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Teetotal Tuesday

Today marks 60 days on my sober calendar (which is a lot like the Chinese calendar except that no one’s birthday is the year of the cock). If that makes you think I’ve been doing this with the help of a 12-step program, you’d be right. I may be a cynical, sarcastic, non-joiner-upper type, but it doesn’t matter because above all else I wanted to quit drinking. And it’s working.

A lot of you have asked me questions about ditching the sauce in private through email (chickens) and I’ve answered every one of you. Because that’s how I roll! Non-drinking style! If you are someone who’s wondering how it’s going but didn’t want to email me and ask, I’m going to tell you: it hasn’t been easy. Wine, for me, was a friend, a lifestyle and (I thought) a choice. It’s difficult to explain to someone else why a few glasses of wine every night was a problem for me. Maybe if you could just see the every night part. That was the part I didn’t want to see but it’s also the part that was nagging at me. Why couldn’t I just go a night or two without that crutch? Why, even when I had a cold, a peaceful day, something pressing to do the next morning could I still not find a reason not to indulge? I didn’t know. Also, there was the whole unpredictable part – thinking I’d have a glass and having four.

The truth of the matter is that I’m sure I would’ve continued on but the wine wasn’t working that well anymore anyway. I thought I was dulling the anxiety of the day but I wasn’t feeling nice and safe and relaxed unless I had more and more wine. And even then not so much.

I, very simply, was unhappy and couldn’t see things getting better the way I was going.

Since I’ve stopped boozing it up, I’ve heard a lot about alcoholism being on the rise in mothers -either in the news or on Lifetime movies I can’t be sure. I believe the statistics are there but at the same time, I have a lot of trouble accusing parenting for my drinking habits or anyone else’s. I truly feel that there has to be some level of predisposition to any addiction. I’m no Dr. Drew Pinsky, but I don’t think that becoming a mother in itself can cause someone to become an alcoholic. Can stress push someone to drink in an unhealthy way? Sure. Stress can also cause someone to eat an entire triangle of double creme brie in one sitting or to momentarily consider buying a David Cook CD (I mean, not me!). But there are no 12-step meetings for people who crave ex-Idol albums – although, there clearly should be! We need to keep those people off the roads lest we accidentally hear Jordin Sparks blaring through their car windows.

I guess my point is that parenting is hard. But so are a lot of life conditions.

I’m not trying to downplay the role having premature twins, a toddler, and a good dose of post partum depression had in causing my unhappiness but at a certain point I knew that I was going to have to change something up and stop waiting to miraculously feel better about my circumstances.

It’s getting easier. I feel better, happier, clearer and best of all, a tad skinnier. Although, I have a raging cold right now and I just realized I can’t have Nyquil – my favorite pain go bye bye juice. I have a sneaking suspicioun that Dayquil just isn’t the same. Damn.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on July 21, 2009 7:23 pmDrinking43 comments  

43 Comments

  1. Creepy Mommy said,

    Congratulations on your hard work and dedication. I grew up with two alcholic fathers, one was a step, they weren't gay, although that would be different, anyway, I've known first hand what it's like to grow up with an alcholic parent, twice.

    What an amazing and brave choice you made for yourself and your family.

    Have fun at BH, I here you're sharing a room with one of my fave bloggers, Aunt Becky!

    | July 21, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  2. Black Hockey Jesus said,

    Congratulations, Stefanie. I'm 10 days away from 7 years. It gets better and better.

    | July 21, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

  3. Jen said,

    You're doing awesome. I'm so proud of what you're doing.

    | July 21, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

  4. Lisa Page Rosenberg said,

    Bravo to you Lady. Brave move.

    I got sober 21 years ago and in that time, nothing has made the booze feel quite as necessary as becoming a mom. Yet I haven't. Momming is a tough gig but I have to remember that everything is a tough gig for me if I'm all drinky.

    Congratulations on your 60 one-days-at-a-time.

    | July 21, 2009 @ 10:52 pm

  5. Suzy said,

    That Nyquil, vanilla extract, Listerine stuff from AA is really crap. The amount of alcohol in there is NOT enough to trigger you. And I heard that in REHAB.

    I so hate AA, it convinces people they have a disease instead of an addiction. They are completely different. You have to attack addiction much differently than a disease. Read Addictive Thinking and Addictive Personality. It will 'splain everythin' Lucy.

    | July 21, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  6. Cheryl Lage said,

    Stef, I am so proud of you. All the moms in my real-life circle upped their intake once becoming parents, me included.

