"These Things Happen"
I guess that you could say that I started drinking as a small child. I would beg for swallows of my parent's beer and would come downstairs early in the morning, after they had passed out the night before, and finish off the chips, pretzels, beer and mixed drinks that sat around the house.
I started drinking heavily when I was 16 and dating an alcoholic (who I now know had FAS). We drank on every date, with or without our friends. By the time that we got married a year later, I was a drunk (alcoholic just doesn't adequately describe the teetering, puking, moron I had become).
I became pregnant right after our marriage. I continued to drink, lulled by my doctor's assurances that 'occasional drinking' wouldn't hurt the baby (of course, he didn't know that my 'occasion's were an everyday occurrence!). At 3 1/2 months, I miscarried the baby. The doctor told me that the baby had died several days before and assured me that "these things happen". I knew, though, that the 'thing' that had happened was my drinking myself into a stupor the weekend before. I think that I realized then that I had killed my baby-but it was a few more years before I could really admit it to myself. I don't know if I will ever forgive myself for it.
My marriage fell apart after my miscarriage and I fell into an even deeper period of self-destruction-adding drugs to the mix.
Finally, I hit bottom after spending a night drinking, drugging, puking and passing out with a complete stranger. I woke up the next morning to find myself in a pool of vomit, next to someone I didn't recognize.
On my way home, I prayed and cried and begged for help and forgiveness. Somewhere along the highway, I stopped and took the bottle of booze out from under my seat and threw it as hard as I could.
Three days of pure Hell followed. I locked myself in my room and told my family that I had a bad case of the flu. Nightmares, cold sweats, muscle spasms, hallucinations and paranoia followed.
Luckily, I had met a fine young man a few months before. He seemed genuinely interested in me and I didn't want to do anything to mess it up. So, with my own determination and the knowledge that my friend was there for me, I managed to make it through and got sober. In the back of my mind, too, was the memory of my baby and of his death-to help keep me going.
Luckily, I was sober by the time I got remarried and pregnant again. My daughter was born unaffected and I will always thank God for that. When I think of my adopted daughters' mothers, I sometimes feel resentment for the damage that their drinking caused. But it is quickly replaced with the knowledge that I could have easily been in their shoes.