***Submitted by Anonymous
I guess I'm like every other contributor, not sure how to start. Not sure where to go. The semi-beginning??
It is way past when I should be in bed and yet, I sit here, wanting a drink. It's one of the first nights in the last week that I haven't succumbed. What makes that even more shocking is that I have a 3 month old baby girl. I buy those test strips that tell you when the milk is okay to give them or not. Because some nights, nay most nights, I just don't control it, it controls me.
I was a good kid. Very athletic. I did athletics for part of my college career, and that kept me in check. Then I quit athletics. I told myself "I have to live the party dream, that's college, right?" Still did well in school, but I drank 3 nights a week and skiied the other 4. Then real life hit. I was supposed to be up every day for a job and fully ready to perform every task asked of me in a most timely fashion. I did not like this adjustment. And I didn't like the career path I'd chosen to boot.
Enter the drifter phase. You meet a lot of like minded drifters in this phase. Everyone who thought my use of alcohol was "normal" or mentioned my use in a non-agressive way. And my boyfriend at the time (now husband), mentioned it, but never fully criticized. He'd put it in the context of his own alcohol use (his use is absolutely normal and unabusive by true standards), but he'd say "WE should drink less", or "WE should only have 2 a night". When clearly he was quite capable of doing those things and I was not. So I started to hide liquor. If he didn't know I drank it, it didn't count in the "drink tally" for the night...
Anyway, we married and opted for children. Before our first was born I would drink so heavily that I'd drive to the gym in the morning and work out so minimally only to be retching in the shower. I would think to myself "at least it worked off some of the alcohol smell." I would hide alcohol and just drink anything available, straight from the bottle. It didn't matter, I was going to "get my buzz on".
Then our first was born... I credit her with saving my life. If I'd continued with those behaviors, I'd easily have lost my job by now and my husband. I didn't even think about drinking when I was pregnant with her. The thought didn't even cross my mind!! But sadly I found a way to eke alcohol back into my life without effecting her. Or so I thought. Until you wake up for the first time and say "wow, she slept HOW long??" But you secretly wonder to yourself if you just "slept" through it in an alcohol induced blackout again.
Then we were pregnant with our second 6 months later. We semi-planned it. I wanted them that close together. But as it turns out, my body actually attacks my poor babies when I'm pregnant. It sees them as foreign bodies and just goes to town. But we didn't know this until our second was born. And this time, my body exacted a rather awful punisment. My son should have been born 4-6 weeks early, when he stopped growing. But they didn't catch this growth restriction and it wasn't until a serendipetous morning near 40 weeks that we went in for monitoring that we found out he had stopped growing long ago. Absolutely no fault of alcohol, I am so very lucky to say. But he had brain damage. He has Cerebral Palsy and we deal with that every day. I think if I knew alcohol had contributed in any way I'd have already gone insane and been committed.
But wouldn't you know, it laid itself out in such a way that I was able to return to drinking even sooner. He couldn't breastfeed and I could pump at "optimal intervals" to allow myself the drinks. So I started drinking a lot sooner than I would have otherwise. And he was SO bad at sleeping. No more than 45 minutes at a time for the whole first year!!! If you got more than that, it was a total fluke and you'd say, "did I pass out and not realize?? Was it the alcohol??" And this time, there was no second child looming on the horizon to temper my drinking enthusiasm. Any time he would allow us sleep I wondered if I was sleeping too soundly from the prior alcohol use.
Fast forward to 13 months, he's diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. My heart knew it, but now it sinks, it is official. And worse? Now I have another "real reason" to drink. People "understand". It's like a license. And so I do. Every night. I still hold a job, but I have to say, I'm just exceptional at it. I can hide my hangovers and slow reaction by good work and getting it done right the first time. Even that makes me feel a little guilty!! I'm not being arrogant, I swear. I would rather be held accountable. Then maybe I could finally figure out a way to make it all stop.