    It is such a fine, fine line to walk…and when it feels like you're walking a dangerous line, chances are, you are.

    Love you Dear E-Friend, and rooting for you, and your gorgeous crew 100%.

    | July 21, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

  7. BabyonBored said,

    I'm not avoiding vanilla extract or rum cake for that matter but mama has been known to continue taking Nyquil way past the cold going away.

    | July 21, 2009 @ 11:02 pm

  8. Alison said,

    Hi Stephanie, I'm a new mom to a 4 month old boy. I read "Sippy Cups" and just found your blog. Thank you for your honesty and sharing. I'm soaking it all in, as I'm living your exact life (as many women are!). I totally identify with your latest entry, as I always feel like I'm walking the fine line between someone who enjoys a good drink… and someone who needs to give up the drink. I'm happy to see that you made the right choice for you! Hang in there!

    | July 21, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

  9. Stillie said,

    I'm not a parent, but I'm going through the same struggle with sobriety. Even now, after almost a year, it's an almost-daily fight with myself.

    It makes me happy to see that you're maintaining your sobriety, especially with as much stress and cause for celebration as you have. The public chronicling of your journey to a sober life is helping people like me who have blog visitation counters stuck at "0" and no fan base for support! LOL!

    Continued success to you, in both your personal and professional life.

    | July 21, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  10. Marinka said,

    Congratulations. One day at a time. It's not just a kickass sitcom.

    | July 21, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

  11. Johnna said,

    Try Tylenol PM. No alchohol, but a little antihistimine (like benedryl) if you feel comfortable with that.

    | July 22, 2009 @ 12:02 am

  12. Aunt Becky said,

    Dude. I'm proud of you. But don't worry, I promise not to spend all of BlogHer insisting we talk about our "feelings."

    | July 22, 2009 @ 12:07 am

  13. Sober Mommy said,

    Congratulations! You are doing awesome. I know, painfully, how long some of the days are but like you are finding out, they do get easier.

    Keep doing whatever you are doing because it's working…

    | July 22, 2009 @ 12:11 am

  14. Katie said,

    I just read your second book this week and wanted to stop by and tell you how much I loved it. I agree with you on so many points! It was really refreshing to have another mom write about some of the things I talk about all the time.

    Congratulations on being sober. That's great! Your honesty is really amazing. I gave up drinking in 1998 only to start again (a glass of wine or a beer every few days) once I became a mom. One of my very non-drinking friends (who actually lent me your book) told me the other day, "I'm a mom to a 2 year old, I have to drink." I think that the stress of parenting does lend itself to alcohol.So much so that even a non-drinker drinks every day.

    12 step is a great place to be. I actually find that their tools are useful for parenting too. Helps a lot to know that there is support there.

    Good luck and thanks so much for your book — I laughed so much!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 12:13 am

  15. Kizz said,

    I don't say it enough, because I prefer to tease the shit out of you. I tease because I love. But seriously, I am very proud of you my dear friend. You rock!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 1:41 am

  16. Anonymous said,

    Good for you!

    I tend to eat my feelings, more than anything. And I have eaten a whole triangle of brie at one sitting. And cake, chips, ice cream…

    | July 22, 2009 @ 2:14 am

  17. merlotmom said,

    You go, girl!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 3:58 am

  18. Beth said,

    That's so wonderful.. 60 days!

    I've been out on a lot of Moms Night Out gatherings recently and have had a cocktail (or two) each time. Believe me, it was way too easy to order the 2nd cocktails. The buzz felt a little "too good". Even though I've never had a problem with alcohol, I could see it happening.

    Kudos to you for being so strong… and for writing about it… you are awesome!!!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 5:39 am

  19. Backpacking Dad said,

    Congratulations Stefanie.

