***Submitted by Anonymous
I've read every single post on this site and found them to be informative, gut wrenching, sad, triumphant and beauitfully transparent. I've gone back and forth for years now about my drinking. Based on my background as a Christian I often struggle with how much is guilt without reason and how much is actually God speaking to me through my conscience. I'm a firm believer that you should always listen to your conscience and not violate it but the lines can be blurry at times. How do I know this isn't just culturally induced dogma and how do I know that I actually have a problem that needs addressing?
I too come from an alcoholic family. I use to get very drunk in Jr. High and High School but then I began to go to church after High School so getting drunk was pretty much out of the question. Not because I felt guilt about it but mainly because I knew there was freedom and I wanted to live differently. I was pretty sure if I kept acting like a child I would end up going nowhere. So for about 17 years I didn't really drink. I would have the occasional glass of wine but I knew when to stop before I got tipsy. Then I got married. My husband is European so wine is customary with meals. We both love beer as well.
Since we were married years ago I can say I pretty much had a drink every night. Then I got pregnant.... this is the hardest part for me because as I've read so many of these revealing posts by such honest women I found that hands down all of them said, "I drank except when I was pregnant". Well, I did not. I still had the occasional glass, sometimes two, of wine even while being pregnant. I was still at this place in my thinking where all I was doing was drinking like a European. I never got drunk but I did have too many a few times while nursing. Then I would swear off booze because "What the hell am I doing here? I am a mom...a nursing mom!" But I would always reason out, "I'm only just having a glass or two occasionally. I still carry a lot of guilt about that and it doesn't get better knowing that most women never could do such a thing when they were pregnant.
While I was nursing this is when the real struggle came into my thinking as to whether or not I had a problem. I kept having conscience issues and even spoke to a friend who was in AA about it. She said, "If you think you might have a problem you probably do". Oh, did I mention I was in Christian ministry this entire time? This is why I had a hard time even thinking of going to AA. Still do!
Then baby number two was announced. I told my husband, "You know I don't think I want to even drink this time around". He has always been very supportive so he said, "Ok". I did much better with that pregnancy. I actually really didn't think about booze much at all. Then after I weaned our baby I found a new tension in my life....being the mother of two kids and staying home with them all the time. I relate so much to Ellie's posts about how kids are a trigger for drinking. It's not that I don't love them either. I love them painfully. I just know that often I feel like a huge failure with them. I'm bored being at home. I get lonely and all of my personal issues with "what I'm not doing with my life?" culminate and I want a "treat" at the end of the day.
I started getting migraines in the mornings and it was always after having some sort of booze. The reason I kept wondering (then being pretty convinced) if I had a problem was because I am such a strong and determined woman. I take on a good challenge and almost anything that I put my mind to I have had the courage to achieve, but I couldn't/wouldn't let go of my "treat" at the end of the day. Even though it was starting to make me sick. People would say I was likely developing an allergy to alcohol but I still wanted to have a drink or two. I was even able to stop eating sugar for nearly a year, any form of sugar. I had a health issue and so I just did it. It was hard but I did it. Yet drinking is one thing I really wasn't willing to let go of.
I began reading more sites and posts like these and related to so many of the stories. I still don't believe that alcohol is morally wrong. I have no issues with people who want to drink. I even explained to my husand that I believe I have a problem with alcohol and he was so confused. Why did I even think that? He's only seen me drink one or two drinks at a time. And that's true, even though there were nights I drank three. I really didn't drink that much in quantity. It wasn't the amount of booze I have been drinking over the years. It was the frequency of it and how much I thought about it. For the past three years I have had a drink nearly every night. I was never willing to give it up even when it was affecting my health.
I can relate to women who are watching someones's glass as they sip it slowly and seem to forget they even have wine, wondering in astonishment how they can do that. I can relate to showing up at a dinner party where the hostess serves tea or juice and getting very disappointed. I use to bring it casually into the conversation, as if I didn't really care whether we had it or not, so that someone would run out and get a bottle. I remember taking big sips while the husband was out of the room and refilling so that it looked like I hadn't drank much. I also relate to feeling like I have lost a friend in giving up drinking. My treat is gone and sometimes severely missed.
I haven't joined AA and I'm sure if anyone leaves comments that is the first recommendation. I know I need accountability I just don't know that I want it to be there. It is a tried, tested and true organization though. I'd really like to get counseling if I'm honest. I know it's not really about the booze, it's about what has been happening in my own life that I want to run from or avoid. I want to be at peace and be a happy person. Taking a few drinks always "make me happier". I wasn't as lonely or as bored. I forgot about all I am not accomplishing with my life.
There are still things I just really don't like about myself and areas where I feel like a total failure. The funny thing is I have so many life accomplishments that I can recognize if I look at them objectively. They don't carry me through dark times though. I wrestle in my head over what I'm NOT doing with my life, even while I have these amazing kids. There is still a lot of control that I try to maintain, there is anger I keep dealing with (likely from loss of control) and even sadness over how isolated I feel as a mom. I'd like God to be the freeing force in my life but that too has been a source of frustration for me in that I still don't feel completely free.
Thanks for listening.