Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Mother Tells Her Story

***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

26 comments:

  1. oh you are so brave to put this out there, and to admit your heart out loud. You are not alone, and life can be wonderful where you don't think about alcohol everyday. AA worked for me, but maybe a treatment center might work, too. Definitely confide in someone close to you who you trust, it will help make you accountable. And most of all, believe in yourself. You can do this. Thank you so much for sharing your heart here. The day to day calling was so similar to me, and I am sure so many others.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for this post. I've been sober for just over a year and am STILL tempted to minimize the impact my drinking had on my children. I'm still tempted to pretend I didn't do horrible, neglectful things. You have great courage and honesty. You're more than half the way there. I can totally relate to the weary exhaustion you feel - I lived that too, for so long.

    Try a meeting, tell a friend you trust, talk to your doctor, anything. Ask for help - it really makes a difference.

    I wish you the best.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Getting this off your chest, and out of your mind is a great first step. I wish you the best of luck...for your kids, your husband and for YOU. You can do it...and your life will be better.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know going to AA the first time is hard, I've been there. Call the AA hotline and ask for a woman's meeting. Better yet ask them to have a member of AA call you and take you to a meeting. They will do that, it's called a 12 step call. I promise, they will love you until you can love yourself. My name is Karen and am I am an alcoholic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow -- wine and vodka!! that's me! Everything you say and feel - that's what I say and feel .. the next day .. beating myself up, saying WHY?
    and I know there have been some mornings that I am still drunk ..and I put on the cover up and get dressed and show up to work. .by the time I get to work - I am no longer drunk but can't stop eating and feeling bad about myself. I wish you the best -- and hope we all continue to do what is best for us. Day 2 :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Honest, Open and Willing are some of the keys to sobriety!! Thanks for your honesty! Get to a treatment facility!! You are too busy with 3 kids to work and try to get sober!! That's too much stress at this point in your life. Go to treatment and follow their suggestions. Get on antabuse for your first 2 years and take as directed!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Albert Camus wrote "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    That is our challenge - to become normal despite our histories and behaviors and antecedents.
    Recognizing yourself as wounded and needing help is just the start, but believe me it is a wonderful journey.
    Embrace your fears and just step off into the abyss of sobriety, we are all here waiting for you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your courage to open up and express your fear and pain is worth so much!! Its the first step!

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are a brave woman, and you can do this. Maybe it will inspire you knowing if you quit now, your children won't even rememer you ever drank. Do it now, when they are little.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "I don't LIKE the feeling of being drunk, so why do I keep doing it??"

    Because, my dear, you're an alcoholic. But, then you already know this. Alcoholism is full of parodox - its that cyclic insanity that keeps us cajoled - its madness.

    Whenever I reply on this blog, I do so with what my gut tells me, throw caution to the wind, and say what I "feel" - I do not sense that you've suffered enough consequences, that you're really "ready" to do the work. Fabulous, if I am wrong, either way, though, reading between the lines, you are a terrific candidate for a 29-day inpatient program. It is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in your own stuff and permit yourself time to get a good working foundation... I can assure you, the promises offered in sobriety can be yours,, and it truly is a beautiful thing,, and then some, but ya gotta REALLY WANT IT! Peace, dawn

    ReplyDelete
  11. Please keep us posted no matter what you decide. If you are not ready to take action we will not judge you. We have all been there. Sometimes we have to lose a lot more before we decide we don't want to lose any more. Karen

    ReplyDelete
  12. you are making the first step. Once you realize that alcohol can and will ruin your life, your family and your children then you will stop. Your kids deserve a sober mom. If you need help reach out to someone that you trust or reach out to your husband for help..you can do this..you deserve a sober life.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I know this story it is almost like you are watching your life play out in slow motion and each day you do the same thing. You get up in the morning hung over and try to get through the day of shame and guilt while feeling awful, then by afternoon you start planning the drinks for the night and so on and so on. Once you get sober you will see the real beauty of life. A life without alcohol is so much better.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would like to encourage you to please speak to your physician or another trusted medical professional about quitting. Make no mistake, you NEED to quit, but considering the amount of stress you are under and the fact that you have recently given birth, your body is under a terrible strain right now and you need help. Professional guidance along with AA will take you very far in your quest for a healthier, sober life. I can assure you, you will not be judged. Professionals are there to help you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You are very brave for putting this out there and make no mistake about it, you have taken the first step to getting better. We all have different viewpoints on this, but I believe it is the "shaming" that keeps us drinking. Stop shaming yourself - stop judging for a while and see how that feels. You may actually not feel the need to "numb out" to avoid all of this self-inflicted pain.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Okay now you've typed it, take a moment to realize the Earth didn't shatter. Wether you now it or not, many around you realize you "have a problem".

