Nonfiction Written Works

The Light at the End of the Tunnel by Lindsay Smith

As I sat there with my legs trembling, tears running down my face, the dark black circles that emphasized the darkness I felt inside. I was tired, a tired I have never felt before. It was as if no matter how much sleep I received, I was still jaded. Days would go by without eating any nutrients, the weight melted off my already frail body, a shower was far and few in between, and the grey sweatpants that I had been wearing for the last five days were conforming to my body, and honestly, I didn’t care. Life, as I knew it around me, was never going to be the same, so either I except my new norm or I could finish the half bottle of watermelon vodka that stared me dead in the face.

Drowning my sorrows as if they did not exist seemed more tolerable than climbing my way out of a bottomless black hole of misery. No more than a couple of seconds passed, and the devil’s juice was flowing through my veins; it wasn’t a half a second later that I was violently vomiting everywhere. As I wipe the puke off my face and the salty sweaty drips that followed, I again had the firewater to my quivering pale lips. Praying this one would not come flowing like the Nile river like seconds before. Again, I could taste the watermelon making its way up my already burning throat. Luckily, I had an old blue Gatorade that had been sitting out on my faded brown nightstand since the end of time. Who knew something so irrelevant would be a lifesaver. As the warm mixture of pacific blue and regurgitated watermelon hit my empty stomach, a sense of relief overflowed my body. It was as if someone pulled a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer and wrapped me in it. The warmness and ease I felt were as if nothing were ever wrong. How could I be so foolish? Is this truly what God had in store for me? A worthless drunk without a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.

The more the taste of vodka hit my taste buds, the more the bitterness showed its ugly face. Every why, who, and what came to the tip of my tongue, and I began questioning my entire existence. I could feel the fury of anger burning inside my soul. All I wanted was to get blackout drunk and pray I did not wake to see another day.

Who am I kidding? It’s never that easy.

As I laid back on my squeaky mattress, I could feel the warmness fade away, just like the memories of when I was genuinely happy. Let’s be honest; I wasn’t always this way. At one point had a loving husband with three beautiful boys. I was living a dream that many ask for, but that wasn’t enough in my selfish mind. Nothing at a certain point was ever enough, never enough Alcohol, drugs, did I mention Alcohol? See, what everyone seemed to overlook is Alcohol was always my number one supporter no matter how many times I fell flat on my face, unlike the family I had so severely damaged that had written me off. Honesty, the only thing missing was a physical grave and my emaciated body, but in their minds, I was already there.

Mentally I had accepted that I was being written off as a worthless drunk, and now it was the waiting game to enters enteral life gates. I thought to myself; I wonder if heaven is as beautiful as I’ve heard, maybe dying wouldn’t be so bad after all.  As I stared at the bright white ceiling, it was as if the walls were caving in on me. The harder I looked, the closer the ceiling was to my face. It was like I was drowning internally but wasn’t dying. I screamed at the top of my lungs, why God! What do you want from me! I said it with such anger I felt like my vocal cords had exploded. But of course, just like every heart to heart I had with God, I felt let down. The only thing you could hear was the beat of my heart through my vomit-soaked t-shirt and the snuffling of me trying to keep the snot in my nose, but with every wipe, more came pouring out. As I turned over, I grabbed my tan feather blanket and clenched it so hard my fingers began to cramp; I held on as if I was scared it was going to walk out on me too.

In the far distance, I could hear a muffling sound, but that was nothing new. The amount of Alcohol I would consume was so severe I would have psychosis episodes. So, hearing things was insanely normal for me. Yet, the harder I closed my eyes, the louder the muffling would get. All I could hear was Mom! Mom! Mooooom! It sounded so realistic I thought one of my sons was right next to me. But how could that be? I had allowed my drinking to not only take me down, but everyone close to me, including my own flesh and blood.

For a split second, I let myself enjoy the voice of what I swore to be one of my offspring. As I clenched my feather blanket even tighter, pretending it was my boy’s instead of a useless blanket. You never know what you have until it’s gone kept replaying in my mind. I was alone, and I was going to die alone. In between these awful images playing in my mind on repeat, I continued to hear “Mooooom!” “Mom, we need help.” “Mom, are you listening?”

It was as if I was in a time warp being pulled back to reality! The warmness that I had been craving was surrounding my body as if someone knew what I needed at that very moment. The brightness from the sun, the laughter of children playing, the birds’ chirping, and the screeching sound of the swing set hitting the metal. I made a fist with my hands and slowly brought them to my face, beginning to rub my eyes as hard as I could. I realized I was having a flashback to the last day I saw my boys before my ex-husband took them, as I sat there and watched all four of my boys running back and forth on the blacktop playing tag. Sitting in amazement looking at each of their faces, their rosy cheeks, there not so little hands anymore, in my mind I made it.

Finally, after fifteen long years, I have managed to hold almost two strong years of sobriety. Regained the trust of my ex-husband, and little by little, regaining the trust of my kids. It might not be my ideal situation, but the feeling of spending the Christmas holiday with them, is a feeling I could never describe. Throughout my sobriety, a saying that has always stuck with me, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” And even though life may not always play fair, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. 

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                       My Tribe (Left to Right): Levi, Greyson, Noah, and Zayden

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Me, a year and a half sober