Monday, April 22, 2013

Reaching for Recovery Through Grief and Stress

***Submitted by Anonymous:

Dear Crying Out Now,

It is 4 in the morning and I can't sleep.  My husband refuses to talk or look at me.  He has always wanted me to reach out to someone and found your blog months ago.  Of course, I didn't feel I needed to until now.

I am 45 years old & a stay at home mom for 2 wonderful boys ages 13 & 9.  My husband is in sales and travels about 2 weeks every month.  We have been married for 12 years.

I have been struggling with alcohol for over 3 years and about 1 1/2 years ago I entered as an outpatient at a rehab center.

I finished the program after 6 months of attending and was doing really good.  During that time I was attending AA meetings and I found them to be really depressing.  So I never went back because I thought I was strong enough to do this on my own.

Over the past year I have been drinking.   I love my husband & children and would do everything & anything I could for them.  I love being a wife and mom, but struggle with not feeling like I am good enough.   I realize drinking does not help me feel any better about myself and does not help things here at home.  So why can't I stop drinking for them?  

Two weeks ago my father past away after 6 months of suffering with lung cancer.  I knew he wasn't  going to get any better.

I know he is no longer suffering and is in a better place.  It just really hurts.  My Dad wouldn't have wanted to see me ruining my life so why can't I stop for him?

I can't think straight all due to my poor choices.  Do you have any advice?  I truly don't want to lose my husband or my children!


  1. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I've been through that and the pain is terrible.

    You ask "Why can't I stop drinking for them?" and "Why can't I stop drinking for him?" The answer, I believe, is that the only person we can successfully stop drinking for is ourselves.

    I am sober through AA. When I first went, it was to keep my son, but gradually, over time, it became more about myself. I think of it as when you're on an airplane - you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then help your children. AA is my oxygen mask for life. I joined to stop drinking, but I get so much more than that.

    My suggestion is to go to an AA meeting. There is a chance your perspective may have changed since you were last there. If you go to that meeting and don't like it, try a different meeting the next time.

    I've written a lot here, but one more thing: when I chose my sponsor at 3 days sober, I asked her if AA was a cult. She told me she didn't know, but wasn't it better than what I was doing on my own? I think that pertains to you as well...and there is NO SHAME in being incapable of doing it on your own. Why not try a meeting?

    I hope this helps. Hang in.

  2. I'm sorry for the loss of your father, and the stress you're having right now at home. So glad you reached out here. I just have to say, I second everything that LC said above. I'm also sober through AA. Something I was told in the beginning is to listen for the similarities, not the differences. I am always able to identify with something I hear in a meeting, even if it's just one thing the entire time. You're right, some of the stories people share are really tough, but what I like about meetings is that everyone is there to get well. I like being with people who are trying to make better choices, because that's what I'm trying to do. I tried to do things on my own for a long time, and what I finally realized is that I'm actually not so great at being in charge of my life. I functioned well as an alcoholic for a long time, but my insides were a mess, and at the end, suddenly I was having a really hard time functioning in the world. It takes some time for the fog to lift when you stop drinking. I'll share what works for me: Don't drink, go to AA meetings, read the Big Book, get a sponsor, and work the steps. Every morning, I ask for the strength to stay sober. Throughout the day, I plug in to recovery somehow, whether it's going to a meeting, reading in the Big Book, calling someone in recovery to chat, praying, seeing my therapist. Usually it's several of those things. At the end of the day, I say a prayer of thanks that I was able to stay sober. And, honest to God, one day at a time, my life has gotten better. I feel so much better than I ever did when I was drinking, even during all those years when I thought I was having fun and functioning well. You have to make the choice to get well, and you have to do it for yourself. The good news is it's totally doable, and we are here for you whenever you need us!

  3. I agree with the above comment and am so sorry for your loss.
    AA is not for everyone. It works wonders for some and saves lots of lives.
    I personally am living sober and growing as a woman with Women For Sobriety. We have a very active online forum and there are face to face meetings in many towns.

  4. pg 317 Big Book of AA ...."When I am willing to do the right thing, I am rewarded with an inner peace no amount of liquor could ever provide. When I am unwilling to do the right thing, I become restless, irritable and discontent. It is always my choice. Through the 12 steps, I have been granted the gift of choice. I am no longer at the mercy of a disease that tells me the only answer is to drink. If willingness is the key to unlock the gates of hell, it is action that opens those doors so that WE may walk freely among the living." Tonight I will be saying a prayer of gratitude for my sobriety through AA and I will also pray for those "still suffering". I will also pray for you to be granted the willingness to take action toward sobriety, so that you may also walk together with us freely among the living. Come, sit, listen, stay ... give us the privilege of loving you until you can love yourself again ... that is what I did and what happened to me in AA, wonderful women loved me when I hated myself. Blessings.

  5. I am sorry for your loss. My Dad died about 1 1/2 yrs ago. I can relate to your story. I can't do AA. I've tried. And then I tried and then I tried again. I live in a big metro area - lots of choices. In Minnesota - land of recovery-R-us!.

    The last meeting I attended was a couple of miles from my home. It was a nice fall day and I walked. I was so frustrated and angry by the meeting's end, I would have stopped at the liquor store on my way home. But, I had walked and didn't have my wallet. Good thing. Once I swore off AA meetings, I was able to get through the day without a fight with myself. Most days is is not much of a struggle. Some days it is.

    Lots of people swear by AA and the community and support they get. More power to them. Whatever works is great. It just wasn't working for me. I can't do the God thing. I am spiritual, but not religious. I strongly believe in God, but not as the grand puppeteer. The idea that God is deciding whether someone has a drink that day is fine for whoever wants that. I am just not one of them.

    I, too, have a husband and kids who love me. I, too. have the feeling that I need to live my life respectful of their love (i.e. that does not involve vodka). I don't sleep either. Perhaps there is something out there for both of us. Good luck.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. The reason you can't quit for your family is because alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful. Inpatient treatment might be an option. These ladies have given you some great suggestions. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.