Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breaking Point?

***Submitted by Anonymous

Well, I thought yesterday was my breaking point. 

My mom came over as I was hungover on the couch.  My husband had taken our two youngest children to the grocery store and my oldest was upstairs watching her shows in her room..  My mom came in and once again begged me to quit drinking.  I hate when she does that and yet she has once again done this in front of my daughter. 

Once again, like usual, she cut me down to size.  "you could be so beautiful", what the hell is that?  I'd never say those words to my children, my children are beautiful in my eyes no matter what! I yelled at her and told her that this was not the time and she doesn't need to do this in front of my daughter and once again she insisted that my children are well aware of my addiction.  Yes, she is right, but God, I don't want to hear it. 

My children are 12, 9 and 6 and yes I was well aware of addiction at their ages so why should they be oblivious to it, right?  I just wasn't ready for it.  I was completely hung over from the night before and certainly did not need my mom bombarding me and my also  alcoholic husband.  Yes, we are fully functioning alcoholics, both holding jobs, maintaining a household and three kids.  Wait, did I say fully functioning?  That's wrong...did I mention how many choir concerts or parent teacher conferences I've missed because I was too buzzed to go or was working on my buzz and didn't want to stop?   This is so incredibly painful for me. 

I don't want to embarrass my children and I surely don't want them to experience my childhood.   Yes, my parents were busy...busy working or sleeping because they worked, blah, blah.. still they were not there for me as a parent should be.  I am here.  I help with homework, I give baths and most importantly, I give hugs and kisses and let them know that they are loved, this is something I didn't have. 

My parents were busy, I know that.  They worked to make ends meet.  I also know that it doesn't take but 2 seconds to give a hug and a smile to let someone know that they are loved, I never had this.  It was clean this and pick up that or you'll get your ass beat.  This is not how a child should grow up.  So, no...  I don't beat my kids for not cleaning their rooms and yes, I am an alcoholic.  This pains me terribly.  I don't want them to be embarrassed.  I don't want them to grow up like I did.  I  just don't know how else to be. 

I grew up with parents that either were too busy or too drunk to notice,  I don't want that for them.  I need help and I want help, I just don't know where to get it without being judged.  Right now, as I sit here and type this... I've tucked in my children, done the laundry, helped with homework, cleaned my kitchen and sat through an awful traffic jam which took me two and half hours to get home...I do have a buzz.  I've not had a bite to eat all day, because according to my mother, it wouldn't hurt me to lose some weight.

My pain is deep.  My addiction is a disease and hereditary.  I want to end this cycle.  I want to speak with others that have this disease and I want to help and be helped....

Thank you so much for listening/reading.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

77 Days

***Submitted by Linda

I'm sitting on my sofa with a pillow behind my back because I am in agony. I have chronic lower back pain and probably will have to have surgery in the not so distant future. Had this been 77 days ago (I've been sober for that long), I would have had a bottle of wine by my side to kill the pain. Today, however, I am thankful for the pain because it reminds me that I am alive and that I can feel it. I have felt real pain, anxiety and humiliation for 77 days and it's quite sobering (pun intended).

Sitting here, not being able to do the things I want and need to do has given me time to reflect on the past. Almost everything bad that ever happened to me in the past was alcohol related. EVERY argument I ever had with my husband was when I was drinking. That's 13 years of alcohol induced fighting! I can't get that time back! I can only ask for forgiveness and try to forgive myself for all the problems I have caused.

Did I really expect the people I have hurt to forgive me when I explained that I am an alcoholic and I wasn't myself when I did those awful things? Why, yes I did! And I was in shock when they said, "thanks, but no thanks and good luck." If I wasn't committed to my sobriety, I would say to myself "well...you might as well drink; no one cares about you:" All I can do is maintain my sobriety and live a clean life. Maybe, eventually, they will come around. And if they don't, I will have to accept it.

Let me tell you a little about my disease and how it progressed. I started drinking when I was 6 years old. Yes, you read it right, 6 years old. I remember it vividly. We were at a friend's home celebrating Passover. One of the guests kept giving me wine and I drank it. I remember the floor spinning under my feet and not understanding what was happening. Well, it didn't stop there!

