I am a wife, mother, nurse, sister, daughter and friend. I have an enviable life, a comfortable middle-class existence, and a career that I love. I pride myself today on my inner strength, my sense of humor and resilience.
Yet, 22 years ago, when I was around the same age as Adam Lanza, I wanted to blow my brains out.
It's a long-buried memory, and a shameful one. I've never spoken about until now, not even to my husband.
To the casual observer, I was the furthest thing from the picture the media presents of Adam Lanza--gregarious compared to his withdrawn, empathetic compared to his reported inability to feel others' pain. I had an abundance of friends, was always on the go, and had a loving man in my life. I was always smiling, always laughing.
But I was also always drinking. I had been teased relentlessly as a child because I was hearing-impaired, bookish and shy. Drinking stopped the pain, at least for a time, and I became outgoing, social and vibrant. I didn't share these feelings with anybody—not my friends, not my parents. No one would have guessed—no one did guess--how hopeless I felt on the inside.
In 1990, my alcoholism was raging. I was consumed with murderous rage and self-hatred for the person I had become. Each night I would silently creep home, drunk yet again, and calculate how to sneak into my parents' bedroom and steal the .38 that my father kept in a shoebox in the closet. I knew that the hollow point bullets were in the junk drawer downstairs.
My father kept a gun in the house because he was in law enforcement. He thought none of his children knew where he kept it, and that it was safe because it was unloaded. I was obsessed with visions of loading the bullets, one by one, into the gun and ending it all. I was terrified of a future without alcohol--couldn't even envision it. Still, I knew I had no future the way I was living.
Mercifully, I would pass out before I could act on my impulse to exit this life. My blackouts may have been my saving grace; I've since learned that an active plan to kill oneself, like mine, increases the likelihood that a person will be successful.
Eventually, a friend who’d gone into Alcoholics Anonymous encouraged me to check out a few meetings. I've since attended countless AA meetings, and done everything I can to banish that hopeless young woman from my memory. That friend saved my life. I am one of the lucky ones.