An epidural was administered in my back before giving birth to my first two sons. The pressure and sting of the needle felt foreign and was very painful. It quickly took effect, pooling my veins with a warm, bubbly sensation. I was free of pain, but disconnected to my body. I started to panic.
I was conflicted about the effects of the epidural. It was great relief to be free of pain, but I simultaneously felt out of control. So, when I became pregnant with my 3rd son, I chose natural childbirth.
The extreme pain of medication free childbirth was completely unexpected. I feared the pain would kill me. Convinced of this, I doubted my decision to go med – free. I cried out for drugs, but I was too far along in labor.
“USE YOUR ENERGY TO PUSH, NOT SCREAM!” the doctor shouted from between my legs. My eyes darted to hers in a moment of clarity.
“There is no turning back; I have to stop the pain.”
So, I did as she suggested because I had no other choice. I harnessed the little energy I had left, and with a few giant pushes, out he came. The pain vanished. What had felt incredibly out of control and unmanageable, transformed into peace and tranquility instantaneously.
Her suggestion worked.
I survived. I was free of the pain at last.
Alcohol was my life’s epidural for 25 years. It erased my past regrets and traumas, numbed daily worries and resentments, and eradicated my fears and anxieties of the future. Like the epidural during my first two childbirths, the alcohol I consumed swam through my veins. It was literally a numbing agent for my feelings.
Before I surrendered to this cunning and baffling disease, I had deep seeded pain. Towards the end of my 25 year long love affair with alcohol, it was clear that no amount of booze would anesthetize my misery. As time progressed, so did my daily consumption. My inner agony effected my spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical health. I hid my addiction and pain from everyone- even myself.
I am grateful that I willingly accepted the gift of recovery. After many years of willfully trying to control my drinking, I came to a place of complete and utter exhaustion. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. What once numbed all my mental discomforts, no longer worked. It is a miracle that one day I thought it was a good idea to try a 12-step recovery program. (Read my post: The Dream That Saved My Life to learn about my rock bottom dream that helped me surrender). In this life saving program, I learned that I was not the only person in the world suffering from untreated alcoholism. There are many of us, and alcoholism does not discriminate. I learned that I was not a bad person. I was sick. In recovery, we work to get better. Overtime I began to understand that drinking was not my problem. My thinking was the problem
No longer alone, I had a community to get sober with, one day at a time.
Unfortunately, the pain of life and the obsession to drink does not typically end instantaneously like it does after giving birth naturally. But I promise you, if you are willing and wanting, you will feel better over time. If you are patient and take suggestions from those that have recovered before you, you will find peace. In time, you will have a life you never thought possible, or ever imagined!
Free of past resentments, poor self esteem, and lack of self love, I am finally at peace with who I am. I no longer need an “alcohol epidural” to numb my feelings and manage life. I know how to cope with what life brings me in healthy ways. I am able to handle pain – just like I handled the pain of natural childbirth – and survive.