Columbus Day, 2015.
My then-husband had the day off. The kids were in school. I just looked it up on my work website: I had 3 deliveries that day. I think it was so slow that it was an inconvenience and I decided that the next year I would close on Columbus Day.
I would have delivered the orders myself and vaguely remember doing so. As it was technically a holiday I could pretend the 9-pack of Miller Lite I was buying on my way home was for my husband to enjoy on his extra day off. It was those wide-mouth bottle/cans with the screw on and off caps. They still sell them in the stores.
I also picked up a 12 pack of Miller Lite 12oz cans. By this time I’d become quite savvy at hiding the back-up beer behind the case of butter in the work fridge in the garage. So that’s what I did.
I decided on how many of the 9-pack a reasonable person might drink on a Monday, during the day, while her children were in school: that was two.
I then filled up the wide mouth bottle with the secret beer from the cans behind the butter each time mine ran low.
I’d known for some time that I couldn’t put the brakes on my drinking. I was hiding it from others. I was hiding it from myself. That evening, when I reached once more behind the butter for a can to secretly fill up my bottle none were left. The 12 secret beers were gone: I’d finished them all. Plus the 2 bottles from the 9 pack that I thought were reasonable.
None of it was reasonable.
The next evening I drove carpool for soccer. It was up at Dozier Elementary in Newport News and started at 7pm. I had done my homework and had found an AA meeting on a list that met down the street a bit at 7:30.
There weren’t many people there. I couldn't just disappear into a crowd. I was nervous and emotional. The meeting chair got around to the part I was there for:
He asked if anyone wanted a white chip, you know, like the white flag of surrender?
Did anyone want to admit they were powerless over alcohol?
I stood up, walked forward and took the white chip in my hand. Tears fell from my eyes.
My name is Jeanne and I am an alcoholic.
I had my last drink 5 years ago today.