This persists for 3 years. We manage. I drink too much, my husband tries to get me to stop, I back off just long enough to do it again later. He videos me in drunken stupors, trying to show me the next day what I look like. I actually threw up on my son's wall one night, evidence enough that I should stop!!!! I DROVE 1 mile one night in a complete blackout. Sure, only 1 mile at 11pm, but in a blackout, I could have killed or hurt someone. WHY would I ever let that happen??? That is NOT ME!! I have alcohol hidden in the house. I drink a little wine, then go have the hidden stash. That way I can blame the smell and drunken state on the supposed amount he's seen me drink. Yeah, that'll fool him (yeah right).
One night, two glasses (and some hidden shots), three minutes of unprotected sex... and we are pregnant. We weren't supposed to be. I am not sure I can handle going another year without drinking. I am so engrained now! But I do. It's really even not that hard. Why is it so hard when it's NOT for a child???? Why can't it just be this easy to quit or restrain ALL the time?????? Seriously, I find this out, I'm no longer an alcoholic.
She's beautiful, born without the same complications as my son. But our son had surgery 2 weeks after she was born. We have to do the surgery then: for insurance reasons, for timing reasons, it just has to happen. So he's in the hospital for 6 weeks, she's less than 3 weeks old, I'm already at a friend's drinking one night. It's a "stress reliever", I can pump and dump (she can't breastfeed well either... why my small children can't seem to I don't know!!). Anyway, it starts so soon. I can feed all day, pump the extra and drink from 8-9pm, feed pumped milk overnight and then not pump until 6am. I check with those strips to be sure. Really?? Those are meant for occasional use, not every morning...
And that's where I am now. A 5yo bloody genius, 4yo still in the throes of recovering from his major rehabilitative surgery, and a 3 month old. Back to work full time. And taking that glass of wine at 8:30pm while I do my last pump. Then going to my hiding spot and supplementing my addiction with vodka shots and swigs. I don't do it until the older 2 are in bed. I don't want them exposed to what I saw as a child: wanton abandon and disrespect for the other people you are living with, much less yourself. But come on, they're going to realize sooner or later. Once, while my son was in the hospital, my oldest told me: "Mom, your breath stinks like fingernail polish". Oh dear God, really??? Not even 8 weeks old and I'm back in "the pattern". I am pathetic.
And so the cycle goes. I get up at 5am, do what needs to be done with kids or work or home or whatever is on the agenda for the day. Then I come home, bound and determined to make it a "good" night. But the kids go down, I am done pumping, and the wine beckons me. The vodka screams my name. WHY?? I don't know. It was a good day, I love my kids, I love my husband, nothing went tremendously wrong, but it is that time. The time I get my drink on. WHY?? If I could answer that question I could stop. But I can't. And come morning, I get up, feeling a little groggier than necessary, and do it again. And the whole day I rack my brain, WHY?? Why do I do it. Not tonight I say. Not tonight. Tonight I get a good night's sleep, I try to nurse the baby instead of pump (with no success, but at least I am still trying), I try to stay away from the drinks. But by the time it's quiet, I have a glass of wine in my hand. And that is the license to go have a swig off the hidden vodka bottle. I just tried to capitalize Vodka there. Seriously?? That's the influence it has on me??? Alcohol is not worthy of personal distinction, yet I try to capitalize it, that is just another symptom of my systemic issue!!!!!!! I don't LIKE the feeling of being drunk, so why do I keep doing it?? I know I'm "functional". That doesn't make it alright and it doesn't make me want to continue this way. I want to stop. I want it to go away and be done. I want to be able to say out loud, "I am an alcoholic and I don't drink anymore". And I want that to be okay. I want to not think about drinking ALL the time. I just want to be able to let it go. Someday, I will be able to let this ALL go.
Wow, I've never EVER told that to anyone. I am still quite nervous at the people I know that might read it and say, hey, that's HER. But you know what, if they're reading this, they have a reason to need this story. And I hope it does them some good, and maybe we'll be closer after they tell me they read it. I don't know. I don't care at this point. It just needs to be said, for me. Not for anyone else but me. I NEED HELP. I wish I knew how to get it or how I could get myself from being this way. I want this for myself, my family and my friends. I want to break the cycle and let these kids just grow up being kid!!!
I wanted to read this in the morning and be sure it's what I "want" to say. But I know if I do that I won't send it. So, please forgive any grammar or spelling issues. It is just pure "spill the guts". My love and heart to anyone dealing with this as well