    The first two months are the hardest two months. My father said that once about parenthood, and although I'm pretty sure he was full of shit when it came to that I think it's true of sobriety.

    | July 22, 2009 @ 6:49 am

  20. Lolly said,

    Congrats on sticking to your 12 steps. Quitting something like that is tough. Off topic, I just found your blog and saw that you wrote 'Sippy Cups…' and I wanted to let you know that it was hilarious and helped me when I was pregnant drowning in a sea of METHODS. :-)

    | July 22, 2009 @ 7:04 am

  21. Janefilms said,

    way to rock the 60 days Stefanie! congrats congrats congrats – shit ain't easy but wooooorth it.

    | July 22, 2009 @ 7:57 am

  22. Angela said,

    Congrats! I was going to email you but decided not to be a chicken today! Your blog is such a huge help to me. It is such a wonderful feeling to know someone out there feels the same way about alcohol. You books are amazing as are you!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  23. Shannon said,

    Your girls are going to be better for this…and they don't even know it yet! I am VERY proud of you girl. It is hard work doing what you did. I remember when I got preggo with my daughter two years ago, I had to stop taking all my medicine's for my arthritis. The withdrawal was HELL! For weeks I couldn't even get off the couch! I felt like a crack-head in rehab! So I know how hard it is to "let it go". (Mine was probably a bit more intense!)I honestly battled with getting back on the meds after Abbie was born for fear of ever having to get off of them again. Hell I say! Keep up the great work Steph! We are all proud…all that matter anyway! To anyone who knows Mike and Heather Spohr…they are expecting they're second child. Please pray for a healthy, safe pregnancy and delivery for Heather. It's great news for Mike, Heather and big sis Maddie, may she rest in peace…

    | July 22, 2009 @ 11:55 am

  24. eden said,

    If I were a social drinker, I'd get drunk every night.

    Good on you, Stefanie. Keep going. It's amazing.

    | July 22, 2009 @ 1:25 pm

  25. Kyla said,

    I'm so proud of you! 60 days is AWESOME!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

  26. Wendi said,

    That is amazing. Congratulations!

    But are you saying that my recent purchase of David Archuleta's debut CD is a cry for help?

    | July 22, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  27. SmartAssMom said,

    Congratulations on 60 days, that's a tremendous accomplishment!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  28. julie said,

    Congratulations.

    Keep a record of these comments. You'll look back on them in a year, 2 years, 3 years, 10 years and smile.

    I never touched alcohol until I had kids. I don't drink often, but I can see how that particular slope can be slippery.

    | July 22, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  29. My Bottle's Up! said,

    big smile and a hug for you mylady. congrats!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  30. Anonymous said,

    you rule, sistah!

    | July 22, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

  31. Wicked Step Mom said,

    Congrats on the milestone! I think there should be 12 step programs for depressed eaters. I was like that. I would eat to feel better. It made me really fat.

    | July 22, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

  32. Kendra said,

    Congratulations on the milestone! I don't know much about 12-steps, but I think celebrating the milestones has to be one of the most helpful parts. I'm so glad that you're feeling good. And I'm so proud of you for staying with something that you know is going to make your life so much better!

    | July 24, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

  33. Lauren said,

    Take the nyquil pill…
    And give yourself a hug from me. I am proud of you.

    | July 31, 2009 @ 11:56 am

  34. Allison said,

    Congrats on your sobriety!

    Wicked Step Mom, it's called Overeaters Anonymous :)

    | August 12, 2009 @ 4:40 am

  35. Anonymous said,

    I became a daily wine drinker to cope with being a stay-at-home mom. The boredom, the stress of your whole life changing in one day, the strain it puts on your marriage . . . . I just decided one day I'd start sipping on wine at 4 when Oprah came on . . . that was 6 years ago. I literally drink EVERY day. Most times in some sort of moderation – some nights I find myself continuing the wine sipping after dinner, especially if I've had an argument with the husband.

    This weekend I decided to try to go one week without it, because frankly, it's more a burden than a lift to HAVE to drink everyday. On day 3 while making dinner (this is the time of day that I'm always drinking) I just couldn't do it. I was irritable and just wanted my daily treat. I was a little shocked at how hard it was for me. I felt the same way I felt when I quit smoking, which I never thought I'd be able to do. I'm stuck in that hellish between of not really appreciating drinking, but unable to be free of it. I guess I'm more addicted than I thought. I just want to not have to do it every day. I'm not sure I can manage that. But the thought of quitting for good seems unbearable. I wish the desire to drink would just be lifted from me.

