Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cunning and Baffling

***Submitted by Anonymous 

For 50 exhilarating and sometimes-despondent days, I didn’t drink. My parents told me I seemed “so much calmer.” My rear-end seemed to have magically tightened and lifted itself about an inch.

But last Monday, while having dinner with a friend, I ordered one glass of pinot grigio and sipped it slowly. It was part of my new experiment to drink only when there was an “occasion” of sorts – and to limit myself to two, no matter what.

My friend and I saw a movie; I went home, proud of my self-control. 

Driving home the next day from work, I spotted one of my favorite local bands setting up for a concert at the neighborhood park. I drove to the store and bought a bottle of wine, debating myself the whole way and tossing up half-hearted prayers. At home, I carefully measured 10 ounces – the equivalent of two glasses – into a plastic cup and headed to the park with my blanket.

Again, I sipped slowly. That worked until I ran into two gregarious friends who shared their champagne with me. And another friend who shared her sangria. Then I went home, poured myself another glass of wine and watched “Smashed” – a movie about a young woman who quits drinking after facing too many scary mornings-after. I woke up hung over, on a Wednesday morning. 

Of course, the only thing that steadies a hangover is booze, so the following evening, I drank two glasses of wine. Two glasses = no big deal, but combine that with the half-sleeping pill I took, and I have zero recollection of eating the S’mores Blizzard that was in my freezer. I groaned loudly when I saw the empty cup in my bathroom trash can. I looked up the calorie count online – 420 calories and I don’t even get to recall the pleasure of how it tasted??

Thursday night, I drank almost an entire bottle of wine – not sure what “occasion” I imagined for myself, to justify the consumption. I woke up mildly hung over on Friday, the day I would host my daughter’s sleepover party. Knowing I would need a nap, I decided to work from home. (Always conscientious about work, I made sure to get everything done and then some.)

Around 5 p.m., I wanted some wine to ease my headache, but I didn’t want to drink before any of the parents dropped off their kids. One mom came by; I asked her if she wanted something to drink. She said a beer, so I poured myself some wine – careful to control the amount in case she was judging. (She wasn't.)

A couple of hours later, my husband – we’re separated and share custody of our daughter – came over to help with the party. I continued drinking wine while he drank *one* beer. He had been very supportive during my 50 days of sobriety; and now, he was supportive of my attempt to moderate.

“You haven’t had any more than two, have you?” he said. “Come on, don’t fall off the wagon.”

I laughed. “I’ve already fallen off the wagon.”

Later, outside, in the backyard, we talked while the five beautiful little girls splashed in a small pool. My husband noticed the blue plastic cup in my hand. “Are you drinking more wine?”


“Why? Why are you doing that to yourself? You were doing so great.”

I paused, and then poured out the wine in the grass, explaining how it’s every alcoholic’s great obsession to be able to drink normally. I had to admit that my experiment had failed, and failed quickly. Cunning, baffling, powerful...

The next morning, I woke up understandably tired after trying to keep five energetic girls fed, comfortable and happy - but I felt great. I played games with the girls and had fun.

And I had to hit the reset button, after 50 days of sobriety. I’m now on Day 2.


  1. Wow, you are so strong. I am amazed how you admitted that to your husband. He seems to really care. Wishing you all the best. xoxo

  2. I am so glad you stopped again. Many of us don't until much later, if at all. So now you know the truth of this disease. You are already starting your new journey. Thank you for sharing your story with us - you helped me today.

  3. But you still had those 50 days! They don't go away just because you drank again.
    I had 2 years "sober" from an ex. And then thought I was ok enough to have little sips of contact, an email here, a text there, then it started to snowball, he forgot he was dating someone else, and I had to oh so painfully cut off contact again. I have 2 weeks. And those all important 2 years.

  4. 124 days for me, now I am on day 5. Although the 124 days weren't for naught, it sure does feel like a new start. Learn something from it and move forward. You can, I can, we can...

  5. THANK YOU ... I read sober blogs to hear newcomers misery ... and I do NOT want what you have and it takes me straight to gratitude for what I have, almost 4.5 years of hard earned, often uncomfy, sobriety. Multiple peeps with more than 20+ years of sobriety have recently relapsed in my sober sommunity and it is SCARY to see them struggle to receive this beautiful gift again, baffled by WHY their 20+ years can not "get them sober" again. They did not lose what they have learned, but sobriety is a gift thru the grace of a higher power and my sponsor told me to cherish the gift, IF I choose to give it back, there is NO guarantee that I will receive it again. There are such unfortunates. I appreciate your honesty and I am glad you stopped again too. The truth of this disease is that it tells me every day that I can drink normally, my work is to have enough spiritual immunity to know the disease is also a LIAR.

  6. Your post almost made me cry. So sincere. I'm almost 6 months sober . I just returned from vacation where I saw so many people (including my husband!) enjoying their ONE (or maybe two) celebratory evening drink. Sometimes, I was like "maybe I can have just one too"! Then I remembered all (and they are many) the vacations I previously ruined for my family with my drunk outbursts in the middle of the streets. Thank you so much for reminding me, that, just like you, I cannot have just one (or two)!

  7. Me either. If I could have just one... but I can't cuz there is no One for me, it always turned into a bottle and then some more too. Black outs, driving drunk, sleeping around (I got sober just as AIDS became the result of drunken sex), hangovers, bad breath, bruises, strange lovers... I don't miss any of that stuff.

    You are right back where you should be-Congrats, hang in there and remember you have us to help support you when the Wolf starts to whisper sweet nothings to you about how it could be. Those are lies; it cannot be.

  8. You sound like I did before I finally admitted I had a problem and couldn't drink any more. EVER. That sounded like a long time z9months ago when I started AA. But I am so happy I am sober now. Feeling great the next morning. I don't know how I functioned many of those mornings getting 3 kids up, fed, lunches made and dressed and off to school with a horrible hangover. But I did almost every morning, because I had drank wine almost every night before.
    Those days are over and it feels so good. I don't want to go back. Sure, I miss the first or 2nd drink sometimes,,but not the rest or the passing out in bed. Surely not the horrible headaches and nausea the next day!
    Keep trying. Vfind a support group. AA works for me. Good luck! You can do it!

  9. I am on day 7 and already my brain teases me that maybe I could have just 1. But you're right - we can't. Thanks for your post!!!!

  10. Timing is everything!! I needed this today!! I'm on day 11 after a "wakeup call" which forced me to realize the truth. Last week a well meaning friend said "maybe someday you can have just one glass". I said "yes, maybe someday I can". Deep down I know....I can never have "just one...or two".....thank you for your honesty. Reading your story made me teary. I love the support of your husband... I am so blessed to have a supportive husband also. I feel sharper, stronger, and better than I have in a very long time and I don't want to go back. Thank you again for your post and to all the replies too! XOXO

  11. Yesterday was going to be my day one (another day one) for sure.
    It wasn't. Now I'm reading these entries to once again remind me that I can't drink just one and that I have to stop.

    How comforting it is to know I'm not alone.

    The best to all, and a sober day to all!