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See Jane Not Drink Friday

So let me introduce you all to Jane. She’s a newish friend of mine. Lets just say I met her around the same time that I quit drinking. I absolutely love her because she’s warm, honest, loving and lovely -and she inspires me everyday. She’s here to share a little of her story with you so that you can see that we drinkers are EVERYONE. Please leave your Friday comments here so that we can continue to lend one another support and also, please please visit Sweet Jane’s blog at Lights! Camera! Diapers!

I get why people drink, I sure do. This life can be ass-kickin’ hard time filled with constant constantcy of the constant angst. Constant to-do. Constant brain-chatter. Constant noise. Expectations and desire and you know, the missing pieces that we just keep reaching, striving and wanting. And I found that a little drinkee-poo was a nice filler, take-the-edge-off-er and all around salve for what just ain’t right.

I didn’t drink all the time. I wasn’t an every day type of a gal. I was a once-in-a-while-but-you-better-be-ready-to-duck kinda drinker. Do you know this type? Yeah, a FUN drunk.

You know, the girl you want to get drunk with. The one who wouldn’t make you feel bad because she stops after two. And maybe you’re done after four but oops, she might not be. And then you watch her slide into that slippery too-much place and that makes you feel a bit superior as she stumbles around slowly disintegrating. Or maybe you don’t notice that she’s out of her mind because she’s carrying on a perfectly lovely conversation about world religions and why Top Chef is such great television or how Europe is generally a better place because they don’t pasteurize the crap out of their dairy, but that doesn’t mean she’ll remember it. Oh, no, probably not. So please don’t embarrass her by talking about last nights conversation in mixed company, she’ll blush and look around wildly while biting her lip.

Boy it’s nice talking about myself in the third person, it’s feels a little less threatening to share at this level.

But let me just say this: For me, continuing to drink meant I could not be authentic.

And it was dangerous. It was Russian roulette with a loaded bottle pointed at my existence and the possibility of oh you know, a drunken foot on a gas petal. Or a drunken, harmful monologue to my fantastic husband. Or a lost friend due to some random moment that she hates me for but gosh if I can’t remember. I was tired of the excuse that alcohol gave me, as nice as it was…I was missing the good by running from the bad.

And I wasn’t getting pregnant either. In fact, this was the pattern:
1) Drink ‘normally’ for two weeks. (And by normal I mean sometimes one drink, sometimes eight…who knew?)
2) Then try to make the baby. Not drink for two weeks.
3) Find out not-so-much pregnant, drink heavily.
4) Rinse and repeat.

Then there was the pregnancy that lasted eight weeks. When that sweet feeling ended at the OB’s office with an empty womb a few days before Christmas three years ago, I thought it was an excellent reason to drink. Kinda was. Trouble is, you can drink your feelings away and even have some cool professional success and really alot of goodness can go down along with the champagne and excellent wine that you got at that fancy wine shop. But. Then you become Paul Giamatti’s character in Sideways all talking about the strawberry and asparagus in the wine but ultimately you are totally full of shit and like Miles in the movie. Because the escape hatch of wine was keeping you from your truth and your own personal brand of magic.

Ah I did it again, did you see that? Snuck it back out of first person. Sneaky little drunk. But, here’s the thing. Since I come from a long line of boozehounds, I happen to know that my body is seriously allergic to the stuff. If you’re like me you’ll know you’re allergic too because you black the eff out after as little as one drink. If you’re like me you know you can’t drink because you can’t trust yourself with booze. And if you are trying to control it, chances are, you might be like me.

I was lucky. No DUI, no jail, didn’t lose my husband or my house but I was losing little bits of my soul with every drink. Was it luck? Or smarts? I dunno. I just feel lucky to have chosen a different path. And I didn’t need a court order to realize that help would be um, helpful. So I got it. And despite all of my previous thinking, it’s been pretty fawking great. I’ve met extraordinary women who inspire and amaze me. I’ve learned so much about myself and how to safely unravel the darkness in search of some gems. Life is getting better all the time. Sure it sounds kinda cheesy but it is cheesy and true. My best, brightest hope for anyone struggling with this crappy, frustrating, physical addiction is that you too find some help. Get help and kick this hell and noise called booze to the curb.

Oh and by the way, I did finally get pregnant. Three months after I stopped drinking. He’s now eight months old and a little blessing that life gifted me when I got brave and dove back into said life. And it’s pretty magical.

Thanks to Stefanie for letting me bend your ear up here, it’s a privilege and an honor. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Blessings.
Jane

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on December 25, 2009 3:45 pmDrinking91 comments  

91 Comments

  1. Ann said,

    thanks stef and jane. just about to begin to cook christmas dinner. i had been checking for your blog and knew when it came i could start. this is one of many small miracles! i have a difficult time going in the kitchen…still. someone told me at a meeting to face the fear. that's what i am doing today. cooking the kids favorite…without picking up. i will keep checking the comments while i chop and sip on sparkling raspberry water. i will get out of myself and attempt to make a fabulous meal for my deserving family. i know i will be inspired by all the sage comments. it will get us through today until i can get to a meeting tomorrow. thank you thank you. cheers to all of you…just for today!!!…my first of what i hope to be many sober wondrous christmas days.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  2. thechallenge2010 said,

    First, let me say many many thanks to you, Stefanie. Your blog is a lifesaver. And thank you, Jane, for sharing your story. Much head nodding and "yep yep!" going on while reading.
    I've been sober 3.5 months, and yesterday was by far the hardest one yet. I had to take it literally 30 minutes at a time, but I made it. Knowing there were other mamas out there white knuckling it, but hanging on, made all the difference. I survived this craptastic holiday sober and alive and aware (though painfully so at the in-laws' last night) and I'm so grateful for that.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

  3. Anonymous said,

    Awesome post Jane! Thank you, thank you!! This is my first Holiday sans wine since I was pregnant in 1999! Today marks 82 days and counting for me. I really wanted wine last night and I am sure I will want some tonight too. Hell, I want some right now. But I know I won't want to stop at just one, I see no point at just one, never have. From the day I first drank to see what it was like it wasn't just one. It is sad but true. So, Ann while you are chopping in the kitchen I will be chopping too and will think of you while I drink my sparkling water and lime and it will give me strength. Strength to get through another day.
    Peace and gratitude,
    Mary

    | December 25, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  4. Anonymous said,

    huge props to stefanie, jane (and ann). i'm newly sober (6 weeks) and this week has kicked my arse a bit.

    leaving whole foods on monday with the husband, 4 year old and 16 month old, we passed the wine shop's entrance. it was dark, a nice chill in the air, husband on vacay — the PERFECT time to grab a bottle (or three) of red wine and cozy up to fire. you know the drill. luckily i had an hour before i had to be at my group meeting. almost completed an outpatient recovery program.

    i knew i "should" lay off the vino for a few years, but it was never the right time. i was a 5:00 ish p.m. wine drinker (guzzler). this september, started going to meetings and when i could only put together 2-3 wks at a time before i'd drink again, knew the booze had me. the bottle a night (sometimes more) and all too predictable blackouts could no longer be ignored.

    yesterday, i just couldn't make the breakfast enchilidas i normally make on xmas eve b/c i knew i wouldn't have a mimosa/glass of wine in one hand. yes, normally a 5:00 ish p.m. drinker with holiday exceptions. 2:00 p.m. on xmas eve is the same as 7:00 p.m. on a random wednesday, right?

    went to a meeting and made the kiddos cookies and muffins but those enchiladas really got me.

    so ann. thanks for this. hopefully, i won't have to trash the cilantro and chorizo in the fridge and my fam and i can enjoy the tasty grub tomorrow b/c i am determined to make them today.

    please, please keep up the friday posts.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  5. Ann said,

    thanks guys. good to know you are out there. just had a bit of a meltdown…literally. a piece of plastic melted to the stove. paniced a bit…but made it through the worst part…let's hope so. ha…at least i didn't burn myself like i have done so many times 'numbing' it up. i forgot to get dessert…thanks to santa for leaving loads of chocolate. it will suffice. i used to think i was a cooking genius. the grandiose feelings i had while i was romancing 'my wine' and chopping away. now, although i am doing okay…without my buddy…the reality is that i really suck at cooking. i am grateful to you for getting me through.

