ABOUT CONSULTING WATCH! ARCHIVES CONTACT SUBSCRIBE

Happy New Year Booze Hounds

Hi Everyone! Happy New Year! If you’re feeling crappy, if you’re feeling amazing, if you’re feeling despondent, if you’re feeling hopeful…come be with all of us and check in (that’s the Yahoo link for the online support group).

Cecily from Uppercase Woman was one of my early supporters when I started talking about making a decision to quit drinking. When I went on Dr. Oz, Cecily immediately assured me that she’d show up for me in the studio audience – because that’s what we alchies do; we show up for each other. And here she is again; showing up.

Ever since Stefanie asked me to post here (an honor I feel humbled by, truly) I’ve wondered what to write. Because while we have many things in common – we are moms, we are writers, we are happily married to great men, and our toddlers drive us absolutely apeshit, and yes, we are both alcoholics – the way our alcoholism choose to manifest is vastly different.

I often think if my life circumstances were different, perhaps my alcoholism would have made itself known through the elegant stem of a wine glass. Maybe if my father hadn’t walked out on us when I was two. Maybe if my mother hadn’t moved us across the country right before I started high school. Maybe if I hadn’t moved to a major city. Maybe if I’d married the first guy I dated, or the third, or the thirtieth.

But of course, the circumstances of my life are, well, the circumstances of my life. I did start hanging out with older boys that were all drunks when I was in high school, and started drinking with my boyfriend every day. Then I did move to Philadelphia, fall in love with the bar scene, and start spending six or seven nights a week hanging out until closing time. Then I did start hanging out with poets and writers, and we did start doing drugs, and before I knew what happened my last six months of drinking and drugging involved things like street drugs and needles and scary drug dealers and getting fired for stealing and almost dying of a drug overdose.

That is how my disease, my alcoholism, showed itself.

But guess what? The disease? It’s the same disease. It doesn’t give a shit if it comes to you in the form of prescribed pain pills, or expensive wine, a martini glass, or a syringe filled with heroin. It is actually a very close relation of the same disease that shows itself as too much shopping, or overeating, or over exercising, or gambling, or being anorexic. All of these sick, twisted, and it’s-so-sad-when-cousins-marry diseases spring from the same well, and show themselves in one similar way: they are a compulsion, a distraction, and a way to manipulate the universe to our liking. It’s a way to stop feeling our feelings, a way to smooth out the rough edges of the world, and a way to hide our head in the sands so we don’t lose our minds.

There are some basic truths I’ve come to learn about alcoholism and addiction in my fourteen years sober. First of all, it doesn’t discriminate; alcoholism could give a fuck about your background and whether or not you had a good family. It also is immensely self-centered, and doesn’t give much of a shit about your family, the people you love, or the outside world. Alcoholism is also demanding, eventually asking you to give it EVERYTHING, even your life.

There are some other basic truths I’ve come to learn about people like me and Stefanie. We’re smart, we’re creative, we’re wonderfully empathetic, and we are thin-skinned and sensitive. On the flip side, we also tend to be grandiose, self-centered, obsessive, and, well, thin-skinned and sensitive.

Another basic truth? Alcoholism is a family disease. While there might be just one person in your family that drinks alcoholically, everyone in the family is affected. Even the pets (funny how they disappear after that third glass, right?).

But there is good news. It is possible to heal. When I lay on that stretcher in the emergency room on December 21 of 1995 after my overdose, I knew I’d reached a turning point. I could either continue as I had, and wait to die, or I could step down onto the side of sobriety and embrace living. I was on the fence, there, for a while and unable to choose. Eventually, though, I made the right choice, and am alive today to tell you about it.

In a way, I was lucky. My particular version of alcoholism was pretty clean and clear; no one who looked at my life that last year I was drinking had ANY doubt that I was an alcoholic. Everyone knew. So when I got sober, I wasn’t greeted with disbelief; I was greeted with just plain old RELIEF. The entire city of Philadelphia let out a sigh that I wasn’t going to be pinballing through the streets of town any longer.

