Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Young Mother Struggled with Pills, Now Alcohol.

***Submitted by Anonymous

I am a 32 year old woman who is married with 4 children all under the ages of 11.

Two are technically step sons but we have full custody which wasn't what I expected to happen when I married my husband nearly 7 years ago. They are better with us and I love them. My whole life I have done things fast, wanted things to work out a certain way.

So when I announced that I was buying a home, moving in with my now fiancee and his two boys, after only 6 short months no one was too surprised  I immediately wanted a baby of my own, and within two years had a little girl and a little boy. My husband worked nights as a bartender  and I worked days as a special education teacher. So we rarely spent any time together, and I began to resent my lone responsibility every night taking care of 4 kids while trying to write lesson plans.

My addiction didn't begin with alcohol, instead it started after two foot surgeries and an endless supply of lortabs. At first, I took them as directed, but it wasn't long until I craved them. I remember telling my husband I was a better mother, housekeeper with my pills. It became an obsession for me. I was always counting how many I had left, and trying to figure out how to get more. I did things that am incredibly ashamed of at one point stealing my dying grandfathers percocets.

Through it all I thought I was functioning just fine, I had my pills all day and a few glasses of wine at night which "helped me sleep". One night, I drank entirely too much and took too many pills. I awoke foggy headed the next day to both my parents and my husband doing their best at attempting an intervention. I decided to go that day with my mom, but was terrified and quite frankly didn't believe I was an addict and  had no desire to stop. Against my husbands wishes, I enrolled in an outpatient program because I had a 3 month old son at home (which I used as an excuse to not stay). I attended the sessions daily, and enjoyed the opportunity to open up.

Throughout this entire experience I would introduce myself as having depression. I never mentioned the word addict because that wasn't me. During each break, I would go to the bathroom to get my pills out and take a couple. Ironically, I became quickly bonded with a women who also suffered pill addiction, and she introduced herself as an addict. I kept my act up did my time, and then went home with the promise to my mother that I would wean off the rest of my pills. I did manage to eventually run out of pills, and I can't describe the panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach that I couldn't deal with life sober. So I didn't, I began to drink wine every night after the kids were in bed. One bottle would equal two bottles etc.

My husband began to notice the empty bottles which caused me to become defensive and begin stashing them all over the house. I remember even hiding 3 bottles of liquor in my sons diaper genie (which was empty). My husband would find the bottles and line them up on the counter top as if to show me what I already knew....I was drinking too much. My drinking has caused such a wedge between my husband and I that I feel like I''m waiting for him to leave me.

I recently switched from wine to hard liquor which I hoped would slow me down, now I drink about a fifth of vodka a night. This entire time, I have convinced myself that my life was running smoothly and I wasn't hurting anyone but me.

Here is a short summary of my last three years- Lost my teaching job when pregnant with my youngest son, went into a deep depression and begin mixing pills with alcohol, went to rehab (sort of), husband lost his job, our home burnt down last Nov., we had to live in two rental home before our home was fixed, now we are home and can't afford beds for everybody because we had to live off the money from the fire, our home in is foreclosure, I got the job of my dreams, my truck was repoed, lost the job of my dreams because I was fired for forging my managers name on my foreclosure paperwork because she was out of the building that day (stupid mistake).

So that is where alcohol has gotten me and despite reading this terribly depressing list I'll probably talk myself into having just one more drink today. I need to stop, I know otherwise my life is stuck in spin cycle, but I just don't know how or maybe I'm just not ready to admit out loud what I know inside: I'm an alcoholic. I'm scared of life sober, scared of what I don't know exactly. I am just ready to be happy.
Thanks for any help you could offer,


  1. You mention at the end that you are scared of life sober but you're not sure why. Because you're smart. Life sober can be scary. Life can be scary. Bad things happen. They do.

    But the thing is, good things happen too. Wonderful things, silly things, joyful things, amazing things.

    The problem with addiction is that you numb the bad things with something that becomes way worse than the bad things ever were, and in the process you lose the good things, because you aren't there for them, or can't get to them, or you don't think you deserve them.

    You are obviously smart, driven and caring. All those things? Those are the good parts of life. But it doesn't sound like your colleagues or your husband or your kids are getting to see that.

    They're seeing shame and detachment masquerading as you. Don't let those bad things win and hide you away.

    In my experience, the only way to beat shame is admit what you're ashamed of, and the only way to beat detachment is to admit what you care about. Out loud to other people. It is definitely scary.

    But I promise you that the scariest part, BY FAR, is the first time. Then it gets pretty great.

