This series of three paintings came from my personal battle with alcoholism. It took me 18 years, minus the 100 days I had quit in 2020 and a couple 30 day breaks to finally accept the fact that I could no longer drink alcohol. I knew for a very long time it was a problem for me and it was a perfect combination of things that finally got me sober in August 2021. I read a book titled, "This Naked Mind" by Annie Grace that dispelled the illusion that alcohol was benefiting me in any sort of way. I suddenly recognized all the lies I'd been telling myself for many years about why I felt I needed to drink to just feel ok. It wasn't fun anymore. All of a sudden I felt a release I can't experience. I knew I was suddenly free from this illusion. I began to go deep within myself and also sensed a presence within me that was angry that I could finally see the light! I asked to be shown this presence which felt like it was breathing down my neck, seething in anger. It had held me, prisoner, for so long, and was furious I was escaping. I had a vision and did a 180-degree turn within myself and standing right behind me, was a black silhouette of me, like I was staring back at my shadow. It was me but it wasn't. Something was very off. I had to see the face! I drifted slowly closer into my shadow's face and where my eyes were supposed to be, were instead two eyes that weren't mine. They were narrow, small, and red and spaced too far apart on the face to even look human. I had a moment of terror and a voice said to me, " This is the side of yourself that you've been seeking for far too long". I thought, of course! This only makes sense! It was clear to me that every time I got drunk, I gave this dark side of myself permission to take over and it had become so strong over time. She looked physically strong and now furious that now by my Higher Power's Grace, I saw the truth!; that alcohol was a poison that I'd been slowly killing myself with, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was blocking the channel between me and my Higher Power. It was a huge Lie!
The first painting titled 'Booze Trip' shows me at the driver's wheel after a trip back home from the liquor store after promising myself for the one-thousandth time that I wouldn't drink alcohol that day. I would wake up in the morning with a hangover acknowledging that I needed to quit drinking and that I would stop but by late afternoon, those good voices would change and I would start finding excuses why a drink sounded like a good idea. By evening, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to buy it "just in case" I decided to drink. It was a constant battle in my head between my good angel and my bad angel. Hey, I may have to paint a picture of that idea one day! The steering wheel is symbolic in this painting because I'm the one who's trying to be in control of everything in my life when really I'm completely out of control! My conscious mind feels pulled between two states and there's anxiety and also adrenaline from the turbulent emotions. My shadow self is very pleased and content with the intention on my part to drink alcohol that night.
Painting #2 titled, 'Shadow Self' oil 2022 shows me in my studio questioning yet again my decision to drink that night when I'd already taken a sip of the first drink! By taking the first drink, I had already surrendered to the will of my shadow self. The door was open for my dark half to take over and either ruin or interfere with anything good I had going on. The phrase, "My addiction's doing push-ups in the parking lot". comes to mind with this one. Once I take the first drink, the gate has opened and my shadow self is ready to play. Oblivion and Devastation.
Painting #3 titled, 'New Beginnings' oil 2022 is the image that came to mind when I began to picture what lies ahead for me after getting sober in August 2021. I saw where I had been before; a world that was flat with color and numb with emotions (The left side of the painting is the dark room where I wasted many, many hours drinking). My new life as a sober person had become so much more vibrant and colorful in just the first few months. I saw everything on the other side of the door, free from alcohol with a new set of eyes. Everything was in technicolor and there was a mountain in the distance. The sunflowers always follow the light which is what it felt like for me, coming from alcoholism, a dark place into a newly lit world. This sense of new wonderment began to dissolve after about 5 months and the anxiety that I thought was a repercussion of drinking began to return. It became such a problem one day that I decided to look for help in my sobriety instead of doing it alone like I had been for the past several months. With the loving support and guidance of several sober women in my life, I found a 12-step program in my local community. When I attended the very first meeting and opened the door, I felt like the character in the 'New Beginnings' painting for real!! I've been in the program for 8 months and it's much easier for me to climb the mountain of life if I have steps and people (real-life angels) to help and walk with me on this journey.
Today is November 6th, 2022 and I'm a year and a couple months free from the bondage of alcohol. It's something I no longer even think about. What I'm experiencing is a "daily reprieve" from that desire to drink. What I do think about daily now is seeking out what my good side wants me to do. I want to establish a relationship with that higher power in me that only sees what is good. I don't have to be in control anymore. I've surrendered and I'm at peace. I'm enjoying my life in a new way and many good things have happened since I've gotten sober. I know it's just going to get better but I'm not going to worry about the future because I'm just taking it one day at a time! Thanks for reading my story. I hope it helps anyone who may be struggling to know they are not alone.