Friday, December 28, 2012

Crying Out Now Needs Your Help. Please. (NOT asking for money, just two minutes of your time).

***Submitted by Ellie, Founder of Crying Out Now

My father, Jonathan Strong, (who died suddenly in June of 2011) brought me up to always try to give back to any community I serve, as he did for those he served (and they were plentiful).

I've written about my creative explosion, the coming together of several creative projects that I realized recently will always share a common goal, whether it is a website (like Crying Out Now) or an internet talk show/podcast (like the Bubble Hour) or even One Crafty Mother, or an income producing businesses like Shining Stones, the soon-to-be launched Two Little Birds Studio, and my book Let Me Get This Straight.

The mission of all these endeavors is to provide support, community, resources and comfort to women struggling with addiction or alcoholism, or simply looking for a safe place to explore their drinking, or to provide income to support these endeavors.

So I created a new website/organization called Shining Strong, with the goal of creating a not-for-profit that will be the umbrella organizations to all the endeavors.


I did a lot of soul searching when I was laid up with cancer; I had a lot of time to think.  As I've written about recently, it gave me this overpowering feeling to do something with my life, and not to aggressively wait for it to come to me, to take action, do my best and be ready for ANY outcome.

I can only do the next right thing, get advice from loved ones and professionals (which I'm doing) and hope that this dream will become a reality. I know it may not work, and I know it's a heart-dream because I'm okay with trying and failing with this project WAY more than I'm okay with not trying at all.

I've been afraid to start plenty of new ventures for fear of failing, but not this one.

Here's how you can help:  If you or a loved one have been helped by Crying Out Now, would you come leave a testimonial (it can be anonymous) by clicking on this link here?  There is a REALLY short form to fill out (takes two minutes, tops) and the more testimonials we have the better chance we have of attracting grants or sponsors without compromising the integrity of Crying Out Now (and The Bubble Hour).

I also created a new facebook page, and if you'd come "like" it, it would make me really happy.  :)  If you're up to it, it would be awesome if you'd follow the brand-new Twitter Page, too.  It's very lonely there at the moment.

I dedicate all of this in honor of the legacy of my father, who instilled in me - with my mother right beside him, doing the same, only I'm lucky enough that she is still here, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me and cheering me on - the importance of giving back, especially when someone has given freely of themselves to you, like the women (and men) in my recovery community do for me every day.

I also want to give a HUGE shout-out thanks to Lisa N., Michele and the Booze Free Brigade who give freely of their time and are such and important support system for me.

And to each and every one of you who leaves a comment; you are helping someone who is struggling face another day, have hope and feel support.  You are changing the world, one comment at a time.

I love you, Dad.  I hope you're up there smiling.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Afraid Something Bad Is Going To Happen

***Submitted by Anonymous

I've been a "social" drinker since college - I'm 50.  The last few years I've been drinking more and more.  My friends and neighbors have no idea how much and often I actually drink (every night).  A couple of years ago I started forgetting conversations I would have at night with my teenage children.  In the morning I would ask them a question about whatever we had already discussed and they would say,"I told you last night".  My response was; "Oh, that's right", and change the subject not knowing some key piece of information that I needed to know as a parent.  There were many times that I didn't know they were going somewhere or needed some school supplies or a form filled out.

Recently I have started forgetting going to bed most nights. A couple of mornings my husband has said something referring to the night before (sex), and I have no memory of it (although I would never tell him that).  

What has really started to scare me is that I have taken several bad falls in the last few months while drinking.  The most recent, I was sitting outside with a neighbor having wine and I stood up only to fall face first on the street.  I couldn't leave my house for a week.  

My neighbor was shocked because she said I was talking perfectly normal before I stood up and she didn't think that I had that much to drink.  The next day I called her and acted like I had no idea what happened to me that caused me to fall. Another time, I fell in my house and also hit my head pretty hard. There have been other falls as well.

I don't want to drink any more.  

