Saturday, August 4, 2012

Drinking, Anxiety, Fear, ADD and Motherhood

***Submitted by Anonymous

I am a mom of three, two in college. 

I have been drinking for about 9 years now, or almost half of my youngest's life.  

 Alcoholism runs in both sides of my family though neither of my parents were drinkers, their siblings and parents were. 

 I have ADD, diagnosed about 10 years ago.  

I am a nurse and know that I am slowly killing myself but can't seem to stop for more than 2 days at a time.  

Drinking quiets my anxiety and shame....about the state of my house (as my husband says, it looks halfway to being a hoarder's house), about feeling inadequate as a mother, friend, nurse, employee, wife......  

I can't do AA because I am afraid  admitting my problem in a public way will send me over the edge.  

My shame is too great now, never mind putting it out there to strangers.  I am so sad and full of regret over all the time wasted not really being there for my kids (either hungover or drunk) that that is all I can think about.  Empty nest syndrome is not helping, feeling I wasted time I can't ever get back.  

My ADD causes me to be slower about housework, organization, etc.  But so does the drinking, especially because when I drink I wake up at 2-3am and can't get back to sleep for an hour, making me exhausted for the next day, which continues the cycle of feeling inadequate because of fatigue, etc..  

My husband has MS but has not told the kids or anyone else.  The anxiety of what will happen in the future paralyzes me, but I know my drinking adds to that feeling.  

Yet every day, 4-4:30 pm comes, anxiety comes, and I convince myself alcohol will make me feel better about how little I got done today.  How to break out of this cycle???

I plan to try again, today to stop.  It is almost 3am.  

Today would have been my mother's 82nd birthday.  Maybe a good day to start? 

Thanks for all your stories.  I hope they can keep me going.  I am looking for a safe place to vent.  My husband doesn't speak about my drinking tho I am sure it distresses him.  

Help please.


  1. The first thing you must know is that you can do anything you put your mind to. The second thing you should know is AA is a place to release stress and pressure, not find more of it. You are in good company here. Put one foot in front of the other!

  2. I too am a mother and a nurse. I lost my nursing license to addiction, and that was a wake up call. I remember the anxiety you spoke of, "drinking quiets my anxiety and shame". As a mom I just wanted to be there for my children, any sense of imperfection had me seeking comfort in the bottle. I lost many years with my kids. Thankfully sobriety gives many gifts, for me the very best gift has been a renewed connection with my children. Of course I regret drinking away those precious years, but I am more than comforted knowing the best is yet to come. The women of AA gave me hope, they showed me one day at a time how to re-build, re-connect and ultimately make peace with who I am. Never give up, never stop trying, I truly thought I was a lost cause, the bottom of the barrel so to speak. Turns out I wasn't unique, just a struggling alcoholic that needed the guidance of a higher power. You CAN do this!

  3. I was an MLT working in hospitals and clinics for twenty years. I woke up one morning, and all of a sudden, I was forty years old. Forty yeers old and stuck, stuck like the preverbial rat on her wheel. All that energy, round and round. But nothing ever changes. Round and round. Over and over. Well, I'm fifty today and I would be lying if I said getting sober has been easy. It has been a decade of 2 DUI's, a divorce, nervous breakdown, and three 28 day treatment programs.
    Nothing changes until WE change. And what has to change? EVERYTHING!!! We're different from men in our addiction in that we are moms, caregivers, we have our careers, it is not by accident that you chose a "helping" field (that's a whole separate blog post, lol) And oh we are SO awesome laying on the guilt and stripping our self of self-worth. So, what do we do? Drink, it makes those yucky "feelings" go away. Then the next day,, do we feel better? Not on your life, so what are ya gonna do??? Duh, have a drink. Or two. or three. oh, hell, finish the bottle.

    If nothing changes.
    Nothing will change.

    I was scared to death, in our small community, to go to AA. I mean, I was a church leader for one of our boards. "What if they find out?" To that I say, WHO CARES!!!! We need those meetings for accountability, for the purpose of hearing other women share our very same struggles.

    Alcoholism is a very isolating disease. By the end of our using years, we've alientated most everyone we care about, certainly who used to care about us. So, we're alone.. Poor me. Pour me another....

    Let me tell you something,, I have been in the rooms of AA for ten years and the people I meet there are THE MOST honest caring giving genuine people I'll ever meet. And its because they've worked hard, dug deep within and cleared out all those lies, those past deeds, the dishonesty that has been penetrating our thought process for so long. Through the 12 steps, through working each step, we become a better, more honest, more real, person. And at the end of the day, we can look in the mirror and feel SO proud of what we did that very day. Because we've taken on a new way of living.

    If we skip the first step. Admitting how alcohol has taken us over, how we need help. If we skip that part, we are stuck just like the rat going no where.

    There's a better way of living. And getting humble and removing the pride is how we get there..
    btw, I'm one foot into the empty nest season and beginning to make up for lost time. What I won't do is look back. That keeps me stuck. today, I'm in this moment and doing the best I can with what's in front of me. Keep reading, keep writing. You'll find your way. You just gotta want it more than anything.

