Note from Stef: When I first stopped drinking, I found myself inundated by supportive emails from virtual strangers who wanted to encourage me. It was very cool and it did help enormously. One letter in particular hit me in the gut. It wasn’t so much her email as what she attached which was a letter to her then young daughter to read when she’s much much older. She wrote the letter as a way of apology for herself and for her child. I asked her if I could share it with you guys and she said, “absolutely.” I changed the names.
One day we were sitting at the table in our old house on Lakeshore Drive and you said to me, “Mommy, why do you drink so much wine all the time?” And I thought to myself…That is it. I have to quit drinking because if I don’t, I will lose the most important things in my life, like this precious little brown eyed girl staring into my eyes. You had just turned 5. I was drinking every day. The time on the clock was 11:30AM and I was drinking it out of a juice glass. But you knew it was wine.
Things were getting out of hand. I was hiding empty bottles. There were occasions when I had put you and Jack in the car and driven drunk to buy more wine. I had to be buzzed to take you to the park, to take you on play-dates with friends, to make dinner, to give you a bath. I was slowly getting to where alcohol meant more to me then you and Jack. I am sorry I was like that.
Alcohol was my escape from relationships and that was not fair to you. When you needed me, I was emotionally distant. When you wanted to go outside and play or when you wanted to do art or read, I just let you watch TV, because it was easier.
When I was happy I drank. When I was stressed, I drank. When I was lonely, I drank. When I was angry, I drank. I never yelled at you or Jack when I was drinking…I drank so I wouldn’t yell. I drank to mellow out. I drank to escape…but in doing that I missed so many precious, sweet times with you and that I regret.
We partied a lot in front of you. Before we went out, I drank. After we got home, I drank some more. I always had a glass of wine in my hand at home. And when people came over we always offered wine or drinks.
And one day I decided I didn’t want to drink anymore. But I couldn’t stop. I knew I needed help.
I got the help I needed and I have lived a sober life so far. I started on this life-long journey because you, my beautiful girl, asked me that one poignant question…”Mommy why do you drink so much wine all the time?” I knew I had a problem and I knew I needed help and that day you inspired me to ask for help. You helped me find courage and resolve.
I have so much to live for! I see so many more moments now with so much more clarity. It is not always easy, but it is a much fuller life. I am so thankful for you and your inspiration. Please forgive me for the ways I was not there for you in the early years, and promise me that you will come to me if you ever struggle with alcohol…believe me I will understand and support you. I can’t protect you from yourself, but I have done my part…I have protected you from me! I love you.
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