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A Year and Change

So I have been sober for an entire year. All the cliches are true, it feels like I just quit yesterday and yet, it feels like this year has taken two years. I had no idea how much work was involved in extricating myself from my self spun web of drinking. I didn’t know how important alcohol had become to my coping skills. So I’ve had to learn new ones. And now, much like Ramona from RHNY -I’m renewed. Wait, except that Ramona is a big old Pinot Grigio guzzling alchie so maybe that’s a bad example.

Anyway, I thought in honor of my quitting drinking anniversary, I’d reprint my blog entry from a year ago entitled Secrets.

I talk about drinking a lot on my blog. I’ve talked about it a lot in my books. I really like to drink. I like the way wine softens the edges, smooths out the line between “their time” and “my time,” helps me to feel relaxed, helps me tune out. But I drink too much. I drink seven nights a week. Sometimes just a glass of wine but usually two or even three. I always seem to have some sort of excuse like “today was an exceptionally stressful day so I deserve an extra glass now that it’s all done.”

I drank often when Elby was a baby to help deal with the stress of a new infant. I found myself drinking more than I had before I became a parent and I drank with other moms to bond and unwind (yes, I’m the cocktail playdate mom and I stand by that being a healthy thing to do in moderation, in walking distance). Before I got pregnant with the twins I had pretty much stopped drinking because I felt it was becoming a habit so when I was pregnant, it was extremely easy not to drink. But when the twins were born and I was home and my milk was dried up and postpartum was setting in, the simplest thing to do seemed to be have a glass of wine.

It was only too darn easy to fall back into the pattern (especially once the babies started having a regular bedtime) of having my wine every night. For some people I’m sure this is a nice thing, a tribunal thing ( a drink at the end of the day with their spouse or friends). For others it might be a once in awhile treat to go out and have a couple of cocktails. For me, it’s become a nightly compulsion and I’m outing myself to you; all of you: I have a problem.

I quit on Friday.

I’ve wavered before on this issue thinking, “But lots of times I have one glass of wine.” Well, unfortunately, especially lately, most times I don’t just have one -sometimes I have four. And being compulsive, I can’t be trusted to “just cut down.”

I’m scared, of course, to put this out there. I’m also scared of not having alcohol as a crutch to relax at night. I’m scared I’ll just have to sit in anxiety, hearing every little noise the babies make, wondering if they’ll wake up, wondering if Sadie’s puked or if Mattie’s too cold or if I was a good enough, loving enough mommy to Elby today. I’m scared to have nothing to numb that ever present worry and my circular thinking. I’m afraid of always having to listen to myself think.

But I’m more scared that my consumption of alcohol will consume my life and I can’t afford that. I need to be present for my husband in the evening; I need to be fully reliable for all three of my children at all times and, for me, if I’m 100% honest with myself, I can’t do that if I drink.

I’m a little worried that parties will never be as much fun or that people will think I’m boring or or a little tense. But since I still plan to use the word cocksucker with wild abandon how boring could I be? Plus, the only person who is usually around me when I’ve had a few glasses is my husband and he says he likes me better sober (or “awake” as he so gently put it).

I’ve had a lifetime of hurt and some good reasons to drink but those days are long gone and the yet the alcohol is still here. And so, although it’s never gotten me into trouble, why wait for that?
So here you go. I’m nothing if not honest with you guys right? So here’s to one weekend down with no drinking and the rest of my life to go. If nothing else, I hope this helps someone else who is feeling like I do.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on May 24, 2010 6:16 pmUncategorized37 comments  

37 Comments

  1. Alexa said,

    Many, many congratulations. Can’t believe it has been a year.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

  2. inannasstar said,

    Happy Anniversary and many many more to come.
    .-= inannasstar´s last blog ..Magical Mondays – Animal Totems =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  3. kelly said,

    ka-dooz like ramona says!

    | May 24, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

  4. Aunt Becky said,

    Congrats, Steffy. I’m so proud of you. You have no idea how proud I am of you.
    .-= Aunt Becky´s last blog ..Go *wheeze* Ask Aunt *cough* Becky =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  5. debbie said,

    Awesome! Truly truly awesome! It has been 27 years for my Mom….she is an outstanding woman, and I love her so much and so proud of her…..your kids will say same for you:)
    .-= debbie´s last blog ..I’m oN A Roll =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

  6. robin said,

    Congrats on this huge accomplishment.
    .-= robin´s last blog ..I’m still waiting for my PARENTING paycheck to arrive =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  7. Stephanie said,

    It takes a lot of willpower and self control to do what you did. Congratulations!
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Are you rich enough to hang? =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  8. seekingclarav said,

    And there it is…the post that compelled me to pour out my afternoon drink and not look back.

