Sunday, November 30, 2014

WHY DOES SOBRIETY SEEM SO FAR AWAY?

*** submitted anonymously


I've been struggling with coming to terms w/ the fact that I am in fact an alcoholic. I have watched my drinking steadily increase as each day/month passes by. At first, it was just to release irritation/anger/frustration and strictly on the weekends. If I'm being honest, it was also because I was lonely. Now, it's becoming the new normal for me to have more than 2-3 drinks in an evening at least once or twice during the week. This leaves me feeling horrible the next day and like a failure because I'm not really sure how to stop.

I keep telling myself that this addiction is something I can easily stop or "cure" at any moment and yet whenever I think about quitting, I end up drowning myself in alcohol that very evening. It's like my mind/body is screaming NO DON'T TAKE IT AWAY! I mean what is that? I think about quitting so that means rush home and get wasted so I don't think about quitting. Then I wake up feeling like shit and am back on the I need to quit band wagon. 

You know it's bad when your own daughter tells you that you are an alcoholic just like your father. That one hurt and yet I went straight to the crutch of alcohol to numb that pain. Nothing like drowning your sorrows in cold beer to feel better right? What's sad is that I was trying to justify to her how I was NOT like him. I wasn't raging/abusive or drinking 12 packs of beer every night. (Note to self: you are drinking at least a six pack and sometimes more) Then I get angry with her (never to her directly but in my mind or to my mother) for being angry with me about my drinking. My go-to line is always "I am the adult and she can't tell me what I can/can't do with my life." SERIOUSLY?!?!?! So your child can't voice her opinion about how she hates seeing you drink and wishes you wouldn't do it to yourself? Yeah...she's the devil. 

GET IT TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are stronger than this addiction. You are stronger than this disease. WHY are you letting it ruin your relationship with your daughter when you are the ONLY ONE she has?!?!? 

I could list a million reasons why I drink. I'm mostly aware of them all. Drinking is the norm in my family and with most of my friends. How do you watch a football game w/o drinking? How do you enjoy vacation w/o drinking? How do you relax in the hot tub/pool w/o drinking? Every facet of my life seems to have an injection of alcohol at some point.

For as long as I can remember back to childhood, I have been around alcohol. I started drinking at a very young age (14/15 ish) and put myself into some VERY scary predicaments since that time. I drank all through high school and my 20's and now into my 30's. I will be turning 35 in September and I hope that I will spend that as my first sober birthday.

I'm in the process of gathering the tools I believe I will need to quit. I'm pretty sure the #1 thing for me is my daughter. As a daughter to an alcoholic father, I know exactly how she feels and I do NOT want her to follow in the family footsteps. I pray every day that she continues to hate alcohol and stays far, far away from it. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

THROUGH THE DARKNESS, THERE IS LIGHT; A BEAUTIFUL, WHOLESOME, PROMISING LIGHT


My name is Tara, and I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been sober since September 16th of 2013.

Apart from alcoholism being one of the many wonderful qualities that makes up who I am—and I mean that—I also happen to be twenty-two years old. I got sober at the age of twenty-one after an eight year battle with this disease.

I had no idea that by experimenting with wine coolers at thirteen, I would completely alter the course of my life. By the blossoming age of twenty-one, I was barely alive from years of use and abuse. I was nothing more than the beer I clung on to. I was a ghost--a lifeless, careless being--who wanted nothing more than cigarettes, cases of Dos Equis, and to be left alone in the void I created with my daily blackouts. After years of dealing with circumstantial traumas such as eating disorders, death, abuse, cancer, prison, and using my body to get what I want, I was ready to give up. I didn't want to live another minute being as devastatingly depressed and lost as I was. Drinking was the only escape from my tormented reality. I spent about three years experimenting, and a solid five years in one seemingly long raging blackout. Once the alcohol stopped working like it used to, I spiraled down into a suicidal state of being. After my last week long blackout, I nearly took my own life.