Everyone I know drinks in most situations.  It seems like it's just what people do when they get together and their kids are older now - kind of like a "right of passage" after all those difficult years.  But the biggest problem that I have is that my husband drinks - a lot.  I don't drink as much as he does but he also doesn't know how much I "sneak" drink.  That way, I can tell him how much he's drinking and how upset I am about it and I don't have to admit that I also have a problem.  Even though he drinks much more than I do, he never falls or forget things.  I'm worried that I won't be able to not have that glass of wine (or many) when he is having many himself.  

I'm really afraid that something bad is going to happen and don't know how to stop it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Real Gifts of Christmas. Sober.


***Submitted by Ellie, who is Founder of Crying Out Now

There have been many Christmases I don't remember because I drank too much, unable to entertain or enjoy life without a glass of liquid courage.

I am a sober woman now, and don't need alcohol to enjoy the holidays.

This Christmas I'm taking it slow and easy, enjoying every moment I can, trying not to get too stressed about work, or presents, or what to feed people, or if my house is perfect, and I'm mostly doing a good job.

My life is good. I am grateful.  I am in remission from cancer, I am sober, and my kids have stars dancing in their eyes.

I take a deep breath in, and let it out slowly.  Out with my breath goes stress, grief and fear.

I breath in deeply again, and in comes peace, joy, acceptance and serenity.

My yoga class instructor always ends with a meditative reading.  I'll share it with you, because it helps me put my heart where it needs to be. I can give these gifts because I am sober, one day at a time. And OH so grateful:

On the first day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of my Undivided Attention.
On the second day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Enthusiasm.
On the third day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Creative Energy.
On the fourth day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Simple Seasonal Pleasures.
On the fifth day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Tenderness.
On the Sixth day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Good Cheer.
On the Seventh day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The Gift of Beauty.
On the Eighth day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift Communication.
On the Ninth day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Surprise.
On the Tenth day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Wonder
On the Eleventh day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Peaceful Surroundings.
On the Twelfth day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves: The gift of Joy.

Peace to you and yours this holiday season.


Love,

-Ellie

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fear in Early Sobriety - Doesn't Want To Drink And Reaching Out For Help

*** Submitted by Anonymous..

I'm an alcoholic. 

I celebrated 10 months of sobriety on December 1st. 

I have been in treatment 3 times in the last 3 years, and 10 months is the most sobriety I have ever attained. 

I am a mother of 2 beautiful daughters (11 and 14 years old). My drinking took me to very dark places. I lost my 17 year marriage and have now lost legal custody of my children. The worst experience I have ever lived through. 

However, I have walked through that process sober and that is a true miracle. 

I have some physical custody of my girls which is a true gift, I thought I would come home and assume my rightful place as their mom, but I quickly learned that that is something I had to earn. 

I am currently struggling deeply. I have not picked up a drink, but walking through life on life's terms is not something I know how to do yet, 

What I do know how to do is self medicate myself when I don't want to feel. 

My ex husband now has a new girlfriend that my girls are very excited about. 

My bond with my daughters is stronger than ever but I am feeling very threatened by this new woman. Less than, shame, guilt and not as good as are all front and center for me again. 
\
Fear is the overwhelming feeling. 

Fear of losing my girls to someone who is prettier, skinnier, more fun and certainly not an alcoholic. I'm trying so hard to stay in gratitude but am feeling paralyzed by these feelings. Is this normal? 

Should I be able to handle life better at this stage? I've worked so hard to get where I am today both personally and with my daughters.

I'm afraid of losing them to this new woman. I don't want to feel this way. 

Can you help me?

 I don't want to drink because for me to drink again is certainly signing my own death certificate

.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Just Woke Up From A Blackout and Reaching Out For Help

***Submitted by Anonymous

I just woke up from a blackout. 

I am sure I did something bad, I don't know what it was. But certainly I must have upset someone. This is my life. Some days go without me even living. Just a small glimpse here and there.

