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Let’s All Get Together, Sing Kumbaya and Not Drink

God I’m sounding like a skipping CD (that’s just like a broken record but so much less cliche and more now) about the drinking aren’t I? Whatever. Sobriety wasn’t just a summer phase y’all. It’s still a primary focus, if you can focus on “not doing something.” The thing is, when you stop drinking life doesn’t just automatically stop being a pain in the ass and when life is a pain in the ass, that would normally be cause for copious amounts of alcohol consumption.

Just last night Sadie decided that the thing she absolutely did not want to do was go to bed. The night before she decided the exact same thing and then cried until she puked just to hammer the message home and to be sure that we would not let her cry the next time. Sadie is a master manipulator which you kind of have to respect. Most two-year-olds can’t puke on command. So when she was in hysterics last night I had to just lie still on Lulu the Lamb pretending to be falling asleep. I was trying to set a good example of what she should be doing.

She wasn’t getting it at all. While she screamed and I remained motionless, a lot of unwanted thoughts zipped through my brain. I’m not proud of 90% of them. The main thing I thought about was how badly I wanted a Xanax. I was feeling sorry for myself because I hadn’t been getting a lot of sleep due to Sadie’s new love of the nightlife and Mattie’s winter cold and blah blah blah it’s always something right? So I really really wanted a Xanax. But to be honest, I wanted three. Come on, have you ever had one Xanax? One Xanax would be like one cookie – pointless. One measly Xanax is not even medicinal. But three…three seemed like just the thing to unclench my jaw and make life seem workable.

I’m not allowed to have Xanax, obviously.

I figured that I could ask Jon really super nicely to tell me where the Xanax is that I made him take and hide. I could say, “I am so very anxious right now and I believe that it is a medical emergency that I take a Xanax so can you kindly point the way to the stash?” And maybe he would.

But if he did then I would not “officially” be sober. Okay I wouldn’t be “unofficially” sober either if you’re going to be a substance abuse nazi about it. But I was pissed. Pissed that because I’ve decided that I’m going to be this present person who doesn’t numb out with drugs or alcohol that I’ve now closed the door on EVER FEELING FUCKING GOOD AGAIN. That’s what was happeing in my brain in the moment and I didn’t think I would ever feel anything different.

I was also angry at my daughter for not wanting to sleep therefore refusing to give me a break FOR NO REASON that I could ascertain. “You’re not even sick!” I thought to myself while glaring at her with my eyes closed. “Mattie has a goddamned cold and she’s fast asleep! Go to sleep!” But Sadie was purposely ignoring my thoughts. While she was deep in the throes of her fit, I repeated a plea for peace in my brain over and over like a mantra. I felt absurd and not unlike Stuart Smalley.

Also there was the matter of an ahi tuna salad that Jon had brought home for me (because he’s lovely) to eat for dinner and it was just sitting on the coffee table mocking me with its deliciousness and I was hungry! And mad. Did I mention mad?

So this sounds like it would end with Sadie going to sleep, me coming out victorious and munching my salad enveloped in the love of my family and the warm fuzzies of sobriety right? Uh, have you met my family? No such luck. Sadie continued screaming until I gave up and took her and Matilda who can’t sleep on her own out into the living room.

Twenty minutes later Jon took a stab at the whole process and he luckily had success. Sadie is a bigtime daddy’s girl. By this time, the Xanax craving had passed and I realized how cunning addiction is. People who aren’t alchies and addicts don’t give drugs and alcohol nearly that much thought; the having or the not having is not a focus.

From what I hear around the way, this is all normal.

I am still getting so many emails from women struggling with getting sober. Here’s what I’m thinking: If you are in need of a little support, why not leave your email address in my comments and ask for help? A lot of sober women have been reading this blog lately and I know they’d love to email you and offer some words of encouragement. If you just want to check in and say how many days sober you have, let’s do that every Friday! It’ll be my new thing.

Regular comments are also always read and appreciated to no end.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on December 17, 2009 12:05 amDrinking33 comments  

33 Comments

  1. mylene said,

    Well, last night in order to NOT think of wanting a drink , I made a "family name collage" using real Scrabble pieces on a real Scrabble board.Glued the tiles. Then, I framed it ! What's even more disturbing was this distracted me ! Keep it up! Be Strong , you Rock! Fa La La !

    | December 17, 2009 @ 2:05 am

  2. abdpbt said,

    I've totally felt that way before, like one drink would just take the edge off of a particularly annoying situation, but then I remember that I've never ever had one drink in my life. And then it goes away.

