I thought I could drink like a normal person. A seven day trip to Houston to take care of two young children showed me how very wrong I was.
The two children I was taking care of were around the ages of 6 and 8. Their Mom had trusted me to take care of them while she went on a trip back east. I broke that trust and lost myself in the bottom of a bottle. The days ran like clockwork. I was able to get them off to school, pick them up and make them dinner. Once they were in bed, I thought I could drink like a normal person. I had earned this drink because I took care of the kids and the house. It was my reward for a job well done, a way to relax and unwind. That’s what normal people do right? Unlike a normal person, I didn’t stop with just one drink.
For the first time in years I was responsible for someone other than myself and I blew it. I blew it big time. Only the grace of God ensured that nothing tragic happened as a result of my selfish behavior and disease of alcoholism.
Friday was a half day of school for the boys, they were wild and crazy because it was the weekend and I started to unwind earlier than normal. I ended up passing out shortly after the boys went to bed at 9pm. I woke up at 4am and couldn’t fall back asleep. In my infinite wisdom, I thought having a drink would help. I didn’t stop at one or two or even three. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many drinks I had but there was no alcohol left in the house the next day. I didn’t pass out. I was the most drunk I had been in recent memory but I couldn’t go to sleep. At some point your body will reject the alcohol you consume and that’s what happened. The next thing I remember is hearing the 6 year old say:
“It’s okay Alexis, Mom gets sick like this too. I’ll take care of you.” He had brought me a bottle of water a lunchable and a picture he had just drawn. It was 6am on Saturday and I was on the bathroom floor.
It is not a pretty picture because the disease of alcoholism isn’t pretty. It’s raw, it’s horrific and approximately 16.7 million people (one in every 12 adults) suffer from alcohol abuse.
One simple, loving and nurturing child did what the years of arguing with my family, an abusive relationship, a melted cornea and a house fire that took 20% of my skin could not. It brought me to my knees. This was my moment of surrender.
Whether it was the wisdom of a child that had seen too much or divine intervention the end result was me saying, “Never Again”. I felt hollow, broken and alone. This was a battle I could never win. The ‘weapons’ I had were useless because this was God’s battle, not mine. Mercy was delivered when I surrendered to this battle against myself to Him.
“The Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s…” 1 Samuel 17:47
God brought my true rock bottom in the form of a 6 year old child that loved and trusted me unconditionally. The physical rock bottoms from a hard decade of drinking didn’t shake my soul, they only affected me on a base level of vanity and ego. The soul shake, yeah, that one got me. Now, almost 8 years later, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t kneel in surrender, gratitude and in awe of a power greater than myself that loved me at my worst. He gave me purpose and a vision for how to carry this message. God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. He also doesn’t give us less.
This path isn’t easy, it isn’t glamorous, but it’s the calling that God gave me and I have work to do.
“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Proverbs 31:17
Alexis Chapman has been sober and working a program of recovery since January 17, 2009. She is an advocate for those struggling with alcoholism and addiction. In her free time she is a Recovery Coach, working with women who are questioning their relationship with alcohol. To keep the lights on she is VP of Flying Monkeys at TooBusyGals, a company she owns with her big sister. She has a bit of an obsession with shoes, Star Wars and paranormal romance novels. She splits her time between Indiana and Arizona.