My parents had a huge vodka bottle with a pump in the pantry. I used to lay down and pump the vodka in my mouth. I continued to drink on occasion through my teen years. It really became a problem when I joined the Army and was stationed in Germany. Best beer ever! My mother came to visit me once and said she had never seen anyone drink so much! You would think that would give me pause, but it didn't. I took it as a compliment.

Fast forward to the present: Beer was my drink of choice, but it just wasn't getting it done for me. I started having wine after my 4 or 5 beers. I would take a glass up to bed and when my husband fell asleep, I would sneak downstairs for a refill. Sometimes 3 or 4 refills. I would run the water so that he couldn't hear the wine being poured...or so I thought. The other day he told me that he knew what I was doing, but didn't want to start a fight.

Now, as I sit here, I am thankful for my sobriety and the life I have now. I used to think that I couldn't have fun without alcohol. Well, folks, let me tell you, the last few years were anything but fun. Even the pain I am having now is much better than the pain alcohol caused me.

This past fourth of July was the turning point for me. A joyous holiday weekend was marred by one drunken argument after another. It was then that my husband and I decided that I needed some help. I went to my first AA meeting.

To the person reading this and questioning whether or not she is an alcoholic, let me remind you of the old adage: if you have to ask yourself if you are an alcoholic, you probably are. Talk to someone you trust and/or go to a recovery meeting.

When you are sober, you will see things much more clearly and happiness will be within reach!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Something In Me Broke

***Submitted by Anonymous

Cry...Cry...Cry...that’s what I have been doing for the last 26 hours.

My eyes are so swollen that when I look in the mirror I do not look like the same person. The immense sadness and guilt I feel as a Wife, Mother, and person is overwhelming. I made it to my second AA meeting this morning and although it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I am at least seeing that I don’t have to be afraid to connect with people and let them see the ugly part of me. Although I haven’t spoken out in a meeting (not there yet) I know my time is coming to tell my story and it scares me to death! I thought I’d start here because I don’t have to look anyone in the eye...yet.

Looking back I’ve always had an addictive personality. I’m a perfectionist in every sense of the word.

My house is always put together, I work a full time job (never late to work), and in my Master’s program with a 3.9 GPA. I have a wonderfully supportive Husband and two daughters who love me unconditionally. We own our house, own a business that is flourishing...so why do I get drunk everyday? On the outside, my life looks perfect.

No one who knows me would even guess that I’m an alcoholic, except my Husband, because I don’t let people that close to me. I show them only what I want them to see. I’ve lived this lie for so long that I’ve lost myself. Who am I really? I don’t know yet, but I want to get back to the person who could feel joy and laughter on any given day.

Nine months ago was the beginning of the end on my downward spiral to my rock bottom. I drove with my kids in the car drunk after a bottle of wine. My oldest freaked out when she noticed I had to cover one eye just to make the double vision go away. You would think that would be enough...but it wasn’t. My Husband told me I needed to talk to someone so I called a therapist. Saw her a few times and worked on some childhood issues but didn’t really dig into the drinking part of it.

I decided Pinot would have to go away because I couldn’t control it. I did great for a while because I substituted with my Husband’s vodka. I drank gin, vodka, and occasionally rum. I made all kinds of fun drinks only to get drunk and not remember the next morning. I would drank until I peed the bed on a fairly consistent basis. I would try to hide it, but I knew he knew...he had to yet he didn’t say anything. I was washing bed sheets 2 and 3 times a week. I was disgusted with myself. The hate and self-loathing every single morning and the promises not to drink that night only faded by the afternoon when I poured a drink. I found myself dancing with Pinot again last month and although I drank mostly vodka, if I bought a magnum of Pinot I could easily drink 1/2 to 3/4 of in a night only for the ugly cycle to start all over again.