    Now if you truly want change you need to seek help. Wanting to be sober as if it's unachievable isn't enough. We don't live in fairy tale land where if we wish it, it comes true.

    I'd recommend booking an appointment with your doctor and taking your husband there with you. Tell them both your story, all of it. Vomit it out there and ask for help. AA is amazing, there are meetings EVERYWHERE which in my opinion you should attend while waiting for that appointment.

    Listen sister, you may not see it right now but your body is outta wack, your priorities are skewed and your disease of alcoholism is taking over. It's not rocket science or a secret, nothing changes if nothing changes.

    You're worth taking a chance at happiness for, if you can't get stomach it for your own reasons, do it for your kids to begin with. They deserve better than a portion of who you can be.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for every comment. A large part of me wanted this out there, as accountability. I joined the Booze Free Brigade and I have started my journey. I have tried another meeting (I tried one about 10 years ago and didn't like it), and again, it just didn't sit well with me. I don't want to speak ill of AA because I recommend the program immensely. I am currently looking into Women For Sobriety in the hopes that the environment feels more like what I'm looking for.

    I made it 5 days after I first sent this in. I didn't get drunk that night but I did drink. Then I made it 8 days, didn't get drunk again, but did drink. And now I have gone 10 days. I feel better and more accomplished for having abstained. I want this. I want it for me, for my kids, for everyone in my life. I may not have hit true rock bottom, but I went far enough and I needed to stop before I took my whole family with me.

    Like I said, I don't like the feeling of being drunk, but I wanted the feeling of drinking and yes, it is because I am an alcoholic. Someone on BFB posted about the boredom, the mundane feelings and things in life that need doing that trigger it. And that is SO true. Why would I not need a drink during the day but when I get home and the 110 MPH pace stops do I need a drink? Well, I DON'T, that's what.

    I know I am going about this differently. I wish I felt more comfortable about AA but I don't. I hope I find a WFS meeting close to me (I put an email out yesterday). Even if not, I LOVE the online environments I've found. They suit me for now. And I am meditating again. I haven't meditated consistently in years and it's awesome. And I WANT THIS. I haven't wanted it in the past. I was too scared to want it. But I do now. I am happy about quitting now. I never was before. I always saw it as something I had to "give up". But it's not. It's something I don't want. So I am just giving it away.

    May you all find peace and happiness as well. Thank you for letting me take this first step here. I know it's a life long process, but I am glad to have started it. One more day...

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am like you. The AA meetings never seemed to be for me. I'm by nature a private person and I found the meetings a stresser and uncomfortable. I know they work for some people but it's NOT the ONLY way. Change comes from within - you have it in you,it's a matter of making choices. Someone once said, "the answer is simple. Not easy, but simple." I believe that 100% I found a great therapist whose specialty is in addiction. I see him every week and I visit many websites daily. I journal and I talk to my husband and best friend. But in the end, it still comes down to me and me alone. I get all the satisfaction and inner peace which comes along with not drinking and I get to take full credit! It's an awesome feeling knowing I'm ultimately in charge. WFS sounds like it may be what you're looking for. I hope so. Do whatever you feel comfortable with and all the best to you...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good for you for putting this out there! Keep reading and posting on these sights, join the Booze Free Bridgade (link above in the right column) and meet other women who know and undertand what you are going through. No judegment. You no longer need to be alone in this! Thank you for teling your story. Keep talking!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Your post SO moved me. PLEASE know you can do this. I am a HUGE fan of WFS and have attended meetings. They are WONDERFUL and empowering. There are people who find success in many different ways....AA, WFS, Smart Recovery, etc. Therapy has helped me tremendously. I wish you the very best.

