Clean Slate

Did I tell y’all I am in a magazine? That happened.

Now the whole city of Baton Rouge, La. knows exactly who I am and just how big of an alcohol problem I have. I’m embarrassed and proud and kind of appalled at myself. I also gave a copy to almost everyone in my life and I also may have hidden from a lady in a waiting room who was reading it.

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Photo credit: Jeannie Frey Rhodes

It’s a really weird feeling to be sitting somewhere minding your own business and suddenly see yourself across the room, in some random stranger’s lap. Just take my word for it.

I didn’t know I was going to be on the cover until I picked up a brown paper envelope with three copies inside, left for me by the managing editor, the day before it hit the newsstands. I had the kids with me, so I grabbed the package and hopped back into the elevator before my offspring could wander off or break anything.

“Press the 1 so we can go back down,” I said to my son, pulling the magazines free from the envelope.

“OH MY GOD — THAT’S YOU! ON THE COVER!” Maverick, my oldest, was screaming into my ear.

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Maverick thought I was the coolest for an entire day.

I was rooted to the floor.

My kids hopped up and down.

The elevator shook.

I’ve never been in a magazine before, and certainly never on the cover of one. The photographer made me look like a queen, thank God, and I’m used to putting myself out there … but this feels different. Maybe because it’s such a personal story (although I’ve talked about much more personal things before). Maybe because I’m terrified of people thinking I’m unfit to be a mom (that’s irrational, because even at the lowest points in my addiction I was still a passable mother).

The truth is, I’m scared. I’m scared of being judged, of my husband and kids being judged because of my decision to put my story out there. I’m afraid that my kids will be mad about it when they get older, and I worry that I will somehow slip back into it and have a very ugly, very public, relapse.

It’s worth it. All of that is well worth the risk, because the message needs to be heard: women all over the place are STRUGGLING with alcohol and pills — women who you would never suspect, women who may not fit your ideas about what an alcoholic looks or acts like. I let Maverick read the article, and I’ve been very open with him about my issues. After all, addiction is definitely genetic.

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Photo credit: Jeannie Frey Rhodes

Audrey, my dear friend who spent a full 4 months of her life babysitting me to ensure that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, let us borrow her library for the photo shoot. You may not be able to tell in the photos, but I was terrified. I was sweaty and nauseous and lightheaded and very, very quiet.

I wanted nothing more than a drink.

I did not have one.

When we first enter recovery, we need a lot of help. I still need a lot of help, but a few months ago when we took the photo you see above, I literally required step-by-step instructions on how to function outside of my house. Audrey told me when and where to show up, ordered me that $34.99 dress from Target, told me to put it on with my green necklace and gold wedge sandals (not pictured), and to affix false eyelashes to the outer corners of my eyes.

I did what I was told. That’s all I’ve been doing for all the time, just following instructions as they are given to me. And you know what? It’s working — one day at a time.

If you’d like to read the online version of the article, you can find it here!

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4 thoughts on “Clean Slate

  1. Pingback: That Feeling When You Kind Of Want The Earth To Swallow You Whole | Modern Mommy Madness

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