    1. Thank you for this-I am so stuck in my drinking-When the bottle is empty, I say last one, only to return for just one more

  4. Hello Mom of three. I also have three children. I was the same as you. I never thought I was an alcoholic, I didn't even know what it meant, I thougth it was a park bench drunk with a drawstring waist rope. Its not. I am an alcoholic and have been in recovery for some time now. When I read your story I felt compelled to reply. Every day, just like you, 4pm or earlier would come around having promised myself that morning that I was not going to drink, in fact if you put me on a lie detector, I was telling the truth. However, when I was trying my best to cope with three young children, having spent a day at work I was exhausted and a bottle of wine cheered me up, helped me to cope. Well I thought it did. No one can tell you to stop, you have to stop yourself. I wish I had stopped years ago. I robbed my children of their mother in the later part of my drinking. I would start drinking at 3pm, do what I needed to do which would also involve driving with the kids to their after school activities. I was using alcohol to cope. I was miserable and an unhappy mother. I had lost my glow. The only time I felt happy was when i was drunk. The children wrote in my wardrobe, "Please help us", that is a constant reminder when i get dressed in the morning. This went on for years as like I said, I didn't know what was wrong with me and I only drank wine, surely wine was a posh drink right? My drinking spiralled out of control. I ended up a 24-7 drinker. I didn't care about me the children or anything. I lost my job. I nearly lost my husband. I nearly lost my everything. Life was herrendous, the addiction I had to alcohol grew and grew and I had no control over it. I was powerless. If I took one drink, it was never enough and that would start the whole session off again , until the next day when again I would promise myself that I'm ok and I'm not going to drink. Today my life is sober and I love it. I love everything about AA and when I first went there, I was like you, but I needed help. Go to AA, there is no shame for seeking help. Do it before its too late and you end up loosing everything. This illness is cunning baffling and powerful and there is only one winner. X With much love X

  5. Hello mom of three and nurse,
    I am also a mom, but of 5, 4 in or beyond college, and one in grade school. I am also a nurse. I just posted to this blog for the first time less than 2 weeks ago in an attempt to reach out to other women who are struggling with staying sober. The course of events that have occurred for me so far have been significant. I felt the same way about AA and still have anxiety of coming out about this in public but know that eventually I will need that face-to-face support for myself to sustain my sobriety.

    I have the great privilege of a good friend who has been clean and sober for about 2 years now after many relapses he experienced. Circumstances were by divine intervention I believe because I was reaching out to he and his wife to offer my prayers and support to them regarding their son who is battling a heroin addiction. He texted me back a message/prayer that was very moving and had a line in it about sobriety which he kindly told me I could ignore (he had no idea that I was struggling with my own addiction to alcohol). It was a moment of truth for me, one of the hardest moments for me yet..... To admit to another person besides my husband that I believed I was an alcoholic. I typed it in the text and then almost erased it..... Stared at it for a while as my head went dizzy, felt nauseated, and shaky all over. Could I hit the send button???? Well, after many minutes, I did. I had no idea what to expect back. What was his reaction going to be? I was completely terrified at that moment. He responded without judgement, with kindness and compassion. One of the things that struck me was him saying in my response to me telling him that I hope he didn't feel awkward me sharing this with him, "you wouldn't feel awkward telling me you have been stricken with cancer or some other disease. It is a disease and can be put into remission as long as you don't take the first drink."

    The strange thing about that night was that I had been drinking when I sent the message, not in a drunken stupor but was probably heading there. I took my last drink that night and it was only 9 days ago. These last 9 days have been some of the hardest days and nights of my life. I 47 years old and have experience tremendous heartache, loss, and suffering. So my reference is pretty solid when I can honestly say these have been hard days. However, I am seeing a glimpse of light and beginning to feel a strength within me beginning to grow. I have grown more and more anxious in the last 10 years as my drinking has increased. I thought the alcohol was helping me to not be so intense. But that was a lie. I know I need support from others and this blog has opened the door for me to confide in other women such as yourself. From what I am learning, many nurses succumb to drinking. We tend to be perfectionists. We want to save everyone. That takes a toll.

    I will be thinking and praying for you and every other woman who posts on this site who is struggling to be or continue to be sober as I know you will too. We need the support from one another. Every day I log onto this site and read the stories, the pouring out of other's hearts, and it is helping me to understand more, and to gain strength from others. I'm not giving up on the prospect of AA and know I will be there maybe not for a while or maybe tomorrow, only God knows and it will be in His time. Don't give up. Fight hard. It's worth it for yourself, your future, your kids, your marriage, and your patients! I'll be praying for you.

    Struggling So Much

    1. Hello Mom of Three< Check into treatment with your good insurance while you still have a job!!

    2. Hi Struggling So Much,
      Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I think you are right, the perfectionism and the wanting to save everyone. I have not quite totally stopped, but I have been able to have just one glass of wine the last 4 days, instead of 3 or 4. A big step for me. Now to go for every other day and then stop. I think this will work. Take care Mom of 3

  6. I have been sober in AA 28 plus years and I am going to declare what I adamantly feel is true-one cannot get, stay and sustain sobriety without AA. Period. Alcohol kills eventually or kills someone in the way. Get to AA now - I don't care who you are or where you live.

    You don't have to live this way anymore.

  7. Hi Mom of 3,

    Reaching out and talking/writing is a great first step. Please stay engaged in the recovery community, even if it is just the online one. You will learn so much about who you and what you are facing. It is darkest just before the dawn. I know, such cliche. But it's true.


    1. Thanks to all for your support. I am not online every day, but will continue to check in here. I am trying again, today to stop drinking. I think the 4pm-7pm time is the worst, so am working on some strategies to avoid that. Any ideas appreciated.

  8. Please see my comment at 11:24 on Renee's post above. Perhaps it might help you. I have almost 10 years and my perspective is a bit different, but you should pursue all advice and options and do what works for you.

  9. I have been trying to get and stay sober for over a year now. I finally feel like I am on the right track and really making progress. Women For Sobriety online has been an AMAZING tool for my recovery. This is the site if you are interested