When I was pregnant I did not drink a drop but I did continue to smoke a bit. There was no way I would take the chance of getting my babies drunk and risk that they’d miss some aspect of brain development but I managed to talk myself into three cigarettes a day. Just enough to keep me hooked.
I remember my obstetrician telling me that a glass of wine a day would be good for me. It was heart healthy and would help me relax. It was the early 1990’s in Europe and she actually said that two or three glasses throughout the day would be fine as long as I wasn’t “one of those people” who couldn’t stop at three.
I knew I was one of those people……
So having given up my wine time for my babies ( sighhhhhh… perspective) I just refused to let go of the nicotine and I began to lie about my smoking.
While I was pregnant I went so far as to have my husband provide me with my three or four cigarettes a day so that I wouldn’t have to out myself by buying my own. I was so completely committed to lying and ” getting away with it” that I somehow talked myself into believing that if no one saw me buy the cigarettes or smoke the cigarettes I wasn’t actually really a smoker.
Once I got going with the pretending not to be a smoker thing I got really good at it and continued on that way for 17 years. I became a very good liar I’m afraid. When I finally quit smoking about two years ago my 17-year-old daughter told me that she had not smelled it on me since the last time she’d caught me smoking a few years before. So I had gotten so good at hiding my guilty secret that even the people I hug and kiss every day didn’t know I was sucking down 10 or twenty smokes on the sly each day.
The thing about lying and addiction is that the relationship with the drug you’re addicted to becomes even more exciting and intimate as you get deeper into the lie.
I remember when Lord of the Rings came out 10 odd years ago, sitting on the couch with my supersize glass of wine, having just come in from the garage where I smoked, watching Gollum and his ring ….. “my Precious ” …. I remember exactly where I was sitting, the wine was red, I was curled up with my feet tucked under my butt and I remember watching Gollum thinking …. ” Ohhh noooo, please .. no … That’s me”
The thing about lying to yourself and lying to the people you love about the drink or drugs is that it keeps you down deep in the hole of addiction. When I was ” pretending” not to smoke… pretending not to drink more than a bottle of wine a night … the pretending was almost as addictive to my brain as the alcohol and nicotine.
Hiding away. Me and my bottle. Me and my smokes. My precious.
So honesty with myself and honesty with my family and friends is something that has been coming back little by little over these past almost four years of sobriety. Gentle waves of growth. Stepping stones toward self-respect and self-love and self-realization. And now when I catch myself in that sort of delicious anticipation of ” getting away with something” that I know I shouldn’t be doing I’m able to reign it in pretty quickly.
I retired from a long and illustrious drinking career… that’s where finally growing up began for me. Like Pinocchio that growth started with learning not to lie.
Today I will not drink.
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