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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When Getting Sober Feel Like Grief

*** Submitted by Andrea, who blogs at Your Kick-Ass Life

Recently I’ve had the privilege of helping out a friend who is trying to get sober. It’s been a while since I’ve been in those early days, and as I’ve helped her and listened to her fears about sobriety, I remember.

And something struck me—something I’ve never thought of before. The grief process many of us go through, as we get sober.

They say in recovery, it works until it doesn’t. When I got sober in 2011 I came to a point when drinking just wasn’t working anymore. And I so, so wanted it to. I tried to make it work exactly like I would in a relationship with a lover. The one you have that intense connection with. So much history. But, you know you’re not good for each other. You know in your heart the relationship should end. But, you can’t even for one minute image your life without that person. It’s too painful to even think about. So you spend day after day with that person. Trying to make it work. Trying to make it fun again. Trying go back to the way it used to be. Reminiscing about old times when things were so good. So desperate for it to work again.

And it never does.

That’s what drinking alcoholically feels like.

And when we finally make that decision to get sober, at least for me, it absolutely felt like I was leaving a relationship. One that had protected me from all my fears in the world. Or so I thought. In the end of these relationships that are falling apart we do everything in our power to paint a picture of love. But, in reality it’s far from it. The relationship is causing us more sadness and anxiety that we can bear, so we hold on tighter to try to make it better. And the cycle starts all over again.

And I know because I’ve been in that intimate relationship with that real-life person when it fell apart and we split up. We were together for 13 years, had so much history and were bonded intensely. The grief I experienced was unlike any other. I was lost without him. I didn’t know who I was without him in my life. It was as if I had to learn how to “be”. The fear and grief were at times unbearable.

And after more than 2 years of sobriety I’ve suddenly realized getting sober feels like same thing.

Heartbreak. Grief. And fear.

I grieved and was heartbroken over the loss of alcohol. I grieved the loss of who I was when drinking actually did work. I grieved the fact that I now identified with a group of people that at one time I judged—at one time I swore I wasn’t one of them. I grieved that I would have to work hard at recovery—because just abstaining from alcohol wasn’t going to be enough for me. I grieved the loss of a part of me.

I feared facing my life without a means to numb and hide from the hard times. I feared that alcoholism really was something that was out of my control. I feared that for me, there would be no turning back once I knew for sure and admitted that I was a true alcoholic.

All of this isn’t to say that there isn’t so much to be gained from sobriety. I have a beautiful, sober life now. But, I write this post for anyone who might think that their feelings of grief and sadness are wrong. You need to feel what you feel. And if you feel grief about getting sober that’s okay. I’ve been one to over-think almost everything and this is one of them. I’ve made up that it has to mean something if I feel sad about it all. Am I headed for relapse? Shouldn’t I always feel happy now that I’m sober? Fear and grief are real feelings that we all feel. In my experience, having a spiritual connection has greatly reduced these feelings and I still turn to that connection every time I feel fear and grief come up. But, I remember in early sobriety, they were quite common feelings.


So if you’re in those early days please believe me that all of your feelings are normal. 

And that it does get better.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TIME TO SAVE MYSELF

    

*** submitted by Anonymous


My last drink was 48 hours ago.  I'm a full time nurse getting ready to complete my final semester of a nursing master's program.  I've been a nurse for 20 years.  I used to work on a drug and alcohol detox unit.  I know what alcoholism is.  My mother, brothers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were all alcoholics.  Alcoholism creeps up on you like the boogyman.  I've been drinking for about 15 years.  Daily wine (3-4 glasses/night) during the week, heavy vodka on Friday and Saturdays.  I black out once per week.  I don't treat my 3 children right when I'm drunk.  My friends are beginning to complain about my behavior when I drink.  And my husband, the angel, has had to spend many nights getting me home safely, cleaning me up, and reporting my antics the previous night that I could not remember.

It's getting too much.  A couple of years ago, I fell in a hotel bathroom injuring my head and face and did not realize it until I woke up the next day and looked in the mirror.  I have come to the realization that if I intend to complete my degree and continue having a successful career and intact family, I must stop.  I've tried to fool myself too long, "I can handle it.  I'm gaining so much weight because I'm peri-menopausal.  I'm highly functioning-right?"

I have to save myself from myself.  I am an alcoholic.  I'm destroying myself, my family, and soon, my career.  I want to stop before I lose everything.  It took several years for me to get to this point of heavy drinking and I know I am in imminent danger of losing everything.