Thursday, June 24, 2010

Telling Her Truth

This post was submitted anonymously, but I want to take a moment to say how much I admire and respect her honesty.   I firmly believe the first and most important step towards recovery is talking about it, telling your truth not just to yourself, but to another person who is safe.   She chose to tell it here, and I'm grateful.    It helped me so much - this is a cunning, baffling disease and people like her, who have the courage to tell their story of relapse, help me when that Little Voice starts whispering in my ear.   And it will.   Thank you.    -Ellie

***Submitted by Anonymous

I had 14 months sober.

Superbowl Sunday - January 2009 until April 1st 2010. I was out to dinner then off to the Denver Nuggets vs Portland game. Why not? I’d been fantasizing about having that drink for months. Besides, we were on spring break, a vacation, we'd traveled to Denver to stay with good friends. We were out – adults only, celebrating. I announced at the dinner table just before the waiter came “Tonight, I’m going to have some wine with dinner. We’re celebrating, this has been fantastic week”. Reluctantly, my husband glanced at me from the corner of his eye; says nothing (he never does). My girlfriend, faces me and asked “Are you sure it‘s ok”?

“Absolutely” I say. “I feel great, it will be ok”.

My friends husband orders us a bottle. White, expensive, very chilled, my favorite. We toast to a great week together.

Those first few swallows, so warm, so wonderful, I could feel the alcohol gushing through my veins: instant relaxation, instantly happy. If I could have shot it into my veins, I would have. If it had not been rude, I would have chugged the bottle. God it felt good.

I don’t think we had a second bottle. I did though, order a final glass (to go with dessert). I wasn't drunk. None of us were. Just happy, warm, nicely buzzed. We headed off for the short walk to the stadium for the game. Front row seats, actual chairs – not stadium seating. Each of the chairs had a ‘menu’ with drinks, cocktails, beer, wine and snacks. There was a waitress dedicated to the fans sitting in the ‘good seats’. I kept waiting for my friends husband to ask ‘who wants a drink’? (you see, he to is a big drinker) He didn't ask. I was to self conscious to order anything. They had ice cream. I had a bottle of water. The entire game, I just kept waiting, anxiously. I went to the ladies room, all the while thinking I could chug a beer before sitting down, and no one would know. But I didn’t.

Once back at the house, I remember getting ready for bed and congratulating myself. “You did it! See you’re capable of having a few drinks and walking away. Way to go ! You can do this. Social drinking, here I come!”

The next night was our last before heading home. We decided to stay in, BBQ and watch a movie for our final evening. I had a glass of wine with dinner, then a bottle with the movie. My friend didn’t say anything, but I remember feeling embarrassed to be leaving the empty bottle on her kitchen counter. Why didn’t I tip-toe to the recycle bin and just leave it there, lost amongst the other bottles and cans?

April 1st was 83 days ago. I’ve drank nearly every one of those 83 days. I can count on 1 hand the number of days I haven’t. I’ve been looking back at my accomplishments over the past 83 days – I’ve been busy:
  • I drank at least 60 bottles of wine, probably more
  • Girls weekend to another city, where now in addition to a husband – I also have a boyfriend
  • I said stupid things to friends which I can’t remember
  • Emailed under the influence (EUI): only to wake up the next morning cringing while I check to see what awful things I may have said.
  • Cried on friends shoulders for falling off the wagon, then confessed I’m not ready to get back on, I’m having to much fun.
  • Driven drunk on numerous occasions. Why I haven’t been pulled over is beyond comprehension.
  • Gained back the 10 pounds I lost when I quit drinking.
  • Receive wordless but painful stares from my 11 year old daughter.
  • Told my husband he can’t help me … this is my doing.. and I just have to get through it. I pushed him away so many years ago. He just sits by, goes to work, sleeps mostly on the couch, afraid to say or do anything. In so many ways, my marriage is a joke. But, he’s a nice guy. And a good Dad. And I don’t have to work out of the house.
  • I went out with the girls for Cinco de Mayo: ended up with my head in the toilet at the bar then had to be driven home
  • In my scheming to see my ‘boyfriend’, I’ve made up ridiculas lies, spent days with him in another city, and can’t wait to see him again.
  • I’ve ignored my children (10 & 11)
  • Treated by husband worse than usual
  • I loathe myself, most of the time
  • I may have implicated myself in having an affair during a heated discussion with my husband. I was going on about needing friends and being lonely… I don’t know what all I said - I can’t remember: I was drunk. He hasn’t mentioned it since.
What was I like for those 14 months of sobriety? Better than today, but I think the definition might be a ‘dry drunk’… I think I did some good work, but ignored a lot to.
I don’t remember what pushed me over the edge to quit in the first place, but I found a therapist, went to my Dr. I faithfully took Antibuse for at least 6 months, saw the therapist weekly for months and months. I told everyone I knew I stopped drinking. Ran more, ate better, helped with homework and school projects.
I didn’t talk to my husband about it. He asked how he could help – I told him he couldn't’t, this is my problem. He backed off, and didn’t say another word, not for the entire 14 months (or the years prior).