    Kind of like sex! Sorry if that's rude... just wanted to end with a smile. And it really is true. :)

    1. I cried reading your comment. I would like to think I am still a good person underneath all this mess. I'm frustrated that I allowed this to happen, I should have known better addiction runs in my family. And your right, I am ashamed. The way I deal with it is isolate myself from everyone, but then I miss the way things were. I have been alone for quite sometime. When I bring it up to my mother, whom I was always close to, why I feel like she avoids me she answers with she has to, to remain sane. Apparently she was so worried about me it was causing her own depression to get worse. That makes me angry because who the hell am I supposed to talk to, I don't want her to fix my problems I just want someone to listen. She says as a mother she feels like she has to fix it. My family outside of my home has no idea I am now struggling with alcohol. Thats a whole other ballgame. I was raised in a Catholic family and they all drink, I'm afraid to tell them because I know how they tiptoed around me with the pills. I don't want that, I want to be able to go to my parents with my kids and relax. Nothing is the same anymore and I hate it.

    2. Hey, me again (Sarah). I'm sorry I made you cry but glad that that did hit you - means there is lots of good still there wanting to come back out in the sun! :)

      You're not Irish by chance are you? :) I ask because family avoidance is practically part of the blood, at least in my experience. Problem? What problem? I think lots of kinds of families are probably like that though.

      Sometimes it's hard for someone close to you to be a good person to vent to - either because it's hard on them, or because they just aren't good at it. Therapy really has made all the difference in my life. There are ways to get it cheap or free. I think that just about everybody needs to have somebody to say all the insane, selfish, nutty, emotional, neurotic crap to - somebody neutral and separate from your daily life.

      So your mom can't fix you and that makes it hard for her to listen. I totally get that... I hate feeling powerless when somebody I care about is going through stuff and I can't just fix it. But I can also see how it could leave you feeling without an outlet.

      Do you go to church? AA? There are definitely people/counselors/therapists to find through both of those place, and if not there, there are others. Online is nice, but really truly in person does make a difference.

      Full disclosure: I'm not an alcoholic, but my mother has been nearly my whole life, and I have my own addictive tendencies with food, etc.

    3. We are alcoholic, we are not bad. I am unwell and becoming more well; one day at a time in Alcoholics Anonymous. Call the AA number in your phone book, ask for help. We will come pick you up, walk in to a meeting with you, hold your hand, LOVE YOU UNTIL YOU CAN LOVE YOURSELF and it's all freely given. Good luck. I love you because you are just like me...alcoholic.

  2. Try and identify what your triggers are. Mine was anger. The moment I got angry at a situation or a person, I needed a drink. Once I figured that out, whenever I got angry I would stop and acknowledge that I was angry. Say it out loud. That helped so much.

    I know your financials are in bad shape but many cities have very low cost therapy available. Stopping any addiction without therapy can be useless. Because you need to have someone talk to you and you to them and find out why you need to fill up the hole. I once asked my shrink when the hole would be filled and she replied, "It never gets filled, but it's on you to manage it and deal with the fact that it will never be filled." I was depressed for about a week after that revelation but now I get it. Everyone has a hole. Some people just manage it better than others.

    I wish you luck and courage.

  3. My heart goes out to you! So much to deal with! I was also scared of life in sobriety but IT IS WORTH IT! the road is hard but it is real,,get all the support you need, keep reaching out--it will get better

  4. Big hugs to you. The shame is so awful, isn't it? I am 49 days sober, and I can also promise you that it is soooo much better. Never thought I could manage 1 day being with my four kids, all under 7,without my 2 bottles of wine. The first days are terrible, but please please try it. I haven't come out to my family yet, other than my hubby. You know what? No one has really even noticed! I am sure they will eventually, but that will work itself out. Do it for YOU!! Later, your kiddos can thank you. Hugs and prayers to you. Go get 'em, tiger!!

  5. Straight up - from where I am sitting (which was right where you are ten years ago),, I'm not sure you're there,, you know,, ready to say, "HI, I'm an addict/alcoholic and my life has become unmanageable due to drugs and alcohol. I need help; I can't do this on my own,, ok,, I surrender - please tell me what to do"

    Do I hope I'm wrong?? That you ARE at the place of surrender. YES,, but sweetie, no where, even between the lines, do I hear it. Your list of consequences is long and heavy girl. Thing is, there's so many more consequences out there for you,, waiting patiently - this is an insidious beast, cunning, baffling, and oooohhhhh so patient.

    You have, I am sure, heard the cliché about hitting one's "bottom" - this doesn't HAVE to be so. You don't have to lose your kids, land in jail TWICE, admit to five, FIVE inpatient rehabs, and one week inpatient psych ward stay, lose a 25 year marriage and lose FOUR really really terrific jobs like I did. You just don't have to.

    But, , you will if you keep flirting with disaster, trying to "drink 'normal'" trying to manage it "this time" - you're an addict my friend; the courageous thing to do is admit that and ASK for help. Continuing to drink is easy. Getting honest is really challenging and takes a lot of guts.

