Monday, September 26, 2011

To Know Thyself - The Beginning of The Journey

*** Submitted by Anonymous

It's been a long time coming.

Admitting the truth about my addiction to alcohol; and to say out loud. Hearing my own voice say the words: "I have a problem" was inspired by an article in Redbook I read in the waiting room of my chiropractor's office. Chiropractic care that I need once a week for neck and shoulder issues. Truthfully, more the result of drunken falls rather than the more benign excuse that it's the result of years of computer work. The title of the article was jarring - "Mommy is an Alcoholic". I fast forwarded 10 years and imagined hearing those words come out of my children's mouths. I felt like I had gotten hit by a train of truth.

For the past 5 years, I have been drinking a magnum bottle of wine almost every night. In my early forties with 2 young children; wine became my companion. As delighted as I was to have children and the great joy they bring - my life of freedom changed overnight. I turned to wine so I could shuffle through the monotony and routine of motherhood. It gave me patience. I have never been a patient person. My entire life, I have been plagued with anxiety and perfectionism. Nothing could ever be out of place. My house was always in order. I organized to the point of obsession. But children are unpredictable. I couldn't script or control every move or mess they made. I didn't want them to be like me so I let them just be children.

It was my new friend Pinot who told me that it was okay to leave the dishes in the sink and the toys on the floor. At least until morning when my sober self would manically whirl the house back to order. If the house was in order, there was no evidence of my internal dis-order.

I am married to a patient and kind man who never questioned my alcohol intake. I suspect he assumed I didn't really have a problem if the house was always clean; the kids were happy and cared for; there was always supper on the table; and my business was flourishing. Truth is - what appeared to be intact had a devastatingly weak foundation underneath. I have been hiding like a child who covers her eyes and assumes no one can see her because she can't see.

I have been living a life of shame and guilt for 5 years. Even in spite of that shame, I still drank. The first glass always had a magical way of drowning it out. In 42 minutes, half the bottle was down. It was almost a race to see how fast I could drown the guilt, the shame, the worry and the fear. I started watching the clock to see how long it took. A few more glasses and I was comfortably numb. While in that state of numbness, I drunkenly played with my kids; read to them with slurred speech; and tucked them into bed with double vision. One night, I fell asleep in their room. While I was asleep - they were playing with my video camera. I discovered the video a few days later. They were recording each other having a puppet show. In the background I am snoring. To my horror, they panned the camera on to their unconscious mother. I dropped the camera and began to shake.

There it was. In vivid color. My despicable truth.

But I stayed silent. I kept my hands tightly over my eyes. I felt like a horrible mother and human being. How could I subject my children to this? They weren't even afraid and should have been. What good would I have been if they needed me and I was in that condition? The guilt has reached epic proportions that even Pinot can't drown out anymore. I feel desperate and terrified.

I know the liquor store has one more bottle of guilt for me. Instead, I sit here writing my story, so one more hour passes that I don't get in the car and get it. The addiction is whispering, "Just one more bottle and then you stop. Just one more." While many of you have years, months and even days of sobriety - I only have hours. I need to get through this night without succumbing to that whisper. I know if I don't stay strong, tomorrow morning will come and the guilt will be sitting on my chest like "Fuseli's Nightmare".

If I can do it, tomorrow I will wake up and say to myself, "See how good it feels to wake up sober? Remember how productive and happy you felt the last time?" Those times are few and far between. Coming to this blog is my first step. Today is my first "one day at a time".

My children deserve a sober mother. My husband deserves a sober wife.

Thank you all for listening to my story and for sharing yours. You are a great inspiration.

33 comments:

  1. Your family deserves that, yes. But above all else, you deserve a sober you.

    Please watch your blood sugar. Low sugar due to not eating or a faulty diet will trigger cravings faster than anything.

    I am proud of you.

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  2. I pray you have the strength to stay sober, and enjoy life. Good Luck, and God Bless!

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  3. This was so beautifully written. I can feel your pain in the words you wrote, and hope you know you're not alone. So, so many people struggle with this. But so, so many people die with this struggle, too. You are on the start of a beautiful path. Welcome to the first day of your life! xoxo

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  4. You are brave and thank you for sharing your story. I know you will make it through today and keep us posted on how you are doing.

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  5. Wow...so many times I could've written that...stay strong and I'm praying for you to get through today...then tomorrow...and the day after.

