down the rabbit hole

Down the Rabbit Hole

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I originally published this post in April 2014 on my first blog, Mother of Imperfection. I decided that it would be a fine introduction to who I am, although it doesn’t define me completely. I am an addict but I am also many other things. The one thing I am not…..a saint.

I wonder how far I’ve fallen by this time……Oh! I think I see the bottom. Yes, I’m sure I see the bottom. I shall hit the bottom, hit it very hard, and oh, how it will hurt.

Hitting bottom.

It is a phrase so many who live with addiction, any addiction, are familiar with. It is the depth you must reach, the landing spot where you fall squarely on your ass and the pain in your body, your heart, and your soul requires you to do one of two things: live or die.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?

My bottom, my final bottom, was in a motel room. All alone. I remember very little of the day or events that led up to this moment. I have scraps I can piece together that are probably very inaccurate from the reality. It began with a sad song and a bottle of scotch and the promise that I would only have one.

I stopped trying to put the pieces of the day together a long time ago. The details are not important and I learned the hard way that trying to make sense of it only frustrates me. I remember very well how it felt.

I also remember forming a plan of action. I was all alone. I had nothing left. In my stupor, I decided I would call a taxi in the morning, be taken to the nearest pharmacy where I would buy every sleeping pill they had on the shelves. I would come back to the disgusting hole I was in and I would wash them down with warm beer. Then I would sleep.

Ever the selfish addict and alcoholic, I simply wanted my own peace and found this to be my plan for salvation. For myself. It never occurred to me the pain I would be inflicting on others in order to make mine stop.

In the early morning of October 28, 1997  I picked up the phone. I called the taxi. I gave the driver an address and I walked up the drive to do the only thing I could to make the pain stop. I knew it was going to hurt just a while longer as I stepped into the arms of a friend who ran a halfway house.

I knew some of the other women here already and they knew me, welcomed me. The first few days were excruciating and it wasn’t the physical withdrawal, the night sweats, or the dreams that made it so. It was the palpable loneliness. Imagine being in a room full of people, bleeding and screaming at the top of your lungs, and no one hears you. No one sees you. Believe me when I tell you that mental and emotional pain can be felt physically. Bruises moving from the inside out.  It was the knowing that I had no thing and no person left in my life that could help me.

There was just me. I had just found the bottom and yes, it hurt.

Painful as it is, the bottom can glorious. For if it is life that you choose, then you will stop the pity party that others in your life left long ago. You will stand up, and feel your way through. Yes, feel your way through. You read it right. Bottling the emotion is what an alcoholic and addict does and unless you are ready to feel it, accept it for what it is, and ultimately let it go, you will relapse. You will relapse. It just bears repeating.

Action is the answer. I did not stay sober by sitting around thinking about it. I literally left the girl I was behind. I said goodbye and wished her luck but I’m pretty sure she’s dead now. I stepped slowly forward just like others who had gone before me told me to. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. Until it didn’t hurt anymore.

I know it is customary to start a story at the beginning but this really isn’t even the end. Getting sober is a beginning but it doesn’t excuse you from the realities of life as an addict. It simply arms you with the means to fight. Often times, the fight will not just be for yourself since addiction is a stealthy opponent and if it can’t have you, it may turn its greedy, cunning wrath on someone you love.

This story has many, many twists, turns and truths. So, see this as you will: the beginning, the middle, or the end. It is, in fact, all three.


Photo credit: Dominik Martin/



29 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole”

  1. This story takes my breath away. I guess I knew some of the middle, not this beginning/end. Looking forward to your writings.


    1. Thank you, Val. Trust me when I tell you this story does the same to me. Strangely, I see it from a much different perspective, as if it happened to someone else. I’m very happy to be back. I really missed you all so much. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember reading this post on Mother of Imperfection. Even though this reaction is inappropriate, this makes me jump for joy because I am so happy to see you blogging again! I am looking forward to seeing what you do next.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you had gone off the grid a little by the time I posted this. I’m glad you’re here and have missed seeing you around. I know you’ve had quite a year and hope all is going well these days. Thanks so much for the encouragement and I’m looking forward to a chance to catch up with you soon.


  3. Ohhhh you’re back, you’re back, you’re BACK! I’m so happy 🙂

    I remember this from before, and it was harrowing then, but SO full of hope, and such a wonderful inspiration. You have a long history of broad shoulders and steely determination, my DA 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhhh I’m back, I’m back, I’m BACK! I knew you would be. I know you’ve read this before and I think it may actually be one that I threw at you via email to keep me from going into complete and total meltdown at hitting publish. You’ve had that pleasure a time or two! Thank you for being here, EG. Let’s see what I can do with that steely determination.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have high hopes for great things *does a peculiar cough, which sounds a lot like ‘Nixheart’* HOWEVER…I’m just glad you’re back in the Blogosphere. It wasn’t the same without you.

