***Submitted by Leigh
Last night my husband sat me and down and talked to me about my drinking. This is a day I had feared would come but hoped would not. What pushed him to confront me was an embarrassing display at a party where I flirted with the husband of one of my best friends. And here’s the scary part: I don’t remember any of it.
I took my first drink when I was about 12 and even from the start, I had a hard time “pacing” myself. Over the next 3 decades, I have convinced myself that my drinking was normal. College is a blurry haze, but isn’t that the way it is for everyone? I would go long periods of time without having anything to drink. But at the next social event or mom’s night out, I would overindulge. I don’t remember things that I have done while drunk and quite frequently end up on the floor of the bathroom throwing up. Stomach issues are common for me and I’ve always said that I must have IBS. I’m not so sure anymore.
Since becoming a mother, I have found a wonderful new set of friends. And just like others I have read about online, the play dates would often include a glass of wine (or three) starting well before the socially acceptable 5pm mark). How many times have I said “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”? That old joke. Whenever the kids are acting up or the pressures of marriage get to be too much, we would joke to each other about needing that glass of wine. Never stopping to think that it was a problem. After all, we were not homeless and disheveled. Our kids were clean and smart and loved. How could this be a problem?
But now my drinking has gotten excessive. On a recent trip to my parent’s house, I went out and bought a few bottles of wine to get me through the visit. They don’t drink so I would wait until they were in bed, and then I would open a bottle and settle down with a movie. I wasn’t driving or going anywhere and my son was safe in his bed, so what was the harm?
I’ve also been mixing pills with alcohol, telling myself that I’m not taking enough to cause a problem. But I’m a healthcare professional. I know better.
I’ve been wondering if I drink too much for the past few years. But that is as far as I would go. Just wondering. I have never said it out loud, but when my husband brought it up, I knew it was true. The reason I started wondering about it in the first place was Stefanie Wilder-Taylor’s story. It was as if I had written that story. I couldn’t believe the similarities. And I really didn’t realize until that moment that my behavior was a problem.
So I know now that I do not have the ability to have just one glass of wine. And now I’m scared. I feel alone and frightened and I don’t know where to turn. I’m so grateful that my husband said something to me before anything worse happened. And I know I need to stop. I’m tired of losing whole days of enjoyment with my family because I’m hung over. I’m tired of being clammy and irritable with my son just because I’m coming off a bender. And I’m especially tired of the guilt I feel the morning after. It’s a guilt so deep, I feel it to my bones.
But I don’t know how to get past it. I don’t know how to live with myself and the awful things that I have done without medicating it away. I don’t like myself very much and I can detach easier when I drink.
It’s been about 12 hours since my last sip of alcohol. I have no doubts that I should never drink again. I just don’t know what to do now. AA doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not a Christian and so I don’t think I would feel sincere standing there during the Serenity Prayer. I’m sure it’s a good program; just not for me.
I’m hoping that if my story appears on this website, that someone out there will reach out to me. I really feel alone and awful and guilty and ashamed and embarrassed and horrified and any other negative feeling a person can have. I really hate myself right now and even though I don’t think I deserve support and help, I need to ask for it.
Thank you for listening.