flyingsober Chapter 1
I wake up freezing with my face just inches from the cracking paint of a ceiling. As I reach down to grab the covers, of which I find there are none, my eye catches the first glimpse of orange. Like pumpkin orange, but even brighter. My memory starts to come back, along with a horrible, pulsating headache. The shaking starts, then the tears come. I’ve done it again. I’m in jail somewhere, and even with my foggy head and slow memory, I know it has something to do with alcohol. I realize that I’m on the top bunk of a metal bunk bed. Below me, someone is snoring quite loudly. What time is it? No watch on my arm. The lights are flooding into the room, or now I know, the cell. I can see my breath. I’ve got to get out of here, I will freeze to death. Well actually freezing was the least of my worries. The room was about the size of my bathroom at home. Oh, I just want to go home. I can vaguely remember my husband Todd, refusing to pick me up. Did I call anyone else? I can’t remember. Lord, I need a blanket, or coffee, or both. So getting back to the small room, uh, cell, it was small. Yes I said that already, sorry. Anyway, the bunk bed took up most of the space, and then there was a half wall with a toilet on the other side. I vaguely also remember two drawers attached to the wall. Drawers? Maybe there was a blanket, a sheet. I would even take a t-shirt right now if I could find one. I looked down over the side of my top bunk. I can see a human form under some blankets. Yes blankets. As in two. Well if I had a blanket I now know where it is. Maybe I can just go down there, politely tap her and say “Excuse me for waking you, but could I please have one of your blankets?” But first, I need to find the ladder, there has to be a ladder, right? How do they expect for me to get down from here. On second thought, how did I get up here? Well I looked up one side and across the foot. No ladder. The other side was attached to the wall, so of course no ladder there. How about the foot. No ladder. Tears came even harder, and I realized I needed to go to the bathroom. Well only one way down. I would have to jump. The thought of landing on that cold tile, or whatever it was floor, made me procrastinate until I had no choice. I slid as far down the side of the bunk that I could and then dropped. My ankles were on fire. I hopped over to the facilities, and did my business. I stood up to flush, and that’s when it happened. A thundering voice from under the blankets yelled, “Don’t ever do that again!” I think I just met my cell mate. I can’t remember her name, or even if she gave it to me, but I do remember those first words to me. I also remember not caring at all what she had to say. How could anyone hurt me anymore than I had already hurt myself.
So just how did a Christian wife, mother, flight attendant, end up staring at the ceiling of a jail cell? The answer, simply put, alcoholism. However as you will hear in my story, there is nothing simple about alcoholism. The journey through alcoholic hell took me about 8 years to stagger through. There were six rehab centers. Jail stays, yes stays, as in more than one. A psychiatric facility. One homeless shelter, and 2 half-way houses. I stayed in the homes of 2 friends that I met in recovery and also graced my parent’s home, back in New Mexico, for what I am sure was a long 30 days for them. They didn’t know how to help me, which was understandable, how do you help a crazy person! I was even taken into the home of a dear Pastor and his sweet wife down in San Antonio Texas. I had a few come to Jesus moments, but still didn’t put down the drink. It was only in desperation that I finally took steps which enabled me to surrender my will to Christ and begin another journey. One of simply put, freedom, freedom from bondage. The bondage of my own self will. The will that kept me from being the person that God wanted me to be, the will that kept me from his plan for me. The will that started the ball rolling, and plummeted me and my family into the nightmare of alcoholism. This is my story.