Friday, June 28, 2013

How Do I Stop This Cycle?

*** Submitted by Anonymous

A friend mentioned to me that she loved your site and had donated to your cause.  She has been a part of AA for two years and has trying to get me to tag along with her, but I never thought I had the need. I just spent an hour over your website and was very moved.

I have refused to consider myself an alcoholic.  Because I have gone days, weeks, months, even years without drinking.  I was a social drinker during college and didn't drink at all when my children were younger except for the occasional Christmas party or gathering for a birthday. 

As my children got older, I started going out more with family and friends, having drinks with dinner, etc.  Eventually this turned into happy hour once a week with no children, drinks with dinner, occasional parties at our home. 

Over the past four years, its been Thursday night happy hour until 10 p.m., Friday night out late, Saturday bbq's and start drinking at five, and Sunday is "I'm getting ready to go back to work tomorrow so I'll just have some wine at home while I cook and clean."  The last six months I feel like its escalated even beyond that -- drinking on a Tuesday night because I had a rough day at work, drinking at a business lunch because someone offers, etc. 

I cannot count the number of times that I've woken up hung over.  The number of times that I wake up and I'm not sure how I got home, then l look outside and see my own car in the driveway.  The times that I will remember something I did or said a few days after the fact and cringe with embarrassment. 

Two things this past week made me pause and think that I really had to quit bottom feeding and get control of my life again.  One - we were at a wedding with many mutual friends.  I had a great time but the end of the evening is hazy.  I saw the same friends this past weekend and one girl made the comment that her mom wanted to know "who that girl is who is always drunk" (me)......nice.  The other was the fact that I ran into a teacher from my daughters school at the bar I frequent and she seemed quite uncomfortable with my level of drinking, and offered to drive me home.  I thanked her but refused and left when she got up to go find her husband.   I saw her today dropping my daughter off at school and felt mortified. 

Am I a functioning alcoholic?  I don't know. 

If so, I am functioning on a very low level in comparison to years past.  I used to do so much more for my kids, my home, even my job.  I am covering all my bases - no one misses school, everyone eats, the laundry is done and no one at work is the wiser.  I have been married twenty years, and though alcohol has caused us fights and cost us money, my husband is supportive of me and takes care of me.  He doesn't mind if I drink, just doesn't want me to drink too much.  What he doesn't understand is I am beginning to think anything is too much when every night turns into a haze of regret.  I regret my kids knowing I drink and thinking this lifestyle is ok.  I regret the time I haven't spent with them and they have been alone, even though they are teenagers now.  I regret my beautiful home being unorganized and dirty. 

I tell myself I deserve it because I work so hard every week - I go to the gym every day, I am a Zumba instructor twice a week, I have a full time management job and have to travel at times.  But I also tell myself I deserve more.

My question is this:  How do I stop this cycle?  I will go without Sunday through Thursday afternoon, then I will receive half a dozen calls for happy hour from various people.  I say I won't go but I usually cave.  My husband does not have a problem with drinking and can have a few and go home, so he thinks I should be able to do the same.

In the past few months, I've put reminders on my phone Thursday through Sunday with various sayings about being strong, saying no, etc.  But in the end it gets me.  I've thought about telling my friends I have a real problem and not to ask me out, but I am embarrassed to do so.  I've thought about telling my relatives not to buy me alcohol as a gift (people bring bottles of wine and liquor over all the time when we bbq) but again, it seems like I should be able to control myself.  I will go 10-14 days with excuses - telling people I am sick, telling them the kids are sick, telling them I have to work early, etc.....and then the cycle will start again.

I am wondering if completely removing myself from my environment for a week or so would help.  Some type of therapy, rehab, even just a vacation by myself with no alcohol.  I could afford to take a week to to do that or possibly even ten days.  Has anyone had any luck with that?

I went to AA.  I hated it.  Honestly.  I saw the good in the people, but I was extremely uncomfortable and I am not at all a religious person and I do not believe a higher power controls my destiny, I believe that I do. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Want To Live

***Submitted by Anonymous

About three months ago I was laying in bed in the evening and having some wine. I had cooked dinner and cleaned the house. The kids were doing their thing, my husband was downstairs watching TV. I don't usually drink in bed, but that night I did.

I was feeling hopeless and ashamed. There was nothing I felt like doing. I just felt like my life was a joke, and to get back to where it was (perfect), was impossible.

I remembered I had forgotten to take my anti-anxiety pill (prescribed to me). I got up, went to the bathroom, opened the pill bottle - and right then without even thinking for a second, I decided to take them all. 100 pills.

I laid back down on my bed and thought about my life. I started to get sleepy. I texted my husband, saying how much I love him.

The next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital. 2 days later, in an ICU, with a breathing tube in my throat. I couldn't understand where I was, what had happened. I couldn't talk because of the breathing tube. It was dark. My hands were tied to the bed. I felt my mouth with my tongue and it felt as though I had no teeth. I was terrified.

