Sondra Primeaux / The Unruffled
When the familiar warm sunshine hit my face, I wanted to enjoy it for a moment before opening my eyes.
I waited for a kiss from my sweetheart in those seconds, breathing in the smells of my environment under the giant sky. The sweet, chirpy bird sounds drifted into my consciousness but were abruptly destroyed by screeching tires on pavement. My eyes snapped wide open. I looked down and attempted to focus after initially being rendered orb-blind, to see my cute pink vintage purse, clasped and resting neatly on my body. I scan my body, fully clothed in the outfit I had carefully chosen the day before. For the day before was the day before my thirtieth birthday, which meant today, I was thirty.
Snapshots from the night's activities start to flicker in my head like old cartoon cells: happy hour, Katy from work, Oil Can Harry's, more drinks, strip show, nightfall, more drinks, sidewalk stumbling. The realization thus far tells me that this is not a comfy patchwork blanket I am lying on, this is cement. And I am not being hugged by my sweetheart but by two short cement walls. And that pounding is a jackhammer but it is keeping time with the pounding in my head. My eyes focus back on my purse and I will my hands to open it. A wallet, which I will open as well, reveals an ID and no money. Not surprising. I then force my right hand to travel down my underwear which reveals no blood. Surprising. I listen to the morning commuters rolling by, contemplating for a moment how very different their morning was looking than mine.
When you wake up on your thirtieth birthday to find that you slept on a construction site in the middle of downtown Austin, so hungover that blinking is painful, it's difficult to strategize your next move. So I listen for a silent space between cars and hop up. Ouch. Humiliation can't even contend with the pain in my head, nevertheless, I head towards the bridge. I manage to flag down a cab, because even as I’m mindful that I am holding zero forms of payment, someone let me sleep on pavement in the middle of a city. It was my birthday, I had a job and a husband and parents that loved me. I was at least entitled to a ride home. When we pull up to my duplex, I manage the words "hang on" without heaving and slip out to retrieve some cash. Falling asleep pissed will almost always insure that you'll wake up pissed and me stumbling around for my husband's wallet was the only match he needed to reignite that fuse.
"Where in the hell have you been?"
"I'm so sorry! Crazy night. But I have to pay the cab fare and I don't have a dime," knowing fully that I would never reveal any of the night's particulars.
Astonishment and then humiliation had turned to relief when I finally settled on my own pillow, as the words "never again" pulsated through my head. Sympathy would come, even if I had to console myself, I said. He's mad, understandably, I said. I'll process this when I get some sleep, I said. And I drifted off.
Alcoholism is so much about disconnect. We are disconnected from those in which we share a roof, food and a bed. Our brain is disconnected from our body which is disconnected from our soul. We are disconnected from reality. I didn't ask for help because I didn't know I needed to. I made a decision by not making one. What could have been a crossroad turned out to be too heavy a cross to bear. And shame? Is a tree shameful when it falls in the forest and no one hears?
I was drinking again by nightfall.
About the Author
Sondra would describe herself in one loaded word: multi-passionate. She's passionate about family, sewing, photography, writing and recovery (since July 13, 2014!). She's currently working on a website that is dedicated to just that, pursuing creativity in recovery. Follow along at The Unruffled