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.

Monday, August 29, 2011

One Hundred First Days

*** Submitted by Jeanne

This will be my hundreth Day 1. This time I have more hope than the other times. Something has changed inside of me, something related to shame and hopelessness and humiliation. I have not told my husband. I have not told my friends. To them, I am still the same, party girl, girl who can drink like a fish, occasionally providing them with enjoyment as I do something completely stupid. I’m a 41 year old mother of 2 kids.

I grew up in an upper-middle class household where my parents were both alcoholics. However, they would deny that. My father would come home from work and drink beer and then Jack Daniels. My mother would be drunk when we got home from school, hiding in the basement drinking her gallon jugs of Gallo Burgundy, yet somehow she would have some sort of dinner ready when my father got home. I would stay up on the way home from dinner out and family parties, poking my (drunk) father as he drove so he wouldn’t fall asleep. My brothers and I never brought friends over, for fear of what my mother would say or do. Those were my memories from a very early age.

My younger brother started stealing money from us when he was probably 8 years old, and he is currently homeless and a drug / alcohol addict at 38 years old. He was my interpretation of an alcoholic – homeless and a complete mess. How wrong I was.

I started drinking with my friends in high school. I remember when I was 16 and got drunk on vodka and orange juice at a party. Well, I don’t really remember the party, but did wake up in my own bed and my parents never knew. I stayed away from heavy drinking after that until college. When I went away to college, all hell broke loose and I drank daily. I would start drinking when I woke up, maybe go to class, and then continue the drinking with my friends or my sorority late into the evening. I actually made it 2.5 years before the school kicked me out. I quit drinking for a year. I managed to control my drinking through the next 7 or 8 years, went back to college, got a degree, got married.

My husband at the time did not really drink, and he hated when I would get really drunk. I would hide the bottles, but he controlled the checkbook so I always got found out. The only time I quit drinking was when I was pregnant with my first child. After she was born, I returned with a vengence. I was known in the neighborhood for always being ready to party – the first to come and the last to leave. I was a mess. I divorced my first husband after he told me not to embarrass him with my drinking at his company Christmas party. I’ll show him, I thought.

I never thought I had a problem. I mean, my brother had the problem, not me. I had a house, a BMW, a little girl, a great job! After the divorce, I sold the big house and moved closer to the downtown area, into a 100 year old historic house. I had always wanted to fix up a house and this was perfect for me to nurse my divorce and explore my newfound freedom to drink. The new neighborhood was a total party neighborhood – I mean, we could WALK to the bars! How amazing! And my new friends were big drinkers too, so there was not an issue with being embarassed if you got a little out of hand. I noticed that I started forgetting what happened sometimes. That scared me a little. I started dating a wonderful man (now my husband) yet I did horrible things when I was drinking. We had a long distance relationship for several years, so I was basically on my own.

And I was miserable. A failure. This drinking thing was getting out of control – I couldn’t stop at just 2 glasses. I had to drink at least a bottle to get the nice warm feeling that used to come from 2 glasses. Well, thinking back, those 2 glasses were just the aperitif, the prelude to the main course. I noticed that sometimes, without warning, I would get extremely drunk and out of control – I didn’t like that. I just wanted to get nice and warm, do something to kill the boredom. I didn’t want to get all stupid.

I realized I could not control my drinking when I got pregnant with my second child. I could not stop. I limited myself to 2 drinks, usually beer, whenever I drank. I typically drank 3 or 4 times a week. Thankfully my son was born extremely healthy. I was so ashamed. But I still drank.

My second husband is a wonderful man. I admitted to him at the beginning of this year that I thought I had a problem, and that I had gone to some AA meetings. He was shocked. He looked at me like I had a contagious disease and said the words, “You’re not that bad. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Oh, those are the words the alcoholic loves! Now I had proof that I wasn’t that bad…so back to the bottle.

I hide it well. I go to work every day, clean the house, cook, etc. People don’t know that I obsess daily over it. I plan out my pre-drinking drinking. This past weekend, we had my son’s 2nd birthday. I did not drink that day. But I drank Sunday: 4 big glasses of wine.

I long for freedom from this obsession. I have lost that person inside of me who used to garden and work on her house and play with her kids. I want her back – if she was ever there. I’m going to get through this. I found the BFB group and many other recovery blogs, it helps to know I’m not alone in this struggle.

Thanks for listening. So for today, I won’t drink.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dear Phenomenal Girl

*** Submitted by Anonymous

Not so sure what to write here. I have read every single post to date.I am so thankful this website is here and thankful that Heather from the EO told me about it.

I am still drinking. As a matter of fact, I have never, ever stopped since I was about 19 or 20. (I'm pushing 40 now) with the exception of my pregnancy and the first 3 months after my daughter was born. I didn't even really want to drink then - but I suffered such severe postpartum depression that my family was suggesting constantly that I "have a glass of wine to calm down and relax". So finally I did. Then I found myself right back to where I was before I got pregnant. How quickly that happened.