The next morning my husband came and explained what had happened. He was crying. I felt awful. Never again, I decided. I wanted to live. I love my husband and my kids, I wanted to live life to the fullest.

I got out of the hospital a few days later with instructions to go to mental health clinic.

I was put on antidepressants, a new anti-anxiety medication and sleeping pills. And a suggestion to attend AA meetings.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Becoming Corked

*** Submitted by Chenoa Woods
I knew I had a problem long before I ever admitted it. I would wake up most mornings with feelings of shame and guilt, promising myself that I would not drink that day. Yet, by the afternoon I would find myself with a glass of wine in my hand. I started having stomach problems, but instead of cutting back or stopping drinking all together, I blamed it on the wine and switched to drinking beer instead – another classic sign of alcoholism. I started going out and binge drinking more; spending the following days comatose on the couch, unable to interact with anyone.
On the outside, I looked like I had it all. I went to church, had a nice home, a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. I took care of myself, going to the gym daily and leading a healthy lifestyle (aside from the drinking). However, despite all of this, I was falling apart on the inside. I blamed my problems on everyone else. I was angry, lonely and empty. I was physically there, but I wasn’t present in my life. I rarely felt joy or happiness; I didn’t laugh like I used to. I was going through the motions, but I wasn’t truly living anymore.
I was falling quickly and it was only a matter of time before I hit bottom. After a series of drinking fueled incidents, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take the lying, deceit, guilt and shame I was putting myself and my family through anymore. One night, while reading on the couch, I felt an overwhelming sense of heaviness on my heart that I had never experienced before. I knew without a doubt that once and for all I needed to be honest with my husband about my drinking. Despite going to church, I had never had a close relationship with God, however, I truly believe that God was speaking to me that night and gave me the courage to finally speak my truth.
As we sat across from each other in our living room that night, my husband asked me once and for all if I was willing to give up alcohol for good. I said I would and admitted to him that I needed help and so began my journey in sobriety. And, it is just that, a journey.
Getting and staying sober is not easy. I have relapsed twice since first getting sober, but God willing I will never take another drink again. I will never be able to be a “normal” drinker therefore alcohol has no place in my life. Before getting sober, I couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol. Would I have fun anymore? Would my friends want to hang out with me? Well, I’m here to say that life goes on and your old way of living gives way to a new “normal.” Getting sober is not a death sentence; it is a second chance at getting to live the life you have always wanted.
Sobriety is a personal journey. I can only speak from my own experience, but, for me, getting sober gave me the freedom to truly be the person I always strived to be. I can now say with total confidence that I am the best mom, wife, daughter and friend I can be. I have been able to delve into my passion of writing again along with discovering new talents and passions. Previously, when I was angry, stressed or lonely I would drink because it’s what I was familiar with. It was the only way I knew how to “escape.” In sobriety, your problems don’t just go away; you find new ways to deal with them. Instead of pouring a glass of wine, I write or try a new recipe or create something. It’s different for everyone; the key is finding what works for you.
When we go through challenging times or hardships, our first question is always “Why?” “Why me God?” I asked this when I struggled with my OCD, when my mom died of cancer and when I admitted to my alcoholism. The thing is, continuing to ask “Why?” prevents us from moving forward and accepting our circumstances. Because, it is those challenges and hardships that end up making us who we are, which is often a much better version of the person we were before.
Perhaps, you’re reading this right now and feeling the same guilt and shame I felt every morning when I woke up after a night of drinking. I am here to tell you there is no shame in admitting to your weaknesses and asking for help. There is no shame in wanting to be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister or friend. Alcoholism is a deadly disease and the longer you wait to get help, the worse it will get. Trust me. I was fortunate to get the help I needed before I lost everything that was important to me. Look in your local phonebook or Google AA meetings in your area. Most AA groups have closed meetings just for women, which provide a safe and comfortable setting. If you don’t feel comfortable going to an AA meeting, reach out to your pastor or clergy at your church. Many churches offer their own recovery groups. The first step is admitting you have a problem and seeking help. From there, things will only continue to get better. I promise.
To see more of my story visit my blog at http://www.lifecorked.com

Monday, June 3, 2013

60 days

***Submitted by Anonymous

So I just stumbled upon this site. I have chosen sobriety because my drinking was becoming a huge problem.

I have no horror story about my drinking, I haven't had trouble with the law, I managed to be a decent teacher, wife and mother!  Decent wasn't good enough anymore!  I have managed 60 days of sobriety and have done most of it on my own with the help of a wonderful counselor.

I have no desire to go to AA  and have no future plans to go even against advice from my counselor.  The only problem is that I really do not have a large support system of people who understand what I am going through. I feel lonely as much of my social life has disappeared even though I have asked my friends to not treat me any differently. I was the social director and planned many outings (mostly promoting ways to drink) and now my phone barely rings.

My husband is supportive mostly but I was so good at hiding my drinking that he still doesn't truly believe that I have a problem.

This site is great and I look forward to reading others posts!