Monday, June 6, 2011

Moving Forward

***Submitted by Jo

I’ve been coming here for a while. I can’t remember how I found you but I’m glad that I did. I’ve wanted to comment lots of times but felt that it was inappropriate because I hadn’t shared my story or introduced myself.

I’ve wanted to write down my journey for a while but always shied away. Firstly because I’m not a very good writer, my grammar is pretty bad (always hated it at school) I write how I speak and then hate how it reads. So I’ll apologise in advance. But the main reason I haven’t written is because if I write it down and put it out ‘there’ then that makes it real.

I’m a 48 year old Mum of three (17, 13 and 9) living in Australia. I’ve been drinking for approx 30 years, not always heavily but never just socially. I’m a binge drinker. I drink to get drunk, no other reason. I did stop drinking with my first two pregnancies but drank through my third. I worried the whole time that I was pregnant; I knew what I was doing was wrong but I still did it. My son is fine, he has no health issues or development issues. We’re a very lucky family, no allergies or development problems with any of the kids. But in the back of my mind is the question of what will the future hold for him. Will he have a problem with alcohol too? He had alcohol all the time he was in the womb and I breastfed him for 15mths..... still binge drinking every three to four days. He already has a few strikes against him. My grandfather was an alcoholic, my father was an alcoholic, my mother drinks too much and so does my brother and so do I. Will the alcohol I fed him when he was growing trigger something in him when he gets older and tries alcohol himself? I don’t know.

Whew, I’ve written down two shameful secrets there, truths I rarely face. I have a lot more shameful secrets. Driving whilst dunk, driving drunk with my kids in the car and worst of all driving drunk with other peoples kids in the car. Not falling down drunk but over the limit just the same. Each time I’d feel so ashamed but a few days later I’d drink again. There’s a song by an Aussie guy, Paul Kelly, called ‘Dumb Things’ part of the lyrics are “I’ve lost my shirt, I’ve pawned my rings. I’ve done all the dumb things”. I’ve done all the dumb things that you do when you drink too much.

On the outside my life looks pretty good. I’ve been with my husband for 33 years. We dated for 4 years, lived together for 12 and have been married for 17. We aren’t rich but we don’t struggle either. Our kids are good, they go to school, play sport, have good manners etc etc.

But on the inside is a family at the crossroads.

I had always thought that I’d hit a rock bottom and then I’d clean up my act but that rock bottom never came. What did come was something very strange. On the eve of my daughters 16th birthday I had been drinking for quite a few hours when she came home with her boy friend. It was obvious they had both been drinking too. We sat and chatted for a while, I was still drinking but they weren’t, and at some stage my pissed brain thought “This is just sooooo wrong” I had to be up early the next day for my son’s soccer and was standing in the freezing cold, hungover and alone. DD’s friend had walked up to the soccer fields (hungover) while the rest of the house slept. I don’t know what clicked with me but I looked at him and thought ‘I can’t be the Mum who sits and drinks with her kids friends’

I stopped drinking for 22 weeks, then my Mum came to visit. She was here two weeks and drank every day. I drank with her twice and felt so crappy afterwards. Since then I’ve mostly stayed dry. I fall off the wagon every few months but not badly. It’s been a year since I really decided to really look at myself and alcohol.

My biggest problem is that I get no support. My husband drinks daily and sees nothing wrong with it, he doesn’t think that I have a problem. In his mind drinking is just a social thing that he does but I think he has a drinking problem too. I’ve been thinking for a while that I can’t be sober and be with him. I like me when I don’t drink. My kids like me when I don’t drink....... My husband doesn’t like me when I don’t drink.

I’ve really liked what stopping drinking has bought into my life. I’ve lost 12 kg, I have energy to burn, I sleep like I log and I feel no shame. That’s the best part, not feeling shameful. I’m more ‘present’ with my kids. I love what life has to offer us when I’m sober. I just wish that my husband would come with us. ‘Cause I have to keep moving forward.

Thanks for listening and thanks for being here.

Mind how you go.

11 comments:

  1. I like myself so much better sober too. It's tough that your husband is not fully on board yet - hope you guys can keep moving forward together.

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  2. I completely understand about the husband part, I am in the same boat. Mine agrees that I had a problem, but doesn't think he has one. I am ok with alcohol being in the house...that isn't what bothers me. What bothers me, is now that I am sober, seeing him get drunk every night annoys me. It's fine every once in awhile, but every night or every other night, well it just gets old. I've tried talking to him, letting him know how his drinking affects me, but in the end, it has to be his choice to change his behavior, because I didn't Cause it, I can't Change it nor can I Cure it.

    I am so proud of the steps you are taking, and I pray for your continued sobriety. It feels great!

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  3. Good for you!! Your journey isn't easy but it is amazing that you've taken the step to write down your secrets.
    Getting sober is something we can only do for ourselves, it cannot work if it's for someone else. That goes for the people around you drinking.
    For me now, while I don't like being around alcohol it's bound to happen. I have to remain strong in my reality, which is a sober one, connected to God and my desire to be all that I can be on this journey instead of diluting life with booze.
    Proud of ya sista, I'm here to support you and so are tons of other women on the web. I'd suggest a 12 step program, you'll be amazed how it can help.