This made if far easier to accept the truth about my addiction and my alcoholism. It was very simple. I was a falling down drunk, a junkie, and a liar and a thief. Walking into my first recovery meeting was like coming home to my people, and not at all the feeling of being a square peg fitting into a round hole. Life has been a bit better, a bit brighter, each day since I got sober.

I won’t lie. There have been bad days. When I lost my twins at six months pregnant, I seriously considered finding a vat of heroin and taking a little swim. But I didn’t. I went to meetings. I cried. I ate a lot of chocolate. And now? My beautiful daughter, three and a half crazy years old, has never seen me drunk.

God willing, she never will.

Recovery is an option for everyone. It really is. I don’t know if my ramblings have helped anyone, but know this: you are not alone. You are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Join us.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on December 31, 2009 10:26 pmUncategorized39 comments  

39 Comments

  1. Anonymous said,

    Thank you for sharing your story, Cecily. It was very inspirational. Isn't it great to wake up from New Year's Eve sober! Yay!

    | January 1, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

  2. Ann said,

    cecily…you are an inspiration to us all. 104 days for me. although yesterday was a bit of a struggle i am grateful to wake up with clarity, vision and hope. thanks stephanie for continuing to dedicate friday's to us.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

  3. Anonymous said,

    Great post!

    Really inspiring.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

  4. Anonymous said,

    My sober journey starts today. Thank you to Stefanie, Cecily and all of the other brutally honest women posting here. Knowing we're not alone is awesome.
    If anyone is interested in keeping up on daily email check-ins for support let me know!
    jennywilliams@comcast.net

    | January 1, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  5. Ellie said,

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your story, Cecily. Beautifully and honestly written. I am so grateful to people like you and Stefanie who get the message out there that recovery IS possible, and more than that it is full of bright, funny, kick-ass women like yourself. I'm just past 2 years myself, and I am very, very grateful to be sober today.

    -Ellie

    | January 1, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

  6. Akinoluna - a female Marine said,

    Holy cow. Best post I've read this year. (So far) 😉

    | January 1, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

  7. Lisa Page Rosenberg said,

    Thanks for carrying a wonderful message Cecily. There is hope for everyone of us that wants it.

    Stefanie, as ever, you have excellent taste in drunks.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

  8. maggie, dammit said,

    Powerful stuff, ladies, especially today. Thank you.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  9. Anonymous said,

    Yesterday I told my husband that I was going to stop drinking the red wine. Other drinks don't effect me the same way. The red wine was my lure. MY special buddy. It knew how to calm me down and relax me the way no other drink could. I couldn't believe I was telling him out loud. But he said "seriously"? Then he put both arms up and said "Yes! This means I'm going to get you back?" My eyes were welling up. I didn't realize how emotional i was going to be about it (maybe it's because I'm pms'ing?? wink…)
    But then he said "Don't be too extreme — I mean NEVER drink red wine again? That's pretty hard core Just drink it with friends only and you'll be fine. No more drinking alone or at home. That's where your problem is".

    But I questioned that. So last night I shared some wine with a few of our friends, and the entire time I was so aware of every single sip. But I still drank, and got tipsy, but I want today to be the first day of going sober for one month. Just to see if I can do it.

    It's hard to imagine not having a glass of wine on occasion with a girlfriend who CAN control it. Or not having a lovely glass with dinner. But there's that voice inside me saying "you know where this is heading, right?"

    I can't even believe I'm putting this in writing. Making it so real. I'm excited about opening up new possibilities and I'm scared of failing. But I look forward to this. Thank you for putting this out there Stefanie. Without you I wouldn't be doing this.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  10. Lady Epiphany said,

    Thanks for this post, Cecily. Thanks everyone for sharing. This was my first sober New Years – I have been sober since May. I am so grateful to God and the program for helping me stay sober one day at a time.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

  11. Robin said,

    your ramblings HAVE helped. At 4 mnths sober, EVERY story helps. It's a connection, and vision of hope, and it gets me through the harder days.