    Luckily, it happens less and less as time passes, at least in my experience.

    | December 17, 2009 @ 2:05 am

  3. LJHSViking said,

    I began reading your blog because I was searching around the Oprah website to read about women and sobriety. I work at managing my diet, exercise and alcohol in moderation. Sometimes I think I would be better off altogether with no alcohol and less exercise because the calories and the joint pain add up too quickly. When I don't drink, I don't suffer at all. When I do drink, I sometimes suffer ill effects. I want to hear and read more about women making decisions about how to manage their lives with or without drugs and alcohol.

    | December 17, 2009 @ 2:36 am

  4. Anonymous said,

    After hearing about your struggle with alcohol, I started reading your blog and you are a real inspiration. Finally, I see that it is NOT normal for me to count down the minutes until 5pm when I can relax and have my glass of beloved healthy red wine (which over the past several months has become half a bottle or more each night). After spending each day trying to be a supermom, superwife, and superprofessional I have felt like I deserve to relax with my glass of wine. But lately, I've started seeing that my drinking may be getting out of control and I DO NOT want to ever go there. I realize that I can't go back to just one glass of wine every once in a while. I want to be the best mom and wife that I can be, and numbing myself every evening with alcohol is counterproductive so I've decided to give the alcohol up. Today is my first evening without a drink in a LONG time. I pray that tomorrow will be my second day without a drink. Thank you for your honesty on the subject. What is strange is that almost all the moms I know joke about drinking at night to relax after a long day with the kids. It's like nobody sees that this may be a huge problem.

    | December 17, 2009 @ 2:42 am

  5. Stone Fox said,

    here's two cents worth of free advice: don't let your kid run the show. "oh stone," you say, "you have no idea what she's like." i say: yes i do. my son is just barely starting to let go of his Mussolini stage. let her cry until she barfs. you laying with her did f*ck-all to calm her down, it only made you anxious. let her cry. let her barf. she won't die. check on her when she's barfing. if you really want to show off, even clean the barf up before you leave the room. but basically, don't put yourself in the situation where you are imagining yourself getting up, walking to the living room, and holding a gun to your hubby's head to make him show you where the happy pills are.

    just. sayin'.

    btw, longtime reader, first time caller. love the blog!

    | December 17, 2009 @ 2:44 am

  6. Rebecca said,

    You're doing a great job Stefanie! I'm very excited for you and your family!….Now I need to get mine to bed…Good Night

    | December 17, 2009 @ 3:22 am

  7. Amy, Bryan and Zoey said,

    I just spent 83 minutes getting my three year old to bed and I can so feel your pain…

    | December 17, 2009 @ 3:59 am

  8. Aunt Becky said,

    I'm not sober, but I'm not an alcoholic. I wrote this: and I'm fucking proud of it. http://www.beckysherrickharks.com/deep-greens-and-blues/my-name-is-becky-and-i-am-not-an-alcoholic/

    | December 17, 2009 @ 4:14 am

  9. BabyonBored said,

    Becky, you know I love you. I do not think you are an alcoholic nor do I think most of the moms who proclaim their love of alcoholic beverages have a drinking problem. As I've stated many times, if I could have a cocktail or three I would! Plus, I too think drinking humor is hilarious. I mean, come on, have you read even one page of any of my books? So go read Becky. She's ill with the funny!

    | December 17, 2009 @ 4:21 am

  10. Shannon said,

    It is so sad that I rely on Xanax for everything! I make excuses to take it…Xanax , IS MY FRIEND!!!! I would lose my ever-lovin mind if I didn't have it, I think, more-so for my daughter, who also believes she is missing something by living the night life. She is 15 months old and is up constantly. She is no doubt, teething with molars…those fuckers better pop the fuck through soon or I am going in and pulling them out myself! Hang in there Steph, you are doing a FANTASTIC job at sobriety. I know at times it seems you hit a brick wall over and over, but we are all here for you. Luv Ya!

    | December 17, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

  11. Elizabeth said,

    I thought when I stopped drinking, I'd shed 15 lbs in 2 weeks … be in the running for mother-of-the-year, find the man of my dreams and feel very zen and serene. NOT. The truth is that I am angry much of the time … and when I'm not angry, I'm having panic attacks. BUT. I also wake up every day clear headed and without guilt or shame. I'll take it. The weight can wait …

    oh, and I like the Friday "weigh in" idea, too … not so sure I'll post my email in the comment section, though … you and your blog are getting lots of attention these days, and I'm still a bit private about this sobriety thing.