The one point from most of these posts that resonates with me the most is "I'm not that bad".

I tell my self that all the time. I am not that bad.

Recently my mother was in town for my daughters 2nd Birthday and late one night, fueled by a bottle of wine, I confessed my habits to her in desperation and tears. She listened - she cried - she told me that I was "not that bad". That I should "keep an eye on it".

Boy was I happy to hear that. Except I knew - in my heart, I knew. Did she not hear me? Or maybe I really do drink like everyone else, its just that I am too hard on myself? I'm fine. Everything is okay. All mommies need to unwind. Right? Right?!?

I know I may not be "that bad" right now, but soon enough....

And part of me has to ask "When is drinking a bottle or even 2 of wine (usually on an empty stomach) not that bad?" Because I beat my self to a pulp every morning about it. Sometimes I don't....but mostly, I do. And it fucking sucks. I hate that feeling - yet have become comfortable in it.

I am pretty sure that it is REALLY bad. Especially when I have a precious little girl in my care. A little person that I swear to GOD I love more than life itself. I would die if anything ever harmed her. And yet....seems not enough to put down the wine glass. That bothers me. A lot. And I know the harm I will cause her if I continue. But holy crap - how do I stop this?

I subscribe to this daily email called "The Brave Girls Club". They send inspiration and things to think about to my email inbox once a week or so. Tonight's email made me think- this is what I would tell myself after I become sober. I am not sure when that will be or if it will ever be, but its nice to think that there may just be another way of life. Just maybe. And if it happened - well, I would tell myself this:

Dear Phenomenal Girl:

It is absolutely awe inspiring to see the woman that you are becoming. Through all that you have learned, all that you have experienced, all that you have cried over, all that has brought you to your knees, and all that you have celebrated...you have become an absolute miracle of a human being.

Take some time today to think about these things. Think about what it took to get you to where you are now. Think about your childhood, then your young adulthood....then the years of adulthood that brought you to now. Think about the victories, the hard earned lessons and rewards...and think about the heartbreaks and betrayals and disappointments. Can you believe you have lived such a big and beautiful life?

It’s time to cut yourself some slack, dear friend. Hug each part of your past and tell that girl that you are proud of all that she has endured, overcome and created. Tell that girl that she did the best that she could do and that it was enough!

Tell that girl that the best is yet to come, because now she knows even better than she did then. Tell her that you have forgiven the mistakes she made when she didn’t know what she knows now. Tell her that it was all worth it.

Let that girl be amazing. Let her be at peace. Let her fly.

Because she deserves to be amazing, to be at peace, and to finally fly.

That girl is loved more than she could ever understand. YOU are that girl.

Congratulations on making it to now....you are a champ, my dear!

Nice work.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thoughts on My Higher Power

*** Submitted by Chris, who blogs at Doggie Lover Has Hope


What a blessing my faith is!!

I have been trying to not live in fear the last few months, especially this last month after I moved from my home. I am so lucky to have the sponsor I have, someone who loves and believes so strongly in her Higher Power (HP) that I knew I could love and believe in mine as much.

I have been sober now for a little over 15 months and looking back I don’t think I would have been able to get through the last year or so of my life if I didn’t have the program I have, the people on line who support me, my sponsor, and most of all my HP.

It really is a beautiful thing to have blind faith, faith that you were lead to, faith in myself along with my HP. I believe I have grown so much spiritually in the last 15 months that I AM NOT the person I once was. I feel so different, I feel like I am filled with hope, love and understanding. An understanding that when you believe and you give it to your HP, whatever, whoever it may be, you are living a spiritual life that will reveal so much to you. Now PLEASE do not get me wrong, I have doubt, fear, negative thoughts, drinking thoughts,and self loathing, at times, but I really do feel at peace.

I have been talking about doing all I can and then after that it is up to my HP, well, I did do all I could and my HP helped me in so many ways. Not to say all your wishes will be granted, but I feel for me, the thing I needed most was security and a peaceful place to live. A place so I could start a new job, get back into my program in a new area, find a sponsor in this area, help another alcoholic. I didn’t just want these things, I think my sobriety was dependent on these things, however they were to work out. I had friends and family that kept trying to bring me back into fear with the negative talk, but I pushed it aside and said what will be will be. I knew no matter what, I knew what was meant to be would happen, but I would have all the things I needed to keep my sobriety.