    ReplyDelete
  21. POWERFUL!! thanks so much for speaking your truth~~it is my belief that although we are created differently we are all very much the SAME in some aspects. i feel your pain, i have lived some of it and i am here to tell you....YOU CAN RISE ABOVE IT AND HEAL. believe me sister~~believe in yourself too! look for the help and you will find it~~i am sober 422 days and i didn't think i could do it.....but tomorrow i am seeking the blessing of PERSEVERENCE and i will be at day 423....walk on, sweet sister, walk on~~~~~~~

    ReplyDelete
  22. I went to W.F.S. for a year back in 2006 and it was a wonderful experience. The women I met and the program are very supporting and uplifting. Hope you find a meeting near you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yes, someday you will be able to let all this go. Te fact that you want to let it go so badly is such a promising first step. It will be hard but beautiful, strange beauty. You deserve it, your children deserve it. Sobriety can happen for you. It can. I am cheering you on with all my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  24. It is scary as hell the thought of living without your "buddy". That is what I called my friend, confidence giver, calmer, crutch....alcohol. I liked the way it made me feel. I thought I was being this wonderful, got it together mom that everyone wanted to be. The only one fooled was me. I hid bottles in so many places that I found one the other day after a year of sobriety. I had it all...I am a nurse, wife, active member in church, "soccer mom".. You name it. But I am an alcoholic. I've been in jail twice, surrendered my nursing license in rehab, have been listed in dhr database, and got a DUI on my way to AA when I was trying to get my husband off my back.
    Don't let it take all of that to make you quit. I was removed from my house because my husband could not take it anymore. It was a living death without mt children. I lost all my friends and what dignity I had left. I was a total embarrassment. It got to the point where I physically had to have alcohol. I had to maintain it in me to keep from shaking and being deathly sick.
    Rehab and God saved my life. It sounds so cliche but I couldn't and can't do this alone. I am so blessed to have my family back and can once again face the world with nothing to hide.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you to the additional comments. I am sad to report that on day 29 I took a drink :( I only had one, but I have to say, I WANTED MORE. The addiction, the drive, the crave, it hasn't gone away :( It is real and it WANTS to control me. I worked 74 hours this week and I was bloody tired and wanted to reward myself for my first night not at work or on call. It wasn't a reward, it was another torturous punishment in a long string.

    I am glad to have stopped where I did. I don't even want it any more. Ok, well, I want it, because I always want it, but I don't WANT it. I WANT to feel good, like I have. I haven't done a 70+ work week since July 2010 and I couldn't have done it while drinking. But I shouldn't be rewarding myself with a drink either!!

    I AM BETTER THAN THIS!!! ANYONE READING THIS, YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU WANT TO CHANGE... You CAN DO IT. WE can do it!!

    Tonight solidified. I went a whole month, well, almost. I want it. I liked it. I feel good. I look good (my husband has been complimenting my skin like daily!!). THIS is life. THIS is what I need. What YOU need.

    I appreciate the last comment too. You're right. I came dangerously close to where you are, my sweet friend. You don't deserve to be there and you're right, I don't want you OR I to cross that line. Hang in there :) Your progress is showing already.

    Anyway, back to day 1. Drank but not even tipsy, but don't want another drink either (yeah yeah, WANT another drink, but DON'T want it... I am done, I know this...). I wish I could have figured this out sooner but hopeful that my oldest (almost 6) won't remember the "fingernail polish" on my breath or mommy being too tired to play. I can't believe it took me nearly 36 years to admit and not care...

    My name is Kristi and I AM an alcoholic. And I won't let it's effects ruin me any more. Goodbye booze, I will not miss you... I will not be anonymous anymore. We're done. I am Kristi and I am stronger than you and I don't need you!!!

    Day 1, here I come. For the last time :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. And ANYONE who wants to contact me, I would love a personal network from here. pirnq is the first part of my email and I'm @yahoo.com. Support is great and the comments about WFS and AA were great. I think any steps, any program, any way forward is a good one and I welcome any support, questions, supporters or friends in need, etc. :)

    Kristi

    ReplyDelete