If I’m being honest, which I always am, I’m struggling a bit with my sobriety. Today, I’m going to check in with you for Don’t Get Drunk Fridays because while you’ve been hearing a lot of people’s stories, I haven’t been sharing mine.
As I approach a year, I have dealt with more and more firsts without the calming balm of wine or a Vicodin or even one little blue Xanax. I may be getting further and further away from my last drink, but there are times when I feel it all right behind me nipping at my heels trying to pull me back. This is to be expected. But as an addict, I’m always surprised at the ferocity of those cravings. And, as an addict, I’m convinced that whatever I’m feeling is going to last forever. The addict voice kicks in like this: “God, I’m so anxious. Why am I so anxious? I don’t know why I’m anxious so maybe this is just my new state of being. Great, I’m now a person who has heart palpitations, a clenched jaw and a generally nervous disposition. This is horrible! It will never change no matter what I do and I cannot live this way right? No wonder I had a prescription for Xanax – I have an anxiety disorder. It’s a medical condition dammit. Am I really supposed to just sit here in this crazy anxiety and not just take one little fucking Xanax to make it all better? God invented Xanax for people like me! I am special and I need a Xanax to function!” And that’s when I call someone close to me who understands my problem and they intervene with some words of wisdom like, “Xanax is for people who aren’t alcoholics. People who are alcoholics will take a Xanax and then take one more for good measure. Then, the next time they feel anxious, they will say, ‘Hmm, I took a Xanax last time I was feeling this way so I should take one now’ and pretty soon they will be crushing up Xanax, putting it in a gel cap and using it as a suppository.” Okay, so that person’s advice may be a little hard core but you get the point.
I can’t take Xanax. I can’t have a drink. But there have been times I want one so badly it scares me. I guess I thought that once I got over the hump, I wouldn’t deal with this anymore. This seems like Sobriety 101 this whole white knuckling it through an hour of I WANT A GLASS OF WINE RIGHT FUCKING NOW feeling. I feel like I should be past this.
What I’m figuring out is, I’ve never had to do it before. I’ve never had to tell myself no. And I’m a big baby. I want what I want and I want it now. I don’t want to feel better a week from Tuesday, I want to feel better as fast as possible. In those moments the thought of sobriety being a long term solution sure sounds like bad news to me.
But, the more times I go through this feeling and come out the other side, the more confidence I have that this thing can be done. If I can be on a deadline, have three kids, two of whom are usually crying and manage to not give in to a craving, anyone can do it.
I do this not drinking thing one day at a time and with a lot of help. But I don’t have any fancy slogans to make it all better for anyone else who’s doing it too. All I have is the truth. And the truth is that I am an alcoholic and I need to keep reminding myself of that.
When I wrote that post last May that I had to stop drinking, I described a pattern in my drinking that had emerged in the last couple of years since my twins were born. My drinking did step up with the stress of having preemies. It had crossed a line into daily drinking and a feeling that after a glass or three I really didn’t want to stop until I was completely out of it. But as the months have passed without mama’s feel better juice, I’ve come to realize that that line had been moved back inch by inch long before I ever even crossed it. I’ve gotten a prescription for pain killers and plowed through them like a bag of chips on more than one occasion. I’d be pretty darn dangerous with my own prescription pad, let’s put it that way.
I’ve driven drunk. I’ve gotten so drunk I puked repeatedly –on a first date. I’ve done things I don’t remember and don’t care to remember. I’ve embarrassed myself and other people. I fell down the stairs at my in-laws house after coming home literally stumbling drunk. So don’t let me paint a prettier picture of myself for you. Don’t let me make you think that I just quit drinking because I had “a couple of glasses” of wine at night. Because that may be true, but it’s not the whole story.
My name is Stefanie and I’m an alcoholic.
You can get help from the Booze Free Brigade here.
Oh, I am praying for you to find the will and way to get help. You’ve made the first huge discovery about yourself, such a big hurdle! You can do this….I am rooting for you. I did the 3 (or more) glasses of wine, too….with kids. You can email me if you ever want to talk!
.-= robin´s last blog ..P A T I E N C E: Where can I buy some? =-.
You are an amazing person and I am not telling you that for any other reason, but so that you beleive it.
Putting it all out there, owning your pain and your addiction, and then sharing it with us, that takes an amazing person to do that.
To struggle each day and still find time to sit down and write about it. I am struggling with other things, not drugs, not booze…but things I just can’t write about, or feel like I can. That’s why you amaze me,,,because you can…and you do.
Aunt Becky led me to your door with her twitter post. I love your writing…it is so honest and beautiful and unnerving all at the same time. Good luck with your challenges and know that there are many of us out here that are rooting for you.
