What do you do to numb the pain? How do you fill the vacuum? The death of my two children triggered all the classic symptoms of grief: but overwhelming sadness and anger seemed to grip me the hardest. I wanted justice, to have the man who fell asleep while driving and killed my son and daughter to pay for their deaths. That was denied at trial and again on appeal. So I had a huge black hole to fill inside me.
These different reactions to our tragedy helped create an ever-widening breach which led to the break-up of our marriage. For relief I began to go to the bar once a week for wing night with a new group of friends. (One good thing resulting from that was meeting Lise who remains a dear friend to this day.)
Drinking soon began to be troublesome. When we separated my husband and I shared parenting. My son spent two weeks with my husband, then two with me. Sadly, my son often saw me drunk, once witnessing me fall down the stairs. As the drinking increased I would struggle into work with a major hangover, drowsy and depressed.
The company I worked for at the time was restructuring and I found myself shuffled from the familiar life of Sudbury to the town of Orillia. I’m not sure I’d even heard of it before I moved there. I knew no one, had no family or friends. I lived there for the next five years.
Some people call such a move a “geographic cure”, the illusion that new surroundings will provide a healthy new start. It didn’t work for me. I would get home at five o’clock and wish it were 11 so I could go to bed. I wanted to drink more than ever to fill those six hours. I tried to cope by taking on a second job to keep busy. What happened is that I would then get home at 10 o’clock and drink until I passed out. Needless to say I was often in bad shape for work the next morning.
No matter how many times I swore I would change this behaviour, that “tomorrow I won’t drink”, the sad pattern would get its grip on me at day’s end.
To be continued