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  6. I really identified with your story too! Last year, I could have written it myself. You're already doing the right thing - taking it a moment at a time, to get through. Keep reaching out.

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  7. Living the same life except my drug of choice is a box of wine ... I pray you were able to not go to the liquor store that calls you ... I am trying the same thing today ... told myself THIS week I will start to live again. I appreciate this site and all the comforting thoughts where I can read and feels others pain and accomplishments. It definitely encourages me in the right direction. I so wish I was on the other side of this already.

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  8. Thank you for sharing. This could have been me. This IS me. I have been struggling with sobriety. I still am. My kids deserve a sober mommy too. You and I have both taken the first positive step together by the act of admitting that - out loud. Keep writing, reading and sharing. Big hugs - for you and your children!

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  9. Thanks for sharing you story. This is also my story. I am on day 3 and am getting ready to go to the store. I made myself read this so it would give me strength to make it to day 4. Thanks for giving me that strength.

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  10. I drank like this until my two children weren't children any longer ~ they were 14 and 16 when i finally got sober. That was 2 years ago, and I grieve over all of the time that I wasn't really present ~ it was "I love you, now leave me alone." I was drinking my wine everyday by 4 pm. Don't be like me ~ stop drinking while your children are still little. Sobriety is a gift that you give to yourself and your children ~ it's so worth the work that it takes to stop drinking for good. If I could do it, anyone can ~ you just have to want it badly enough. Best to you.

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  11. I have the same story....but I am just now getting sober and my kids are grown. I have pangs of regret...of not being present as well. You can do this. YOU will be so proud of yourself for pushing the voices away, those voices that say 'one more bottle'.

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  12. YOU deserve to be a sober woman. The rest will follow.

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  13. Like you, so many of us who have posted here have talked about anxiety and perfectionism. And then there's guilt, shame, worry and fear. It's a pervasive thread in all of our stories, it seems. It's remarkable, actually, because it makes me wonder about the bigger, societal expectations placed on women. And for those who choose motherhood, the shock at discovering the cold, hard, truth: mothering is damn hard but doing it all "perfectly" is unattainable. Not to rationalize, but I can't help believe that there just might be a relationship between these expectations and myths and the apparent rise in moms who find themselves somewhere along the continuum of alcoholism.

    No one ever feels guilt, shame, remorse, or fear from NOT drinking! I heard that at a meeting and I really like it. By reaching out here you have paved the way for you to cross over and get help and stay sober...even if it is one hour at a time for now. Please know that the women in the Redbook article you read about have shared their stories so women like you and I are assured we are not alone and that it is possible to achieve a better life in sobriety. It is NOT easy at first. I suggest you print out a copy of your story and by reading your admission every day (many times if you can) it will remind you that you already know the truth. I send my caring thoughts to you. You can do it! Feel free to reach me at cmm812430@yahoo.com. Christine - 28 days.

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  14. You are brave and you can do this. I read that same article in my dentist office and that thing hit me like a slap in the face..it was a few weeks ago and I read it as I sat hung ove yet again. I have read it several times since because it serves as a reminder . Your kids and husbaqnd deserve the best of you and none of us are our best when we are drunk.

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  15. It is really hard though, when your husband hasn't confronted you, you don't have a DWI, you haven't totally made a fool of yourself in the community. Because, when you get sober, you will still wonder... was I really that bad???

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  16. What a beautiful and heartbreaking post. Thank you so much for having the courage to share this part of yourself with all of us, whether we are in recovery or still struggling. It helps everyone.

    I waited to get sober when my daughter was 22 and my older son was 2 1/2. I now have a 26 year old girl and 2 boys, 6 and 2 1/2. My boys never have to remember me drunk. My daughter and I are healing our relationship. But oh how I wish she didn't have the memories she has.

    You have taken your first step toward freedom from this tormenting obsession and desire. You are right to take it one moment at a time. I hope you will seek support in your community from others like you. You do not have to walk this road alone.

    I'm sending you prayers of hope and the blessings that come with a beautiful sober life of freedom. Thank you again for being so brave. xoxo

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  17. If you haven't gone to a recovery meeting yet, I encourage you to do so. Someone commented that you might feel that it's not that bad - no DWI...etc., but going to a meeting will help you realize how bad it could have gotten and you are very luck/blessed to have stopped it before it got any worse. Lots of good thoughts coming your way.

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  18. Last year myself: same time, same story. Sober one year soon!!! Your family deserves you sober, yes, but you deserve you sober. This is a beautiful start! It's waaaay better. It is.

