Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coming Clean

***Submitted by Christine

I am posting to come clean that I know I am an alcoholic.  Up until now, I've bargained with myself and decided I was a "functional" alcoholic as no one really knows the extent of my drinking (not even my therapist!); I have never been in legal trouble; and, I'm a professional. This is excruciatingly painful to admit, yet there's some relief in saying it, too.  Especially saying it to those who can relate. I don't think I am ready to say it in front of a group at an AA meeting, though.  I've just looked at this site for the first time and am hungry to read all of the posts.  Just the few I have read right now make me realize I am not alone and that I can not rely on my well-intentioned resolve to give up alcohol. So many statements I just read deeply resonated with me .. a sure sign that I share this painful struggle with all of you and that nothing about this struggle is "functional" for me, despite my rationalizations.  I have so much to learn.

I am not sure what to do first - other than to admit to myself, at least, and to those of you reading this, that I am powerless over my drinking.  I did not drink during my pregnancy and for several years thereafter.  Then, slowly at first, I started back up with one glass of wine which escalated into a bottle plus every night for the past two years.  All this time I have justified it because of the repetitive stress injury I got in my arms from work and how that has had such a detrimental impact on my life - because of  the stress and conflict and insane workload I have as an attorney - because of the financial stress I am under - because I am lonely - because I fear I will never be in a relationship again - because I drink after my son goes to bed - because I think I am not good enough, and the list continues.

My friends and family would be shocked to hear how much I am struggling with these emotions and....how much I have been drinking.  (Though the 25 pounds I have gained over the last two years is an external reflection that something is amiss.)  My excessive pride, along with my immobilizing shame, gets in the way of my admitting to friends and family that I need help.  I am too embarrassed to reveal such a huge flaw... I have so much self-loathing on top of all the other debilitating emotions and, because of my circumstances, I am rather isolated in many ways.  I feel I have so many changes to make in my life and guess I have to tackle the most important one first.  I am a single mom (by choice) of an awesome 7 year-old-boy whom I love so much - it disgusts me that my drinking resumed two years ago and I can't seem to give it up even though
I want so much to be a better mom - one that is sober at all times and fully embraces being in recovery.  I only half-heartedly accepted it before. 


I owe it to my son to confront my addiction.  I owe it to myself to stop the obsession and the self-hatred that goes hand-in-hand with the bottle...or bottles, I should say...tons of them.  I hope the damage I have done to my body (especially my liver which feels enlarged) is reversible.  It's terrifying to think about it, quite honestly.

This is day one and the first time I have come clean with my revealing I am an alcoholic.  Thanks to all of you for sharing from the heart... 

Finally, ready for day 2.

14 comments:

  1. Christine...You already took the first step toward sobriety!! I could have put my name on your story right when I got sober 2 and a half years ago. You are NOT alone. Be encouraged and KEEP sharing! Jill

    ReplyDelete
  2. Life is so much better when you don't have the "urge" to drink, which will slowly subside..... I believe the alcohol produces more stress, more weight and so many more "issues" than it is worth.....I could also put my name on your story and have been sober for three plus years now. You owe it to yourself to get sober.....then everything else seems to fall into place. Remember to take it one second at a time for now it does get easier!!! You are not alone be proud of yourself for taking the first step!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You know, they don't make you say it on your first time. In fact, they don't make you say it at all. The only requirement for AA membership is a DESIRE TO STOP DRINKING. you already realize that you're not going to be able to do this alone -heck, if you could've quit on your own, you would have by now. So don't wait to get help from AA. Remember, every single person in that room was in your position once.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're very brave for admitting what you have admitted. Things will only get better if you keep surrendering, one day at a time. Thinking of you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. ditto to what the first 2 commenters said...what a huge step you have taken and I know you can do this! Even after only a few days sober you will feel a weight lifted, a clarity shining through that you haven't seen in a long time. And the *guilt* you feel about not being the best mom to your kid will disappear too...that was what drove me to sobriety. I am praying for you, how exciting that are starting this journey. You won't regret it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are amazing and just made me cry like a baby. I hope someday I can continue past day one.... you are in my thoughts & prayers...