    s.o.b.e.r…son of a b_____, everything is real. cheerio.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

  6. Sadako said,

    Great post. And I'm glad you're okay now. Kudos to you.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

  7. Anonymous said,

    thanks to Jane for sharing you're story. way too familiar — I've never heard someone else share my get drunk everytime I got my period, after a miscarriage and a year of trying to get pregnant. …this is day two for me (still feeling hungover and shell-shocked at the wreckage I can create in a short binge)…after three years of sobriety…Ann (this is anon 1:43 from yesterday) –thanks for your prayers yesterday…parents just left…managed to make a lovely xmas dinner. daughter loving being surrounded by a loving sober family (tho DH is a bit impatient I think due his wife being a bit of a dazed walking wounded soul…just checked in my the loving caring sponsor who asked me to call her on Christmas day. I'm so glad there are five others who need to check in here as much as I do. Tomorrow I'll probably lose my job due to drunk dialing earlier in the week. Today was hard, but it was easier than yesterday. Blessings to all of you.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  8. Ann said,

    anon 12:35…trying hard to be merry worked!!! hurray for you! i wrote you back on 'let's clean up our act friday'…you could be the 100th comment. wow!!! what a movement stef. you must feel so proud.

    you made a lovely christmas dinner…you rock! your soul will heal and try not to worry about tomorrow. remember what they say…99% of what we worry about never even happens. keep that chin up and have courage. you can do it!

    anon 11:51…i almost peed my pants reading your post…so me!!! 4:00 guzzler. on any holiday however, mornings were baileys and coffee. it wasn't too long ago i couldn't make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids lunches without the shakes. there is still time to enjoy the tasty grub in the frig. the kids were just fine with the cookies and muffins. we do the best we can just for today.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  9. Jen @ After The Alter said,

    wow..the post kind of scared me a bit. I am today where you were before you got pregnant. Almost the exact same story…enjoy my wine..suffered a miscarriage and now drink when I get my period…only difference between the 2 stories at this point is I'm not pregnant again yet:( I say it scared me because I was always told that I should live my life as normal in the 2ww…so I do…do you really believe drinks cause a miscarraige?

    | December 25, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

  10. BabyonBored said,

    Hi guys. I just wanted to check in myself. It's not quite as tough for me today as it was in the beginning. Plus, I've kept my holiday down to just my family which helps keeps the cravings at bay. Although I am eating like a maniac. One thing at a time right? I'm so glad you are all talking here because it helps all of us including the ones who aren't commenting. I know they are reading. Obviously, let's keep this going through the weekend and then I'll repost on Monday but you can feel free to check in with each other here.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

  11. Robin said,

    Thanks to Stephanie and Jane for sharing and being honest. This is helpful to so many people.

    I love how we ALL feel the guilt and the stress and just want to stop but can't, and we feel so alone…and then guess what??!! We are all feeling the same way! We are moms and women and we want to be good people and the alcohol was beating us and with a little bit of help, we can feel GREAT! It takes that big step in the right direction, and the sharing amongst all of us, and finally we can live guilt free. I wake up every day now and feel so blessed that I don't feel guilty. That I remember everything I said the night before. That I hung out with my kids til their heads hit the pillow and I loved every minute of it. We are all the same. Living very similar stories. And there is no shame that we need help and need to lean on each other.

    I am so proud of all of us. Proud of Stephanie for being brave and talking, and starting the forum. Proud of all the women who have sober days under their belt. Proud of the women talking about their guilt and shame and thinking about doing something about it. And proud of all them women willing to show their support to all of the above.

    We got this. We can do it.

    | December 25, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  12. Ann said,

    would anyone care to join in on a gratitude list:

    i am grateful for not picking up just for today;
    i am grateful for 'baby on bored'…for getting me through today and keeping my mind from wandering into oblivion;
    i am grateful for my new friend lisa…i met at 'double a'…she has been a blessing to me in so many countless ways;
    i am grateful for all the anonymous women who are brave enough to share their comments;
    i am grateful for jami62, mc, sadako for sharing the journey too;
    i am grateful for enchiladas and laughter…it's been so long since i really laughed;
    i am grateful that my kids said this was the best christmas ever;
    i am grateful that i did not snip at my husband…i thanked him;
    i am grateful i was able to cook our feast and sat down to share the meal with my family;
    i am grateful i am not sprawled out on the couch and it is only 5:00 p.m.;
    i am grateful we are building a gingerbread house since i simply forgot about getting something for dessert;
    i am grateful that for today i got to 'let it go, let it go, let it go'!
    i am grateful that stefanie is allowing us to check in with each other here so that we may continue to find hope and healing a little bit more on this very special day!

    | December 25, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  13. Sweet Jane said,

    Hi Jen @ the Alter. No I don't think that drinks cause miscarriage, not at all.

    This might be a bit oovey groovey for you but I thought it was a spiritual thing…like *for me* the baby wasn't going to come here to be taken care of until I was ready to take care of myself. I knew I was out of alignment drinking b/c my body seriouusssly does not like it. I would sometimes throw-up after like 2 drinks. So my body wasn't a great place to carry a baby, you know?

    So sorry to hear about your loss. I know how much that sucks, it was one of the hardest things I've ever been through. My prayers go out to your healing heart.

    Also, ladies – way to rock the sober holiday! Ann, Mary, Challenge, Anon(s) -Y'all are so awesome! Perrier (sober champagne) and I are rockin around the Christmas tree too.

    I'm really grateful that Stefanie invited me into this space. It's so inspiring and I love the conversation through the day.

    S.o.b.e.r Ann, that' hilarious!

    | December 25, 2009 @ 11:42 pm

  14. Cynthia S. said,

    I totally forgot today was Friday! Jane – I totally related to your trying to get pregnant story. Everything was the same for me- even the miscarriage at 8 weeks.
    Stef – I saw you on the today show via a video on the website. I thought they were kind of glib about the whole thing. Then I heard your last comment and I heard someone snort with laughter offstage. Your sense of humor is so appreciated!

    | December 26, 2009 @ 12:15 am

  15. Anonymous said,

    hi everyone..i found this blog many months ago and was able to relate and all but did not do anything about my problem. a couple of months ago i finally dealt with it and stopped pretty easily. since my daughter was born 4 years ago i gave up the big time partying but still continued to drink. since then i have never been a big drinker (in quantity) but i was a frequent drinker. i struggled at times to take a night off. i rarely had over 3 glasses and most nights it was only 2..but i drank them fast and furiously. the first glass was poured at 6 when i got home and i was done by 7:15ish most nights. that was convenient b/c i rarely felt any hangover the next day (although once i stopped i realized how much better i should feel when i wake!) sleeping so much better and not dealing with the negative feelings the moment i woke up was so wonderful.
    well, so 2 months later i slipped. the other night an old friend came over to visit. i had told him that i stopped drinking but he is definetly the type that likes to have company. plus the attraction between us creates a nervous tension and of course we both know we deal with it better after a couple of glasses. so i had a glass of wine. that's it. but i drank.
    i dont know where i am going with all of this but i dont want to fall back in this place. i am just too good at making this a habit. i am too good at playing the games with myself. i am a single mom and i dont have many outlets outside of work and taking care of my daughter and so being able to have a glass of wine at night always feels like it is something for me…numbs me, relaxes me…but, ugh, so not worth it. i come from a short but intense line of alcoholics and so this makes me extra paranoid. i wish to death i could just drink normally and not over think and just have my couple of glasses when i am hanging out with friends or family. and not when i am alone with my daughter. i fantasize about moderating it but i just dont know if i can.
    everyone's posts are so wonderful. we are all such strong women…strong b/c we are aware and attempting to make a change for the better in our lives and the lives of our family.
    merry christmas everyone!
    stephanie

    | December 26, 2009 @ 1:08 am

  16. BabyonBored said,

    Hey Stephanie, I just want to say that I really relate to your drinking habits. That's pretty much how I drank. Sometimes just a glass or two and sometimes three but usually not much more. It's just that it was daily at a certain point and I just couldn't go backward. It was like I reset something in me and then all of a sudden taking even one night off seemed impossible. That's when I knew I really needed to stop. I think it's almost harder to really surrender to quitting when you may feel "it's not that bad." I think no matter how bad it wasn't I am better off quitting entirely. I know I feel better.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 1:25 am

  17. Anonymous said,

    i did the "it's not that bad" dialogue in my head for so long. didn't lose the material things, no dui, blah. blah but after the 100th time of waking up and telling myself "i am not drinking today" then by 3, i had made plans to have people over for dinner or bought a bottle on way home from park/playdate the very same afternoon, i knew it was time to quit. and thanks, ann, for your grateful list.

