Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Mother Asks For Help

***Submitted by Anonymous

I drink wine every night.  I get box wine so I don't know how much I drink.  But I think it's at least a bottle each night.

Half the time I don't remember going to bed.  And wake up in my clothes.  I'm in yesterday's clothes right now.
I never drink and drive. I don't go to bars.  I have a job that I never call in sick to.
But I've been altered in front of my child who is now 12.  And I've done things to disappoint my family and me.
When I look in the mirror my eyes are glassy and I have dark circles under my eyes. I don't like what I see.
A couple times a night I drink a lot of water.  In the morning I often have 2-3 glasses of water on my nightstand.  In the morning I feel slightly dizzy to very dizzy.  Most mornings my mind runs like a broken record that I want to not drink.  Then by the afternoon I feel ok.  Then at the stroke of 5:00 the bar is open. 
I try to wait till my husband comes home at 5:30 for my first glass.
My husband drinks too.  Similar to me except he can stay awake longer.  He cooked our child dinner last night.  I've talked to my husband about us both quitting drinking but he doesn't want to.  It's working out fine for him.
The thing I really want to hang my hat on at the end of the day is that I am a good mother and am raising my child my very best.  Drinking this much does not jibe with this at all.  Especially with my child on the verge of teenage-hood, when I started drinking, it would break my heart if I contributed to my child having an alcohol or drug problem.
5 months ago I was sober for 2 days.  I had a slight headache but certainly no DT's or anything so I assume I'm not physically addicted.  I had a physical 6 months ago and the doctor asked as if speed reading "Do you have any issues, alcoholism-drug addiction-smoking-etc ?"  And I of course I said no.  Then he went on to talk about taking Calcium and a low dose aspirin etc.  I passed the urine sample so I must be within normal limits I guess.
I can't imagine going to AA.  How anonymous is going into a room and showing my face?  What if later they see me at the grocery store or at a soccer game or at church?
I appreciate this place to ask for help.  I think I'm going to need some face-to-face help also to be successful.  The idea of me not drinking anymore seems impossible to me. I'll need to quit with alcohol in the house since my husband is not on board with me.
My insurance would cover me going to a therapist/addiction counselor.  I made an appointment but cancelled.  Do you recommend I go to a therapist/addiction counselor?  
So I'd like to ask what you recommend for me as a first step. 


  1. Oh my. Every word of this was me five years ago. Never went out. Always drank at home. Bought boxes. All of it. Except my husband didn't drink. And because of that, when he saw how much I was drinking he asked me to stop. I couldn't. So I switched from my out in the open box of wine to bottles of vodka stashed all over the house so that I could have a nip here and there, add it to my tea, etc. I lived like that for a year.

    I got help. I sought out an addiction counselor/therapist and she helped me immensely. I figured out WHY I drinking so much and what I could do to change. It was very, very hard for me to admit that I had become an alcoholic. I still hate the fact that I can never drink normally again.

    She eventually coaxed me into going to AA. When you ask about people seeing you...just remember...if THEY are at AA then THEY are never going to break your trust. Because you are both there for the same reason. It's a beautiful thing when you look up and see someone from AA in the grocery store aisle. A little nod might happen or just a smile. No one has EVER spoken to me in public unless I've spoken to them first. And we always keep it hushed.

    My advice is start privately with a therapist. Tell the truth. Get it all out there, and then work through it. I actually did the 12 steps with mine over the course of our time together. A good addiction counselor is priceless.

    Good luck my sister. You can do it.

  2. Welcome. I relate so much with your story. I was a wine-drinking mom raising a child too. Sadly, I didn't get sober until she was 22.

    As far as AA goes, the anonymity thing goes for members not saying they saw you in a meeting or sharing what you said or did in a meeting. We all see each others' faces. The unknown is scary, but this is where we have to be brave. There are people JUST LIKE YOU and ME in rooms all over the world just waiting to help if called upon. They will not hound or "hook" you. They only want to help those who want help.

    If you feel more comfortable starting with a therapist, I would strongly suggest you see a therapist who has strong addiction experience. He or she will be able to work with you honestly and help you look at how to approach a life of sobriety. Or you can call your local AA intergroup office and ask for help. They can put you in touch with sober women who can speak with you privately and share how their drinking was for them and how they found hope. Alcoholism isolates us. Opening the door to another who understands our suffering because they have suffered just as we have, is the first step to freedom. There is so much HOPE, I promise!

    It is scary and disorienting to get sober, but oh my gosh, the pay-off is HUGE. A sober life is more beautiful than we can imagine while we're in the throes of our drinking. Reach out for help in your community. You won't regret it. Sending prayers for willingness. xo

  3. I have a very similar story and my husband drank (still does), too. So did all his family (still do) and most of my friends (still do). We drinkers surround ourselves with other drinkers, but I got sober more than two years ago and it's been fine for me -- I have no problem being around other people that drink (though I will say my tolerance for drunk people is near zero -- like the ex-smoker who can't stand the smell of smoke).