    When I first started going to meetings, I was embarrassed, parked at the end of the parking lot, could barely say alcoholic, etc. Now I love my meeting. I look forward to it every week, and there is no shame for me to go to it. The sharing time is the best part.

    So, thank you for sharing. Your story is totally different than mine, but it is proof that we all share the same underlying issue.

    Happy New Year.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

  12. Robin said,

    PS. Good luck anonymous at 9:55am. You can do this!!!

    | January 1, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

  13. MereCat said,

    Great post! Thanks for telling your story. Today seems like a really good day for big changes.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

  14. Anonymous said,

    Hi It's sober21 days

    guess what – I made it through my first Christmas and New Years in a few years BOOZEFREE.

    Thanks for the support. Everyone's suggestions really helped.

    I did the following to get me through it:
    I wrote out a list of reasons why I don't need to drink and kept it in my purse. (will provide if anyone wants)

    I went to an AA meeting three house before the bash. It was a closed meeting – they were all old members and seemed to know each other well. I was frank in telling them about my worries. An older lady there, very beautifully dressed, warned me, in an incredibly gentle way, against going to the NYE bash since we are vulnerable when we are newly sober. (Her comments, as well as the stories they told of their first few months sober, stayed with me all night)

    I edited my party time. I stayed a little over an hour – arriving fashionably late and leaving around 1 am.

    I kept a glass in my hand at all times (GREAT idea btw) filled with ice water. (I was going to go with Tomato Juice and Tobasco but the line up at the bar was eight deep)and who knows how that TJwithT could change to a ceasar by the time I reached the front?

    The champagne toast was nothing to worry about after all as several people in my group declined it anyway to remain with the glasses they had, so I didn't stick out and didn't have to explain or fend off the coaxing.
    (It shows our fears of what being sober might mean as we go out into the world are more magnified in our minds than they are in reality.)

    21, well 22 now, days is nothing in the life of this disease. Did I sleep better – well hyes and no. I woke up without guilt shame or selfhatred but I had a nightmare about a handsome, well-dressed man doing street magic to a crowd outside the bar. Later he came in and got the server to give him an empty glass to help in his trick. On his way out he asked me to come and watch which I did. As I was standing there I felt fear and tried to leave but he wouldn't let me. That's got to be about how easy it would be to fool myself into taking a drink again thinking I got this under control.

    I think the immaculately dressed lady was right – even though it turned out ok, I should never have gone yesterday. It's too soon and I'm too vulnerable.

    Thanks for the well wishes and Happy new Decade everyone!

    | January 1, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

  15. summer said,

    Cecily thank you for a very inspirational post. As women with this disease we are much more alike than different. Support in sobriety is essential. Thank you Steph for check in Fridays. Today is day 54. Every day sober is a good day.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

  16. Molly said,

    Great post. I am 10 days today, and I relate to Anon, whose husband said, "I am going to get you back?" Basically my boyfriend said the same thing. Alcohol numbs you out, and tunes you out to the needs of others, and the joy of communicating with others.. That's why I am glad to be sober. Happy New Year, all!

    | January 1, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

  17. FeyIndigoWolf said,

    My 2 year sober anniversary is on January 27th. I told my husband that I was afraid being pregnant nine months out of the second year didn't count. He told me of course it did. Every day counts. I am so glad to be sober and so glad I have a sober husband too. I am so glad I can enjoy life without having to get drunk or high to do it.

    -Carrie Jo

    | January 1, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

  18. Chickenpig said,

    You left out the most dangerous addiction of all…smoking. It kills more people than heroine, alcohol, cocaine, and pills combined. And waaaaay too many recovering alcoholics and drug addicts smoke (naturally) but don't give up the cigarette habit, even though it is the most deadly. My father had bipolar disorder and drank like a fish as well as using just about every other substance you can name…but it was the chain smoking that put him in an early grave.

