blackout drinking

Cyndy L says her story in recovery involves being a slow learner. She went to her first meeting at twenty-one years old, but she didn’t pick up her one-year chip till she was forty. She fell in love with alcohol at a young age, leading her to a lifestyle of bars, bedrooms, and bad decisions. It took her a long time to realize the role her childhood and genetics played in her alcoholism.

Some people are proud to say they are the first person in their family to go to college, get a degree, or open their own business. Cyndy jokes that she’s proud to be the first alcoholic in her family to get sober.

Listen to Cyndy’s story!

Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!

Cyndy grew up in a time when it was okay to give kids whiskey when they were sick. She enjoyed her first sip of beer when she was 7. Her first blackout was at 14 from drinking too much Bacardi 151.

Drinking always was great. I felt more comfortable and I felt happy. I would be lying if I didn’t say for a very long time, alcohol was a very good friend. It bit me in the ass, but it was a very good friend. 

Cyndy absorbed a lot of this behavior from watching her parents. Her mother and father would close the bar down every Friday night. They didn’t’ drink all the time, but when they did, they went all out. Cyndy followed that blueprint into adulthood.

Despite her drinking, Cyndy was a straight A student who eventually went to college on a full academic scholarship.

She got her degree and had several great jobs. Wherever she worked, she’d seek out the party people and go out to bars several times a week. She had blackouts and fender benders, but she never was caught. She always skated the consequences.

At the age of 27, Cyndy felt she needed a change from her promiscuous lifestyle at the local bars. She applied to get her MBA in Dublin and was accepted. During this time, she also started dating someone new. She left him to go to Dublin, promising to keep faithful. She earned her MBA, but she spent a lot of money drinking during that one year, and she cheated on her boyfriend back in the US.

I cannot drink because when I drink at about beer number five, I forget that I want to do anything other than sleep with the guy I’m talking to.

She never told him, but it didn’t matter. She was emotionally immature, and the relationship ended after a few years. Cyndy went to start over in Rhode Island, where she returned to her barhopping habits and soon tried cocaine with her party friends from her new job. She liked it so much, she started smoking it.

Cyndy didn’t have the money to support that habit. She knew if she didn’t get away from her supply she would be finished, so she removed herself.

In 2005, she moved to Texas where she stayed away from coke, but she started her usual drinking routine. She met her future husband at her job. They met up after work at a bar. She got so drunk she couldn’t drive home. He took her to his place. She doesn’t remember having sex. The first time they consummated her relationship she was blackout drunk.

He was previously married with kids, and was wary of getting serious at first, but they moved in together and got married in a matter of months.

As fate would have it, her husband always dreamed of owning a bar and there happened to be one for sale in their town. They couldn’t afford it, but they were determined to make his dream come true. They had to pool money together with their friends to buy it.

Cyndy tried to stay sober while at work at the bar, but it was impossible. Every night she brought home drama.

I didn’t seem to realize that if I picked up the first one, that was it.

Cyndy became pregnant and did not drink during the majority of her pregnancy. Ironically, her daughter was born on St. Patrick’s Day. Cyndy didn’t plan to stay sober after becoming a mom. She went back to her old reckless habits at the bar. Her husband was losing his patience and gave her an ultimatum.

Cyndy finally started going to meetings, but she still couldn’t keep it together. She thought she had to relapse to get the extra experience strength and hope. She actually bought Kalua to pour into a cup and drink during a meeting.

Then a series of tragedies struck. Her husband lost his son. Next, he lost his father. Then Cyndy almost lost her husband himself to a heart attack. This unraveled her. She dropped her meetings and was off to the races along with a customer at their bar.

After that, her husband took her key to the bar. She had to get clean somehow. She started going to therapy. She went to meetings every day because she didn’t know what else to do. She had lost herself. All her life she wanted a husband and family, but she was chasing all that away.

Things got better when they sold the bar and moved. They got their lives back on track and started going to church. This was the first time Cyndy began to experience joy again.

What kept Cyndy from getting clean?

I really liked drinking.

Cyndy simply didn’t want to stop. She just wanted to stop having consequences.

That aha moment

I remember getting my 30-day chip and I said, this is the only time I realized that I was worth it. And something in me changed.

Best suggestion

Her old timer sponsor taught her:

You can always start your day over.

She had always thought that if her day started bad, it was all going to go downhill. But now she knows she can stop, say the Serenity Prayer, and reset her day.

Suggestion for newcomer

You’re worth it. You’re absolutely worth getting sober for.

RELATED EPISODE: SHAIR 135: “BLACKOUT” with Sarah Hepola, Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.