    -adrianne (anon 11:51)

    | December 26, 2009 @ 1:32 am

  18. Kendra said,

    Congratulations, Jane, on the beautiful boy and on the quitting. Stefanie, I'm really enjoying your "not drinking" entries. I'm not worried about my drinking, but I am generally worried about my ability to handle life without looking for a crutch. It's so nice to hear other people saying the same things.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 1:59 am

  19. MereCat said,

    Jane, that post rocked! Your honesty is so inspiring. And I DO know that girl you speak of in the third person. I know her well. Thanks for this story.

    And Stef… yep. You too. Thanks for you.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 3:16 am

  20. Anonymous said,

    I have been reading this blog since last Friday, and want to give a heart felt thank you to Stefanie and all who have written. This has been a life saver for me – I relate so well to everyone's struggle, and have tried so many times to cut down or cut out the vino (suburban woman's drug)..which has been my BFF since my son was born. I had kids later in life (son at 40; dau at 45) so this perimenopausal body could have done without the internal assault, but you know how it is
    Anyway, with the exception of pregnancy this was my first sober Christmas (could we create a carol for this?.."I'm dreaming of an awake Christmas…") and knowing that I could read these comments got me through.
    The humor rocks…I so relate to your story Jane, complete with the miscarriage (at 43), and I can also tell you that I believe our bodies will thank us if we can find other ways to handle stress and anxiety. If not our bodies, at least our families…keep writing.
    Nan

    | December 26, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  21. summer said,

    Well I just celebrated my first sober Christmas since I was 15..(well I was sober during my pregnancies, but that doesn't count). I am 46. That was a lot of holidays spent in a haze. I am closing in on 2 months!! Life is so much better in every way. It does sound cheesy but it's true. Even when the shit hits the fan and life gets sucky being sober makes me able to deal in a new grown up way. Who would've thunk?? To all who are on the fence about giving up the booze, take the leap. You are worth it!!

    | December 26, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  22. Anonymous said,

    Hello Ladies!
    Thanks Stef and Jane!
    Jane – I swear you and I are the same type drinkers… I don't think I remember last Christmas at all!
    I am about 48 days sober… last 2 days were hard… but got through… going to a meeting this morning… going to buy and coffee, smoke about 6 ciggs and go get a pedicure – by myself! Don't get me wrong i loved being "present" for my holiday – but I need a break!
    I loved having everybody over for the past 2 days, I felt better in my own home… but need to me time!
    I thank God that I am sober…
    I thank God for this Blog
    I thank for my daughter, my husband, my sponsor,my sanity,my humor, and my patience!
    Deep breaths helped me get through!
    One moment at a time!
    K

    | December 26, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

  23. Elizabeth said,

    Day 28 here. I was able to spend Christmas with my family … and be with my siblings who were drinking wine and beer … and stick to my water and coffee (and MANY deserts!)

    I wanted to follow up on Sweet Jane's comment that she felt like she would not get pregnant unil she stopped drinking. I get that feeling, but for a different reason. I have been divorced for almost 5 years, have had a few semi-relationships, but nothing that ever became more intimate. I remember one man said to me that he felt as if there was a side to me I wasn't letting anyone see – that there was more going on for me – and he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Of course I denied it at the time (hey, this is me warts and all). But, in retrospect, he was spot on. While he may have had glimpses of my love of wine, and I certainly imbibed plenty around him, he was never privy to my late night bottle of wine drinking. I did that alone and for obvious reasons was not listing that as a hobby on my match.com profile. So, back to Sweet Jane … I have had this thought in the back of my head for a while now, that I cannot create a space to let in a healthy, intimate relationship with a man, until I give up the wine… that unless I find out who I am without burying part of me every night under the haze of chardonnay, I will not get to a place of truly accepting and loving (and taking responsiblity for)all parts of me. And you know what they say, if you don't truly accept and love yourself first, you will not find healthy love.

    Not sure if this makes sense, but I'd like to believe that getting rid of the nightly wine and all of the obssessive thoughts around drinking will free me up and create all kinds of space – for some really great things in my life … and I hope that finding healthy love is one of them.

    xo

    | December 26, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

  24. BabyonBored said,

    Elizabeth -what a great comment. So honest and heartfelt. I think you are truly on to something and I absolutely believe it will be worth it.

    To all of you who have commented so far, I ate way too much sugar yesterday but other than that, I'm sober and grateful. I look forward to reading about everyone's experience.

    Also, I do want to mention that if you are out there struggling, nothing replaces the power of real, live help so I highly suggest telling someone close to you what's going on.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  25. Lisa Page Rosenberg said,

    Thank you Jane, Stefanie, and all of you, for your honesty. The willingness to try something new and scary when the old stuff isn't working anymore is hard to come by for most. Making it through even one day sober is more than most alcoholics (or those that find themselves routinely "over-served") ever achieve. You are all wonders.

    I have learned that the wisdom of the ancient life philosophy, "moderation in all things" is fantastic – for other people. I am not built for moderation. I broke up with booze years ago and all through this time I have needed the support from other alcoholics, not to hook up with my ex, whiskey. Listening to the stories of others who understand my struggle is something I never tire of. I find inspiration in your words. With you all, I feel understood and truly known.

    I have found that those "firsts" I had – that many of you are now braving – first sober days and months and Christmases, set me up with more and more knowledge and experience of how to get through things. Because I only have to get through one "first" of anything, getting through the same situation the next time was just a tiny bit easier, and then a tiny bit easier the time after that. Drawing on those experiences when times get tough, is invaluable.

    For the Stephanie who slipped – Brava to you for jumping back on the wagon. The beauty of your situation is that you don't lose the sober experience you had before, or the knowledge you gained. You can draw on all of that as you pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

    Love and gratitude to you all.
    You are my people.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

  26. Anonymous said,

    Yikes I'm not sure where to begin. If you read the blog & then all the comments your head starts to spin! Ok so this is Anonymous 6:04 pm from last week's Friday blog. My real name is Julie and I just survived (and enjoyed) Christmas with the in-laws and alcohol-free. When I pushed away from the dinner table at 7:25 pm I realized I had made it. There were many moments of weakness but I made my decision and stuck to it.
    I had a dream about drinking wine and spilling it all over from a hole in the cup. Any analysts out there?
    I am also one of the 1-2-3 glasses of wine girls out there who is finding that she is allergic to the stuff and should probably take a permanent vacation from the poison. For now I am making that decision one day ata time, sometimes every 30 minutes.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  27. mylene said,

    I'm 16 days sober. This blog is also my lifeline! I read this & attend the AA mtgs.-2 "musts" in this recovery-thing. Loved my SOBER Christmas & NO HANGOVER ! It was hard at times, but I survived. I appreciate all of you! THANKS STEFANIE ! thanks, Jane.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  28. gemma said,

    Ohhh, thank god I checked in here. So It's 7pm on Dec 26 – and I'm in Ireland with family. Yes, the land of "what do you mean you quit drinking?….Like, for how long?…WHAT?! Like, EVER?!" And it goes on and on. It's more incredulous, a complete inability to understand trying to enjoy life without the alcohol. Anyway, the great news is, I, too, am enjoying life soo much more now. I'm with Stef – it doesnt have to get to a most desperate place before deciding to live without it. ANyway, all of the drinking comments are so familiar (we all thought we were so unique in our habits?) and sooo helpful. It really is a tough time of year. And for all of you going through your first christmas , CONGRATS!! Going through each of these moments, I think, is reallly critical to having more confidence in yourself as a sober person. It keeps getting better!! And I think Elizabeth said she wondered if it would open up space in her life for other stuff. Let me tell you, IT DOES. It's like cleaning out your hard drive – things just run better! Gotta run. Kids are destroying cousin's house. Happy to check in. Keep up the amazing support and comments. This just rocks.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

  29. Anonymous said,

    Hi, Sami here
    Day 16 for me and just finished the first christmas in about five years alcohol-free. Suprisingly it wasn't too bad.
    I went to an AA meeting on Christmas Eve (my third or fourth) and that helped immensely – not least because I met people there who are dreading Christmas with the family much more than I do and with good reason.

