This is Jane’s story.
For Jane, alcohol was an accent. It was something complimentary and expected, but never really necessary or compulsive. Jane drank when she danced. The alcohol kept her inhibitions quiet, but the drinks were never the main event. Cutting loose and moving her body to the music made her feel alive and free. Jane learned to drink to wash away the stress and pressure of the day. It is a lesson almost universally ingrained in our adult American culture. She drank to feel numb when no one needed her to be present.
Then Jane had kids, and the numbable moments disappeared. Alcohol turned from an accent to an unacceptable distraction from her responsibilities. There was no time to zone out. There was no room for hangovers and sluggishness. She was needed 24/7, and she answered the call every single time.
Jane matured. Her husband kept going. It’s like they were flying to a destination together, and the journey included a change to a connecting flight in some far-away airport. Jane got off the initial flight and boarded the connection, while her husband stayed glued in his seat and rode the first plane to oblivion.
They started together. But they couldn’t hold it together. Alcohol drove them apart.
Jane and her husband are in it. They are trying to recover, and it is a long and messy process. He is trying to recover from his alcoholism. She is trying to recover from codependency and alcoholic trauma. They are trying to recover their marriage. They are trying. They are making progress. But there are no guarantees when you are deep in the pit of despair and trying to climb out to healing.
Jane is talking about it, which seems weirdly against the unwritten rules. She isn’t telling her success story. She’s telling her story of pain, anger, confusion and loneliness. Her story does not yet have an ending, but she’s telling it anyway, because it is as important as it is raw. “It feels like you’re only allowed to tell your story as a survivor. It’s like you have to get this badge that tells the world, ‘I’m OK.’ You can’t tell the story when you’re not OK.”
Maybe you’re in it, too. Maybe Jane’s story is your story. Maybe you think you are alone, and the denials and protection of the family secret are isolating and feel like failure. Maybe you are in a relationship with someone like Jane. Maybe you think she’s exaggerating, unforgiving, and you just know sobriety will fix everything. I’m sorry to tell you sobriety doesn’t fix anything, but it is the prerequisite for healing.
No matter which side of the street you live on…no matter where your connecting flight is going…Jane’s story is for you. I hope you’ll click the button to listen to Jane’s story on the Untoxicated Podcast.
We released our first book last week, and thanks to you, our loyal supporters, we had a great book launch. Titled, soberevolution: Evolve into Sobriety and Recover Your Alcoholic Marriage, our debut is a book in three distinct parts. We start by telling the story of how we got into the alcoholic mess to begin with. The middle section is about using brain science, nutrition, bibliotherapy, connection and an out-loud recovery to find permanent sobriety. Part three is for Jane, and anyone else struggling to recover an alcoholic marriage. If it sounds like the soberevolution has something for you, we encourage you to give it a read.