You’re doing great Stephanie! Keep up the good work, your beautiful daughters are worth every second of the white knuckling ‘i want another drink’ minute!
.-= rebecca´s last blog ..My Little Joey-Joe =-.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented here, although I’ve been following for years but I just wanted to say that your strength inspires me. I can’t pretend to know what you’re going through but your determination and courage shines through. I wish the very best for you in your continuing journey.
I started following your story casually (not stalker like) about a year ago. I was so impressed with the strength you showed to quit even though you had already become known as the “drinking mommy.” I just remember thinking to myself “Wow, now that’s one tough chick to do that in public.” So maybe you don’t view yourself as strong or amazing, but from the outside I can tell you that many do. Congrats on your past year and though you don’t know me, I am proud of you.
You are one of my favoritest people, and I’m proud of you for doing this.
I am proud of you Stephanie! You’ve made it very far, and I know that you will continue to do so.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Easter Eggs =-.
Found your link from Aunt Becky. This was an incredibly powerful post. I know you didn’t write this to seek admiration, only to share your journey. But I do admire you. Being a mom is hard work, much less having to do it while fighting such a battle. You rock.
Aimee Greeblemonkey said,
And we are super proud of you.
I don’t know you, but if you’re a friend oof Aunt Becky’s you’re a friend of mine.
You’re brave and you rock.
.-= Maria´s last blog ..Once the diapermoon is over… =-.
Powerful post, sister-kizzle. I applaud you. And I am proud of you. Always.
You are a brave and wonderful person. I love you.
THANK YOU STEF!!! From a BFB member. Day 68, this is EXACTLY where I am today. I’m in the kitchen, mopping, again, (didn’t I mop yesterday?) thinking why can’t I have a f’in glass of wine, I want it so bad. I eat a Reese’s peanut butter cup, it doesn’t help. I yell at my kids. I grab a big handful of celery and chomp as hard as I can, then I think, “I know, I”ll go read Don’t Get Drunk Friday” that will help. And low and behold there you are. Bless you. Now, I’ll breathe, and return to that dinner I’m trying to figure out on this Friday night. Without anything to numb the anxiety except my own inner strength. And tomorrow won’t have to be day one again.
You are a bad-ass, and you are the reason that I went to AA. I have 83 days of sobriety today. Thank you.
Thank you for having the courage to write this. More people need to hear what you’ve said here. Good luck and many blessings on your road.
It’s the struggle that will save you. It’s not the destination that’s the point: It’s the journey.
Unless you tap into how much you want a drink, you can’t consciously decide you’re not going to have one. It’s the decision to be so, one day or one minute at a time, that makes us alchies sober and keeps us that way.
I’m glad you admitted to the ‘normal’ alchi screwups we all make. We all have them. They are our dark hidden momements; our most soul-searing memories.They turn us into shit sad opposites of the great people we otherwise would be.
As long as we cringe when the bad stuff film across our minds, we can be present in the sober moments to keep staying sober (if that makes any sense.)
I’m so glad you shared this because today has been a day of signs for me with my sobriety. My temporary sponsor out of the blue reached out to me, reminding me to start the steps – something I keep putting off. You’re account of how surprisingly difficult it is even after a year, mirrors my four-month journey. I forget sometimes I’m an alcoholic and then a craving hits and…
Thanks for posting and for being YOU!
Hi Steph, as a fellow recovering alcoholic woman I completley get your post. The first year was so amazing..all the firsts: not filling my baja fresh cup up with ice & wine while taking my kids on a walk, not leaving a “Moms Night Out” and driving drunk (of course praisnig myself snce the kids were not in the car?) not passing out while “reading the bedtime stories”, not blow-drying my hair with my little vino to relax me before my romantic date night which was nevr romantic or something i’d remember in the mornihg. God..I could go on and on. As a matter of fact I have a list on my computer which I am always adding to. It says “What I Did While Drinking”…all the glorious things I can remember or have been told about by my hubby. It helps to remind me of who I NAEVER want to be again. Yes I did do all those things, but they are not my identity. In my heart I know my life is better, fuller and more beautiful in sobriety than any day was while drinking. One day at a time….xoxo sober b-day 8/16/07
“Don’t let me make you think that I just quit drinking because I had “a couple of glasses” of wine at night. Because that may be true, but it’s not the whole story.”
this is sticking with me – for all the people who said to me “you only had a few glasses whenever I saw you…” yah… that’s what I wanted you to think at the time. The whole story thing is tough to get across sometimes.
I don’t know where I was going with that. BUT I loved your post. You’re doing awesome, even just by sharing all this.
