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Don’t Get Drunk Fridays: Amanda’s Story

A brave and powerful story from Amanda who blogs at Sober Mommy. Amanda, thank you for sharing your story.

“My name is Amanda.

My sobriety date is February 28, 2007.

I am a grateful recovering alcoholic.

My story starts as so many do. I never felt “right” like it seemed the other girls did. I participated in every sport available to us and became quite good at them. I tried to be a good friend. But I still had that feeling inside of panic – that my life wasn’t good enough – that I wasn’t good enough. Without going into too much detail – my life wasn’t perfect. There were reasons why I had panic attacks as a child. I was consumed with trying to be perfect at home, not make an issue of anything, be quiet, be good.

My father was, during those days, an alcoholic and my mother was terrified of losing me after having two children pass away. Now as I parent I can only imagine how difficult their lives were but at the time I had nothing to relate it to. The reality was this: I couldn’t be perfect. My life was a mess – the amount of dysfunction in it was enormous. In truth I had all kinds of reasons to be panicked.

I found my way out of my house at twenty when I married. I tried so hard to marry someone that wasn’t my father. My first husband wasn’t necessarily a bad man – just someone who couldn’t fill the emptiness I felt inside. I had two daughters.

Finally when I was thirty-three I just fell apart.

When I was young I told myself I would never become an alcoholic. It was easy just not drink and it worked for many years. Unfortunately, once I started to drink I found that I was very good at it. I know that sometimes it’s a slippery slope but for me it was a downhill slide. I found that drinking took away the pain, took away the anxiety, and took away the last of what made me that was left. Let’s just get to the point. Drinking ruined my marriage.

I chose to not to go after custody of my daughters when I divorced. I didn’t want them to grow up like I had. I felt a tremendous shame in not pursuing custody of the girls. In society there is such a stigma to not have your children after divorce regardless of whether or not it was the best thing to do. After all no one wants to admit that they chose drinking over their children. Today I have my girls more but I still feel like I did the right thing – regardless of who thinks otherwise.

I struggled with getting sober. Just saying that “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who will not completely give them to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” This simple message was my struggle. I couldn’t be honest with myself.

It was because of this inability I couldn’t get past the compulsion. It was just too great – I still needed something to drown out the pain, take away the anxiety, I was in every way a walking zombie – going through the motions without truly feeling anything. I went on this way for a long time this feeling nothing and faking it around my children. In reality though they realized what was wrong – the big bottle of Chardonnay or the vodka in the freezer. I remember with pain my oldest daughter asking me to stop drinking and I regret not putting the girls before my compulsion to drink.

It was during this time that somehow I met my second husband. He was good man who could see through the walls I’d built up. But he needed me to stop drinking.

I went to rehab three times. The first time I went to frankly make my husband shut up. I didn’t want sobriety for me, I wanted it go get him off my back. The second time I went because I was scared of the paranoia that was beginning to take over my life and somewhere deep inside I knew this as a sign that my drinking was out of control. Unfortunately during both visits the underlying issues of why this was happening wasn’t addressed. Even though I saw the diagnosis of manic depression no one discussed it, no one took the time to help.

The third time, ah, the third time I went to rehab was for me. My was on the verge of leaving – he was sick of my drinking, sick of being alone when I passed out, sick of having to worry about what he would come home to at night. I realized that he and my girls had stood behind me the entire time but I knew that I had to want it.

During that third stint I was placed into a group that was more psychologically based and less drug/alcohol knowledge related. I was lucky that the staff moved me into that group – that they saw the pain, they saw my depression and mania. Working with an addiction doctor helped in ways I can’t explain – he finally looked at the total picture and explained why I wouldn’t be able to continue to be sober until I rewired my brain – that it had been taken hostage from the alcohol and explained that I needed medicine to help moderate my mood until my brain rewired itself. He believed that I had anxiety and knew that I needed the emotional tools to work through the past and how to work towards tomorrow.

With these tools I work through what life brings. I am no longer ashamed of the past. I am no longer in denial. And I am happy. Finally. For the first time in my life.

Like I said, my name is Amanda and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic.”