    But, you have that; its inside, just blurred by the vision of a girl stuck on that preverbal rat wheel. Jump off the thing my friend; it only spins to two destinations; prison or death.

    This is the hardest challenge of your life - but when you emerge on the other side you , your children, spouse, and family will all be blessed beyond words. this is a family disease and hereditary. Become a sober mom who one day can talk to your children about your walk - I know for me, it has probably saved their lives; all four of them - none of them abuse drugs or alcohol and are terrified (because of me) to do so.

    Real quick, because I know this is tooooo windy; my extended family imbibe excessively - I get you when you write about that. For a period of time, I had to stay away. Today, the visits have to be cut short. But that's what we do - we go to ANY length for sobriety. This is life or death - we simply must.
    Glad you're here. keep writing on your thread. We care because we're YOU!! go do the next right thing

  6. Ditto to Dawn ..... PLEASE don't go down the path that I have - get help and STOP while you still have a chance before things get a whole lot worse.

    I compare the preverbal rat wheel to the black hole - sucking me down further and further with each drink. Alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful. I drank to feel better which only made me feel worse and caused enormous problems so I drank more to deal with those and so the cycle went .....

    Do it for yourself - you and sobriety should trump anything else in life. I know it is scary but you are worth it. If you were diagnosed with cancer wouldn't you seek every treatment possible to live? Alcoholism if a progressive, life long disease that can't be treated with chemo or a magic pill. Treatment has to come from within you and your desire to change your life. Don't worry about the past. Don't worry about tomorrow. Just for TODAY don't drink. Little by little you will see things change for the better.

    I too had no one to talk to. My mom like yours wanted to fix me. My husband became angrier and angrier instead of telling me how much he loved me and that we would get through this TOGETHER. That really hurt and made me drink even more. The support I get online is great but face-to-face therapy is what works best for me.

    I started to ramble about my life story but as we can all guess it isn't a pretty one. In summary I will say that God is amazing and stepped in (once again) to do for me what I couldn't do for myself.

    The best free and extremely supportive therapy I have found is AA. We all come from different walks of life but share a common disease. I can open up and share the VERY shameful things I did while drinking, knowing that half the people in the room have similar experiences if not worse. Try different groups to find one that fits with you. Attend meetings in a near by town if you are scared of running into someone you know. Give it 30 days and I promise you will feel better. You will see life so much differently without the fog, guilt, and shame that alcohol so graciously provides.

    By divine intervention I received a second DUI and I feel blessed. I am not dead. I did not kill an innocent human being. I almost lost my 25 yr marriage and amazing kids but I am now sober and feel incredible. True I am court ordered to attend AA but I should have never left those rooms six years ago when I thought I could drink like a "normal" person. I feel peace when I walk into a meeting where no one judges me and I can learn to handle sobriety from people who have been there and done that. Love yourself and your family enough to seek help. It won't be easy at first but in the end you will be sooooo glad you did.

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers. YOU CAN DO THIS !!!!!!!

  7. I know what you are talking about, I had three children under 5 when addiction took over. I too used pills to ease the anxiety. I honestly believed I was a better mother when I had my drug of choice. I too am ashamed of the things I did in order to Secure the pills I felt I needed. I took opiates From every medicine cabinet avaiable to me, including family, friends and complete stragers. I usually needed money to purchase extra meds because my insurance only covered one bottle a month, so I pawned jewelry which I would steal from family. The shame was so heavy I thought I would never be able to forgive myself. Eventually life crumbled, I was arrested for obtaining a controlled substance by forgery.
    I went to Long term treatment after several failed out patient attempts. Bottom line. I had to surrender. I had to admit my life was out of control and that I had no idea how to fix it. I was scared, humiliated but most of all I hated myself for failing my children. My only hope was believing that there was a chance I could get better, stay sober and once again be a mother.
    Change doesn't happen over night, it wasnt always easy, but I am sober today. I am a mother that is actually present for my children. This is a gift. This is a gift you deserve and there will be people in your life that will support your sobriety. It may be uncomfortable to openly discuss your sobriety with family and friends but it gets easier over time. I'm no longer ashamed to say I was an addict because it does not define me. Using drugs was something I did, not who I am.
    AA is a safe place. AA taught me how to live a sober life. AA helped me navigate some of the scariest times of my life. I never believed I could live without substances. But AA showed me I could, and I am forever grateful. Let go, and know sobriety offers a beautiful life. Again I will say, YOU DESERVE IT!

    1. Wow, our stories are so much alike. I was too ashamed earlier to admit I too was charged with obtaining a controlled substance by forgery. I too stole and pawned jewelry. It gives me hope that you are better. i want nothing more than to be present for my children, and to be honest with myself. I attended my first AA meeting yesterday, and I was amazed at how good it made me feel to open up. You are someone I can look up to. Thank you for responding.