Monday, June 27, 2011

Really, Your Voice Matters

*** Submitted by Kristin, who is a regular contributor to Crying Out now

When I first read Ellie's blog, I thought she was a goddamn lunatic. I'm sorry Ellie but it's true.

She was talking about alcoholism like it was NO BIG DEAL. She just TOLD people she was an alcoholic as easily as telling them she was human. Clearly she had to be nuts. I mean, if you ended up having to quit drinking, that was something you hid like the shameful secret it was.

But Ellie talked about it like not drinking was just a part of her life. It was a choice she'd made, a choice she continued to make, a choice that made her life better.

How could that be? At the time, I didn't see how admitting to alcoholism wouldn't ruin your life. I was positive that if I said I was an alcoholic my life would crumble around me. I couldn't understand that alcoholism wasn't something I could simply steel myself against. I was sure I could just decide not to be an alcoholic and then try really, really hard not to be, and then I'd never be a full blown alcoholic.

And it was almost sort of that easy. All I needed to do was decide not be an alcoholic. Or rather, I decided not to be a functioning alcoholic anymore. And in order to stop being a functioning alcoholic, I needed to quit drinking cold turkey.

Which is how I found myself one hungover morning, lying in bed and choking on my tears. I had finally realized what I needed to do, I just didn't know how to do it.

And I remembered Ellie. I suddenly realized how brave and amazing she was to admit something so huge not just to herself but to the world. I wanted that bravery for myself.

So, I submitted a desperate post to Crying Out Now, quit drinking and made a discovery: there was nothing shameful in not drinking. I knew tons of people who didn't drink, I just hadn't paid any attention to them before.

It's good here. Not without hard times but good overall.

I just don't know how it would be without Ellie and her voice. Ellie's voice led me through the darkness even if I thought she was crazy at first. She wasn't crazy. She was just saying something I wasn't ready to hear yet.

Thanks Ellie. Again.


  1. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story. I am still toying w/the idea of not drinking. Are you going to AA? How long have you been now? I am not an everyday drinker and have no urge to drink everyday but I do drink too much when I drink. I have not lost anything or had a major life change event, no dui's,etc. but I know in my heart I don't want to do this any more. Any suggestions would help...

  2. I so agree with everything you wrote...Ellie is such a good example and inspiration. I never knew I would be ok to say I was an alcoholic, but now I am actually proud of it! Like I accomplished something that was hard, earnest work, and I don't mind telling people. Thanks for sharing your story...what you write will help people, thus promoting the community even more.

    to the first commenter...alcoholics come in all forms (everyday drinkers, binge drinkers, etc). The fact that you want to stop is amazing! I joined AA and it totally worked. I also found God (a Higher Power), and that was key. But I had to look first, when I realllllly needed Him. I didn't need Him until I was desperate. Luckily, God takes you whenever you come to Him. I'll be praying for you.

  3. @Anonymous - I've been sober for 6 months. I haven't actually been to AA - because I was afraid I'd run into family members whom I wasn't yet ready to tell. It took me almost four months before I told my parents I was sober but I told my husband and best friend immediately. I also reached out to a community of sober bloggers online so that I'd have support and could learn about sobriety .

    That said, I have huge respect for AA. It's a great community, I've been to meetings and as everyone has been through it, they're not shocked by anything you have to say. Or, the larger group isn't. If you know you're ready to stop, find someone, tell someone, start talking and stop drinking. It's as hard and as easy as that.

    Feel free to reach out anytime if you want.

  4. Robin & KLZ than you for responding. I have been viewing the on line sobriety community from the side lines and hope I will take the dive more soon. Thank you for the prayers and the advice.

  5. Ellie is a wonderful example of what sobriety can bring us in our lives. I love and respect her! I wish that I'd had an "Ellie" to help me see how wonderful this journey can be earlier.

    @Anonymous, I think it's fantastic that you're having the desire to stop drinking. I wasn't an everyday drinker but when I did drink the situations were unmanageable. AA and God together saved my life. I would seriously recommend checking out AA. Don't worry if you'll know someone, frankly everyone there has worried about that.

    If you check out my blog, and many others, we share our experience, strength and hope for others who are still struggling.

    There is so much happiness in sobriety, once I cleaned my closets of all that was haunting me, the proverbial weight was lifted.

    I don't miss the shame at all.

    And as always, I'm here if you want to contact me directly or anyone else reading this.

  6. What a stellar post! I find myself in this club of remarkable people who just happened to also be alcoholics. It is a brave and humble group. We who carry no shame allow others to also banish theirs.