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  19. I think your post is so truthful, and brave. I can relate to many of your comments. I don't mean to be an alarmist, and I am not a doctor, but if you have been drinking a magnum a nite for 5 years you are bound to have withdrawl symptoms. Please just be aware of the what the symptoms are, and if you need to, please seek medical help. Keep us posted on how you are doing....sending you healing energy.

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  20. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to each and every one of you who have posted. This blog has become a beam of light in the muddy darkness I have been in for so long. From those of you who offer practical advice about withdrawal symptoms, low blood sugar, to those of you who could identify with my story and offer experienced advice. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I had another wine-free day yesterday. All of your words will help me have another one today. You are amazing women and I am so happy to meet you. Blessings.

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  21. I am so glad you posted this. It is really brave, and it helps all of us, even those with many years of sobriety.

    I wanted to make a comment on the idea of "not that bad." I was someone who by some standards was not that bad when I got off the elevator: two or three glasses of wine a night. But one thing my sponsor has helped me to see is that even that level is VASTLY different from a normal drinker, as were (more importantly) the way I obsessed about alcohol and other behavioral traits that I had begun to exhibit. So even though I did it for years myself, there is really no point in thinking of all the ways that it isn't as bad as some other alcoholic. What matters most is that you've passed the point of no return, that you can never go back to being a normal drinker. That helped me, so I am passing it along to you.

    What I also want to say is that life is so much better on the "other side," and that you can never quit drinking too soon. Really, it is so, so worth it, and I wish I had the right words to communicate how much better it is. Take the plunge. And as others have recommended, a 12-step group like AA will be a terrific resource for you. Good luck and come back and update us!

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  22. As I read your post, I could swear you were writing my story. I also had an epiphany after reading the Redbook article and couldn't put it down (as I was reading, crying, and drinking vodka - which I switched to after my Husband asked me to stop drinking Pinot). It's been a couple weeks since I read that article and still continued to drink. This morning I couldn't get out of bed because I drank 3/4 of a magnum of Pinot and was too embarassed to get up with my kids because I didn't want my Husband to know I pee'd the bed. So I lay there in urine until he leaves the house taking my youngest to school. After my oldest leaves for school, I get on this website wracked with guilt over once again drinking too much. I cried so hard and decided that today would be the day or I wouldn't feel this strong again. I called my Husband and he actually went with me to my first AA meeting. You can do it, it's taking the first step that is the hardest. It's never easy to admit you are an alcoholic. I'm starting my recovery today and you can too! Stay strong.

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  23. Thank you for your story. I am right in that place currently. And thanks to the people who commented. I have yet to stop - but reading these words pushes me closer and closer and I know that they eventually will give me the courage to stop. Proud of you for taking these first steps.

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  24. Wow. I cannot believe how many of you have suffered the way I have (am). I've been reading all of these stories and comments and weeping for over an hour now. My mother died of alcoholic cirrhosis 4 years ago when my daughter had just turned 2 and my son 4. Her story was horrible, lonely and one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed. Ironically, I started drinking heavily to deal with the grief of losing her. Four years later and that drinking is now a habit, physically, mentally etc. Telling myself that it's ok to drink only after my kids go to bed and never during the day (except for weekends of course) isn't quite working out. I cannot function with a hangover. The hangover is anxiety, panic, guilt and vomit ridden. Not to mention I go to work like this. On my days off or on weekends my kids play video games and watch TV while I lay in bed, listening to the nagging voices in my head, feeling nauseous. WOW are they getting ripped off. I too have peed the bed after a full magnum of wine, once with my son sleeping next to me. I'm getting really sick of all of it. Starting to cut out even a couple nights a week has helped, can't fall asleep but it's better than the other!
    Thank you so much everyone for being so honest. I never thought in a million I would be here writing, confessing. It's a step. Feeling hopeful.

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  25. Bravo to you, you've taken a huge step in admitting it...now keep reading your own words. If today it doesn't feel like you deserve sobriety then go ahead and do it for your husband and children. The rest will follow, you will begin to love yourself again if you work at it.

    I would urge you to get to a meeting, sitting there listening to people talk about their inner thoughts really gave me insight on myself. I knew after my first meeting that I'm not alone and there's an explanation as to why I always felt different.

    We are all here for you and remember that any man can fight the battles of just one day if he/she keeps their mind on today.

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  26. ((Hugs)) I am one step behind you. Your post gives me hope.