    It made me realise 1) that I'm quite lucky – My extended family, although difficult at times, are not THAT bad and 2) my strength to do this (I'm only on day 16) is greater when I try to help others including other recovering alcoholics.

    It's almost the start of a whole new decade (Yeah, New Year's Eve – will the temptations never stop ?!!) I'm determined to start it alcohol free, clear headed, designated driver and full of prickly feelings that are REAL. I'm so glad I get to start it with all of you.

    Hope to see you here 2020.

    Merry Christmas and Happy 2010!
    Sami

    | December 26, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

  30. trifitmom said,

    i truly believe alcohol is the route of all evil. only know as a 40 year old do i see what is going on around me, it amazes me how many people are addicted to drinking and believe there is NOTHING wrong with it and what it does to them and their bodies.

    | December 26, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

  31. Lola said,

    "I was losing a little bit of my soul with every drink". Ah, how I can relate. I still had/have all the stuff I thought was so important while drinking, the cars, house, toys etc. Funny enough, now that I've stopped drinking I realize that I may have been stuff rich but I was soul poor, and it was that which made me so miserable I just had to drink. Now I can honestly say take my house, take my stuff, just give me peace, happiness and health. Sobriety is a wonderful thing.

    | December 27, 2009 @ 4:00 am

  32. lalomar said,

    Beginning my 9th day of sobriety today. Can really relate to what so many of you are posting. I have really hard cravings to drink when I'm making meals for my family. What is that all about? Am I resentful that this is my main role now? My career died 6.5 years ago when I decided to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Things have gotten extremely tense between husband & me since I fessed up to this addiction only a few days ago. Sober world is so much rougher than fuzzy, yummy wine and pill world. How ever will I make 30 days, if 9 feels like an eternity plus 100. Feeling gross and yucky and sick with cold, too. Does that happen when you quit the sauce?
    -Lalo

    | December 27, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  33. BabyonBored said,

    Lalomar, This is quite normal. Quitting drinking is hard and if it's not, you're not doing it right. I have a bad cold too so I'm right there with you. And I hear from a lot of people that they catch colds when they quit. I'm sorry your husband is not dealing with it all that well, but you are doing the right thing. Once you start muddling through all the junk that has built up through the last few years since you decided to stay home, your husband will see a happier you and he will connect that to not drinking and definitely be on board. That's my experience. Have you tried a meeting?

    | December 27, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

  34. Anonymous said,

    Anne here (anonymous 4:39 Pm from last Friday) Lalomar, today is my 8th day sober thanks to the support of this blog. In those 8 days I threw a 40th birthday party for my husband and had 16 over to my place for Xmas dinner all without one sip of wine! It was not easy but I got through! I relate to your story as I also gave up my career 6 months ago to be home with my children and I too am resentful even thought it was my choice. I have struggled with alcohol abuse on and off for my whole life but thought I pretty much had it under control but the staying at home thing is definately a large contributing factor to why it has recently become out of control. My husband used to think it was not a problem and would convince me it wasn't the few times i had mentioned needing to quit. This time it is different and we have sat down and had some serious discussions on how I am really feeling inside and now he gets it. I said to him last night that sometimes i just want to walk out the door and leave the stress of raising kids and marriage behind but i would never really do that… so drinking has been my way of temporarily escaping. Of course it just makes things worse in the end. Hopefully your husband will "get it" soon. As someone posted earlier "just keep on keepin' on"
    To everyone else that posted last Friday please get your comments in as I would like to know how everyone has fared through the last week. We have over 100 comments from last week and only 33 so far today. Jane thanks for your story….I was reading excerpts to my husband because so much of what you wrote really hits home with me. Again thanks to everyone for sharing your story..it helps to know we are not going at this alone.

    | December 27, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

  35. Anonymous said,

    This blog has become too heavy and well, just not funny anymore. Though I understand it's a serious disease, I can't read it anymore.

    I read all of your book and really identified with you, but now you've become "that Mom who used to drink" and not "that Mom that's soo freakin' funny."

    Please don't misunderstand. I'm happy for you. Truly, I am. But I can't follow your blog anymore. Your target audience has changed and we no longer have anything in common.

    Hope your story continues to help others. I('ll) miss your humor.

    | December 27, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  36. Anonymous said,

    I enjoyed your "firtst" post Lisa Page…. there have been quite a few "firsts" for me lately…. infact last night I went out with friends to a bar for the first time since I quit. I ordered a sparkling water and the bartender couldn't hear me b/c it was so loud. I had to yell it like 3 times and people started to stare. This was a beer pub so I was out of luck with the sparkling water. I got a diet coke "on the house" since I was obviously the "designated driver". Funny thing is, I did end up driving us all home =)
    I like what you said about the "firsts" making you stronger. They do, and I will try to look at it like that from now on instead of an obstacle/hurdle/Mt. Everest or whatever you want to call it b/c that feels better. Thanks for the insight.
    xoxo, Mary

    | December 27, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  37. Anonymous said,

    hi all…i posted two days ago (anon – signed stephanie) and mentioned how i drank recently after a couple of months sobriety..well, i bought a bottle of wine tonight..on my way home from a run of all moments (pushing my daughter in her stroller!!). the first night that i drank was b/c of an old fling and it continues to me more or less about him. this time it is about whether i will hear from him..when i will hear from him. ugh, i hate this. i hate that this is what makes me drink. life is so much better when it is just my daughter and i and no men in sight. an issue of mine i guess.
    anyways, i have only had a glass and a half and am certain i will wake in the morning with negative feelings and pour the rest out (while worrying that my down stairs neighbors smell it through their pipes – cna you say paranoia?)

    this blog is the closest i have to a support group..in a strange kind of way. i have no free time for meetings..have never been to one and am curious but have no one to watch my daughter. thanks everyone…i wish we could turn this into more!! thanks for your response to stefanie.

    stephanie

    | December 27, 2009 @ 11:40 pm

  38. 44andCounting said,

    Last Friday – the first day of the Friday posts – was my forst without a glass of wine…and I haven't had one since. Today is my 10th day of sobriety – have attended 5 AA meetings…between the people there and those of you here, I've been able to do this. I have felt great…and also had a moment when I opened a bottle that had been in my regrigerator the whole week – but as soon as I popped the cork I poured the WHOLE bottle down the drain. I had heard in AA that "it's not the third, fourth or fifth drink that's the problem…it's the first." And my struggle and all the supportive people at AA and all of these posts here gave me the strength to just throw the wine away. It was – is – hard, but honestly, not drnking feels so much better than the guilt, shame and next-day remorse of imbibing the night before.

    I chose last Friday to start because I thought it was kind of silly to wait for the new year…and my kids were going skiing with their dad so I figured if I had any angry, bad reactions I'd deal with them when the kids were gone…the BIG payoff came when my kids returned home and my 12 year old son said to me "Mom, you look radiant!"

    I am thinking of you all – and thanks to Stefanie for your support…and as for those that may be leaving your blog, it seems you're gaining lots of new followers – you've struck a nerve!

    xox

    | December 28, 2009 @ 1:06 am

  39. Lauren said,

    Hi all,

    I've been following this blog since I first saw Stefanie on Dr Oz's show….I myself have been struggling for a while now on whether or not I have a problem – but I know that in itself is a warning sign that I do have a problem.