    Your story continues to inspire me, even though I don't have an addiction of any kind. I think it is truly amazing that even in your darkest hour you didn't turn back to the drugs. Absolutely incredible. Where is that book??? :)

    | January 1, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

  19. Anonymous said,

    What a GREAT post. Today is day 19 of my sobriety and I loved reading your story. You are right. We are NOT alone!

    | January 1, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

  20. abdpbt said,

    "There are some other basic truths I’ve come to learn about people like me and Stefanie. We’re smart, we’re creative, we’re wonderfully empathetic, and we are thin-skinned and sensitive. On the flip side, we also tend to be grandiose, self-centered, obsessive, and, well, thin-skinned and sensitive."

    Sing it! This is definitely me as well. Great post.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 10:55 pm

  21. Anonymous said,

    I completely relate with the comment about having a SPECIAL buddy – mine is not red wine, it is white wine. I wrote Stefani a few weeks back and have followed this blog lately. Being a natural smartass and alcohol abuser, who, when i decided to quite, did what Stefani did and drank MORE, just spent my first New Years in two decades SOBER. I was with my best friends, who know I'm just cutting back, but because I was surrounded by them, their families, good music and impromptu dancing, I had the best time I can remember on New Years. The secret? I REMEMBER IT! I am from family (upper middle class, over educated, but irish..) that has alcoholics – I always knew I was a candidate. Thanks for this post. Humor, support, and awareness.
    Scars show us where we have been – they do not dictate where we are going. Merry New Year – it's going to be the best ever – I can feel it!

    | January 1, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

  22. Diana said,

    I used to call myself a Winereiner – that was my Booze Hound name; such a clever little train wreck. Its been more than 4 years and every sober year is a better year.

    So glad you chose to embrace life, Cecily. Thank you for sharing your story.

    | January 2, 2010 @ 12:14 am

  23. sirenna said,

    thanks – found the yahoo group using the hyperlink 😀

    | January 2, 2010 @ 12:26 am

  24. l'ananas said,

    Thank you.

    | January 2, 2010 @ 12:45 am

  25. Anonymous said,

    Hey ladies, Went 12 days sober then on day 13 (yesterday) had a couple glasses of vino with a friend. Wanted to open another bottle but didn't. I am not going to beat myself up. I'm just going to pick up where I left off. Still committed! Thanks to everyone for the continued support.

    Anne

    | January 2, 2010 @ 2:28 am

  26. Rebecca said,

    Happy New Year Stefanie!

    | January 2, 2010 @ 4:02 am

  27. AboutWee said,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us all. I'm sure it wasn't easy to show such vulnerability, even if it's your own blog.
    I'm sending you lots of strength so that you can remain sober & continue to be a support for those out there with the same disease.
    Happy new year,
    AboutWee

    | January 2, 2010 @ 7:58 am

  28. Anonymous said,

    So, I am curious about other addictions that I have heard here. I'm doing well at banning the wine and booze (well, pretty well, successful, at least), but although like Stefanie, I like my cute little happy pills like a vicodin now and then. Way too lazy to go dr. shopping or do anything like that, but my question is: Do others feel compelled to look through friends cabinets? Steal a pill here or there if available? This seems to be a horrible thought whenever I visit someone's house..and although I'm not doing it anymore, there were years that I did. Anyone?

    | January 2, 2010 @ 8:08 am

  29. Anonymous said,

    Thanks for the inspiration, Cecily. I grew up in PA, and can relate to the bar scene in Phila and other cities…that state should take a serious look at itself!
    Yesterday was the hardest day so far, in my new sobriety – 14 days, New Year's was easy (had to drive my 14 yo son all over creation, so didn't even think about drink) but today was tough. Have decided to be a brave girl and go to a meeting
    for the first time. This virtual support has been great, and 14 days would not have been possible without it, but I need some face to face. I wish all of you a mindful new year, and particularly send heart felt wishes to the newly sober – good luck Anon 9:55 and 10:48. I'm with ya!

    | January 2, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  30. Anonymous said,

    Thanks for sharing…i love reading this blog. I like to think I am an acception to the drinking everyday so Im an alkie rule…(altho I know Im not)

    | January 2, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  31. Anonymous said,

    Anne 6:28pm

    I too slipped – went 9 days without then had two large beers. I'm now on day 23 – including the slip so it's day 23 with one slip day 9.

