When Addiction Collides with Tragedy
Through Darkness Comes Light, Through Fear Comes Love, and Through Pain Comes Triumph ~ Mary Paleologos
Today we are remembering September 11th.
Today, we remember the countless lives that were lost in this tragic event, and the power and courage of all the people willing to risk their own lives to save others! We remember all the firefighters and EMTs and first responders, the orphaned children and the widows, the mothers that lost their children and the nation that in so many ways will never be the same.
We also have to remember the miracles that come out of this day dreadful day, the human strength and perseverance, the kindness of strangers, the comradely of all, the amazing spirit that came through in the days and weeks after this event!
For me, the day was personally difficult on a very different level.
I remember the day clearly. It was about 8:45 am when I got home from my boyfriend’s house that morning. I opened a bottle of wine and turned on the TV. And then the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower, I just stood there in disbelief. Is this real? I could feel an indescribable fear filling my heart. There were people frantically trying to save themselves by jumping out of the tower windows. There were people covered in the ash running through the streets. AND then the second plane hit. OMG. It was like something out of a horror movie, it made no sense, it was numbing, it was terrifying – I don’t have enough adjectives to even describe it. It just didn’t seem real.
I called my dad that day, to see if our family in New York City was OK. As I said hello, he burst into tears, OMG, I though. Then he said, mom (my step-mom) has breast cancer. He said she was in the hospital and after the biopsy coming back positive for an aggressive stage 4 cancer, she was in surgery to remove the two large tumors – and just like that, the day’s events had a whole new meaning.
I think I drank a bottle of wine during that 30 min conversion. Then I drank more as I watched the news and as the events of the attack were unfolding. I didn’t have a job, so I had nowhere to be and nowhere to go. I just sat there and wallowed and got drunk. I never went to see my mom in the hospital that day, I just had no idea that I should. In fact, it wasn’t till she was back at home few weeks later that I finally went to see her. All I felt was my self-pity – why is this happening to me?!
That’s what alcohol did for me. It was my drink all you want card – my mom has cancer, gulp, gulp, and thousands of people just died, gulp, gulp, have another! I was so emotionally unavailable, and totally incapable of doing anything but numbing myself by getting drunk. I was so self-absorbed and in my own little world! I often think of that day and the fact that I didn’t go to see my mom, and I feel that shame and guilt all over again.
Today, I keep working on destroying the shame and guilt that I still carry. I must remember that I was sick and my behavior was that of a sick person. I also have to remember how far I have come since that day! How different my life is now in sobriety. How I was able to finally get sober, and be sober when my mom was at the end of her journey, and I was able to spend some very special time with her. I was also able to give the support that she and my family needed.
Through every darkness, there comes a light! Keep shining on!
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