.-= Corinne´s last blog ..Silly gifts & chances of rain =-.
Stef – you know I love you and if it wasn’t for your bravery and honesty, I wouldn’t have what I have today. My sobriety. And friends. And laughter.
You’ve helped so many get on the path to recovery. Thanks for sharing your humanity with us. Every little wound and worry we open, helps someone else feel less alone. I still think we need to meet up for a sober Vegas craps weekend. Love, C
.-= Cynthia´s last blog ..Hey Mr. DJ! =-.
elizabeth sober said,
Yeah, it wasn’t the whole story for me, either. One of my BFB sidekicks was directed by her sponsor to make a list of things she did while drunk that were regrettable, and I should do the same thing so I don’t whitewash the past.
You are also the reason I quit drinking and went to AA. I’m at close to 100 days now. I owe you a lot!
Lisa Rae @ smacksy said,
If you weren’t having some struggles and wanting a drink/drug/edge-off-the-situation-deal at this stage of the game, I wouldn’t believe you and I would be worried.
Your honesty is what will save you in this thing.
Wait another day and see what happens.
You are an amazing woman.
.-= Lisa Rae @ smacksy´s last blog ..On the House =-.
Best thing you’ve ever written.
Dude, are you fawking kidding me with this?
I’m sitting here weeepy weepy weepy reading what everyone is saying to you. Are you reading it? Is it landing in your heart? Do you see the profound fucking (I said it!) effect you are having on people?
I think I sound like the last scene in Dances with Wolves.
Dances with Anxiety. I am long-winded trudging buddy. Do you see you are my friend! Can you see that you will always be my friend?
.-= Jane´s last blog ..She’s Having a Baby =-.
Thank you for the update Stefanie. Thank you so much for starting this series. I have said it before – this is like my AA. I look forward to each post, nod my head “Uh huh, Exactly” while reading, and end each one in tears. Then I come to the comments to thank the person for sharing their story. And I don’t even have to brush my hair or put shoes on. Thank you. Thank you.
.-= brooke´s last blog ..rubies and love songs =-.
Every Fri I get so happy when I realize another beautiful week has gone by and I get to go read your blog! This last Monday was 4 months for me-I honestly don’t think I could have done it without you!! I’ve been to lots of aa meetings but they have been pretty hardcore. I’ve always left with something wonderful but despite shopping around I haven’t found other moms to identify with. I’ve put the feelers out with people I know and they either still drink alot and see no problem with it or are the type who have never had the desire to drink. Can you imagine that!!! I’m so grateful to you for sharing your story. I think I would feel pretty alone in all this. You have helped me so much.
I so needed to read this today. I am 5 months sober and lately I have been whiteknuckling it and having a lot of the “wtf why me syndrome.” The cravings for the wine that I thought should have been banished by now have been creeping into my brain a lot. I am an alcoholic. Normal drinkers do not think or act like I do when it comes to drinking. I need to be vigilant, I get that, but sometimes it just sucks!!
Mommy on the Spot said,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s inspiring when someone makes real changes in her life.
.-= Mommy on the Spot´s last blog ..Love, From A Member of Aunt Becky’s Merry Band of Pranksters =-.
You’re doing an amazing job. I am 41 days sober and I can relate to how hard it can be to get through cravings. You are helping so many by sharing your story along with so many others. Keep going. xo
.-= angelynn´s last blog ..These four walls =-.
I’m glad that you’re working on staying sober but honesty, your blog is boring now that all you write about is being an alcoholic. I’ve actually never read your books but a mom I babysit for told me about your blog and described it as being pretty funny. I started reading it a year and a half ago and thought it was great. Last week I was in a used bookstore and saw one of your books for super cheap and was going to buy it. But then I realized that I would be disappointed after reading it because it would remind me how boring you are now. Doesn’t anything happen to you that isn’t related to being a secret drunk? I appreciate that you are getting many other women to acknowledge their own problems with alcohol but does it have to be your identity?
I am a recovered alcoholic!! I am here to tell you that you DO NOT live in that dark scary hole anymore!!! Drinking is only a symptom of what is really going on!! You are letting your outside condition rule your inside condition!! I know how it feels to “white knuckle” and it SUX!! I do not know if you are in AA or not but for me AA was only part of my recovery. When I finally realized that my spiritual condition was the problem!! I knew I had to change my whole thought process and figure out how to heal myself!! I have spent the last couple of years in therapy with a woman who is also in recovery. My work with her has changed my life!!! It has been a soul searching gut wrenching process!! But I knew I had to work on changing my character defects!! Once you realize that it is not what is going on the world but it is what is happening to you on the inside than you can start learning to live a happy sober life without craving for a drink or a blue pill to take you out of your misery!! I hope I have helped you and I wish you all the blessings sobriety has to offer!!!
