I’m not channeling Paul Newman in the movie “Somebody up there likes Me”. He or She has always smiled upon me.
It’s true, my higher power really likes me! I’m not what you would call a “religious nut”; however, I’m a very spiritual person. I believe I was made for a reason, and a path has already been planned for me. Trusting and surrendering to this greater power was/is hard to do when you’re faced with multiple health issues. A priest once told me hurdles are placed in our lives to test our faith. At those points we need to learn how to surrender our worries. I am a control freak and it’s not easy. It takes a long time and it’s a constant struggle to surrender. I have always equated the word surrender with “giving up” and “the end” when it’s really the “beginning” of great things to come.
In upcoming blogs, I plan to segue to subjects that are sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, and sometimes introspective. So, this is where it all began. Maybe?
I had my first drink in my home at the age 11. I remember instantly liking the way alcohol made me feel; warm, dizzy, and sleepy. My alcoholic father told me it was okay to drink in our house; pretty sick huh??? Now that I’m a mother and a grandmother, I can’t imagine how my father ever thought it was okay to introduce me to alcohol so early in life. He made me promise not to tell my mother. He was an evil man in so many ways. So, I would sneak liquor from the liquor cabinet; pouring a little bit of this and a little bit of that into a dark mug. I would then take the mug to my room and drink it. I was trying to escape my fears, the abuse I was subjected to in my house and being bullied at school. Drinking never eliminated these problems, yet it made me feel better temporarily. Later in life my father used the dark mug trick for his morning, afternoon, and after dinner coffee (red wine coffee).
I eventually found friends like me and had a good old time. My girlfriend would steal her father’s car. By age 15, my friends and I had fake ID’s and would drive into NYC (15 minutes away from where we lived in NJ) and dance and drink the nights away! We had a good ole’ time. We danced our hearts and feet away in every club, disco, and blues bar in NJ and NYC in the late 70’s thru the early 80’s. I lost my car several times in NYC; then decided it was easier to take the South Orange Train to the NJ Path to the NY Subway.
Who would have thought a healthy, young 18 year old would be faced with Shingles. Shingles is a sickness that usually strikes the elderly, or so I thought. I was sunbathing at my local Cabana Club Pool when I noticed the skin on my leg was super sensitive and had small blisters on it; I thought it was sun poisoning. Hours later the blisters spread and it felt like my skin was being scrapped off my body; it was unbearable. I was hospitalized the next day. My Dr. diagnosed me with shingles and I was in the hospital for 30 days. Because the blisters reached my head and the inside of my mouth, I had to have 2 spinal taps; they were concerned the virus was getting close to my brain. Blisters followed the one side of my spinal nerve from head to toe. The bad news about Shingles is that it lies dormant for years and shows up again when your immune system is down. Mine has been back to visit me about 8 times.
Later in life, three doctors stated that Shingles could have led to my Type 1 Diabetes and maybe even played a part in my cognitive problems. What caused the Shingles in the first place…later Gator! I take full credit for my Alcoholism.
At the end of 1984, I starting having trouble with my heartbeat racing and then fainting. I was referred by a specialist to go to NYC to see Dr. Atkins; now a well-known author; The Atkins Diet. After many tests, he diagnosed me with Hypoglycemia. I was put on a diet. He then sent me to a heart specialist. The Cardiologist had me wear a heart halter monitor for 3 weeks. The diagnosis was mitral valve prolapse. Apparently stress and depression made the situation worse!
It was the day after Thanksgiving in 1984 that I decided to stop drinking.
I had passed out the night before. I had what they call today my #METOO moment. I never drank again. Alcohol is both cunning and baffling. It is a Disease! Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, I celebrate my sobriety.
This year will be my 35th!!!! anniversary without alcohol. I still attend AA meetings at least once a week and I’m proud to be in recovery.
There’s so much more to write about in my blogs to come! Stay tuned.