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  4. I can only imagine what a huge obstacle it seems to not have the full support of your husband. I sincerely hope that you can keep moving forward no matter what, though, as you have already discovered how much more you like yourself sober and how great your life can be without alcohol in it.

    By the way, I think you are a GREAT writer. You manage to say very concisely and clearly what it often takes me paragraphs to convey. I thank you for sharing your story, so starkly, so openly, so simply. It helps us all.

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  5. L love whta you wrote; especially the last part about what stopping drinking has bought into your life. I have two children and feel exactly the same. Fortunately my husband IS on board. I know you wil move forward and would love to hear more of you story. Come join us at the BFB:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Booze_free_brigade/

    Best,
    Trish

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  6. Great post. And welcome back to your life.

    Find your support where you can since it sounds like right now it can't be your husband. My husband didn't support me either so I sought support from a few close friends and a great therapist.

    I just hit one year this week and still can't believe it and I feel so proud -- It's been easier than I thought it would be while also being the hardest damn thing I've ever done.

    My husband didn't think I had a problem either. He drinks daily and when I stopped I think it was very threatening to him. And I was terrified we wouldn't be able to stay married if we weren't drinking together. If I'm honest that may be one of the reasons I drank for so long. I thought if I stopped I'd lose my marriage.

    Your post reminded me how mad I was at him in the beginning -- angry he didn't want to talk about my being sober, angry he couldn't support me, pissed off as I counted his drinks, furious when he wanted to have a conversation or sex with me when he was drinking, bitter when I noticed his eyes were glassy... My one request was no wine in the house and he continued to ask if he could have "one glass and I'll drink it out of a coffee mug." RAGE!

    I haven't realized this till tonight but I'm not mad anymore. I don't think about what he drinks anymore. I don't need his support around my sobriety. We talk, have sex, laugh -- as long as I'm feeling comfortable. If I start to feel like he's had too much to drink or things get tense I walk away. I don't yell at him for drinking too much anymore -- I just walk away. And, damn I never thought I'd be able to do that. Our marriage obviously has its issues but I love him and I'm glad I stayed this year. Now I know it would have been a mistake to throw in the towel at the beginning -I needed to focus on getting sober.

    He overheard me telling someone it was a year this week. Out of the blue on Sunday he said, "So, a year? That's really great." That statement meant a lot to me.

    Now when he asks if he can drink wine in the house I just roll my eyes at him. No more rage.

    I'm sorry I turned your post into a comment all about ME. But I thank you because your words helped me tonight. Your very honest words...

    So back to YOU...Baby steps, girl...you can do it...don't rush into anything or make any huge decisions. Just the decision not to pick up the drink today. That's it.

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  7. Thanks for your kind thoughts and words. I've thought about AA but I'm not religious and associate AA with believing in God. A friend told me that you can believe in what ever entity you want to as long as you believe in 'something'. I just don't know, what I do know is that I need a cheer squad. I need people to encourage me and say "Well done" I need someone I can talk to when I feel the urge to drink. So maybe AA is an option for me. Another thing that puts me off is living in a small town..... may as well take out an ad in the paper :-)

    But none of that is going to happen until I'm honest and tell people that I'm an alcoholic. There was a post which mentioned 'only being as sick as your secrets' it resonated with me because I'm not honest.
    I say "I'm not drinking tonight" or I say "I have alcoholism in my family so I try not to drink". I've admitted to a few people that I "have a problem with alcohol so I try to abstain" but I haven't come right out and said "I'm an alcoholic" except to my husband and he doesn't want to accept it. I know that I'm never going to really move forward until I tell the truth.

    I've been over to the BFB board but because I hadn't introduced myself and didn't feel ready to come out and say "Hi I'm here and I could use your help and support" I held back. I'll be going back and saying hello properly.


    Thanks Anonymous for telling me a bit about your situation. I'm also struggling with watching him drink. For me it's the time that it takes him away from us and also I'm concerned for his health. I feel like I've done all the talking I can do.


    Sorry to make this so long and thanks again for being here.

    Jo

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  8. Jo- I am also not religious and found Women for Sobriety to be a good "fit" for me and my sobriety. There is a link on this page below the recovery reading shelf... From there you can sign up for their online message site.
    Best wishes to you on your sobriety & recovery journey.
    Isabelise

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  9. You ARE a wonderful writer, despite what you think, because your writing is so honest and to the point. Thanks for sharing. This is very, very hard stuff to admit. All the best to you.

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  10. You hit bottom when you stop digging.

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  11. Jessica (@wtfinmontana)June 28, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    This is me. I wrote a similar post on another site confessing my dirty secrets. They were the same. Except I am 30, my husband and I have been together for 15 years and he doesn't drink. BUT...he caves easily. I decided to quite about 11 days ago. On day two I was such a bitch he said we should have Burger King and vodka for lunch. I said no, but you get my drift. :) I think it just gets to a point when the guilt is not worth it anymore. Thanks for your post.

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