Kathy H's Story: Cocktail Hour Turned Into All Day

I Had It Under Control

Coffee Cup
Cocktail Hour Was All Day. © Getty Images

Recovering alcoholics talk about "hitting bottom," the point at which the consequences of their drinking became so bad they finally admitted they had a problem and reached out for help. For some, the humiliation of getting arrested for the first time is their "bottom," but for others getting arrested 10 times does not slow them down.

That "bottom" point is different for every alcoholic and the truth is some never hit bottom until they end up in the grave. It is the fortunate ones that hit it early. Kathy H. shares her personal story of where she found bottom and what she did to get help.

Kathy H.'s Story

Looking back, I think my alcohol problem started a long time ago. It seems from the first beer, I was always drinking more than all my friends. But I did all the right things: went to college, got a good job, married, had a child. All was well. (I did not drink while carrying my son).

It was just fun drinking with the neighborhood after work and on weekends. I got divorced when my son was two, and I was 32. No big deal. I loved being a mom, loved my son, had a good job, and a clean house.

I Drank Daily

Around dinner was the time for the first of many cocktails for the evening. I drank daily, alone or with friends. But I didn't have a problem. In my line of work there is a lot of traveling and drinking. I was right in the middle of it.

Then, in what seems like a blink of an eye, it happened. Friends and family started to talk to me about drinking. My boyfriend mentioned I might be drinking a bit too much.

It was harder to go to work. What was once a few glasses of wine turned into a few bottles. I had the shakes in the morning. I had blackouts everyday. At 5'7" my weight was down to 97 pounds.

Things Were 'Fine'

My very dear friend passed out on my dining room floor and died the next day. She had fallen, drunk, and hit her head earlier in the week which was the cause of death.

I passed out at work one day and was taken to the hospital. They began detoxing me, but I left.

My cocktail hour had turned into all day long. I drank, passed out, drank, passed out. Like all alcoholics, I thought I might be drinking a little too much, but I had it all under control. Things were fine, bills paid on time, house clean, son about to graduate top in his high school, nice house and a cool car.

Called My Company's EAP

Then I hit what was bottom for me. I was arrested for a DUI. I remember thinking, this is great! I raised my son to be a good person with high goals and here is his mom drunk, handcuffed in a cop car on the way for a blood alcohol test (which was .365) That was on a Friday. My girlfriend came over; when she heard about the arrest she called my company's EAP.

On Sunday, I was on a flight to Florida to detox and a month in rehab. I am so grateful and proud to report that on November 20, 2007, I will have one year sober!

-- Kathy H.

Employee Assistance Program

Many companies have an EAP, or employee assistance program, which offers confidential, short-term counseling for employees with personal problems that affect their work performance, including alcohol or other drug problems.

If you ask for help from your company's EAP, you will not be fired, you will be offered help and understanding. On the other hand, if you refuse to get help, you run the risk of losing your job or being injured on the job.

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