I remember it being very cold that night. Before I left my Baba’s apartment I made sure to grab a hat and gloves. I’d been living in Norfolk, VA for the last three years and had forgotten how cold Cleveland, Ohio winters could get.
I kissed my Baba on the cheek and walked out to my car. I felt a rush of excitement as I drove away. I was leaving and soon I’d be indulging in my all time favorite beer, Great Lakes Brewing Christmas Ale.
I picked a cozy restaurant and bar. The minute I got in I told the hostess that I didn’t need a table. It was always like this, at least the last few years. I had no intentions of wasting my money on food. I needed to save it for my drinks.
I ordered my first drink and started to observe my surroundings. The room was dimly lit, with twinkling Christmas lights everywhere. There was a young, cute couple sitting next to me enjoying dinner and a drink. And that’s when I felt a quick pang of panic. Clayton! Shit, what was I going to tell him this time?
Clayton and I were visiting my family up in Cleveland and he was out with a mutual friend of ours. I wasn’t supposed to be drinking, and definitely not alone. My drinking had been getting out of hand lately, and I’d told Clayton I wouldn’t drink on this trip.
I’d already lied to my grandma and told her that I was going to see a friend, and it was partially true. I had plans to see my friend a few hours later. I figured I’d leave my house early, grab a few drinks, and then go see my friend.
It was always this way for me. I had the best intentions, but once I started drinking I didn’t know what would happen. I never made it to my friends house. In fact, the bar tender cut me off. My friend had to come pick me up. I was too drunk to even enjoy seeing her. The whole thing was so embarrassing.
I woke up the next day with a hangover. No one in my family mentioned the night before. I thought I’d gotten away with it. I don’t remember the rest of that day until dinner time.
My grandma had prepared a great Christmas dinner for my family. As we were all gathering to sit down my younger brother told me he had something to tell me. He proceeded to tell me that he was worried about my drinking and that he thought I had a problem. My dad jumped in and supported my brother. My mom sat in the background crying and telling me she loved me.
There was definitely some tough love given that night. The minute the intervention started my defenses went up. I couldn’t believe my family would do this to me. I was angry, ashamed, and confused. I knew I had a problem, but I had no idea my family knew, and that it was hurting them so badly.
After about an hour of talking I was exhausted and I threatened to leave the apartment. We’d discussed a lot at that table. We talked about why I might be drinking so much, to what could be done to stop it.
I wish I could say that I stopped drinking that day, but I didn’t. My last drink wouldn’t be until a few months later. I hadn’t even reached my lowest point yet.
That intervention was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through, and I’m not sure it’s the best way to help someone battling addiction. But, my family was at a loss, and I understand why they did it. It certainly helped me realized how serious my addiction to alcohol was becoming.
There’s no one way to get sober, and it took multiple things for me to finally achieve a long period of sobriety. However, I am so grateful for my family and the steps they took to help me.