I quit the therapist after I felt I had a good handle on my sobriety. I told him I wasn’t ready to deal with the issues with my husband (maybe because I felt awkward talking to a man therapist about my husband?) … that would come in time. For now, I was happy with getting my health back, not waking up hung over, not doing all the things you do to be an active, daily drinker. I was really feeling good.

That all ended 83 days ago.

Prior to my 14 month of sobriety, I’ve drank as long as I can remember. I started in high school.

Over my adult years, it progressively got worse. I divorced my first husband. Remarried. Didn’t drink while I was pregnant (2x). A few years ago we returned from living in Europe for nearly 4 years, I drank the entire time. Every day, most every country, although it was hard to come by in Egypt. I’ve never started before 5pm, usually passed out by 10. Always wine, always white. Always the minimum of a bottle.

My husband rarely drinks. (I believe) my father is an alcoholic. Mom & sister are not.

In 1987, I admitted myself to a 5 week hospital inpatient program for the treatment of eating disorders. They warned then of the risk of ‘switching diseases’ because of my propensity to drink. I was sent to AA for the experience. That was 23 years ago.

I’ll be 47 in a few weeks. I’m a mom, a wife, a good friend to a few, an adulteress, a daughter, a sister and a chronic alcoholic.


  1. This story is so sad, I pray for this woman. I pray that she finds peace. I don't know what else to say. This scares the crap out of me. We love you, whoever you are.

  2. I can really relate to this. It literally made my stomach ache in remembering the self loathing during my relapse.

    To the author:

    Life doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to go any further than you have. This can be stopped.

    Don't let the label "chronic" doom you. Chronic simply means life long. We are all chronic.

    I pray you find the courage to take the right steps to return to a life in recovery.

    You are worth it, no matter what your disease tells you.

  3. I had to come over after reading this post in my google reader.

    Thank you for your honesty and the cold water you threw on my face.

    I can never drink normally again. I cannot.

    I hope and pray you get help and soon. If for nothing else, than for your 10 and 11 yr old. Break the cycle. Make it different for them.

    There IS hope.

  4. I had 9 weeks and then another 6 drinking and now another 1 week sober. I keep arguing with myself about whether or not I really have to be sober forever, can I drink socially... but your story and others remind me that I must persevere.

    There is hope, always hope. Hold on to that even if it's just a thread. I am so moved by your honesty and I am heartbroken for you that you feel the way you do. Please keep going, please find your way back. There is so much help out there, and so much peace waiting for you. For all of us.

  5. I am you.... and I am sorry. We will get thru this....I promise that...I just dont know when.

    thank you

  6. This was an amazingly powerful post. I thank you for your honestly and clarity. You are stronger than you know.

  7. Your story could be mine. You are not alone, you are not a bad person, you have a disease. I have tried to quit a million times, I started going to AA 39 days ago. I have been to 39 meetings in 39 days, I will go today, I will go tomorrow and slowly I will get better. Good luck!

  8. Thank you SO much for your honesty, for your story. It's cringe worthy and heart breaking and real. We all need to hear it, the reality that could be any one of ours.
    You'll be in my thoughts. Thank you, thank you so much.

  9. Just when I thought I might have it under control. Just when I thought it might be okay once in a while. Thank you. I'm not going to drink tonight.

  10. what a brave woman to share her story. my prayers are with her. i really needed to hear this today, one of the most powerful and baffling aspects of this disease is the way the addicted part of the brain tells us after time we're no longer powerless over the disease. all any of us have is a daily reprieve, i'm new to this blog and i cannot tell you how grateful and humbled i am to be part of a community of graceful sober women.

  11. This morning I prayed longer than usual because I have been a bit unattentive to my sobriety. I thanked God for my 21 days of sobriety and then I read your post. I too am turning 47 in a couple of weeks (July 12), have 2 children (10 &13),did not drink during my pregnancies, spent 4 weeks in an eating disorder clinic in 1988, attended 12 step meetings as part of that treatment, drank a minimum of a bottle of wine, always white, nearly every night, been embarrassed about wine bottles that littered the counter tops, lived in self loathing most days....Our story is the same and I thank you for reminding me where i will always end up if I have 1 sip of alcohol. I am very sad for you, your husband, your children, your friends. 22 days ago I realized I was out of time, that i wanted more than anything to break the cycle and be a sober, available, non-slurring mom to my children. I cringe at the thought of their childhood memories being coated with the smell of wine on my breath. I attended my first AA meeting in about 20 years, 21 days ago. I actually feel like I have a resource with a proven track record available to me. It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be, in fact it was a tremendous relief almost immediately. I will pray for you, you are so worthy of living a life happy, joyous and free.