After changing jobs, relocating to another state, and having child as ways to fix their troubled marriage, my current guest Debbie said she knew had a drinking problem but it wasn’t until she hit her emotional bottom that she decided to get help. I asked Debbie to share her emotional bottom. Here’s Debbie:
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I had come home from work. I always picked my daughter up from day care, and she was three-years-old at the time. I had already been drinking and I was sitting in the family room with my daughter, she was playing with her toys in the area. My ex came in, and he saw that I was drunk. He started yelling at me about being drunk, and my daughter off in the corner got up, three years old, walks over between us and was shaking her finger at her father saying,
“Don’t you yell at mommy. Can’t you tell she’s sick?”
That comment announced to me I’d hit my bottom. That was the sentence that did it for me.
Obviously, if I can remember that statement through an alcoholic haze to this day, it made an emotional impression on me. It took a couple days for it to really resonate with me, that I liked the life I had, I didn’t want to continue drinking and I knew I had to get sober. That was the day that tipped me over the edge.
It probably wasn’t even a week before I sought help and as soon as I started getting the help that I needed to stay sober, I never took another drink.
I’d tried on and off for a couple of years prior to that moment trying to get sober, but it wasn’t my time, I had not hit my emotional bottom yet, but when I hit my emotional bottom, that was it and I was determined to get sober.
As Debbi was sharing this with me over the phone, I could tell she was tearing up. Even though this was ten years ago, it was obviously still a very emotional moment for her. What I found meaningful in this was the way that Debbi described it as “my bottom” making it clear that everyone has their own moment.
This is a classic example of how you can’t change another person’s behavior; his behavior will only change in earnest once he’s decided he wants to change. Part of that is because that person has to accept/admit there’s a problem. That can be extremely frustrating to deal with, watching someone sabotage themselves. If you are in this situation then Al-Anon offers resources for friends and families of problem drinkers.
If you’re the one in Debbi’s shoes, then you can turn to Alcoholics Anonymous for help.
Debbi Dickinson is a personal coach who writes at Stepping Into Joy inspiring professional women the importance of self-care and balance. Debbi also creates audio and video programs and hosts telesummits focused on topics professional women deal with today.
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