Sunday, October 3, 2010

It Wasn't Supposed To Be This Way

***Submitted by Kristen

I didn't wake up one day at 15 and say, "I think alcohol and bulimia are going to be great ways to destroy my life, ruin my friendships, tear apart my family, destroy my marriage and change the life of my innocent child," but all of those things did happen and I am lost, afraid, alone and hopeless.....

I will skip all of the teenage, college and 20-something antics that were "fine" when I was single. I was able to go out nightly, tie one on, wake up (sometimes with a stranger), wash myself off and go to work. I thought nobody noticed, but I knew I looked awful land stank of booze.   I continued this behavior for a long long time..... I moved from DC to NY, back to DC....any time I burned too many bridges my loving parents were always there to bail me out and give me a fresh start.

I met the man I was going to marry at 28 and he seemed stable and secure and exactly what I needed to finally calm down. He was aware of my faults and flaws and married me anyway. We quickly moved to Colorado (I believe he was trying to get me away from my family and have some control over me) It worked! Our relationship quickly became that of a parent and child. I had to turn in receipts, sneak bottles of vodka and wine into the house.... I would drink while he was on call and be hammered when he got home. We would fight, sleep in separate rooms, I would apologize and it would be forgotten....until it happened again a few weeks later. This went on for a long time.

Two and a half years into our marriage we finally got pregnant with my son. I was able to stay sober and healthy during my pregnancy (I would never be able to forgive myself if I harmed him). After he was born, something strange and bizarre clicked on inside me and I had to drink. I had to drink while I was home with him during the day, while I was up with him at night....I had to drink just to get through every moment. I never went to a Dr. to talk about PPD, because my husband was a Dr. and he told me it was all a farse!

Life got really bad towards the end of our marriage. I could not stop drinking, he could not stop yelling..... finally his threats were serious and he filed for divorce. I was shocked. Nobody had ever followed through with anything like this before. I skated by for so many years on it was real. I moved out (he could afford the mortgage on our home and I wasn't able to pay that) and we split custody of our son. I still have so much guilt for shuffling that little boy around from house to house. I continued to drink because now there was nobody at home to yell at me or tell me no. I drank around my son, I was hungover at activities with my son...I was an awful mother that he didn't deserve.

Finally, in August of last year, I finally hit my rock bottom and got a DUI.    It was awful, shameful and embarrasing and I cannot believe I drove drunk.   I always drank at home, but since I had been serial dating and wanting to feel loved and needed by men, I was out quite a bit at that time. My ex husband found out (I have no idea how) and we now have 60-40 custody until I can prove myself. I am taking antabuse, going to court mandated therapy and still am awaiting the repurcussions of the DUI. How does a Marketing professional with a "great looking" life get to this point?!?! Interlock in my car, impending punishment, probation????

So now, here I sit..... with so much guilt and shame. This happened in April and I was unable to finally quit drinking until August 5, 2010. I have no idea why, but that was the day I decided it was over. What kind of mother puts the bottle in front of her 4 year old son? What kind of mother does that? The brain disease of alcoholism was so damn powerful that my little boy didn't take precedence over getting drunk. I have been struggling with so much guilt and shame since April and I have moments when I don't want to go on..... but I still stay sober.

Will I ever be able to forgive myself?   I want my son to be proud of me one day and not remember this shell of a person I was.   I have to blow in my car to start it (and tell him it's for safety), and am at the mercy of my ex husband for the next year (he still has that control he always wanted).   It is totally in my hands to succeed or fail. Failure isn't an option for me. There is no "plan B".   I must succeed.   I hope and pray that this will all be a distant memory and my sober future will be amazing and filled with promises.


  1. "but still I stay sober." you can do it! and sharing helps - it gets it out in the open. Keep coming back.

  2. What a brave story you have put out there for us to read. I am sure so many of us will find so many parts of your story familiar...I know I do. The fact that you have this disease is not your fault. But how you deal with it going forward is your responsibility, and it sounds like you are determined to beat this. I support you, as I have kids too and know EXACTLY how the guilt feels, and I will pray for you. Good luck! I'm rooting for you.

  3. As a 4-year old, your son will not remember your past events & will only know the loving, caring compassionate mother that you are becoming. He will not blame you; the guilt that you feel is between you & your higher power. Be as compassionate to the wounded soul that is you as you are to the small person who loves you with his whole heart. You are growing up together. Thank you for telling your story and trusting that others will support you in your struggle. You are giving your child the greatest gift, the gift of your sobriety, the gift of your heart.

  4. You are doing the right thing, absolutely. I know it is hard, but you have come so far already. Keep going!

  5. The good news is, it does get better. "We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it"... I used to think that line was crazy talk, I've always regretted my past. But somehow over the months of sobriety the guilt slowly faded and I began to live in the present. You are a good mom, you are taking care of your son now, and that's what matters.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story.

    For the past few years I had the absolute privilege of working around newly recovering women. I had contact with many women from all sorts of backgrounds.

    I live in the capitol city and met women whom worked high up in our state government and had to blow into their interlock to get their car started.

    I met a woman whom was found passed out in the front seat of the car while her pre school age twins were in the back seat. This case became quite news worthy to the local media. This woman was a pillar of her community.

    Like the women above, you are a woman with a disease. Just as they are not bad women or bad mothers, you are not. They, like you, are sick. Your disease manifested in your behaviors.

    For the last few months of my drinking, I passed out nightly. I was a single mom with two kids at home and I drank myself to the point of passing out. In front of my children. I hated myself for it yet could not NOT drink. That hatred towards myself only fueled my disease.

    Did this make me a bad mom? No, I love my children dearly. I was a sick woman. Period.

    Alcoholism FEEDS on guilt and shame. I hope you are able to work through these feelings in therapy and AA if you are going to meetings. Surrounding yourself with other women in recovery is also a wonderful means of fighting those feelings.

    My prayers are with you!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story. There are things you said that are very familiar to me. You're definitely not alone here. Sharing with others is such a vital part of recovery and I'm really glad you did.

  8. AA can really help with all these feelings of guilt and shame. As many other women have said, you have a disease.

  9. Your title... I remember thinking that. I never said to myself at 15: hey, when I grow up I want to be an alcoholic! You're not alone. Please continue staying sober. And rally the troops around you - fellow alcoholics, supportive friends. Keep at it. Things can and will get better.

  10. The 12-steps do more than just keep up sober one day at a time. Each of the steps has a very specific purpose in the bigger picture of sobriety and one of them is to help you deal withe the guilt and shame that envelop you right now. None of us could stay sober for any length of time if we weren't able to deal with those emotions.

    For me the change begin to take place after I did my 5th step. I encourage you to find an AA home group, get a sponsor and get to work on those steps. That's where the change comes. And stick around until the blessings come. They will come. Give it time. In the meantime, just do the legwork. Clean house, trust God, help others. Keep coming back.

  11. You can do it. YOU CAN DO IT. Day by day... you will not fail. You WILL prevail.