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  27. I also read the Redbook article. I was sitting in my daughters ortho office and she was right next to me. She (14) saw the title of the article as well and I saw the pain and hurt in her eyes, and I knew why. Both her and my other daughter (13) unfortunately have had to deal with my drinking and its effects. I hate that but it hasn't stopped me.

    I read the article as quickly as I could and did something I normally wouldn't- I went to the store right after, not to buy alcohol but to buy the magazine, so I could share the story with my husband. Those stories are my story.

    I've known for a while that I have a problem and have tried many different trial separations from my love of drinking. Yes, I said love. I enjoy being buzzed. I like using alcohol to mix it up a little. But it has become not so fun anymore. It always leads to fighting with my family, bad choices, and guilt, shame and depression.

    I don't drink everyday. I am a binge drinker. I go weeks without but then when I start, bring it on. It's a mess. I hate myself after and know I should stop, but I know it's too late because everyone is already upset. That just makes me want to avoid them and stay drunk. Yuck!

    I'm happy to say I read that article 11 days ago and haven't had a drink since. Not that I haven't wanted to though. It's so not worth it though. I love this forum and will continue to come for support. I'm not one for meetings - very private (some would say secretive) but I do have a therapist who is helping me.

    Bravo to you for taking the first step. It seems that article was a catalyst for both of us and hopefully we'll share the same path of sobriety! Best of luck. You're not alone! I feel connected to all the stories and comments I read...today is a good day!

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  28. Thank you all for your wonderful words of encouragement and strength. I too have struggled with this for years. My life is crumbling around me. Every aspect of my life has been affected-my health, my job, my kid, my education, everything. I don't want to live this life of insanity anymore. Today I didn't drink. It's only day 2. Every day that I wake up hungover, I'm so ashamed that I wasn't strong enough to resist the urge to drink. I have lost friends-they don't understand and think I should have more "willpower". I wish I did too! I'm going to a meeting tomorrow morning. I've been reading the Big Book. I'm in therapy. I'm desperate for help and your words and encouragement mean so much. I'll be checking in here often. Thank you!

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  29. How many injuries did I have before I connected them to my drinking? Was it all the black eyes, the broken nose, the fractured hip? But I kept doing the same things over and over again expecting different results.

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  30. This blog, posts and comments - I have read over and over - has gotten me through a couple of very challenging days. I can see why AA says to "take it one day at a time". As I am sure many of you can relate early into recovery - sometimes it takes one minute at a time. Deep breaths, lots of water, keeping my blood sugar level and getting to sleep early has helped. Although, I am still struggling. I am still searching. Today, I feel like I am trying to run through quick sand. The kids have only been home from school for 30 minutes and I am already irritated with how many times I have heard "Momma?" I feel like such a jerk for even being annoyed. I adore my children. I am experiencing such a myriad of emotions and I feel like layers of skin have been peeled away exposing raw nerves. I know this all normal. For any mom - with or without alcohol. I just have to rally through one more minute... Thank you all for being here and there and everywhere.

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  31. You are telling my story. Every morning I swear I will not drink and every night I go to bed drunk. I can't say today will be different because I've done that. What I will say is that before I pour a drink tonight I will come back here and read this post.

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  32. It's comforting to know I am not alone. I had 1/2 a beer last night and dumped the rest down the sink. Didn't drink the night before. That's huge for me. My husband was murdered two years ago. I have been drinking every day since. I make myself sick all the times I acted like an idiot. Why does it have to be so hard? My poor kids- I feel so guilty. They need me more than anything and I have not been present emotionally for them. I couldn't deal with my husband's death and I don't know how to help them. We have gone to counseling, but I still drink. My friends and family seem to give me a free pass to drink cuz of what I have been through. It's not an excuse to drink. I don't want to look back and wish I stopped sooner. This site is a tool - I will come back tonight-if I can make it til 7:00 pm, 4-6 are the hardest hours for me. If I just eat dinner instead of drinking it- I will be too full to want to drink. I make my kids dinner and drink while cooking and then sit and watch them eat. Nice example. God, I suck. Thank you all for your honesty. We can do it.

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  33. You are a great writer....I can so relate to your story. I am 3 days sober. I like the way you said, "always another bottle of guilt". I've been contemplating a glass (bottle) of wine,,,and then I think about the guilt and shame. I want to live, truly LIVE my life. So, I am going to pour myself another cup of tea....and say goodbye to the guilt!

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