    But my situation is a bit different than many…I have been aware of my potential issues for many years now (family history) and so once I saw the first few warning signs: occasional blackouts, once in a while I cannot stop drinking once I start, etc. I started to really re-evaluate my drinking. But then I can go days or even weeks without any drink. I went through 2 pregnancies without any alcohol!

    Lately if I do drink at home, I limit myself to 3 glasses of wine – that will not give me a hangover and I don't feel TOO guilty for the drinking by myself!

    I did start going to some AA meetings several months ago, but I felt even more isolated, since everyone that spoke seemed to be really severely addicted by the time they stopped drinking – they all had these horror stories that I could not relate too. It's just not that bad for me, yet. I'm trying to be proactive about stopping drinking but I wish I could meet some other women IRL that can relate to what I am going through….

    and then I found this blog! I can relate so much more to these comments here. Especially from the other SAHMs who get lonely or are bored from a long day with the kids.

    I know that in reality, I would miss the wine at night after a hard day, taking the edge off and giving me something to look forward to after my kids go to bed and my husband is off on yet another business trip, but I also know what will eventually happen to me if I continue on this path and it scares me. I know I at least have more time, but I know I need to stop soon.

    I am going to try and find some more women's meetings in my area, maybe that will suit me better.

    But thanks Stefanie for all your postings, I really appreciate reading them.

    | December 28, 2009 @ 1:44 am

  40. Anonymous said,

    Lauren, you and I are almost identical in our situations. I would love to have the chance to email you and discuss. I'm j1973berry@san.rr.com

    Julie

    | December 28, 2009 @ 4:23 am

  41. Sweet Jane said,

    Hi Lauren,

    Jane here – just want to add that I too could go days, weeks – hell months w/o booze. If I got busy or whatnot, I wouldn't even think of it. Trouble was, when it was up – time to celebrate, time to meet up with old friends, then the roll of the dice. Am I a 2 drink drinker tonight? Or not so much?

    I know that it's tough when people are saying super dramatic stuff in meetings, it's like – uh seriously! that's not me! But getting out when the gettin's good is a pretty good idea. Just my experience. You'll hear your story in the rooms, just like you do here. And a womens meeting = great idea.

    | December 28, 2009 @ 7:30 am

  42. Lauren said,

    Thank you for sharing Jane.

    | December 28, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  43. Elizabeth said,

    Lauren,
    I want to echo what Sweet Jane said. I, too, could go weeks and sometimes months without drinking. Sometimes I decided not to drink because I was afraid it was becoming a problem (or that frinds were noticing), other times it was because I was busy with a project or goal … and the time away would always allowed me to say, "see, this isn't a problem for me". I can stop any old time. And I never hit a "real" bottom, either – a least on the outside. I have an awesome job, great kid, my own house (okay, I rent but it is a house!), hobbies, lots of family and friends around. My "bottom" was internal – the shame and guilt from knowing I was drinking too often and too much. So, I understand how many of the stories you hear in AA seem so different from your own … but if you listen to the feelings of everyone telling their story – well, to me, the feelings were the same ones I as experiencing. What I keep remembering, too, is the "line" that a lot of folks talk about. It is the "line" that we who have unhealthy relationships with alcohol can cross – and you will never know how close you are to that line – whether you are on it – or whether you have just crossed it. For some reason that scared the pants off of me. If I haven't crossed the line yet – I don't want to. And if I have crossed it (at least a little) then I am going back to the other side. I don't want to wake up one day and find that I crossed that line so far that I have lost my chld, or my job, or have hurt someone drinking and driving. Given my relationship with booze, there is NO DOUBT that I would end up there – it was inevitable. Just something to think about as you dcide or yourself whether alcohol is an issue for you. Remember, too, only YOU know. This is your lfe, and no one else's. Hope these thoughts help as you find the answers to your own questions.
    xo

    | December 28, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  44. Anonymous said,

    I was someone who never drank, not even rarely, right up until my thirties. Then I became a social drinker. I was also able to go weeks or months before the next one since I olnly ever drank when I went out to a club or pub. Then it became one then two a week at home, then one or two a night (red wine for 'health' rasons, right?)

    It became a problem but even before I had the minor injuries from my drunken unco-ordination, my family moments of embarrassment at my behaviour, horrendous hangovers with god know what erupting from my stomach, i knew i needed to stop.

    I knew because of the
    1) guilt I felt the next morning even after just one.

    2) no matter how much I meant it when I said 'none today' I'd always end up drinking some

    3)I could never stop at just one

    4) I found it hard to contemplate a single day of going without it

    The remorse is the worst and if it's a problem it won't matter how few glasses, or how far between they are; just one will make one feel awfully guilty and worried.

    I tried to stop, went six weeks without, only to fall back one day (weird because I wasn't feeling either really bad or really good – no trigger than I could tell – it was just a split second decision I made that ended my six weeks of sobriety)

    Now I'm trying with the help of AA. I don't feel like I have much in common outside of the meeting with the AA members either but then, and I think this is important: I'm not looking for friends here – just sobriety.
    Someone at AA similar to myself that I became friend with might make this more complicated and together we might make each other more tempted to drink (after all we have that in common, lol)

    Just as the other poster said, I don't have much in common outside of the groups with themembers but really relate to the feelings the members speak of. If I'm totally honest about it – I have this in commmon with them in spades.

    I'm so glad I'm not alone in this. I believe there are millions of women out there like us: professional, successful, mothers, wives and ffiends who know in our hearts, it's not totally together because of alcohol or addiction.

    Stephani: you are still appealing to the majority with your writing about your life, your family, and this is just one part of it all.

    And, hell yes, you are still cock suckinly funny!
    Thanks for the honesty.

    | December 28, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  45. Anonymous said,

    Stef (and Jane) – I think it's a great thing you guys are doing with this blog, and I'm following along and I don't even have kids! Do I drink? Well, yes, but I really am one of those "a glass of wine a day" people (and no, not a 12 oz. glass)…

    So why do I follow? Honestly, I think what I'm finding most interesting about all of this is the sincere and loving support that you are getting from those that are reading this and sharing their struggles (and their love). It is incredibly moving. For those that have written and have quit (or are considering it) – you know that you aren't alone and that you can do it if you feel you need to in order to improve your life. And I think that is wonderful and amazing.

    We all have ways of coping with this messy and crazy thing called "life"… huge kudos to everyone for recognizing when the coping itself has turned into a major problem.

    Carolyn Knapp once quoted "drinking makes everything better… until it makes everything worse" and I've always loved that saying because it is so true for some people.

    My best to you all… I will continue to follow you and root for you.

    | December 28, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

  46. Anonymous said,

    this is my 100th day of sobriety. this blog has helped me to begin to heal. i am in the process of reconstructing my entire life. i loved 'my wine'…and painfully still miss 'my bff'. last summer i became isolated and depressed. i had crossed 'the line'. i truly did not have anything to be depressed about. i have three beautiful little girls, a good husband and a decent home…i couldn't wait to get home from the pool to have 'my wine'. what was i trying to escape from? i became the type of mom that said 'i love you little ones, now run along and go have fun'. off they would go on their bikes for hours. the thought occurred to me over and over again as i sipped away…geez, if something happened to one of my girls, how would i get them to the hospital? the thought never occurred to me that they would be taken away. just how would i get them there for treatment?

    finally, i couldn't take the shame, remorse and guilt anymore. a friend of mine suggested i not drink for one night. i couldn't. but am i an alcoholic?

    i drank a glass of wine at 2:00 p.m. the second day of the school year…never did that before. what was i thinking? i had to pick my kids up at 4:00. i could see the possibility of me starting earlier and earlier during the day so on the third day of the school year i went to my first 'double a' meeting. i was scared out of my mind. didn't connect with anyone really. at my third meeting i heard someone say 'i killed two people'…i thought…this is not for me. i am nothing like these people. a little old lady said i would be okay…just keep coming. so i did. the following week i finally met a few mom's with similar drinking patterns as mine. they too said i would be okay if i just kept coming. so i did. i have struggled with many things in the past three and a half months…and, i didn't want to lose my 'ordinary friends'. however, i have some new extraordinary friends through the fellowship. for now, instead of depending on the liquid courage to take the edge off and/or relax…i depend on them.