Well, I got it!!! I am so blessed and thankful, I am still pinching myself, I am going to have a house sometime this fall. Now, I may not have a stove, furniture, a bed or certain other things. But guess what? I will have a safe place to live, a place that I know is mine, a place that I can call a safe haven and start to do the things I enjoy again in. I knew I would be ok and having been able to work out the house/cost situation was an added bonus. It was so funny, yesterday I could have gone to 2 different noon meetings, well I decided to go to the one I didn’t actually care for as much, but I thought, just go to this one. I went and after the meeting I checked my messages and my contractor called me, it’s a done deal, he needed a check so he could order the house. My bank was right around the corner, if I went to the other meeting I would have had to drive back 35 minutes, then an hour to him. It was great!! He was so funny, he said, “I don’t know who you have on your side, but you are one lucky lady, this was amazing to get this guy to do this part of his job for that price”! I started to laugh, you know who I had on my side, my HP!!!!

I don’t know if I every completely described my HP on this post, but maybe that’s for next time. All I know is I feel a beautiful peace and calm and I need to remember that when I am feeling lonely, weak, sad and sorry for myself.

We are never alone, we are loved and we are given what we need!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Be Part of The Fight Against Addiction with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

If there was ever a powerful, inspirational, funny voice in the fight against addiction, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is that voice.

You may know Stefanie from her hilarious books: Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay, Naptime is the New Happy Hour, or her most recent book I'm Kind of A Big Deal: And Other Delusions of Adequacy.

Or perhaps you have seen Stefanie on the Today Show or Larry King Live  or 20/20, speaking out tirelessly about women, mothers and addiction.  She is a solider for breaking down the walls of stigma, isolation and denial that surround women and addiction.

Stefanie is also co-founder, along with Sweet Jane, of the Booze Free Brigade, a Yahoo chat room that has grown to almost 1,000 members in only a year and a half.  The Booze Free Brigade is a safe place for women (and a few men) who are struggling with alcoholism, or who are sober and want to stay that way, to come talk openly about drinking.  If you are struggling, or want to be part of an incredible community of people dedicated to helping each other, I can't recommend the Booze Free Brigade enough.

I know her as a dear friend and sober sister, a comrade-in-arms in the quest to help women who struggle with drinking know they aren't alone.

Stefanie is producing a video, one similar to Crying Out Now's one year anniversary video, and she is asking for your help.

To participate in the video, please take a picture of yourself holding a sign with a message of encouragement for women who want to get sober.  Perhaps it is something told to you that was meaningful in your early recovery, or perhaps you are still struggling to get sober and it is a message that gives you hope.  Here is my sign:



Email the picture to Stefanie at babyonbored@gmail.com.  Please do so quickly, as she will likely be producing the video in 5 days or so.

If you are concerned with anonymity, you can hold the sign up in front of your face, or write it in some other clever way.

Our voice is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against addiction.  We use it to tell our truths, to offer comfort and support.  We use our voice to break down the walls of stigma and denial.

We use it to break free.

Come be part of the fight.  Email a picture to Stefanie.  When her video is up, I will share a link to it here.

Thank you so much.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Afraid To Leave My House

**Submitted by Georgiana

Dear Crying Out Loud,

I hope it's OK to just send an email as my post. I don't have a word program on my home computer and, frankly, I'm wary about typing this on my work computer. Wariness, fear, anxiety. Yeah, I know. That's where I am now and where I've been for a while. I 'm glad to have found your site. I read every single post yesterday and reviewed favorites this morning again to renew my strength for facing this day.

This day - Day 3. I woke up this morning clear-headed and refreshed. The anxious pit in my stomach has calmed. I feel proud. But I am afraid. You see, I've made it to the beginning of Day 3 before, a few times in the past year, but never further. So, I'm afraid to leave my house, afraid to do what I know what I will be compelled to do.

Buy beer.

Convenience stores are my downfall. They are playgrounds for addiction. Jungle Gyms for addicts, all of us who shop quickly there, hopefully with cash; all of us who say little and avoid eye contact, even with the other addicts in line, tapping our feet, impatient to pay and get the heck out of there.

Convenience stores have something for everyone - from the most benign, socially accepted addictions in the form of lottery tickets, overpriced junk food, caffeine and cigarettes, to the still OK - alcohol - unless you're buying beer or tiny bottles of vodka at 9 a.m. on the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday; to the darker addictions - the porn; shiny magazines stashed behind the counters with their front covers obscured by dark, plastic dividers, so that only the cover models' teased and sprayed hair beckons the porn addicts above their prim concealers.

Even if I manage to avoid swerving into the 7-11 or Circle K parking lots today after work, grocery stores and drugstore chains are equally as dangerous. Today, on Day 3, I want SO MUCH to not shop, to NOT have to pick up my prescriptions at Target, to NOT have to buy groceries to feed my kids (bad mom) - or bird seed for my animals, or damn toilet paper for myself. Because it's just too easy to toss a 12-pack into my cart. It's just too easy to head to the bathroom and chug one after I pay, before I even make it out of the store. It's just too easy to NOT ever make it past Day 3. Making it to Day 4 is much harder.

I'm afraid to leave my house.

Thanks for listening.