The sun came up. And the memories of the previous evening made clear that I had two choices. I could stay in my room and never come out or I could face up to my lies. I tried the first option for a few hours and when that did not seem like a viable long-term solution, I appeared from my room. Before I showed my face, I asked Lucas to take the kids elsewhere. I was a mom to a just turned 5 year-old and a 22 month-old. I wasn’t sure how much they understood, but I knew they knew enough to know something was wrong with mom.
By the time that I walked down the stairs, every drop of alcohol was out of my house. Well, that is the bottles that were where they were supposed to be. Lucas could read the writing on the wall. He knew from the moment he encountered my sobs in the night that drastic changes would have to be made. It would be weeks before I confessed to and disposed of all of the hidden stashes that I held in secret, but on that day Lucas took the first step to protect me from myself.
What next? I did the only thing that a self-professed control freak knows how to do, I staged my own intervention. I called two couples that I trusted and they were at the door. I poured out my heart and mess and fears and admitted that I had no idea what to do next. There in my living room, each with questions and concerns and unknowns, I trusted them to help. I can assure you that room did not have all of the answers, and I’m so thankful that my friends and my husband did not try to fix, and instead listened and asked questions and sought wisdom from professionals.
April 1st, 2007 is a date that I will never forget. I found a bottom that day. In that place there was little hope, much fragility and a clear view of the death that was at hand. When I think about the liturgical calendar, there is nothing that depicts the journey of that day quite like Ash Wednesday. It was a day where I was staring at my own mortality. I could see the ashes of death that were surrounding my life. And on that day, I was given a gift.
It was a gift that was painful to accept and would require the shedding of ego and pride. It was a gift that would require a level of self-examination that I feared. It was a gift that I didn’t even know existed. Much like the Lenten journey to the cross, the path was filled with levels of discovery. In the midst of a bleak and dark road, there was a light. A small flicker of hope was being held for me by those around me. And it was going to be my choice to open my eyes and see it.