    I have two young daughters and knew something had to change. I'd wake up at 3 a.m. filled with such guilt and that horrible taste in my mouth. I'd hate myself again...wonder what I said or did the night before. Then, I'd lose sleep and have to get up early to run. I'd have a lousy run because I was hungover, bloated and tired. It was a viscous cycle.

    One day I realized that drinking was the cornerstone. If I removed that ONE thing, all the other "problems" (weight gain, yelling at the kids, lousy runs) would get better. This is not to say that quitting drinking solves all your problems...not at all, they are still there, but, in my experience, they're easier to deal with when you are clear-headed and sober.

    One thing that was hard for me to deal with in early sobriety was not having alcohol to "take the edge off" of uncomfortable situations. I had to learn to sit with my feelings. To just feel just feel out of place...and, you know what, it passes and you're fine. You're stronger than you can ever know.

    I tried to cut back. I switched booze a time or two. I tried making it only weekends or after 5. It always ramped back up to the same -- binge drinking and guilt. Possibly even worse when I tried to restrict because then I"d drink & drink & drink thinking...I only have till Sunday!

    So, once I decided to quit. NO more. None. I almost found that a relief because there were no options, no decisions. It was just over. End. Done.

    I've learned to love my sober life. I think back to all the times I missed in a fog...half drunk....and I"m sorry I wasn't there to fully experience my life & my kids. I am now though...and that's all that matters.

    OH...and I could NOT bring myself to go to AA because: 1.) I do not believe I am powerless over anything; and 2.) I am a recognizable person in my area (former newspaper writer). I found a ton of strength, help and support in an online group called Women For Sobriety. Check it out -- may be the "program" for you.

    I hope that you will make this decision for yourself. YOu can live a sober life even if you husband chooses not to. I have. I will also tell you that my husband has greatly reduced the amount that he drinks == probably because I don't drink anymore.

    I never thought I could enjoy life sober, but I realize now that it was the total opposite. I couldn't enjoy it drunk. I was just...stumbling through life...half aware -- missing out on so much.

  4. I completely relate to your struggles. I quit drinking wine (approx 1-1 1/2 bottles per night) last April. My husband drinks heavily as well, but I finally realized I had to do this for me and let him have his journey when and if he is ready. My oldest is 14. I hate that I have exposed him to this, but I think it is good for him to see a mother that recognizes her problem and does something about it.

    I was able to stop with the help of an online community (BFB - Booze Free Brigade). It has saved me. Keep reaching out...there are so many people on this site and others that want to help both for you and for their own sobriety. My life is 1000 times better. Every day my head gets clearer and my heart gets stronger.

    Hang in there and know that there are people out there that want to help!

  5. I am right here with you, recently sober, again, after many tries. What's different this time is my kids are teenagers and totally know what's going on when I am drinking. This time I have gone to more meetings and gotten a sponsor. I did therapy before and highly recommend it. If you are depressed, ask your dr./therapist about anti-depressants (but don't drink on them; they won't work.) Take advantage of every possible opportunity to heal yourself. You are worth it and so are your kids, right? It is hard with alcohol in the house: does you hubby dink wine too? If not, maybe at least start with just removing wine. And get your Bubble on (listen to the bubble for details). Be kind to yourself. You can do this a little at a time. Progress, not perfection.

  6. First time I've commented here: I can relate. I've been drunk pretty much every night for the last 12 years. Hubby drinks too, but I've rarely seen him drunk... he knows when to stop; I don't. Last Sept I pleaded with him to get rid of all the alcohol in the house b/c I wanted to be sober. He agreed. I was sober for a month because he decided he wanted a drink and bought some bourbon. That's all it took for me to start again.

    I bought box wine, too because bottles were getting too expensive. I probably drank a bottle of wine a night plus 3 or 4 bourbon & waters. Every morning I woke up promising myself that I won’t drink that day. Every night I stumbled to bed… a failure. My daughter (31 y/o) hates that I drink and has learned not to call me after 5pm. I pour wine while I make dinner and there it starts. I didn’t quit until I passed out.

    In the mornings, I’d find my clothes strewn around the house. I’d find notes I wrote to myself that I didn’t remember writing. I’ve peed on the floor, I’ve shit in the bed, I’ve spent days and days with headaches and hangovers, puking from morning until after noon, all the while promising myself that I wouldn’t drink again and hating who I’d become.

    11 days ago, we ran out of bourbon and wine (liquor stores are closed here on Sundays). So I had no choice but to go to bed sober. I woke up the next morning well rested, mostly clear-eyed, thanking God and pleading with him to let me continue to be sober. I had a talk with myself and realized that I pretty much only needed to be careful from 5pm until 9pm when I usually went to bed. The first few days I made crock pot meals so I wouldn’t have to be in the kitchen chopping, cooking, and drinking. I pour a glass of ice water and drink it while I’m preparing dinner now. I’ve been alcohol free and sober for the last 11 days, which means I'm a baby... just getting sober. It scares me to pieces that I might start to drink again, but I don’t want to have to start over again to be sober. I don't want another "day one"... I want to continue to be sober and to be proud of myself and have my daughter and granddaughters proud of me. I want one day to say that I've been sober for many years. My husband has curtailed his drinking since then, too… on his own.