    as hard as it is to adjust to this new way of life and as uncomfortable as i still am…what keeps me sober today are the 'yets'.

    i met a women that needed to take her child to the doctor and she was told not to because she was drinking and if the physicians or nurses thought that she was drinking they would call child protective services? this story hit home for me because of how much time i spent pondering the possibility. interesting though, i never thought my kids would be taken away…i was more concerned of the fear of getting caught driving while drinking. i also met a mom that was tipsy with her kids in the car, stopped to get them a treat at a gas station, the next thing you know…four miles down the street she was pulled over, escorted to jail and her kids were off to social services. the gas station attendant called the police and gave them her license plates. she also told me he showed up in court to testify against her. and guess what…he got fifty bucks for calling the police and fifty bucks each time he showed up in court. another story an amazing women shared with me was that she began drinking while her kids were in school during the day. she occasionally fell asleep only to wake up a few minutes late to pick her kids up. one time as she pulled up to the school there was child protective services waiting to take her kids away. she didn't see them for months after that. she has been sober for years now and helps me a great deal today.

    i was spared these horrors and am truly grateful. do i ever want to take that chance again? i think not…the yets could be yet to come!

    | December 28, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  47. Molly said,

    I can relate to Elizabeth. I have 6 days sober… and the thing that finally made me sober was my boyfriend going crazy thinking I was cheating. Did I have "someone else"? Someone else was wine. I confessed, and he was so relieved, and so supportive for me to quit. It's been great so far… but hard every day around 5 pm. I might have to start going to meetings… but I will, no matter who is there… I think even if people in AA meetings have nothing in common with me, they all want to deal with life head on, no alcohol. Keep it up everyone! You can do it!

    | December 28, 2009 @ 11:57 pm

  48. Molly said,

    "S.O.B.E.R = Son of a Bitch, everything is real." Hilarious!

    | December 29, 2009 @ 3:41 am

  49. Watergirl Jen said,

    Alrighty, I am finally posting. I have been having this nagging feeling that just reading every Friday and never saying anything just is not right. After much thought on the whole dinking topic I have made myself believe I don't have an addiction, but just a really bad habit of drinking too much too often…but I can stop if I really wanted to right? Yet, I am typing this hangover on a Tuesday morning and yes I can down a bottle of wine most nights of the week. I stocked my fridge with lot's of yummy sparkling cider in hopes I would opt for that bottle instead. I just always come up with such great excuses why it's ok. I think a nice good slap across the face (hypothetically of course) would be in order. Btw, I just started reading your new book Step. It is super funny….

    | December 29, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

  50. Lynn said,

    Stefanie and all, I found you last week. I'm home! Bless all of you. Your stories are my story too, so I won't repeat any gory details, just that I'm one of ya!

    How do we stop breaking the promises to ourselves? Last night I invented the need to go get batteries for the dog collar (don't want that bad doggy to run away again!) to go get wine. You can drink two tiny bottles before you get home and hide two in your purse. And who the hell invented the wine Mommy juice box anyway?

    How can a husband not know that you are drinking? If I tell him, I'm sure he will laugh it off, not wanting to deal with it, plus he's barely ever seen me drink more than one glass (you know, the one you keep out for "show", while you're pounding two more in secret.) Except for the night I puked out the car door after the Christmas party. "Don't worry, it happens," he said.

    Last night as my nine year old was acting loopy (she's adhd, so she does it often) I wondered if she sipped some of my wine. At bedtime she said her stomach and head hurt, and she confirmed that yes, she had sipped some of my wine.

    I've quite for a whole Lent, and it was miserable. Other than that, never made it more than three days. It's the hellish homework (see previous adhd mention) cook dinner happy hour that gets me.

    Thank God for all of you. I hope you give me the strength to join you on the journey.

    | December 29, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  51. Anonymous said,

    The only way I know of how to stop breaking the promise to myself is by going to a meeting. It's impossible otherewise.

    Good luck to you and everyone else

    | December 29, 2009 @ 2:06 pm

  52. Anonymous said,

    I'm on day two without wine and I cannot thank you, Stefanie, Jane and all of you who have shared your stories so honestly. I know that without this sense of virtual camaraderie, I could have never taken this first step.

    I can relate to sooo many of your stories–getting anxious about getting home so I can have my wine, using drinking as an "escape"/stress-reliever to help me make it through the boring, tedious, necessary tasks of being a wife and mom without snapping, making excuses to go to the grocery store to buy wine (and, I, too, have hidden those small bottles in my purse!), drinking so much that I forget what my children told me the night before, arranging activities so I can be the drop-off parent instead of the pick-up parent, and so many more.

    I drink at least a bottle of wine a night most nights and I know it's time to end that pattern.

    However, and I'm hoping some of you can help me here, I don't think I'm an alcoholic and I really cannot see myself going to AA meetings. First of all, I am a really private person and cannot imagine sharing all this with a roomful of strangers.

    Second, I HATE meetings of all types–can barely stand to go to all the frickin' school meetings I have to go to. I am much better with a book and, hopefully, the anonymous support of a virtual group of similar people like this blog (thanks again, Stefanie!).

    And, third, and most of you will probably say I am in denial, and maybe I am, but I think my problem is more of an OCD-type thing than pure alcoholism. I have a long history of obsessive-type behavior, including, anorexia, bulimia, addiction to exercise, overworking, etc. I think I really need a good therapist to help me clear out whatever it is that I am trying to escape, repress and move on. Also, I got over my previous addictions by myself and hoping that will be the case here as well.

    And, last, I don't want to give up wine forever. I want to be able to share a bottle of wine with my husband at dinner or enjoy a drink at a dinner or party. My problem seems to be drinking at home alone, so that is what I am committed to giving up.

    So, new rules for myself:

    1) No drinking at home alone.
    2) Limit myself to two drinks when out to dinner.

    I will check in on Fridays to report how it's going. If this doesn't work, I will reluctantly consider AA, but I'm hoping the dread of that will keep my straight.

    In the meantime, if anyone can recommend a good book or a way to find a good therapist to help me deal with this, I would be very grateful.

    Much love and thanks to all,
    Susan

    | December 29, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

  53. Anonymous said,

    who else wants more from this blog!i dont have time for meetings (single mom without a lot of support) and so I am afraid that this blog is the closest i have. i have hit a rough spot over the past few days and would love to join forces from afar with anyone else out there…via email or phone. maybe a 5ish pm call for those of us who start getting the craving at that hour! maybe we can help each other out. i posted a couple of times in this thread over the past few days…my name is stephanie. if anyone is interested let me know!

    | December 29, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

  54. Stephanie said,

    this is stephanie from above. you can click on my name above to contact me…

    | December 29, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  55. Unplanned Cooking said,

    Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your story. Have a great New Year!

    | December 29, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

  56. Anonymous said,

    This is Susan from 4 posts up. I would LOVE some virtual support group that checked in around 4 or 5 pm. Don't know if Stefanie wants to take this on.

    Maybe there is some way to set up a Yahoo groups or Facebook account that those of us who are interested could virtually check in and offer support. Any techies out there know how to do this?

    | December 29, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

  57. Anonymous said,

    Anon 9:01 – I'm more of a "lurker" here than anything (not really a drinker actually) but maybe Stef can help you all set up a side site or message board site where you all can stay connected and keep supporting one another when you need it??

