follow up with oncologists, etc, but she moved here to Missouri in December with a light heart and hope for the future, etc. I think we all felt the same way – like the worst was behind us and we could breathe for a moment. It was a happy month 🙂

Unfortunately, this past Friday I went to my mom’s oncology appt with her where the doctor wasted no time giving us the news: her cancer is not only back, but it is now Stage 4 and inoperable, as it has metastasized all over her body (lungs, liver, lymph nodes all over the place…you get the idea). Radiation is not an option and chemo is only a possibility if we can get another blood condition she has under control, but even then…it’s a very high risk and is really just a hail mary. The fact that her grew so rapidly in just a few short months was devastating. I felt panicked…about life, time, mortality, affairs to put in place, what the future looks like…everything felt like it was spinning, but I kept that to myself.

That being said, I’ve felt very heavy and sad for a few days. My mom’s spirits are good and she is strong which only makes me feel worse for feeling this dark, heaviness and doom. I just need to work through it, but this weekend I found myself in tears a lot.

Fast forward to today – unrelated. Difficult day with my son. All the stuff – attitude, not doing his school work, talking back, blah blah. The usual shit.

But since last week, we’ve had plans to go to my sister’s house tonight to have dinner and play board games as a family (one of my favorite things to do with my mom…it’s important to me that we have these nights as often as possible while she’s still well enough and I’m not sure how long that will be.) My child of course knew this and what time we were leaving, the whole thing.

Long story short, I’m sitting in the car waiting 15 min after I originally told him we were leaving I come back into the house to find out what’s taking him so long and he.is.in.the.shower. I lost it and yelled for him to get out NOW and went back to the car. 5 min later I come back in and he’s STILL in the shower, no regard for anything or anyone else, meanwhile my sister is texting that she’s putting dinner on the table and I just FLIPPED.

You ever have those I-just-yelled-so-loud-at-my-kid-that-the-neighbors-might-call-social-services moments? Yeah. I had two of them within 5 minutes.

Then I stormed out of the house and drove around feeling out of control with anger, embarrassment, disappointment, more anger but this time at myself for losing control, stress over not knowing if I should still try to pull it together and “fake” a happy family night, annoyance at my partner for never “being here” when shit goes down with my kid (totally not his fault by the way, we don’t live together…it’s just my irrational anger and victimhood in the moment), outrage about how I can’t ever have “just one family night with my mother who is dying without my child being completely selfish and screwing it up” (not reality you guys…just the crazy string of thoughts driving a freight train through my head). I was just emotionally at a level 10.

I went to get gas and a soda. I sat there and said “Just go do some errands…don’t go home until you’re calm” and I went to my errand list in my phone which is ALWAYS full and not.one.thing. I had done everything on Saturday. Seriously??

I didn’t want to go home, I didn’t want to go to my boyfriends because I could tell I’d pick a fight, I just wanted instant relief. I wanted to drink – like I haven’t in a really long time.

For a second I scared myself because I thought I might actually do it and I’ll tell you from experience that once I make my mind up, it’s pretty much a done deal.

I sat there at the gas station long after I had pumped gas and just breathed. I thought, “go get pizza, ice cream, a male prostitute…whatever it takes, just do.not.drink.”

I’m happy to report that I did not and I’m back home writing this, but honestly the feeling of needing that relief was so strong that I could almost taste it. Literally.

What I’ve already learned in the last 30 minutes and by writing this is that this isn’t about my son or even my mom. This is about my feelings, my needs, my own mental health and ability to self-soothe and ask for what I need. To hold my own boundaries. To recognize when I’m creeping up in anxiety while my tolerance level is dwindling away.

I feel kind of shaken up right now at how quickly I blew a gasket and how close I was to making a decision to drink.

I know that tomorrow I’ll be glad I didn’t. I already am.

But you guys, holy shit.

This is why we drink…sometimes I forget why and what the big attraction was. This is it.

No, it wouldn’t solve anything long term, but for tonight? I’d FEEL like it would have and that felt like more than enough for me just 45 short minutes ago. I’m SO glad I was stronger than that craving, but damn…that one was a doozy.

Love you guys, thanks for listening.

Oh, ps – I’m ok. As far as mom and everything goes. And oddly enough things with my son have been pretty smooth sailing for the most part these days. So I think today was maybe just a test. And tomorrow is new day. For now, it’s deep breaths and Diet Coke (my secret drink of choice). ❤

XO, Jacq

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