    I wish you the best with becoming sober. I think it’s worth it and I’m going to keep trying my best… I hope you will too.

    1. Thank-you for your honesty. It makes me feel less alone. I appreciate your kind words to me! I am going to try my best - I also want my family to be proud of me! I wish you all the best too. Let's keep it up!
      A Mother asks for Help

  7. Anonymous,

    Seek out a therapist who is an addiction specialist. This person will help you with a plan for recovery. There are many options if you are not comfortable with AA - including online communities. You may also need the help of your physician. There are medications that can help you with cravings and anxiety. The first few weeks will be difficult but it will get better.

    You have so much to gain by getting help and quitting. You also have everything to lose.

    Much luck to you.

  8. I drank the way you are describing, or worse, for 30 years. I put off sobering up for a lot of reasons, I was afraid I'd go into DT's, my husband still drank and I didn't think our marriage would last...
    I finally decided "no matter what happened" I needed to get sober for myself, for both my mental and physical health, I haven't had a drink in a year and a half.

    Allthough I don't remember all of my reasons for not going to AA, shame was one of them, I know, resistance from my husband was another, so I looked for help here on the internet and found it. There are several support groups out there, mmabsers (which is a subgroup of moderation management that supports permanent abstinence from drinking. It doesn't promote any one type of recovery, it just supports you in the recovery you choose), SMART, WFS (Women For Sobriety) and others. There are also a ton of sober bloggers out there sharing their stories and giving each other support. This is what has guided my recovery and I have never gone to a F2F meeting, but if I needed to, I am now past all of that shame and would have no problem attending. The most importnt thing is to maintain my sobriety, no matter what.
    The most important thing for you right now, it to not give up, no matter what. Listen to what your heart is telling you, the time to stop is now. I've heard several people say they wish they would have quit sooner, but I've never heard anyone say they wish they'd kept drinking just a little bit longer.

    All my best,

  9. I too can relate to so much of what you say. I was worried about anonymity and admitting how much I drank, but I did finally seek out a therapist because I was depressed, and I picked someone with a background in addictions. I didn't open up to her right away about my drinking, but when I did, it was a HUGE relief.

    She urged me to try AA - and believe me, I had the same concerns about anonymity until I actually started going to meetings. It helped me so much.

    Also, my husband still drinks, so I've had alcohol in the house since Day 1. It CAN be done. I never want to go back to that old life. I hope you find the help you deserve...I'm rooting for you :)

  10. hmmm. I hear you. I know people do continue to live with drinkers, but for the last year or so, while I've been struggling with drinking too much, or not at all, my husband has continued to drink, although not usually in front of me, but I still hate seeing all his empties. However, the longer I go without booze, the stronger is my desire to go without him. I think that I often drank to be with him, and that sucks. I wish you well. Reaching out on the blogosphere is an incredibly awesome resource. A great first step. I'd recommend you keep exploring, and follow some blogs that really resonate with you. All the best.

  11. Thank-you all for your honesty and support. I feel so much less alone now. I was alcohol free for two nights this week and saw the beginnings of looking healthier in the mirror and feeling better. But I fell off the wagon last night. I really want to not drink tonight. I did call the therapist today and made an appointment. And I told my husband I'm not drinking tonight. I have written down some of the top reasons for me to be alcohol free. I'm putting my plan together.
    Thank-you again all for reaching out to me - it really helps. I feel you pulling for me. I'm very inspired by you all. Let's keep in touch!
    A Mother asks for Help

  12. I stopped drinking one and a half years ago. I am still so happy and grateful to be waking up every morning without a hangover! Also, no more lying awake at 3 in the morning promising myself I would stop, blushing and sweating with shame. So so so so much better now. You can do it, all you can do make that decision and go ahead. Don't worry about anyone else. Good luck

  13. Hi, thanks for your post, I could relate to alot of it. It took me few attempts to stop drinking and I too was petrified of showing my face in AA, but just like someone above already mentioned, those people are there for the same reason so they keep the anonymity very seriouse. AA has saved my life, because detox, rehabs and even a little time in jail didn't help me. So what every you try, just keep doing it until it sticks. Try thinking one day at a time, one hours at a time if needed. go for a walk, call someone, read something ... If you wait it through the craving feeling will get weaker and/ or go away! You can do this! You already have a bunch of people rooting for you! ^^^

  14. I am alcohol free 5 days now (in a row! ). Going to a therapist tomorrow to work on a plan. Your encouragement has helped me and is helping me so much. Thanks a million!
    A mother asks for Help

  15. This is my friend Sam. He has been sober 631 days, and this is his daughter who he can now be a parent to. Sobriety is hard work, but its worth it! Don't try to do it alone, talk to someone. You can do this! Good luck!