I have no reason to live like this, I have no stress, my life is good , really good. But I am certain my husband is tired of this lifestyle of mine.


I went to the Dr. And had my liver checked, what it's good? Really? How could that be? 25 years of heavy drinking, I guess I have not done enough damage to myself. I feel the damage inside that tests does not show. I feel sorry and embarrassed beyond belief. 


Regret and hate, a lot of hate for myself.

I have no idea how to fix this mess I have created. 


I am certain over the years my hurtful words have done a lot of damage to my marriage, yet he stands by me. 

He does not speak of today or the other day. I wonder why? He does not hold me accountable. And I really need that. I need someone to say"what did you do? " not just a foggy glimpse of "oh Jesus, did I say that out loud?"

I don't know how to fix things. 


Quit drinking? How? 

It seems impossible. 

How will I talk to people? 

How will I fill all of those empty hours? 

What will I order with dinner? How can I live a single day without wine? 

I feel if there is a "bottom" I must be there. 

I cannot imagine it could get any worse. 

Please, I want to die. I am so embarrassed about myself. 

Why must I live like this?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Brave Mom Tells A Hard Truth, And Starts Day 7


***Submitted by Anonymous

A note from Ellie, Lisa & Michele: All of us have our memories of things we did while drinking that haunt us (or if we're still drinking, things that haunt us today), and it takes a lot of courage to talk about them openly, especially in new sobriety. Please honor her courage and offer words of support and comfort.  Thank you.

I stumbled upon this site and am so grateful to have found it. I didn’t think there were any other mothers out there like me. I am educated, no one in my family is an alcoholic-I can’t be, right?

Today is day 6 being sober.

You see last week, I started drinking one afternoon from a beer tap in the garage at 3pm, left my baby in her highchair to drive to get more wine, then later, left her in the highchair and drove to get food. 

When I was driving home, I hit a parked car on my street but in my drunken stupor thought it wasn’t a big deal.  (A hit and run!) 

I vaguely remember trying to shove a spoon in my baby’s mouth to get her to eat baby food, only to see her crying. I remember the look on her face-my eyes well up just writing about it. I was being mean. I felt mean at the time I remember.

I pass out and don’t remember the rest of the night and wake at 4am only to remember that I “think” I hit a car last night. I run outside and see a huge piece missing from my car. 

I wake up my husband and told him what happened and start sobbing like I have never before, saying, “What’s wrong with me?” We go out on the street to find the car I hit but it is gone. There is only a piece of my front car found on the street.

I wish I could say this is the first time I have passed out, blacked out, left my baby to run and get more booze….but its not.

I feel embarrassed, confused, sad…..I make an appointment with a therapist who wants me to go to a meeting but I ‘m not ready yet. My husband says maybe I am overwhelmed with motherhood? 

I explain to him yes, it can be boring and yet overwhelming, but I have been drinking like a drunk long before I was a mother. This wasn’t an isolated incident.

MY husband is in the beer biz (great huh) and a moderate drinker.  He keeps everything in the garage which I obviously avoid. We have agreed to cancel our New Year’s plans to go to a party and are going to do something quiet and nice at home instead.

Yesterday, I met a mom at the playground and realized, it was the first time I had been there and NOT been hungover! 

I had a great conversation with her. It was real. The past year, (couple of years) I have been living in a fog…I want to FEEL things again. It’s been a long time…

Today is day 6 being sober and I have been very emotional…A song will make me cry….But I feel good. I have an amazing family, husband, baby, friends and life. 

Today I am sober. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Welcome Lisa & Michele - And A Few More Announcements

Hello Everyone. Ellie here. 

As I mentioned last week we have some changes to announce! 

I am thrilled to announce two new members to the Crying Out Now team: Lisa and Michele.  Click on the "Who We Are" tab above to learn more about them.

They are two incredible sober women who are compassionate, funny, kind, smart and creative and I'm so grateful they agreed to help me in running Crying Out Now.