    And I think the question of whether or not you can drink socially again is a question that only YOU can answer for yourself once you get some time and distance from your current struggles with wine. I have had friends who have cut down successfully after having it start to consume them, but for others I don't think it's quite that easy…. Personally (and with other things that I regulate), I try to stay very present through meditation and other means, and if you are quiet enough with yourself in those present moments, you know what's best for yourself. The answer will be there. Just my opinion, though.

    | December 29, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

  58. Anonymous said,

    Reply to Susan from 9:01 am. this is Julie, aka Anonymous 6:04 pm from last week's post. Yes, a facebook account where we could check in at 5 pm everyday or most days would be great. At this point I have an identity on this blog and everytime I try to use it it says I have the wrong password. Wah.
    Most important thing I want to say: I've now been to 3 AA meetings and the first one had a 7 year old in attendance, the 3rd one had two teenaged daughters of a regular member. Hello! And the "f" word was sprinkled liberally throughout the meeting with the 7 year old. That made me upset. So there are pitfalls at meetings but I am going to one or two this week as well because it is worthwhile and I think that contemplating life without the blur of alcohol is a good idea. I am also reading lots of books and things but the AA "Big Book" describes people who "didn't reach rock bottom but saved themselves in time" and they were drinking more than a fifth of hard liquor everyday. I call that madness and check-into-rehab time. There are a lot of women on this blog who are questioning their relationship to alcohol and wanting to abstain and/or figure out how to moderate their drinking and I think online and email support is the way to go. It is hard scrolling through all the comments, so maybe a facebook account would work.

    | December 29, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

  59. BabyonBored said,

    Hi ladies. Here's what I'm going to do: Jane and I are setting up a Yahoo group that we can all post on. We will moderate it so that we don't get spammed to death but I think it will be really helpful to have a message board to help each other out. I'll put up a post as soon as its set and anyone who wants on can get on.

    Also, just for whomever…there are so many levels of alcohol dependence. I don't think you can take a few things you hear at a meeting or in the big book and determine whether or not you "fit in." I know for me it's been complicated. For me (I can only speak for myself) it wasn't the amount I consumed and it wasn't the frequency and it wasn't the physical addiction because I wasn't physically addicted. I didn't need rehab nor did I have any withdrawl at all. The thing is, when I drank, I made decisions that I would not normally make with no substances in me. I also don't have a good gauge of how much is enough. One I have a drink or two in me, more always seems better. That's how I know I just can't drink. But, I've tried to quit and moderate before and always ended up drinking again and drinking more so I figured help was the way to go. The thing I like about meetings is that even if you never feel that fit the qualification of the a-word, you are still surrounded by people who are simply committed to changing their lives for the better. It's voluntary you know? And I will tell you one more thing, those room are FULL of people who remain unconvinced that they can't ever drink again. That's why we do this one day at a time.

    | December 29, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

  60. FiveToNine said,

    just started http://five-2-nine.blogspot.com. support for women who have a desire to quit drinking. we can come together to share our experiences, strength and hope without picking up. my most difficult time is between four and eight however, i notice that most have a hard time between five and nine. it would be nice to cook and do homework with this kind of support. i've been thinking about this since christmas. stef's blog got me through the day…sober. thank you stef and jane.

    | December 29, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  61. Lynn said,

    stefanie,

    I want to thank you for starting this discussion. You have no idea the number of women you will help and lives you will touch — even lives you will save! No kidding!

    I read the post from the Mom who says the blog is no longer for her, and I was sad. But I will offer you a counterpoint. I am actually one of those crazed organic lactivists (don't worry, I never drank while breastfeeding!) who wouldn't have been caught dead with a baby bottle on her person. (Now a baby bottle with whiskey that looks like apple juice, hmmmm). But I have made homemade organic granola for my kids while hideously hung over!

    I might have been quite self-righteous or offended had I seen your material earlier. Thank God for that chance encounter with an old People magazine while getting a pedicure.

    Wherever we come from in our philosophies of motherhood, you have brought us together over this life-and-death matter for us and our families and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel sad that you may lose a few readers because you are now that "Mom who used to be funny but now doesn't drink". But the impact of the road you are now traveling will be felt for generations.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  62. Anonymous said,

    Hi Steph — Just read your last post and giggled because so much of it was my own thinking as I scrolled down these posts. And your reasons for making a change are so spot on. I wish I'd had your clarity when I was realizing that after one or two more was SUCH a good idea. And honestly, after giving up wine during my pregnancy, my husband was really glad to have a drinking buddy back. But that only lasted a couple of years, a little bit of hiding bottles, and a couples of non-alcohol related crises, pushed me further than I ever thought I would go. Soon it was clear to both of us that the party was over for me. And the short story is life got better and only continues to get better. I too was hung up on the A-word, and had to do a lot of shopping to find the right meetings (still have to rearrange once in a while when I encounter a jerk who sucks all the positive energy out of the room. It doesn't matter what you call it, "sometimes drinking too much," a drinking problem, dependency, or alcoholism….and just as someone is always fatter than you or slimmer, you can always find someone whose problem is worse or better than yours. The bottom line is about getting the help and support you need to be the person you want to be. Sorry that those of us who are doing that have sort of hijacked your blog, Steph, but you know as well as anyone what a selfish bunch we can be. Doesn't make me or anyone else here any less grateful for this tremendous generosity of yours. Looking forward to the yahoo site. (Just hoping it still allows for anonymous postings — otherwise a lot of people won't feel they can reach out for the support they need.) Blessings to all.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  63. Anonymous said,

    I would tell people reluctant to go to double As to not expect too much from them:

    Don't go to make friends; go to be sober. You'll meet people from all walks of life (not all are PTA mom's with a wine habit)

    Some people drink as a symptom of something else i.e depression or crisis. Those are problems a meeting (or Stephani's blog)can't, and shouldn't try to fix

    Don't label yourself if you don't want to – who cares – it's you journey that matters.

    An online meeting place, especially for the witching hours of 5 to 9pm is a great idea. See you there.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  64. Molly said,

    Day 8 for me.. and I have never felt better… Some family friends came over last night… and one of the guys was begging me to drink with him.. Otherwise he was the only one in the whole group drinking, and he drank FIVE beers with dinner. EEKS. It made me sad to see him crave that feeling of wasted numbness. It also made me remember what the first drink felt like, and then all the drinks that I would have after the first one, to keep the buzz going. BLECH. I love the feeling of waking up in the morning without feeling guilt, shame, and trying to remember what I had done or said the night before. Thank the lord for the sober life.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

  65. Anonymous said,

    Anon 6:33 – great comment about "being the person you want to be" because that's truly the crux of the issue, isn't it? And we all have to make those decisions each and every day about a lot of things.

    Last night, I did some reflecting as I was having a cocktail and without even thinking about it, I just decided "you know, even though I only have one of these each night, do I really NEED this?" And my answer was "no", so I got up and poured it out. And even though that may sound silly – and even though I'm sure I'll still enjoy wine from time to time – it feel like such a moment of revelation… that I didn't need or want to be "altered". That I was fine just as I was, watching nightime tv in my warm and lovely home… it was, nice.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  66. Anonymous said,

    how do you figure out how to be the person you want to be after you realized you've depended on alcohol for so long?

    | December 30, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  67. Anonymous said,

    Honestly, I don't know but I think that's where the "help" part comes in and I think it's different for everyone. For me, I want to be a person that doesn't need to feel altered at the end of an evening in order to relax and fall asleep. And last night I just decided to be that person. And I was. For me I think it's about feeling completely comfortable in my skin – in my life and with the choices I have made. For others, it will be something else.

    I really and truly think that meditation and spirituality (religious or otherwise) can play a huge role in all of this, too…

    | December 30, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  68. Anonymous said,

    to Anon 12:08 from Anon 6:33 — your question kind of floored me…when I first got sober I just wanted to anyone but me, really hated myself and everything I did. I knew I wanted to unlearn that. I wanted to believe in myself. I knew I wanted to be a good mother. And I wanted to not be so afraid of the world and what people might or might not think of me. When I started getting sober, I started learning these things. (It's funny how we can be concerned with finding "people like us" trying to get sober, I've learned some really valuable lessons from people in the rooms who are nothing like me, like the ex-heroin addict construction worker with dred locks who has enough hope to light up Yankee Stadium.) Anyway, I learned these things slowly, and not all of it was just about the booze — I got fit and quit smoking, and just really like feeling good. And soon I was more patient and loving for my whole family in the way we all deserve. And I also stopped trying to so damn perfect. Maybe it was my efforts to be perfect that got me so angry and afraid in the first place. I'd set standards for myself that I could only fail. When that felt really bad, my only answer was a big fat glass of red wine. Some good women's meetings, a therapist if you can afford it, regular exercize, and a healthy diet will help you figure out who that woman is you want to be. And she'll be easy to find — you are already she…she's just hidden behind a haze of chardonnay and hangovers and guilt and shame. But trust me, she's there right inside you AND she's beautiful.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

  69. Anonymous said,

    thank you anon 12:43. this is anon 12:08. you gave me the hope i needed for today. i will continue to go to meetings and listen. i'm on day 102. i will wait for the miracle and continue to work the steps. these blogs are awesome. i'm so grateful i found all of you.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

  70. Anonymous said,

    Wow, Anon 12:43! That was beautiful! Thank you!

    | December 30, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  71. Sweet Jane said,

    hi Ladies! Jane here.