    ReplyDelete
  7. It took me a long, long time after I stopped drinking to call myself an alcoholic. (I was a "problem drinker.") What I've learned is that the label isn't nearly important as finding a way to connect with other women...other mothers who have been in the exact same place you are in. I have been there. I know your grief, your shame, the ache in your heart. You don't have to go through one minute of this alone.

    It was so hard to reach out at first. I'm independent, accomplished, and I hated the idea of admitting just how "far" I'd fallen - how I couldn't manage the issue on my own, as I'd been taught I should be able to all of my life. What I learned is that my drinking didn't make me a bad person - it made me someone who was physically addicted to the coping mechanism I used to "manage" my emotional strife. Only through recovery have I slowly developed new tools to cope, tools that don't hurt me or the people I love. Tools that enrich my life instead of annihilate it.

    I'll have six years in November. I was a woman who drank every day. I drank in front of my children. I am alive only through true grace, and I am here to tell you how amazing you are, how strong you are, and how you only have to take each next indicated action. Get through your days one choice at a time. Choose to get up, kiss you son, show up to work sober. One little victory at a time will change your life forever.

    A life without alcohol is about progress, not perfection...you are making progress, right now, today, and I am sending you all the love and support I can possibly muster.

    XOXO,
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your post was awesome. What courage to write those words! Congratulations. You've taken the first step. I am in your shoes, I'm on Day 3. I can feel your emotions, the guilt we put on ourselves, the terror at being discovered but the complete inability to stop. Then the shame that comes with realizing that we can't stop.

    I wish I was the person who could drink 1 or 2 glasses of chardonnay or whatever. I'm not though. I'm the mom who drinks the bottle after her kids go to bed, or sticks it in a travel coffee mug at the park.

    You can make a change. We're all here for you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. i'm a lawyer too and i relate very much to what you say. my husband still drinks but i gave up and went to aa a year and a half ago. i found it very hard at first to say i was an alcoholic and i still only use that label to aa friends and in meetings. but i have to say that giving up altogether was a lot easier than cutting down and trying to control my drinking (which was very like yours). i thought i would not be able to sleep and i sleep like a baby now. i hope you manage to get along to a meeting or find some support - its much easier with friends by your side.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow! Thank you so much to all of you who posted. It's a good thing I can close the door in my office because I cried so much today. Relief, hope, fear, deep-deep-deep sadness just grabbed a hold of me as I thought about what I posted and read your responses. I had moments of gripping panic thinking that I was an idiot to reveal my name and share identifying information...surely, surely my family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and BOSS will find out - then what will happen to me???? I'll have to go and buy some wine (yes, that's my feeble attempt to be funny.)

    I did go to work sober today - I still hate my job, but that's for another post! At least showing up sober made me realize that if I keep doing this, day after day, maybe I can find a way out of my unhappiness. Maybe I will have the clarity to see a different way. I'm in awe of the women who posted and had the desire to reach out and lift me up. I felt your support and I am grateful. Proud to be almost done with day 2 and scared to know how easy it might be for me to convince myself that if I can go for a week, I don't ~really~ have a problem. For now, I won't think about the end of the week - I'll simply focus on showing up for work sober again tomorrow. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my Christine, day three will be even better than one and two. Each day is easier and you feel more confident as you fall into bed sober each night. I am so proud of you for coming here and writing this post and showing up to say thanks too. What a brave soul you are !~! I hope to hear more from you as this journey continues for you. I made twenty-seven years in February and every day is still a bit easier than the last one. Congratulations on making the choice to be sober.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Christine. You are not alone. I've been where u are. Please call me anytime. 3602244009. Rachael I'll have 4 years sober next month

    ReplyDelete
  13. Day one for me. After dropping my kids off at school, I threw one empty and one half full vodka bottle in the grocery store trash can. I always take empties somewhere so my husband doesn't see them. This time I have to do it! Best wishes for you and I'm praying for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Christine,
    I am you in many ways, without the stress injury.
    I had a day one this past Tuesday. I didn't have a day two. Today will be my day one again.
    I support you and pray for you (and me!)

    ReplyDelete