    I'm not going to start from day 1 It's disheartening and makes me feel mentally tired. It happenend I can't undo yesterday. I'm just trying to go longer than nine days without a slip.

    well wishes flowing your way

    | January 2, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  32. lalomar said,

    @Chickenpig: Yes, good point about smoking. It's just another (and extremely fatal) way for us addicts to self-medicate. I finally gave it up for good nearly 4 years ago, but not after many failed attempts to quit. As far as drinking and pills – this is my 15th day sober today. My fucked up thinking reared it's nasty head; waking up today I thought to myself: I made 15 days, I can have wine again, right?? I'll be going to a meeting in a few mins, as I have 13 out of the last 15 days. And I'll be reminded AGAIN why this way of thinking keeps me from being free of addiction. Those meetings and this blog is giving me the hope, faith, strength that I can do this. Thanks all of you, (my sisters!) for your honesty and humor. Sending big love and light to each and every one of you (even the haters!).xxo Lalomar

    | January 2, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  33. Shannon said,

    I give credit to ANYONE who has tried or is trying to overcome alcoholism. It is a bitch of a disease. My brother is an alcoholic and has been one since he was 20. He started drinking at 14. He is also an avid drug user. He uses and he doesn't, uses…doesn't. Get the picture? I don't get it. He has lost his wife, his house, his car, his job,…EVERYTHING! Right now he is doing a year long sentence in jail for DUI and drug charges at 54 yrs old. I hope this is what it takes to make him wake up, dry out and see what life is REALLY about. I have already lost one sibling, I don't want to lose another one! I pray for everyone's recovery in the battle to beat the bottle!

    | January 3, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  34. jennifer said,

    awesome! thank you so much for you honesty and message. it's important to remember that even for the moms whose kids have seen them drunk or high, there is hope and recovery!
    check out a new piece i just wrote about a mom who is desperately struggling with addiction.
    http://angstmom.com/2010/01/03/sarahs-story-of-addiction-and-motherhood/
    -jennifer http://www.angstmom.com

    | January 3, 2010 @ 10:34 pm

  35. Lola said,

    Thank you for such a beautiful post Cecily. I am so grateful for the inspiration to be found here!

    | January 4, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

  36. Anonymous said,

    Okay…so I hear sobriety calling me…my children are all back in school tomorrow and I have found a Women's meeting..listed as Closed Discussion…can I just show up?

    | January 4, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  37. Anonymous said,

    Just show up to the meeting! Just go! I heard that if you are quiting drinking – you shouldn't try to quit smoking too… one thing at a time… 58 days sober…
    Cecily – awesome post!
    Thanks – Stef.
    K

    | January 4, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

  38. Shannon said,

    I just found this blog and started following/reading, and I wanted to say that I admire the honesty involved. I can't imagine talking that about addiction and its impact on your life is easy, but you always do it with a sense of grace, poise, and, most importantly, humor. I'm not an alcoholic, but, like you said, everyone has their thing (anorexia, overeating, overworking, etc). In a way, it's human nature to overindulge in some way, and it feels very nice that even though you're speaking about an addiction that's ended 14 years ago, anyone can relate-even the non-addicts, such as myself. Happy new year, and thank you for the post. It opened my eyes.

    | January 6, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  39. Anonymous said,

    I spent new years eve sober and at disneyland. i had the best new years eve.

    | January 11, 2010 @ 2:20 am

RSS feed for comments on this post

Subscribe

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

peel n stick customized labels

use the code babyonbored and save 10%


Gummi Bears Should Not Be Organic: And Other Opinions I Can't Back Up With Facts
Buy the Book:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

I'm Kind of a Big Deal
Read an Excerpt!
Buy the Book:
Amazon | B & N

It's Not Me It's You
Read an Excerpt!
Buy the Book:
Amazon | B & N

Naptime is the New Happy Hour
Read an Excerpt!

Buy the Book:
Amazon | B & N

Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay
Read an Excerpt!

Buy the Book:
Amazon | B & N