I wasn’t supposed to be this girl. Like all of you, I didn’t grow up wanting to be the alcoholic train-wreck I was by the end of my drinking. I wasn’t supposed to be the addict of the family, the black sheep of my class. I grew up white, middle class, semi-privileged, and decently popular. I wasn’t supposed to be the one to go through this. I was supposed to go to college, find a husband, and make little babies who would follow in my middle class footsteps. I wasn’t supposed to shack up with the high school drop-out-bad-boy. I wasn’t supposed to end my academic career to begin my drinking career. I wasn’t supposed to be drunk for five years straight. Or, at least, I didn’t think I was supposed to be that girl. Now, after eleven months of sobriety, I’ve come to learn that I’m exactly where I was supposed to end up.

When I first got sober, I was pissed. I cursed God for not allowing me to drink like a normal twenty-one year old. I was angry that instead of going to college classes, I was going to intensive out-patient rehabilitation. At family get-togethers, I had to drink water while everyone else enjoyed their festive holiday drinks. Why couldn’t I just be my age? Why couldn’t I just go out to bars and play beer pong without having to worry about certain death like every other kid my age? I have my entire life to live without alcohol. How the hell am I supposed to do that? Who quits drinking at twenty-one?

Crazy, insane, mentally broken alcoholics—that’s who. I don’t know why I wasn’t able to last years and years past my coming-of-age birthday. My alcoholism only needed eight years to blossom and completely take over. Sometimes I catch myself wishing that I had been able to last longer. “At least until I was out of college,” I thought to myself. It’s funny, the logic of an alcoholic. I’d take a few more years worth of beatings just so I could stay with my drink. But then, once I was out of college, I’d need to drink for a few more years. I’d need to attend fancy cocktail hour with my new young co-worker friends. And what if I met a man who would was interested in dating me? How was I supposed to tell him that I was sober? Would he think I was boring? Lame? Goody-two-shoes? Someone who didn’t know how to cut loose and have a good time? What about going to Vegas? I never even got the chance to run around Las Vegas participating in unadulterated revelry. Who quits drinking before they get to experience drinking at its ‘finest’? Who in their right mind would go to a concert sober?

There’s a million and one scenarios like these, and inevitably, each would be a path to ruin my life—again. I fight with these thoughts constantly. Every day, I wake up and I’m reminded that I’m of the age of partying. The media, Pandora commercials, billboards, today’s music . . . the list is endless. Every day, I have to wake up and walk into a world where I’m expected to drink. I’m not alone in this. Each day, every one of us is forced to walk into a world where we’re expected to drink. If you’re a fun, outgoing woman, you’ll take shots of tequila with your friends on girl’s nights out. If you’re a savvy-business woman, you’ll have a dry martini during a business dinner. If you’re a down-to-earth girl, you’ll have a craft beer with your boyfriend while you watch the Sunday game. If you’re a sophisticated woman, you’ll have a glass of ’93 Cabernet with your steak and lobster dinner.

What if you’re sober? What kind of woman does that make you? It’s taken me eleven months of pondering to come up with an explanation for the kind of woman I am post-drink.

 If you’re sober, you’re not boring. You’re not lame. You’re not unsophisticated. You’re not a goody-two-shoes. You’re not someone who doesn’t know how to have a good time. (If only people could understand how good of a time us alcoholics have when drinking. People don’t know the definition of having a ‘good time’ unless they’ve been an alcoholic on the loose.)

Us women—us alcoholic women—are beautiful. We are broken, and as such, we are beautiful. We are imperfect in so many ways, yet we’re perfectly positioned to live a life of true blessings. Sobriety is beautiful. It’s honest and it’s intimate; it’s everything drinking used to take away. It’s every ounce of strength we have, out on display, for the entire world to see. It’s the deepest, most raw part of ourselves, being pushed out into the open.