    I hope you realize that you are making a difference in this world, Stefanie. Keep it up. xo

    | December 17, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

  12. Anonymous said,

    You are doing so well, and you are a hope to many who relate.

    The "MONSTER" as I call it, is always there waiting to TRIP YOU UP. It preys on weak moments.

    Say the serenity prayer…

    Leave the situaion nothing bad will happen to your daughter if she cries herself to sleep…on the other hand getting yourself too fustrated……..

    GET ride of the xanax in your house.One day you might find it. If you don't want to get hit by a train don't play on the tracks….

    WE LOVE YOU, snaps for you and good luck, keep coming……

    | December 17, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

  13. Angie said,

    Do you know what I am realising as I read your post….. all addictions are a work in progress. I drink very little, no other drugs on any regular basis but I realised while reading your post that my drug to numb the anxiety is food. I eat to destress…. that is horrible and definately the reason why I am overweight. I would be interested in hearing from others that have the same vice that I do…. mommahardt@gmail.com

    Great job being in the moment and those moment will get easier as you go.

    | December 17, 2009 @ 4:33 pm

  14. Kyla said,

    Good for you, Stefanie. You're doing a good thing for yourself and for others by talking about it openly.

    | December 17, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

  15. kate said,

    So I suppose it would be in poor taste to suggest drugging your daughter?

    Yeah. I thought so.

    Also? "Glaring at her through closed eyes"…perfect. Experienced by every "pretending to sleep to set a good example" mother ever. I adore your ability to put it into words.

    | December 17, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

  16. 44andcounting said,

    thanks for all your posts. It's helpful. I would like to stop drinking. It's just not good for me anymore on so many levels…as far as the experience of anger when one stops drinking, that scares me a lot. I have not been able to open up to anyone about this…

    | December 17, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

  17. Anonymous said,

    I keep checking on you! I quit drinking 10 years ago when my kids were ages 3 and 1. I wish the best for you and your family. It's not easy and it's not fun but trust that it is better. When you're kids reach the middle school years I GUARANTEE that you will be so proud of the example you're setting. You will be able to be honest…and kids know honesty.
    Good luck! And wish me some too!

    | December 17, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

  18. How to Party with an Infant said,

    Great job!! Glad I checked in.

    | December 17, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

  19. Kimberly Peterson said,

    Hi Stephanie-I too am in recovery. I could drink with the best of them but opiates and benzodiazepines were my drugs of choice. I loved me some Xanax/Valium/Klonopin! I 100% completely get where you are coming from, and I so appreciate your honesty and openess in blogging about your experience. You hit the nail on the head when you said that "normal" people don't obsess about the having/having not of drugs or alcohol. I promise you, it gets better. One day at a time, etc!

    | December 17, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  20. sarah said,

    Dude what the fuck is with the screaming 2 year olds? Mine has been doing the same goddamn thing and I swear to god he's making me nuts. I get so pissed – thank god my husband doesn't let me suffer because he knows I'm liable to break so he comes in a relieves me.
    I sure hope this phase ends soon.

    | December 17, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  21. Erin said,

    Okay, long time reader and first time commenter. This is a COMPLETELY inappropriate comment, but jesus, 3 Xanax?? I'm on the 2mg bars and if I took three i'd be out for days!!

    Perhaps they prescribe something different in America (i'm in Australia).

    Anyway, love your blog, you're in my "Daily Blog" Favourites folder and i'm so interested to hear how your journey is going. (Daughter of an alcoholic mother and alcoholic/drug addict father who died of a drug overdose when I was 14) and sister of an alcoholic brother. I've seen the absolute worst case scenario and its so refreshing and nice and amazing to read your journey, BEFORE you hit rock bottom.