Yesterday I woke up in urine after drinking 3/4 magnum of Pinot. Listening to my Husband get my 7 yr old ready for school, I was too afraid to get of out of bed because I didn’t want to be found out. My brain was hazy and I was trying to remember if I did or said anything mean to my Husband or kids. After the house was empty I did what I always did...wash the sheets.
Something in me broke.
I couldn’t stop crying. I got on this website and soaked up the words like sun rays...I had to get help because I couldn’t do it alone...not anymore. I called my Husband and he went with me to my first AA meeting. I cried the entire time, the guilt and embarrassment were overwhelming, but to my surprise I felt relief for this first time in years! I need to be here. I’ll die if I continue this life path. I need help.
As I rubbed my silver chip last night, I did not drink. I poured ole Pinot down the drain and poured myself into this website looking for more connections. I would have never found this website if it weren’t for Redbook last month. That article opened my eyes and connected with me on so many different levels. I felt like a hamster on a wheel to nowhere totally stressed (and still feel that way) but I know I’m on the path I need to be in order to be present for my family and myself.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Admitting It For The First Time

***Submitted by Cathy

My name is Cathy and I'm an alcoholic

This is my very first time 'saying' those words. This is still one of my best kept secrets (or so I think). There are maybe one or two people that know about my drinking problem, but I don't know if they realize the severity of it or the danger that I pose to my children on a daily basis when I pass out from drinking.

If I am being honest, I am on day two of no alcohol. I drank myself into oblivion on Saturday night. I do not remember how I fell asleep. I do remember being woken up by my 16 month old son, who wanted to his morning boobie fix (I am still night time nursing).

As I mentioned earlier, my drinking is still pretty tightly secured. My older son (7), does realize that I drink every night, but I think he likes the drunk me better (so do I!). The drunk mommy is silly and plays loud music and dances around with him and falls down!! The drunk mommy pays more attention to him and listens to him and plays more with him. The sober mommy is mean or sad all the time, distracted and irritable and has virtually no patience for him or his younger brother. The sober mommy is quiet - too quiet. The sober mommy carries along so much guilt that she easily begins to rationalize why it may even be better for her to be drunk mommy again!! She certainly seems like a much better mommy!! She's fun and her kids are laughing and playing and dancing with her!!!!

I don't remember when my casual glass of wine at night turned into my daily need to finish an entire bottle before passing out. I cannot pinpoint at which time in my life, life just got too hard to handle. I can't seem to recall where one glass too many should've been my signal to stop. I do know that I almost always drank to get drunk. I do know that my daily drinking is a problem and I do know that if I don't do something now to stop it, something terrible WILL happen to me or my children. I do know that I need help. I'm embarrassed, I'm ashamed, I feel like a failure.

I'm hoping that this writing will be cathartic and will provide a sense of self-therapy for me, at least until I feel strong enough to say those words to a live human.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Day At A Time - Brenda's Story

***Submitted by Brenda

Hello, my name is Brenda and I’m an alcoholic.

This is how I introduce myself at A A meetings. I never thought in a million years I would be going to A A meetings.

I am 49 years old. I have been drinking for 39 of those years. I entered an inpatient rehab center in March.

The 21 days in rehab were eye opening to say the least. My in date was April 30th and my out date was May 21st. I was in there with 17 other people. I could write a book or a comedy act on the experience! I am, as of today, 4 months and a few days sober! I am alcoholic and I just cannot drink.

This is a disease. Alcoholism affects all walks of life. This disease comes with a lot of shame. If I had breast cancer there would be a pill or treatment but there is not shame attached to that disease.

In rehab, there at the same time as me, there where were university professors, attorneys, young and old. The youngest was 18 and the oldest was 82, I felt like one of the lucky ones, if there is such a thing. A lot of the people did not have a choice to come. They were court ordered because of DUI or other things. There were people addicted to alcohol; all kinds of drugs like cocaine, heroin and a lot were prescriptions. There were young mothers addicted to drugs that had had their children taken away. There were people that this was their first time in rehab, and there were some this was their fourth time.

Addictions are hard to overcome. I learned that you have to be HOW (honest, open and willing) to change. I drink because I am HALT (hungry, angry, lonely or tired), and RID (restless, irritable and discontented). I found out that I am not alone! All the people that I met at rehab and at AA meetings have the same stories and experiences. The 12 steps are based upon looking to a higher power to help when I am feeling these things.

