single mom


 had a little emotional breakdown last night while watching Intervention. Yes, I STILL watch it. Now that I have cable TV included in my rent, I no longer have to watch my addicts on Youtube. I can even do the Wii Fit while I watch, so double score. Consequently, I’ve been getting my own little high every Monday evening, after LB goes to bed. Last night I saw ads for the new season of Intervention, and I will admit, a little thrill ran through my veins. I think I even got goosebumps.

I was on a major downer yesterday. Mondays suck in general, but yesterday was an allergy-ridden, everyone-called-in-sick-to-work, uncomfortable-sweaty-shoes, I’m-so-fat day. I have my first policy committee meeting this Thursday, and I was starting to feel like bailing on it.  By 10 am, I was in need of major inspiration.

12 hours later: Flip on A&E, and this episode was on. Some Intervention episodes are more memorable than others.  Many are pretty predictable; a rising action to a culminating event which triggered the addict’s downward spiral. Some are more intriguing.

 When I first started watching Intervention on Youtube, I would only search for the Meth addicts. It was like I wanted some glimpse into my pre-single mom life, because so much of it was missing from my memory. I wanted perspective, vindication, flashbacks, but mostly answers.

After burning through the Meth addicts, I moved onto the pill poppers, the heroin addicts, the crack whores, and the bulimia-rexics. I would always skip the alcoholics. I tried getting through an entire episode, but I had to turn it off eventually. One thing that differed from the drunks versus the illegal drug users was the amount of crying the addict did. EVERY episode was filled with a sobbing, miserable alcoholic.

In my mind, people get high to escape their problems, their worries, their bad feelings. The heroin addict curls into the fetal position, a smile on their vacant face. The Tweaker speeds down the road, smoking a cigarette, laughing maniacally. The pill popper cuts up a line, snorts a Percocet and is reduced to hazy painless intoxication.

The drunk doesn’t get high. The drunk just gets lower and lower until they are reduced to a weeping, incoherent mess.

Coming from my escapist perspective, what’s the point in that? You don’t get to escape your feelings, you just wallow in them. Things don’t look better when you are drunk, they look even worse. You are numb to the outside world, but your insides are magnified times a thousand. Its like you’re drowning. 

I think about 28 days, with Sandra Bullock, and the drunken folksongs that are sung throughout her time at rehab:

Drunk men stagger, drunk men fall
Drunk men swear & that’s not all
Quite often drunks will urinate outdoors
Like widowed women drunk men weep
Like children curled up drunk men sleep
Like a dog a drunk will crawl about on all fours

Then I thought about my post-high school drinking, and how often I would be reduced to tears at the end of party. I used to laugh myself off as an “emotional drunk” (whatever that means), as if I needed to prepare my friends for my future actions. Later on Rooferman would call me a “mean drunk”. Whatever the label, drunkenness really just meant I was uninhibited, and depending on the emotions I was currently burying inside of me, that feeling was sure to rear its head x100.

I used to pass out under trees. Usually, at one point during a party my friends would ask, “Where’s Hanna? Did she run away again?” Eventually they would find me with my hair in the dirt, laughing at my “adorable” hippie ways.

So, yeah I can relate to that song.

Watching Janet’s intervention last night, I finally made it through an entire episode. It was extremely hard to watch, but I wanted to see her get better. At certain points in the show, I was yelling at the TV, telling her family members to stop treating her like she was worthless. Her 18 year-old son was embarrassed to be around her. He would go to where she was passed out, scream at her, and knock the glass of wine out of her hand. He tried to literally drag her to her feet.  You could see the anger this poor kid had, yet I felt compelled to defend her.

She had lost all sense of self-respect. She just didn’t care anymore. She had no idea she was a 50-something woman walking around in a bikini top and sarong for a week straight.  She said she wanted to die. She couldn’t even speak 3 words without crying. I wanted to hug her and tell her she WAS worth it. I wanted to wrap her up in a blanket.

After the episode was over, I started to think about all the self-destructive things I had done in my past. Things I used to brag about. I thought I was so hardcore. Like Janet, I had no sense of self-worth. I was trying so hard to prove that I wasn’t scared of anything, when really I was terrified of exactly that. I thought if someone could smell fear on me, they would destroy every bit of my humanity. I thought people would seek out my warm, fuzzy underbelly and rip out my intestines. So I did every dangerous thing that came my way in order to prove my imortality.

 I was killing my own humanity so my enemies couldn’t do it first.

I know this is incredibly dramatic, and yes, a TV SHOW brought all this crap out of me, but I sat down for a good 30 minutes and sobbed.

I’m done with all this self-loathing, no-credit-giving bullshit. I’m not apologizing anymore. I’m not hiding who I am. I love myself, and I’m not going to allow anything or anyone to take that from me. When I don’t love myself, that’s when I let bad things happen to me. Why? Because I second-guess my abilities and decisions. Because I don’t love myself enough to trust myself.

I’m so ready for this policy meeting. What have I got to lose? Definitely not my self-respect. It can only go up from here.


13 thoughts on “Drunk”

  1. I love you for you are, Hanna. I trust you for who you are, and what you do with your daughter. You’ve got one helluva head on your shoulders sweet pea, never under estimate yourself. **hugs**


  2. If it’s a tv show that brings all this out, then I say whatever works. I’ve sat in front of the tv, sobbing over something that really didn’t have to do with the characters on the screen.

    You are strong and smart and a great mom. I’m glad you’ve discovered your self-worth.


  3. Wow, it sounds like a super intense episode.

    Seriously, never doubt your abilities, you amaze me everytime I’m around you, from dealing with Roofie’s idiocy to being a great mom and a best friend to all of us, not to mention juggling a full time job, boys, and family. You rock it all.


  4. Geezus, my dear.

    You must be picking my brain or something.

    I’ve got frigging chills because I’m RIGHT THERE with you on nearly every word of this post.


  5. I hope you don’t mind me stopping by. I stumbled across this blog and the content really hit home for me also. I have spent so many years self-destructing myself through various means (food and alcohol were the biggest enemies), and didn’t realize that I was doing it. Recently I was in the bookstore, trying to find a great book to read and stumbled across Patricia Spadaro’s latest book “Honor Yourself: The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving.” The title intrigued me and so I read it. After reading this book it finally dawned on me what I had been doing to myself. I am proud to say that I am on the road to recovering my self-esteem. Thanks for letting me stop by.


  6. This is beautifuland so true:

    When I don’t love myself, that’s when I let bad things happen to me. Why? Because I second-guess my abilities and decisions. Because I don’t love myself enough to trust myself.

    Great post.


  7. I just stumbled on this blog from a search about “my mom is a drunk.” Thank you for your eloquence and your insight. I certainly tried all the drugs and other bad behaviors, and in my teen years, I drank like a fish to blackout. I’m sober by the grace of God now. But I feel so horrible for my mother, who has been a genteel drunk on the stroke of 5 to lights out every night. Since she waits until 5, she will not admit that she’s a drunk or that it affects anyone. Alanon helped me for years. Now I am her elder caregiver and my anger scares me. Thank you for helping me remember the human side of the addiction. God bless you for looking for the light, embracing the light. I have to keep these hard boundaries intact while keeping her well. This isn’t an “Intervention” script because she legitimately needs a caretaker as she has COPD and pulmonary fibrosis, someone needs to bring breakfast, lunch dinner and keep up the house. I do not stay with her after 5 pm. It still hurts, all of it. Thank you for staying honest and giving your loved one the chance to be honest with you. I will pray for you.


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