    Thanks for writing, I really enjoy reading!

    | December 18, 2009 @ 12:05 am

  22. mylene said,

    Friday is for virtual "circle time", right? Well, thanks to Stefani's inspiration & all of you- I'm 1 week sober! And it's very hard! Let's all hang in there, damnit! This year I'm working on not being the "designated drunk"!
    '44and counting'- you can do it!!!You have to have a sense of humor-Stefani can help w/ that!

    | December 18, 2009 @ 12:59 am

  23. Mylene said,

    Oh my God…today is not Friday! Well, it's 'Friday -eve'!So I gave my comments early, geez!! My sobriety is having an effect on my brain!

    | December 18, 2009 @ 1:06 am

  24. Rockzee said,

    I relate to this post on so many levels I don't know where to start. My 2-year-old has been screaming lately too, and it makes me tense and realize why I used to drink. It also makes me want to drink, because I DESERVE TO DRINK for having all these screaming kids, right? Well, now I've learned how to talk myself around that and wait for the craving to pass, because I know it does. And I hear you on the Xanex. When I was drinking, one Xanex was like drinking water. No effect at all. I needed two to help me sleep, and sometimes those didn't even work. I've got 66 days and it feels pretty damn good. I sat in my first few meetings fighting the A word, until someone said what you just did. "Nonalcoholics don't sit around wondering if they're alcoholics or not." And I did. So I am. And so what. I'm okay with it. I'm okay with me. More so now than I ever have been.

    | December 18, 2009 @ 5:38 am

  25. TwinMom1122 said,

    I have 13 month old twin girls, and the evening you just described sounds like my life, except I send my husband in so I can go have a glass of wine. Congrats to you on your sobriety, having twins is no easy task!

    | December 18, 2009 @ 10:52 am

  26. 44andcounting said,

    ok, today is the first day of the rest of my (sober) life. I have to do this now and reading all of your experiences (especially Stefanie's) are an inspiration! And I LOVE the idea about finding a sense of humor in all of this (I have a good one in other areas of my life, if I do say so myself!).

    | December 18, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  27. Katie said,

    I had 10 years of sobriety (got sober @ 22 after heavily drinking since my first drink at 12). After having kids, I thought I would try drinking again. I have alot of freinds who drink husband included and I ASSumed that I would never jepordize my kids so I would control my drinking. I did okay for a couple years. I think pregnancy and breast feeding helped me to maintain. Once I was done with all that I let loose. It only took a couple of months for me to realize drinking consumes me and lets me be a selfish, defensive, undisciplinded jerk. I am enjoying being sober again. Finding joy in becoming the best person I can. The key for me is finding postive ways to be "drunk" or "high"

    | December 19, 2009 @ 5:05 am

  28. Trish said,

    for me, it's food, too.
    The trouble with food is you have to eat it.
    Well, unless you're my son (or Sadie in the past) and some nut shoves a tube in your stomach for direct delivery, but still.. Food= life.
    Basically I have a codependant relationship with food. It sucks.
    And I won't even get into the ironies of being an obese mother with an anorexic son.

    | December 20, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  29. Anonymous said,

    I've been sober for 11 days. I wish that were true. I slipped on day nine (a Saturday) and had two beers. It was exactly as you described with the Xanac paragraph – I just couldn't shake the notion that just onewellokacouple would 'take the edge off' and I caved. The next day, my resolve was firm and I wish I could have taken it back and stayed true to the course, as you did.

    Before I slipped, I savoured the eight days of freedom I had. It has been months since I'd taken even one day off.
    So far
    – I've lost two pounds
    -started exercising again
    – drink lakes of tea and coffee (cup after cup cos I'm so used to chugging something)
    – cleaned the house from top to bottom a couple of times
    – gone to AA meetings
    – Became an AA member
    – nursed my liver with onions, garlic, coffee and lemon in hot water.
    – prayed
    – had fun
    – and cried.

    I think I'm learning to live again.

    Stay strong everyone!

    | December 21, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

  30. Keri said,

    I gave up drinking on the 22nd August after I realised that my regular drinking had become out of control binge drinking. It's been hard. And the holidays are making it very, very difficult. But I'm getting through it.

    Today, anyway.

    | December 22, 2009 @ 1:17 am

  31. Minnie said,

    I'm lost and don't know were to begin. I looked into the AA meetings in our area and they are all at churches were I know lots of people. I am not ready to out myself just yet.

    | December 27, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

  32. Anonymous said,

    Minnie, I wanted to say that first of all, go to the newer post from Friday Dec 25 and read the comments there. Second of all, I realize that going to meetings in a small town may very well put you face to face with people you know but you don't have to speak at the meetings and you can identify yourself as a visitor. Just sticking a toe in the water might be enough for a start. Good luck.

    | December 28, 2009 @ 12:16 am

  33. seran said,

    Lol! Just getting caught up on your blog after the holiday away from the computer, and you made me laught out loud as usual. Gonna buy your books this week. Finally. :-)

    | December 29, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

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