I get annoyed when people chant this all the time, but I’m going to chant it anyway…cunning, baffling, powerful. One drink and we’re dead. You know it. I know it. I have six months today. That feels more amazing than alcohol ever made me feel. I’m sure a year feels twice as amazing. Keep focused on THAT feeling and you’ll be fine. Thanks for sharing.
.-= rockzee´s last blog ..From pity parties to birthday parties =-.
You are fighting the good fight. Keep up the great work! You are an inspiration to so many myself included.
BTW, I take generic prozac (fluoxitine)and it seems to help with my alcohol cravings. It has very low abuse potential. You don’t get a “high” from it like you do other substances. It may be worth discussing with your psychiatrist, one who knows addiction and alcoholism very well, obviously. Of course if this suggestion offends or otherwise doesn’t work for you, please ignore it. You are doing so well without any pharmacological help.
All your readers are so proud of you including this one.
Congratulations on nearing the one-year mark. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to feel like you’re over a certain stage, only to have it hit you with the cravings again. I’m really proud of you for working so hard, for being so aware of yourself and your desires, and for being so honest. I hope it gets easier. And I’m always here, reading and caring, for what it’s worth.
.-= Kendra´s last blog ..It Don’t Mean a Thing… =-.
I love your honesty.
I love how you just tell the simple truth, warts and all. So much of sobriety is breathtakingly amazing – moments of clarity and peace that I never, ever thought I’d have. The dark underbelly is there, too. The only thing that saves my ass, every time, is the simple damn truth. It’s awful and freeing at the same time.
I’m so honored to be on this journey with you. You help me so very much. Thank you for your honesty, bravery and humor. And for keeping it real.
.-= Ellie´s last blog ..Waiting To Care =-.
maggie, dammit said,
Was just thinking about you, wondering about you, and headed over to your blog to find–to my surprise–you. Ahhhhh, yes.
You continue to magnetize me to my recovery. In so many ways.
You know where to find me if you need me.
Love to you, girl.
I applaud you and all the other people who found their bottoms before all hell broke loose.
It is a progressive illness. Even if you are “a couple glasses of wine” drinker, if it is a problem for you there is nothing that requires you to wait until you are “an open bottle of vodka in the cupboard” drinker (that was my status). Congratulations.
.-= DianaRepublic´s last blog ..We are just Patriotic =-.
Are you still taking any zoloft?
I wish I had some mantra to say but it’s all just words. I can tell you that when I read your alcohol dream post, before I got to the bottom, I was sick to my stomach for you.
Just want you to know that I am always pulling for you.
Jae @ Chaos Ensues said,
Thank you for your open and honest writing, as always. You rock! I’ve been sober for over a year now, and know your feelings quite well. I miss my Xanax, and I miss my sleeping pills – honestly I think I miss THOSE more than the vino! 😉
.-= Jae @ Chaos Ensues´s last blog ..Ultimate Blog Party!!! =-.
Keep the dream alive.
Just take it one day at a time………you are doing GREAT!!!
I had lunch with a guy on Friday who stopped at age 22 after having all kinds of negative consequences, and after 20 years, he still goes to AA every week for reinforcement. He always asks about my brother and if I’ve given up on him, and then he chastises me when I admit for the first time that I have.
In any event, keep on keeping on.
.-= muskrat´s last blog ..12 months later =-.
You are Amazing. Brave. Powerful. Lovely. Keep keeping on Stef. Love to you.
.-= seekingclarav´s last blog ..Love is the end =-.
You are indeed amazing and brave. Keep up the good fight, Mama! You deserve the good stuff, and it starts with being sober.
.-= Ginger´s last blog ..East, West, hame’s best =-.
Grumble Girl said,
Brave and wonderful. Good for you, lady.
.-= Grumble Girl´s last blog ..Making Tracks is Easy When You Ain’t Pushing a Stroller =-.
Daily Cup of Jo said,
Sobriety is great, but sometimes it’s not. The first year can be a pink cloud, or not. The obsession to drink can be lifted during month four or year four. It’s easy, it sucks, it’s a rebirth, it feels like the end. Cunning? Hell yes. One drunk talking to another has always been key for me. Your post is in this vein and it’s great – for you and everybody who needs to hear it.
IF we could control our drinking during the hours of about 5 and 9 pm when the kids are being freaky witches, say two and a half glasses of chardonnay, wouldn’t life be grand? Ah well, if all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops…
.-= Daily Cup of Jo´s last blog ..Thursdays in the kitchen with Jo: fear and a twice-baked couch potato =-.