Saturday, April 24, 2010

What It's Like

***Submitted by Ellie, and originally posted at One Crafty Mother

It is 6:15pm on a Saturday night. I'm stirring noodles in a steaming pot, and I'm angry. Finn streaks by naked, screeching at the top of his lungs. Greta is whining: Moooooom, I'm hungry, I don't want nooooooodles, over and over. Dishes are piled in the sink, the dog is barking, and my husband is in his workshop, tinkering away at God-knows-what. My head is in overdrive, a low roar forming in the back of my brain.

"FINN HIT ME!" Greta wails, and I cringe. Her hair is a mess, the kids need a bath, there is a huge pile of laundry to be folded. And the dishes need to be washed. Again. God, I'm so angry.

I want to run away, I want to scream. I want a drink.

Just one. I just want that warm glow, that peaceful, relaxed feeling that creeps into my limbs after the first few sips. I want to quiet that roar in my head; I just want to care a little less for an hour, or two.


Shutupshutupshutupshutupshutup, I think. Just please shut up and leave me be.

Now both kids are crying. The dog barks louder. I snap.

"THAT. IS. IT!" I yell, and the kids' eyes go wide. I slam the spoon down on the counter and march out of the kitchen.

I storm upstairs into my room and throw myself on the bed. I'm too angry to cry. Images swirl in my head: happy, normal couples sitting down to dinner with a glass of wine in hand, laughing contentedly. I hate that I can't drink. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

It has gone quiet downstairs - no barking dog, no screaming kids. I hear my husband come up from his workshop. I hear murmuring, and the television comes on at a low volume.

I sigh. I try to think of all the things I've learned. I search for gratitude, for acceptance. All I can find is mean, red anger. I don't want to let go of my anger, I want to hug it to my chest until I explode.

I close my eyes, and lose myself in thoughts of a drink. I picture the weight of the wine glass in my hand, the sweet buttery smell of a good Chardonnay. I let myself drink it, in my head. I feel my body relax. I smile. I paint a mental picture of what I wish drinking was like for me, and I mourn it for a few minutes.

Then, finally, I do what I was told to do. I think through the drink. I mentally fast forward an hour, or two. I picture myself crouched in my bathroom, grabbing in the back of the cabinet for my stashed bottle, because my husband is done with his nightly drink and I don't want to stop. I can't stop. I've never been able to stop.

There is nothing in a drink for me.

I go back downstairs. My husband is stirring the noodles, Finn is dressed and the kids are happily watching a show.

"Okay now?" he asks, raising an eyebrow.

And I am okay. It is going to be okay.


  1. Thinking through the drink - I am going to try that. I mean, deliberately. Picturing exactly what would happen if I had that drink and how I'd feel the next morning.

    We don't ever wish for those moments of anger and wanting that you felt, but they DO reinforce that we can get through it, we can smile, and we can be okay (better than okay).

  2. Oh my goodness Ellie. I could have written this. That anger. The naked child. The noodles. The shutupshutupshutup. The thoughts of one drink. Four sips.......ahhhhhhh.

    Then reality of 4 or 5 or 6 drinks.

    Thank you for sharing. I am glad we are not alone.

  3. Thank you Ellie. I need to remember this. I need to think through that drink. It's been hard lately, staying sober, but reading these blogs, sharing on BFB, and thinking about you and all the other sober women out there who are just like me and manage to make it gets me through. Thank you.

  4. After the treatment facility and seeing all the mom's w/out their kids, I reflect on the gift of still having my kids. Yes they drive me bonkers at times but I imagine a life where I only have supervised visits and that keeps me sane.
    As for the wine...death in a bottle. I will never think for one minute that I can get away with one glass. Next stop would be MORE!

  5. Thank you for this post even though it made me cry like mourning the loss of a friend. I know well those thoughts of "normal people". Thanks for playing through till the end.

  6. Yes, this, EXACTLY this. ALL of it...will be breathing through it with you, and thinking through each one.
    Nothing in a drink for us, but SO much life to be lived with these families.