Now, tell me—how many people do you know walk about in their daily lives with their biggest flaw riding on their sleeve? How many people do you know have the courage, the strength, and the patience to give up their sacred confidant, their most reliable friend, and their most trusted lover, and in turn, create a life without their other half? How many people do you know willingly cut off their right arm—their tool for survival—and within a short time, rebuild a life that should be impossible to lead with little to no help from the outside, un-addicted, unaware world?

Alcoholic women. Alcoholic women are the most beautiful, courageous beings on the earth. We go from crap to captivating. We go from assholes to alluring. In every step we take, we must put forth more effort than most. In every word we speak, we must think more cautiously. We’re fighting with ourselves constantly over something that threatens to take away life as we know it. No matter what we do, we’re one move away from utter chaos. We’re one dial spin from ending up right back on the chute, where we’re taken back to square one. In some cases, there will be no ladder to save us.

But, the fact that we’re able to maneuver through life with this deadly blade over our heads speaks to our ability. We’re able to be these broken, damaged, out of control beings. We have the ability to hurt and destroy. On the other hand, we have the ability to rise from the broken glass of drinks and parties past to start anew. We’re able to heal. We’re able to make amends. We’re able to look our shameful and terrible past in the face and not flinch because we’ve learned. We’ve learned to love. We’ve learned to live. We’ve learned what true compassion means. What true sympathy means. What true forgiveness means. And in the end, we learn what true intimacy means. Through the darkness, there is light; a beautiful, wholesome, promising light.

Without our former selves, we’re not able to be the women we are today. And that, in my eyes, was worth my eight years of drinking. I’m thrilled to be sober at twenty-two. I have my entire life to live, to give love, and to make the most of what I’m given. I wouldn’t trade my vantage point for even five seconds on the Vegas strip, slipping and slurring as I enter into meaningless conversations and hopeless hook-ups. God has given me my disease for a reason, and I’m going to use it to my advantage.

Of course, there are bad days. There are days that I want to rip my hair out and drive to the nearest liquor store, drink away my pain, and drown the progress I have made. Sometimes, I still get pissed that I can’t drink like everyone else. I don’t know how long this will occur, but it’s on days like this that I have to breathe. I know that one Dos Equis won’t stay just one Dos Equis. With that first sip, I’ll be gone, mentally and physically. No one will see or hear from me for months, when I finally break down and come crawling out of whatever gutter I was living in—that is, if I’m alive enough to move.

I have to keep breathing. I have to keep on living. I’ve lost my best friend. I’ve lost the only thing that’s been there with me, no matter what blacked out, insane rage I engaged in the night before. For months, I’ve mourned her absence. I miss my best friend. Now, I have to pick up what we’ve ruined together. I thank God for giving me something to pick up, because he so easily could have taken that from me.

I’m supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be broken. I’m supposed to start over. I’m still learning that I’m supposed to be happy. But one day at a time, I’m growing into the woman I am supposed to be. One day at a time, I’m healing. One day at a time, I feel the power of sobriety grow within me.

I can’t imagine anything better.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

WHEN WILL I HIT ROCK BOTTOM?

***submitted by Anonymous

I am an active alcoholic. I am also desperately poor and the mother of three amazing children. I just can't seem to hit rock bottom.  A bottom low enough to actually quit drinking. 

I suffer from depression and constant shame. I know drinking contributes to my depression, but my intellectual and physical problem is that when I consume my nightly bottle of wine, sometimes two. I feel better. I don't blackout or lash out at my kids. I'm actually nicer and more enjoyable to be around.  I think drinking eliminates the fear and anxiety that goes along being so poor now.  I'm able to play with my kids, make them laugh, and not let them see how bad our money issues are. Our financial situation scares me, for all of us. How depressed I am over it all scares me too. Their father less us penniless and disappeared from our lives 5 years ago.