If you want what we have there is support at the Booze Free Brigade.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on February 26, 2010 5:57 pmDon't Get Drunk Friday,Drinking14 comments  

14 Comments

  1. Shannon Kieta said,

    You are a brave soul Amanda, as all of the recovering souls are. I envy each and every one of you. Shannon

    | February 26, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

  2. Diana said,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    I was diagnosed with severe depression two years after I got sober. While I was predisposed to alcoholism on so many levels, I often wonder if it might not have been so profound if I had been diagnosed and treated for the depression sooner. Mental illness and addiction can be intertwined and confusing what with all the self medicating, shame and stigma.
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..The Best First Job =-.

    | February 26, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  3. Gretchen said,

    And I am grateful for you Amanda! Thank you for sharing, and daring to touch other lives with your story. I hope I can share mine one day!

    | February 26, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

  4. Ellie said,

    What a brave and honest post. Thank you. I identify with a LOT of what you say. I also went to treatment three times – and, like you, the third time worked because I was there for me. I also struggled with anxiety and depression, and self-medicated with alcohol. Both have gotten SO much better since I stopped drinking.

    You have an important message here – it’s vital to look at the whole picture. Drinking is most often a symptom of other things – in my opinion- and I could never stop the drinking until I looked hard at everything else.

    Thanks so much for your post. Congrats on your recovery – my sobriety date is August 2007, so we’re almost sober sisters. I’m off to check out your blog now!!

    -Ellie
    .-= Ellie´s last blog ..The Gift of The… well, Let’s Just Call It The Gift =-.

    | February 26, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

  5. Natika said,

    When I first started reading I almost stopped because I thought I had read it before. Then I realized that it’s such a common start that it’s the finish that sets it apart.

    Well done and Congratulations.
    Elaine

    | February 26, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

  6. Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said,

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I can tell from this post that you are owning your life and I applaud you for it!
    .-= Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist´s last blog ..Writing Nirvana to Writing Nothing =-.

    | February 26, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

  7. Aunt Becky said,

    So proud of you, Amanda.
    .-= Aunt Becky´s last blog ..Talk Dirty To Me =-.

    | February 26, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

  8. Ginger said,

    Amanda, I am delighted for you to have found your way. You deserve the benefits that come from being responsible for making your own path and being careful with the people in your life. Enjoy yourself, you deserve to! Well done, you.
    .-= Ginger´s last blog ..Go go goggle =-.

    | February 26, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

  9. PrincessJenn said,

    So proud of you for sharing this, girl. Love you lots and lots.
    .-= PrincessJenn´s last blog ..Follow Friday – Blowing Sunshine Out My…. =-.

    | February 26, 2010 @ 11:44 pm

  10. Corinne said,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story here. Like others have said, it illustrates the importance of the whole lot. I know I drank to escape from depression, and after being sober for 30 days it’s really hitting me that I need to deal with the depression itself.
    Thank you for this.
    .-= Corinne´s last blog ..Bright spots in the big pile of suck =-.

    | February 27, 2010 @ 1:51 am

  11. Coma Girl said,

    As a custodial step-mother to three boys who have an alcoholic biological mother, I would like to say that you absolutely did the right thing for your daughters.

    And I am happy you got help and now have your daughters more.

    | February 27, 2010 @ 3:02 am

  12. Lisa Rae @ smacksy said,

    Thank you for sharing this Amanda.

    Happy, oh-so-happy birthday on Sunday!
    .-= Lisa Rae @ smacksy´s last blog ..I am SO the boss of you =-.

    | February 27, 2010 @ 4:48 am

  13. Cynthia said,

    Amanda-
    Thank You,Thank You, Thank You! I also found the start of my recovery from my alcoholism when I looked at my full mental health history. Looking at my addiction in the full picture of my bipolar diagnosis has helped me begin a holistic approach of recovery to all aspect of my life. I’m positive that your honesty has helped another alcoholic today!
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..No-ga =-.

    | February 28, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

  14. Maggie, dammit said,

    I’m so glad you finally got the appropriate help. This is such a good message for me to hear, that it’s not always so simple as a “desire to stop drinking.” That for some, it’s not so simple as don’t drink and go to meetings and wait for the miracle. Thank you.
    .-= Maggie, dammit´s last blog ..What it’s like now =-.

    | March 6, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

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