    | August 12, 2009 @ 5:01 am

  36. Anonymous said,

    congrats!!! I am a Mom to 3 kids with the youngest being just over a year and the eldest being almost 20…i quit smoking almost 3 years ago…i smoked a pack + a day x 20 years…been tough but very possible…i have done the N.O.P.E. thang…not one puff ever…i have been and on and off again wine 'advocate' for over a decade…however the past year i have gotten into the habit of having a glass whilst cooking dinner EVERY night…i have always kept it at just 1 full glass…addiction comes in various degrees…lots of flavors…but the truth is if you feel that you NEED that little treat or glass at the end of each day, then you could say that's an addiction or at least a flirtation with it…i have decided to put the proverbial 'bottle' down…i don't need the stress or worry or added neurosis of whether i am an alcoholic etc…or the fear of possibly crossing the threshold at some point…thanks for being honest with us in blogland…here's a quote i read that really applies here i think…
    "LIFE BY THE INCH IS A CINCH, LIFE BY THE YARD IS HARD."
    Keep on keepin on, gal!!!!!!!!

    | August 12, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

  37. ks said,

    Hi Stefanie,
    The NYTimes article about you appeared on my twitter–
    just want to say hang in there, you won't be sorry.
    I'm past the mom of young children stage, so I hadn't seen your blog.

    My daughter is 20—I stopped drinking 8 years ago.
    Never looked back. I feel that resolve from you too.
    It gets easier. You might read, "Drinking: A Love Story"–great book.
    Here's one of my blog posts about not drinking:
    http://returntobohemia.blogspot.com/2009/04/adventures-in-babysitting.html

    | August 15, 2009 @ 3:03 am

  38. Annie C said,

    Congrats, I stopped drinking three years ago because my joke about doing 2nd grade homework with a martini…was NOT funny. I did it without twelve steps and I feel like I can get the rest of my life done! Go for it….you have a lot to give.

    | August 16, 2009 @ 1:14 am

  39. Anonymous said,

    I just read about you in the New York Times today. I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old and recently quit drinking. I had begun drinking a bottle of wine 4-5 nights per week, in secret. I have a lot of shame and have felt very alone. Thank you for helping me feel less alone today. I am hoping there is some way I can go to AA or at least connect with some kind of online support group. I look forward to hearing about your progress and insights. It has been a lot harder than I thought it would be to quit.

    | August 17, 2009 @ 2:14 am

  40. Faye said,

    Thanks for quitting. My mom never did. Her drinking blocked out almost every good thing she did as a mom; it's virtually all I can remember of her. I feel the loss every day.

    | August 17, 2009 @ 2:34 am

  41. Anonymous said,

    I'm sober 20 years with 4 year old twin boys. Sobriety is much harder for me as a mom than before. It's not just that the kids drive me crazy, either. I have less time for myself – and therefor less time for recovery. I care more about the outcome with my kids than about most else in life – hence wanting to run the show myself, despite repeated evidence that that doesn't work. And the isolation, too. Good luck to you and thanks for writing.

    | August 17, 2009 @ 6:30 am

  42. Anonymous said,

    I also just read about you today in the NYTimes. I think/know I am living your situation along with a slew of moms around me. We talk about "needing that glass of wine" and our girls' nights out are simply "out" of control – but somehow we always justify it. This, along with what happened on the Tacoma Parkway, are real eye openers for me. Thanks and good luck!

    | August 18, 2009 @ 1:58 am

  43. Lola said,

    I'm late on this, but since I just found your blog today I'm going to post anyway.

    This paragraph in particular hit me hard:"Wine, for me, was a friend, a lifestyle and (I thought) a choice. It's difficult to explain to someone else why a few glasses of wine every night was a problem for me. Maybe if you could just see the every night part. That was the part I didn't want to see but it's also the part that was nagging at me. Why couldn't I just go a night or two without that crutch? Why, even when I had a cold, a peaceful day, something pressing to do the next morning could I still not find a reason not to indulge? I didn't know. Also, there was the whole unpredictable part – thinking I'd have a glass and having four."

    This is me to the letter. I have always loved wine. Even as a child, it seemed such a sophisticated, grown-up and rich thing to drink wine while cooking, throwing a dinner party, or relaxing on the porch at night. It's a glamour thing for me, and always will be. But it's gotten completely out of control. I'd open a bottle for a glass and drink the entire bottle. I'd try to go one day without a drink and fail miserably. I'd sabatoge myself at every turn.

    I'm on my thirteenth day of sobriety and it's hell. I'm just praying that I can do as well as you've done, and in the mean time I'll be reading your blog for some inspiration. It's good to know I'm not the only mommy with this problem.

    | August 27, 2009 @ 2:01 am

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