Every morning I wake up bloated, tired, lonely sad and afraid.  I put on a good act for the kids though. I wake them up smiling and cheerful but on the inside I'm horrible.  I go to work, where I make next to nothing, and am home for them when they get out of school. I'm able to take them and pick them up from activities, all the while faking my enjoyment.  I don't feel "good" again until I've had a few glasses of wine.  That's how I know I'm an alcoholic.

I tried AA for a period of time. I lied to my kids about where I was going. On top of all our financial troubles, I don't want them to know their mother suffers from a terrible problem.  At the meetings I was angry and cried uncontrollably.  My behavior only made me mad and embarrassed. Then I tried to go and just not speak but I never felt better after the meetings. Everyone else seems to feel better. I've left feeling worse and even more disconnected.  I just don't fit in or find solace at the meetings.  Am I the only one who feels that? I wonder what it is that I was doing, or saying, that's wrong.  
I recently scoured the internet and found this site. I'm hoping there are other mothers out there who lived with the guilt and shame and found a way out of despair. I'm wondering if there are other mothers who might understand the need to self medicate to actually be "better" for their kids. Even though that self medication is killing them. I feel so alone.

Monday, July 14, 2014

WHY CAN'T I CONTROL MY DRINKING?

**** submitted by Jenny


I'm not sure that if I'm an alcoholic or just a really foolish person with weak self control. I read these stories and feel sharing my small struggle might be insulting to those who suffer so much more severely.  I go up and down and have for many years.  I'm a mom in my 30's and I think my problem is that I just get so bored with life.  I've cut way down for a period of time and then the next thing I know, I'm back to drinking as much as I was and more.  I thought I just needed to learn to pace myself better.  My hangovers made me feel so horrible, as a mom and as a person. The waking up in the middle of the night depressed and hating myself still occurs even though I no longer get sick and have to tell my kids I have the flu.  I've had some pretty horrible guilt filled episodes in the past.  I ask my husband for help with cutting down and even cry about it.  He says he understands and will help. He can't help but I keep hoping he can. I don't blame him, it's not his responsibility.  What am I a child?  Lately I've been drinking almost every evening.  I was even slurring the other night when my daughter needed me when she was having a hard time falling asleep.  Ugh how horrible - I think she knows I drink too much and I think it disturbs her little heart.  She is getting older, 9 now and very wise.  I just don't know what to do with myself.  I say I'll cut back and then the next night I'm making another martini.  Vodka - I crave it in the evening to let loose and hang out with my husband and feel care free.  Half the time I end up starting an argument because he's tired and doesn't respond well.  I end up being emotionally demanding or unreasonable.  I just dumped the vodka out for what seems like the hundredth time. Until the next time.  Do I need to quit, or just learn self control?  I don't drink much quantity-wise as I get drunk crazy easy these days. Maybe it's my blood sugar or the way I metabolize it. I don't know.   I don't know where to go from here.  I wish I could just be normal and have a couple drinks but once I start I don't stop, I've learned to make them weaker but I don't stop, its always just one more.  I just feel stupid. Please help.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

CRAWLING OUT FROM MY BELOVED BOTTLE....

*** - submitted by Anonymous

My life, as I know it will never be the same.  I am trying to put on my usual perky, happy face for the world but inside I am a complete jumble. I just finished reading  "Drink" by Ann Dowsett Johnston.  While I have known for some time that I have problems with alcohol, this book made me confront them. yet oddly comforted me to realize I am not alone.  My abuse of alcohol was not merely "genetic predisposition" or me having no self control.....my use of alcohol to comfort and sustain me stems from many issues in my life. 

