It’s me, Laila. Just letting you know a robot didn’t hijack my blog. Sorry, it’s been so long, I just . . . it was hard writing again after last time. It was like a weight lifted off my chest, but I was embarrassed. I still feel guilty about having exposed my kids to this.
So I was having symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy, that was the burning fingers and toes, and I was still drinking constantly. For the longest time, it didn’t affect my work. I mean, I’m sure kids got A’s when they definitely didn’t deserve them. Not to all teachers: don’t grade while drunk.
But my kids had noticed my drinking, and they weren’t happy with me. I was single and no sign of that was ending any time soon. Donny didn’t care about me, not the way I really needed. There wasn’t anyone looking out for Laila, not even Laila.
That’s when I started bringing a flask to work.
It wasn’t a high alcohol content, I didn’t want people smelling it on my breath. I kept a bottle of mouthwash on my desk, and a few times it came as a good excuse. I smelled like alcohol because I hadn’t had a place to spit the mouth wash out and was forced to swallow!
Of course, after that, I had to find a new excuse. Coffee was a good way to mask it. I just dumped a bit of vodka in my morning brew and drank it away until it was more vodka than coffee. Somehow I got away with it.
But I had to hit bottom eventually.
That day came when I puked on a student.
Yeah, you read that right. Laila, the 42-year-old eighth-grade math teacher, puked on a poor unsuspecting thirteen-year-olds sweatshirt.
He had stayed after class to ask for help with a specific equation. I was trying to follow along, but at that point, all the colors of the world were too distracting, and his voice was distant. The urge to purge came suddenly, and there was no stopping the vomit comet.
Sorry for being graphic, but you need to feel the same disgust and contempt that I felt for myself at that moment.
It was a moment meant for a daytime sitcom, not my real life. I was in the middle of trying to explain the quadratic formula when it just burst forth, and the kid and I were suddenly standing there not knowing what to say.
I apologized, of course, explained it away as a stomach bug. Lucky for the both of us he had a shirt on underneath and just removed the top layer.
I don’t know if he ever suspected, he might have been too young. But he certainly didn’t tell anyone. I was lucky in that way because that could have been the end of my career.
It must have been too embarrassing for him to share with anyone, thank God. He never breathed a word to anyone, and I never had to get fired for being drunk at work. Because that was what I was: drunk in a building full of kids I was meant to be a role model for.
That was when I finally realized I needed to get help.