The first step is admitting that I have a problem. I know that I can’t and shouldn’t drink. I know that I am powerless over alcohol and that my life has become unmanageable. I need to go to AA meetings, examine my faults, give up all my offences to God and find a person to tell all of my deepest secrets. It is not an easy journey, it will take work! I have always believed in a higher power, which is God to me. I need to learn to pray and accept what life is for me and be happy with what I have. I have been blessed with a loving husband and son, a beautiful home and a lot of other things. None of those things mattered when I was drinking.

I may have seemed happy on the outside, but I have been very unhappy and very insecure. A lot of addicts are that way. I need to find out how to give up all my worries to a higher power. If I look back on my life, I know I have had a problem with alcohol all my life.

My first drink was when I was 10 years old. I remember a summer that we went to visit relatives, can’t remember all the details, but there was moonshine. I drank it and got drunk. I know that having that experience turned on something in my body that craves alcohol. I am not happy with one beer or drink. I want to drink to get drunk. I was always with an excuse as to why I was drinking. I had a list of excuses to drink. I learned that they are excuses. God has given me so many chances. He has been looking over me for all my life! It is hard for others that aren’t addicted to understand. My husband would say, “Just stop drinking!” I tried, but could not on my own. The last few weeks before I went to rehab I was drinking all the time, sometimes all day. I never want to go back to that again. I know that if I take that first drink I will be right back into it all over again.

So far so good, but it is a daily battle. One day at a time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Peri's Story

***Submitted by Peri

I'm Peri and I'm an alcoholic. I had a drink today.

I was coming up on 7 months of sobriety after being in the program since the Summer of 2010. Three more days and it would have been 7 months. 7 months is a LONG damn time for a chick like me. I lost myself or never found myself and then drank to find myself. Really, I drank to drown parts of myself. I have been setting myself up for a relapse for some time. Even before picking up my 6 month chip.

I was a heavy drinker over a few different periods in my life. Teens, age 21 and 23-24. Maybe another time or two. BUT, I could always put alcohol down. UNTIL.......... That's the question I always try to answer, when did I become unable to put down a drink? My sponsor tells me it does not matter WHEN. I still try to retrace it though... for my own obsessive mind. When did a drink become a necessity for me? Not until my late 30's. I am now 40. My oldest child graduated from High School 4 yrs ago. My youngest child was living with his father at that time. The year of 2007 I began to get my drink ON. I felt like my 'mom' identity was gone. I drank because I could. It was fun. I was more social and able to be around people. Happy hour after work or drinks on the weekend with the girls.

Eventually, I became a person who preferred to drink alone. I would not have to worry about what I said, what I did, who I called or sent a text message to and so on when I blacked out. Because a black out was inevitable. At the end of my drinking I drank until I blacked out and / or passed out. I tried that 'controlled drinking' I was always right back to square 1. I think I set myself up to fail. Or I really am an alcoholic.

I have worked the steps at this stage. I continue to work the steps in my daily life. Okay, to the best of my ability. I know I'm not effing perfect. To bad, huh? LOL Anyway, wonderful tools. I hear it often shared in a meeting these tools would help those who are not just in recovery. So true, so true. I believe did a complete and thorough 4th step. I did my 5th step with my sponsor. Wow! I was feeling so free for awhile there. The pink cloud they tell me. I still have more amends to make. I know that's normal. Making amends takes time. Different people and circumstances, etc. I do 10, 11 and 12 most days. I guess I worked my program okay until today when I have forgotten or feel I have beaten step 1.

I find myself depressed more times than not lately. I find my life unmanageable at this time. More so than when I was drinking. I am job searching. How effing fun is that? NOT! Odds are I won't be working in the field that I prefer. And honestly, right now, that is a-okay. I just want to be working again. I want to be able to create a schedule. It's odd my alcoholic brain tells me that life was more manageable when I was drinking. I'm currently in isolation mode. And as sick as this will sound I am supposed to chair a meeting today.