I am 47 years old.  Growing up was tough - my father was a serial cheater, my mother had no self esteem and overweight, unpopular me was left to fend for myself most of the time.  Emotionally, I was completely independent.  Oddly, I never drank in high school however I attended university at a prestigious school which prided itself on its academics....and students prided themselves on their ability to party.  And so began my journey into binge drinking and subsequent bad behavior - ranging from black outs, to horrendous hangovers to inappropriate sexual activities. I figured the only way for a fat girl to have a sexual encounter was to be drunk with equally as drunk boys. I woke up one morning, naked in bed with some guy in a frat house in Montreal..... I think back and it is truly a wonder I didn't get seriously injured, end up in a hospital or drunk tank or pregnant.  Life progressed on - I became a registered nurse, obtained a masters degree and dated a nice fellow.  We drank wine on weekends when we were together and occasionally during the week I would purchase a bottle for myself.  Fast forward...marriage, .two pregnancies, both during which I completely abstained, and did not miss it.  But then as life went on, aging parents, ADHD child, stressed out, workaholic husband with anger issues.....wine on weekends became wine Thursday-Sunday.  My husband got hooked on a local "brew-your-own" so we had cases and cases of wine...and soon a nightly ritual to crack one or two.... Secretly, I began mixing my own cocktails and keeping the glass hidden in my baking cupboard.  As soon as I get home - and face the household mess, getting supper, trying to get ADHD boy to focus on homework while prying the other one off of his ipod.....I can only think about mixing that drink....which I keep refilling until eventually I fall asleep or pass out.  In the mornings, first thing I do is check my i-phone to see whom I may have inadvertently texted while drunk. 

But there is more - two years ago I became involved in a very intense emotional affair with one of my son's friend's fathers.  The relationship never got physical (other then a few hugs and standing very close at sporting events) but if any of you have read about (or experienced) and emotional affair, the impact can be just as dramatic and intense, if not more so then a physical relationship.  I was on cloud nine - every time my phone indicated a message...oh the rush of feelings.  Often we chatted late into the night, sometimes in the middle of the night, while we were at work..I was happier then I had ever been.  The relationship was getting perilously close to crossing the sexual line and he pulled back.  I have been devastated and grieving this loss....and the drinking increased.  My cocktails soothed me.  Helped the pain..

I am so ashamed as I look back over my life.  The drunken episodes.....getting totally hammered last Christmas at a cocktail party.  Wasted at my sister's 50th birthday.  Ranting messages on my iphone.  Screaming fits in front of my kids.  Punching my husband in the face.  A total shrieking fight one night when my son had a friend sleeping over......

I am in counselling which has been an epiphany.....plus reading Ann's book and now discovering this website and reading similar stories.  I feel like I am coming home.

This is also going to be the first day of the rest of my life....In a strange way, I am looking forward to this journey......

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Turning 40...Past, Present, and what will the Future hold?

*****submitted by katlulu with 3 days


I am turning 40 in one month.  

I own my own business.  I have been with my partner, H, for nearly 10 years; we have no children by choice.  We are both well-educated.  We have created a cozy home, through my endless joy of re-purposing and design.  We cherish our beloved pets.  We are fortunate and do not stress about finances. We have beautiful friendships (only a few true ones), and we have close relationships with our families.  We often say how grateful we are.  Life seems pretty dang swell, no? 

The problem is that:

I am dependent on alcohol.  I abuse it.
I have an unhealthy relationship with food.  I abuse it.
I am dependent on nicotine.  I abuse it.

They all play into a paralyzing, vice-vicious cycle.  They feed each on and off of each other.  I learned and practiced them all together, for the last 25 years.  But first, I think that I want to get sober.

My first taste of alcohol was at a restaurant with my Dad and my stepmother.  I was very young. My Dad ordered a fancy dessert parfait just for me.  It came in a pretty glass dish that sat elegantly, on a white doily.  It was served to me with a long, graceful spoon.  Bright green, creme de menthe, poured over these little perfect scoops of vanilla ice cream.  It was so creamy and minty! And I loved and savored every last milky-green drip and drop, with my special spoon.  That night, my Dad chuckled the whole way home because I was being so funny and hyper.  I loved making him laugh! It became our tradition. 