As I mentioned in a recent post, CON is growing by leaps and bounds, and I couldn't be happier.  However, with this growth comes added financial and time constraints that I can't handle all on my own.  Up until last year two other amazing sober women were helping me manage this site, but I'm happy to report they have gone on to other endeavors (they are both doing well) and being the alcoholic that I am, I thought I could tackle managing CON on my own.

I realized recently how unfair that is to all the people who bravely submit their stories, because sometimes it takes me a while to get back to people.  I have enormous respect for the courage it takes to his "send" after telling your truth, and I want to be sure people are answered in timely and compassionate manner by sober women who understand.

Lisa and Michele are volunteering their time to help out, and I'm so grateful. If you read this blog and it has helped you or a loved one, we are still looking for financial support in the form of contributions (or purchasing my new book Let Me Get This Straight).  Please see the tab above for more information on ways to contribute so we can keep CON going, and hopefully even help it grow even more.

Michele and Lisa are those women, and more!  

If you submit a post to CON, going forward you will either here back from Lisa, Michele or me.  Confidentiality is the cornerstone to what we do here, so your email will NEVER be read by anybody but the three of us. We will respond with a thank you and the general time frame for putting up your submission (which can be up to three weeks).  

I want everyone to know that if we receive a submission from someone on the brink - about to drink or in desperate need of help, we will bump that submission to the front of the line so they can here from this incredible community of supportive women as quickly as possible.

Also - please note on the right hand sidebar that Crying Out Now has been Nominated for a Best in Show award by WeGo Health.  We are honored and thrilled; WeGo is a health activist community that supports and endorses many good causes. If you have a moment to check out their website, please do.  And if you want to endorse CON, there is a place in the WeGo widget to do that (or click there and nominate another health care site).  

Lastly, if you haven't checked out The Bubble Hour yet, we encourage you to do so. You'll see a tab at the top of this page with more info, but it's a weekly internet talk show with topics aimed at people who are wondering about their drinking, newly sober, struggling to stay sober, or who are sober and want to stay that way. Each episode has guests that share their stories and experiences - kind of like Crying Out Now in spoken word.  We've done five episodes now, and you can go to the Bubble Hour's website to listen and click on a link to subscribe to the podcast, too.

Your support in all our endeavors means so much to us, but the thing that is the MOST important is your support of the brave women who post here. Thank you, everyone, for all your comments and compassionate words of empathy and advice. PLEASE comment - even anonymously - because I know from first-hand experience that it means so very much.

Thank you,

-Ellie, Michele and Lisa

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Struggling in Very Early Sobriety.

***Submitted by Anonymous

A note from Ellie: I received this submission last week, and since that time she has started over again at Day 1 yesterday.  I've been there, and I can totally relate to struggling like this - just trying to put some days together.  It's so hard, and any words of comfort and advice are so welcome.  Thank you.

Sitting here contemplating getting a drink. 

Why? 

For the simple reason it's Friday night and this is my "me" time. 

But I've gone 3 days - I know, big deal, but I don't want to fail this time :( 

I'm sick of it. 

Although my last night of drinking wasn't a rock bottom by any means for me. I'd had 2 glasses of wine, watched the finale of a show and off to bed I went, feeling perfectly fine.

However the Sunday previous to that was one of my typical, I remember up to so much. Being at a friends house for dinner but the next thing remembering taking my jewelery off to go to bed and then waking up is not a good thing. 

I mean, it's a 90 minute ride home! Hubby never mentioned it, as usual, but I know he's disappointed in me yet again. 

I have the typical questions everyone that has a problem with alcohol has - why can't I just have a couple drinks and be fine with that? 

Some days I can, but others I can't, and those are the days I hate. 

I figure writing here is helping, lets me see what a mess I've made of things. I looked back on my blogs from last year when I "quit forever" - or at least the 70 days I made it through  and I swore it was going to be it then, yet here I am again.............

I can't promise how long this will last, I know I want it to, but I just don't know if I have it in me.