    We are still working on the Yahoo group, I had it all set up but it somehow got eaten when I played with Alias' – so that's the good news. You can create any alias to keep it anon.

    My hope is to circle up with Stef and get it back up tonight- we'll post here about it when it's live. In the meantime, keep the amazing comments coming. Anon 12:43, that is SO beautifully said…

    | December 30, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

  72. Anonymous said,

    how can some people get up and go in new sobriety and others take a bit of time to get it? how come some people are so grateful they are sober and some seem so sad? when do you begin to feel the happy, joyous and free feelings that are promised?

    | December 30, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

  73. Anonymous said,

    ah but that's the thing. Those happy joyous moments are not p romised to us. They are earned by us and hard come by if you must know.

    Life is not easy, nor is it smooth but it's never all awful either(although everyone's experiences and outlook is different)
    The joyous moments are wonderful but often a surprise.

    Life is just categorically WORSE when alcohol becomes an issue.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

  74. Anonymous said,

    ah but that's the thing. Those happy joyous moments are not p romised to us. They are earned by us and hard come by if you must know.

    Life is not easy, nor is it smooth but it's never all awful either(although everyone's experiences and outlook is different)
    The joyous moments are wonderful but often a surprise.

    Life is just categorically WORSE when alcohol becomes an issue.

    | December 30, 2009 @ 11:10 pm

  75. Anonymous said,

    oops. sorry

    | December 30, 2009 @ 11:12 pm

  76. Anonymous said,

    so how do we earn the promises?

    | December 30, 2009 @ 11:50 pm

  77. Anonymous said,

    This is only my opinion and experience but good times are not promised to us just as bad times are not given to us because we deserve it.

    Alcohol makes the bad stuff (and the boring, mundane stuff)bearable because it numbs us so we don't feel it as much.

    If we are willing to live in the present, prickly though it is, you'll be 'awake' or present when the joyous moments happen (like Steph wrote so eloquently about putting her eldest girl to sleep)

    With alcohol everything; the good and the bad all become progressivley worse.

    I'm not nearly as eloquent in explaining what I mean as the poster above. But I wholeheartedly agree with her

    This is just my opinion based on my experience. I know it is not the same for others who may face much more difficulty than I do. But bless you all in whatever path you choose.

    | December 31, 2009 @ 12:38 am

  78. Anonymous said,

    TO Anon 3:50
    You don't earn the promises. You learn your way to a new kind of life where, and yes I promise you, they just start to happen. It seems so impossible at the beginning, but I've seen it again and again. Start slowly don't rush. Learn to sit with your anger and frustration and despair — you do that for a day or two without picking up a drink and those negative feelings will start to lose a little bit of their power. And then you'll be stronger to put a few more days together. Take all that time you spent drinking and spend it either getting to a meeting or reading about how to live.

    Books that have helped me: Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach
    Anne Lamott's books: Bird by Bird; Traveling Mercies; AND/OR Blan B (They're all good — and she's been through this)
    Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now (I'm a bit embarrassed to include him because I sense he's bit off the wall — but some of his stuff in this one was really helpful.)
    Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss
    and because I like to have a sense of the role of our body makeup in all of this, I also got a lot out of Candace Pert's books Molecules of Emotion and Everything You Need to Know to Feel Good.
    And because a lot of us who are sensitive to the effects of alcohol have sensitivities to sugar: Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons (she specializes in addictive Nutrition)
    also inspiring: The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama.

    Get to meetings — with a frequency that works for you but that gives you the support you need. Some people think you have to go every day to get started on the right track, but I could never take that many. A lot of people will tell you how to do this, but if you don't put together something that works for you and the other demands of your life, you'll abandon the program. Find good strong women to talk to — they are out there and they will help you save your life.
    I know a woman who has a solid job with real responsibility, is buying a house, about to get married, and working on getting pregnant — five years ago she was working as a stripper and couldn't figure out how to stop smoking crack.
    I know another woman who lost custody of her children because of her drinking and now has shared custody with her ex-husband.
    And I know another woman who caught herself before any major legal wreckage, but has had both of her teenage kids tell her they're so happy she doesn't drink anymore.
    And me, three years ago I wanted to die, my husband had all but given up on me, and my little girl couldn't understand why Mommy was always so tired all the time. My husband loves and respects me and my daughter never asks me if I'm a little tired because she knows I'm present for her. I'm also responsible, reliable, and most of the time pretty happy.
    Don't feel like you are a bad person who has to earn your way out of purgatory, or this prison you've made for yourself. You've had a detour on your path…you just need some tools to better light your way and you'll find the right way to go.

    | December 31, 2009 @ 2:49 am

  79. Anonymous said,

    Hi
    I'm 21 days sober and tonight I'm going to a New Years Eve bash.

    I'm a bit worried about it as this will be the first time I'll be at an event where alcohol is front and centre. (The midnight champagne toast. )I was thinking of not going entirely even though I've already paid for the tickets but I can't spend my life avoiding these situations – alcohol is everywhere!!

    Any coping skill tips would be greatly appreciated. :/

    | December 31, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  80. Anonymous said,

    Dear Sober 21 days…

    Make it 22! :)

    Plus, it's fun to be sober and watch how crazy other people act when they are drunk. And you get to start the New Year clear-headed and hangover free! Priceless!

    | December 31, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  81. 44andCounting said,

    To Anon that's attending the New Year's bash asking for coping ideas: several at aa meetings suggested to always have a drink in hand – bring something non-alcoholic you enjoy drinking…I'm finding Diet Dr. Pepper particularly satisfying…good luck! xox

    | December 31, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

  82. Anonymous said,

    Anon (Sober 21 days) – think of it this way, if you can get through tonight without picking up, then you can get through any night of the year. And that would be an amazing thing to prove to yourself, wouldn't it?

    My best to you.

    | December 31, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

  83. BabyonBored said,

    Hi guys, Jane and I have set up the Yahoo group Booze_Free_Brigade

    You can all go on the board to support one another especially with New Year's Eve looming.

    We think we'll just make it open for now and kick people off if they're acting a fool. OR we can do it where you sign up and we approve you. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Booze_free_brigade/

    | December 31, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

  84. sirenna said,

    Sorry, I can't find it. Could you hyperlink it?

    | December 31, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

  85. BabyonBored said,

    okay, try this http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Booze_free_brigade/

    | December 31, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

  86. Anonymous said,

    type the word brigade out

    | December 31, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

  87. Anonymous said,

    stef…will you still be doing friday posts directed towards us?

    | December 31, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

  88. Anonymous said,

    I still can't link to it, and I'm copy and pasting. When I try to do a search on Yahoo groups, I come up with nothing with these words in it.
    thanks.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 2:24 am

  89. BabyonBored said,

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Booze_free_brigade/?yguid=428103574

    If this doesn't work, kill me now.

    | January 1, 2010 @ 2:29 am

  90. Anonymous said,

    Thanks, I'm an idiot-I was putting it in the google box, and assumed it would work. Umm no, it had to be in the search box. BOTH links work now :)

    | January 1, 2010 @ 2:51 am

  91. Anonymous said,

    i'm at yahoo groups. I've typed in the link, the key words – i've tried searching nothing is working.

    Anyone please email me the http link so I can try coping it into my browser. slal01@ssb.yorku.ca
    as the one on the board seems to be truncated.

    Sorry to be lame but I can't find it!!!

    | January 1, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

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