Fast forward to high school.  My friends and I were bound and determined to be older, so we smoked and drank, experimented with drugs, and had sex.  One time, I woke up after drinking vodka, with a guy on top of me and no recollection.  Freshman summer, I slept with a guy one night, who was a sophomore in college.  The next day, he told me I had left my earrings on his nightstand.  He and his friend came to pick me up.  His friend drove a white van with only a driver and a front passenger seat.  I had to sit on the sophomore's lap. We went back to the friend's house and I remember red flags...I felt nervous being there, as the only girl with two college-aged men.  They opened half-warm cans of Busch pounders, and handed me one.  They wanted to play strip poker with me.  I played, but I felt so humiliated and ashamed.  Finally we were finished, and I just wanted to go home.  But first, the college sophomore pinned me down, and while I said no repeatedly, he assaulted me.  His friend, "wanted some too", and laughed and pounded on the locked door.  But I was only his.  They drove me home, right after.  I had to ride on the sophomore's lap.  I don't remember if I got my earrings back.

In college, I partied regularly.  Lots of beer, shots of liquor, bong hits, cocaine...blackouts.  Many sexual encounters, many I don't remember.  I was thee party queen! The sex goddess! I thought it was fun, the parts that I remember.

By my 30's, I had been married and divorced. I moved to Brooklyn, and worked and schooled in NYC.  One night after a happy hour I fell on some ice, knocked my front teeth out, and broke bones in my face.  Crazy thing is that I didn't realize that my teeth were truly gone, until the morning.

Today, nearly 20 years later, while I've calmed down significantly, red wine is my drug of choice.  I still blackout regularly.  I cringe in the mornings when trying to recollect what I did, or said the night before.  I rebuff plans, so I can stay home and safely drink.  I don't usually make or take calls after 5 o' clock.  I have to eat a chalky antacid before drinking, so my stomach doesn't feel like fire.  I wake in the night, hurting, like I've been poisoned (I have).  I can't sleep, I'm cold, then I'm sweaty-hot.  I lay there, promising myself, begging myself, no more wine.

H got a DUI.  He is recovering, and has hardly drank for the last 8 months.  I love him, and I'm so proud of him.  He has inspired me, but I couldn't stop with him, I couldn't support him the way I wanted to.

Today is my Day 3. My head hurts and it's spinning with anxiousness, my palms are wet, and my pupils are like black saucers. I've tried so many times to get it together.  I am so sick of not living bigger; there is so much more to my person, than this.   And while I so wish that I could finally grasp moderation, I am scared that will never happen.  Should I just try to stick to one or two glasses, just one more time? The thing is, I think I'm finally too tired to try it again.  Tired of the insanity.

I think I am ready for my 40th birthday...sober.  At least I am today.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Cry For Help

***Submitted by Anonymous

I need help!!! I had not idea so many woman had a problem with drinking! Until a couple of days ago,  I thought I was alone with this problem and every one else was coping with their lives just fine. I've been so very, very ashamed and confused why I can't stop.

I've been drinking wine, almost every evening, for almost 30 years. 

I never drank as a teenager or young adult. It started when my (ex) husband left me and our three small children. I was an immature 28 year old RN, orphaned at 16, completely on my own and terrified.

I clearly remember the night my life changed. I was crying on the kitchen floor, had no idea how I was going to raise three children on my own and found some wine in the refrigerator. I had a glass of wine and immediately calmed down. I was able to sleep through the night for the first time since my husband left.

I've been drinking almost every night since, never involved with any trouble, do not drink socially and never drink and drive. My beautiful daughter does not like me drinking in the evenings and I don't blame her. She is concerned about me and loves me very much.

Now I drink because I'm single, very lonely, work too much (out of my home) and use it to help me on the terribly lonely and boring evenings I face every night. I know this is my making, but I want to change and need help. I don't seek a relationship because I think my drinking makes me broken and I don't want to be with a man who drinks, because I will get worse.

Thanks for listening