        This post might well be…I’m always delighted (and honoured) to be a sounding board for you 🙂 And I’m VERY glad to be here.

        I’ll give you a coupla weeks to settle in before I start pestering… 🙂


        1. Oh, don’t worry. NixHeart is still very much on the agenda. Between the holidays, putting everyone back on track with schedules, and getting Nik set up for home schooling I have had my hands full but I have a closet full of supplies ready and waiting. Thanks for giving me a break though ;).

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think I realized until now that you were a fellow recoveree. The words you’ve written are familiar and make complete sense. I, too, have been lost in a shitty hotel room wondering if there was anywhere to go next. I am glad to be in such good company. Congrats on the new blog, Sandy!!


    1. Well, I don’t think I knew that about you either, Eric. See how you learn something new every day. While I don’t like that you know the feeling I am very happy to know you made it to the other side. We are both in very good company, my fellow recoveree!


  5. see I think you really are natural born storyteller. Whether it be your own story or something purely from your imagination, you seem to have an innate understanding of how things fit together. This skill I find, usually comes from someone who has the ability to look back on things and make sense out of the chaos. It allows you to form a narrative, because that’s the only way you can explain it all. I hope you find joy in your writing, and that you can fight off the drudgery that comes with it sometimes. I still truly hope that we can collaborate in this new year. Welcome back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, considering the source here I will have to count this as a high compliment. Thank you. I am planning on doing a lot more writing and not just here. It is finally starting to settle down here and I am able to think with a fairly uncluttered mind. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of writing and hoping to keep it from becoming a chore as it began to feel before. I’m still looking forward to working with you and will begin churning out ideas for you. I know you have a lot going with the release of Part Two this spring and I hope to be able to be a bigger part of that now. Thank you for the kind welcome and let’s see where the new year takes us.


  6. Bottling the emotion — I’m very familiar with that. It’s a daily struggle, for me at least. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m glad you’re back and look forward to reading more!


    1. Thank you, Jana. I still do it from time to time, hold it all in. It proves to be a dangerous thing for me and I’m always reminded of that when it finally lets loose. I’m glad to be back and hope to be getting caught up with everyone! Thanks so much for coming back!


  7. Sandy, I’ve been there, more than once. The falling down part is, in a sense, the drug itself. It’s dysfunctionally comfortable to be in a mental place where we feel in control of being out of control. Our lack of self worth is addicted to that place. The tools we use to keep us there take many forms…alcohol, drugs, abusive behaviors, relationships. People like us struggle with balance and staying in the confines of taking the bad with the good. It’s a gift to be able to fall that low because it means we have the potential to reach the highs too. Some people just drift, boringly in the middle. At least we feel…really feel what it means to be alive. The key is finding the balance. I think this is a beautiful place to start. Right here with people virtually surrounding you and supporting you. This story moved me even having read it before. So much it’s taken me two days to comment because it needed to swim around in my big beautiful brain a bit. I have my own rabbit hole and jump in and out of that fucking hole everyday. You’re not alone momma! Keep writing. Please, we all need to hear what you have to say. ~Dawn


    1. Thank you so much for reading, Dawn, and for leaving this incredibly thoughtful comment. I have always been a little grateful for my road because I firmly believe I have learned lessons that just can’t be learned living a ‘normal’ life. I’ve managed to stow a few really good coping skills, none of which will kill me. I remember being terrified when I published this on my first blog. I hit publish and waited to be vilified. Instead I was overwhelmed with the love and support and it continues today. I came back to this because I didn’t realize how much I needed it. I plan to stay and am really glad to have you along for the ride!


  8. Sandy, I love and remember it from then; and love it now!! And yes, most perfect to introduce our Phoenix!! You are such an amazing lady and my hero!! So sorry we’ve been absent as of late. I’m trying to get Gingie’s health better and my life in order but hopefully we’ll be back on the blogging scene more regularly before long! We miss our favorite blogs and for me, yours especially!! Absolutely love your new blog….it’s perfect! And God how I love your tagline: “An Honest Sinner; Because nobody likes a lying Saint.” beautiful!! ❤ xoxoxo Sharing now our friend 😉


    1. You are so very good for my ego and I like the idea of the Phoenix. You have always been so good to me and I know you’ve been dealing with a lot of things. I miss seeing you girls around but I’m sure once everything gets back on track we’ll be seeing more of each other. In the meantime, take care of our girl and take care of you!


  9. Ok, how did I not know you had a new blog page. Seriously, just seeing your name in my comments tonight and then seeing a link to click on made me smile and so happy. Welcome back my friend and you definitely said a mouthful here and then some. So thank you for that and so much more.


    1. I snuck in very quietly. I just couldn’t stay away! I sat out the holidays and let life get back to normal. Well, as close as it can get anyway. But yes, I’m back and happy for it! I’m hoping to catch up (still can’t believe your girls in such a short time!! Wow!). I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other ;).


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