    Thank you. You are amazing. Happy birthday. I hope your cake was delicious!
    .-= seekingclarav´s last blog ..Because of the wonderful things that she does =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

  9. Melissa said,

    Happy Anniversary to you! I hope it is just the first of many… and although I don’t have an addiction to alcohol – I do have an addiction to food. It is my inappropriate coping mechanism. So I can relate – at least on some level.

    Again, congrats and happy anniversary!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..monkey minute – snort edition. =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  10. Cheryl said,

    You keep up the amazing fortitude, Stef. You’re an inspiration in so many ways.
    .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Makes My Monday: Breakfast Boys =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

  11. geekymummy said,

    Congratulations, wow, has it really been a year?
    I remember reading that post a year ago, it shocked me, and it prompted me to examine my own drinking (I’d found your blog originally through the mommytrackd site and liked they way you write, as well as your jokey drinking references!). For the record, I examined my own drinking and found it appropriate, but I have a different awareness of how and why I drink now, and when i shouldn’t, and I’m grateful for that.
    Happy Anniversary to you and your beautiful family.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  12. Sheilster said,

    Many, many congratulations I am one of the many you have inspired to take a true look at the mommy drinking. Thank you for being an inspiration…

    (I just feel the need to use your word “cocksucker” but can’t figure out how to work it into a serious Happy Anniversay note.)

    | May 24, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

  13. GirlzMommy said,

    Congratulations to such an accomplishment! I remember reading this post last year. It so closely matched my feelings of drinking, it was a bit scary! After 1 year of debating, I have entered into AA and have 15 days sobriety so far. But until I connected with you and your support site (here and on yahoo) I never realized I actually did have a problem, I wasn’t the classic case of a stereotypical alcoholic. So thank YOU for your honesty and inspiration!

    | May 24, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

  14. Emily said,

    Wow, I can’t believe its been a year…I feel like just the other day I was reading your blog and wondering if I’d ever be a mommy, if I’d ever have to (or get to) choose between my wine and my baby…and now I have a 4 month old! Happily, he is so much more satisfying than any drink I’ve ever had (and I’ve had my fair share). Entering mommy-hood armed with the knowledge that its a hard-sometimes-overwhelming job…something you enlightened me to…made it much easier. So, thank you.

    Congratulations to you and your husband…and most of all- Congrats to your beautiful and oh-so-fortunate baby girls! You are truly showing them a mommy to be proud of…

    | May 24, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

  15. Robin said,

    Congratulations, Stef. I feel you, sister.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  16. Corinne said,

    Congratulations on ONE GIGANTIC YEAR!! That’s incredible. Thank you for your honesty, for posting and helping so many :)
    .-= Corinne´s last blog ..Stream =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 11:39 pm

  17. Christina said,

    Congratulations. :)
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..Blog journal-day 12 =-.

    | May 25, 2010 @ 12:16 am

  18. Cate said,

    ONE YEAR! Stefanie, you are an inspiration. I am on day 12 and your story reminds me that I don’t want to start over at one.

    | May 25, 2010 @ 1:26 am

  19. rockzee said,

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to hit that milestone. I’m in month seven myself. Thanks for bringing a fellowship to the blogosphere.

    | May 25, 2010 @ 3:14 am

  20. Maggie, dammit said,

    Following you, head down, heart up, grateful. Thank you for your shine, my friend. Congratulations. xoxo
    .-= Maggie, dammit´s last blog ..Megaphone. =-.

    | May 25, 2010 @ 3:42 am

  21. Kelly said,

    You are a true inspiration. One year is such an accomplishment- the beginning of many wonderful years to come. Thank you for your courage, your Friday columns, and your wonderful blog!

    | May 25, 2010 @ 4:45 am

  22. Shannon Kieta said,

    You are the bomb Girlfriend, I wish I could be more like you…even in a little way. Truth is, I think I am slipping the opposite.I find my life turning MORE intense and stressful. With two kids and four on the weekends, I am constantly finding myself reaching fort the Xanax bottle to “calm my nerves”. Everytime something rattles me, I pop a pill. Funny thing in my life, every hour, it seems, SOMETHING is “rattling” me. I am finding myself “looking forward” to the six hour mark, because it’s time to take my Oxycodone. Sad, huh? I know, I am pathetic…but it’s the only way I know how to deal with the sadness of my sister passing, my brother in prison, my niece in prison, my stress at home and “personal issues” that I wish not to get into on cyberspace. It may be a cop-out, but for now, it’s what get’s me through. I am so proud of you, though. You are a triumph and I am sure your kids and husband are so proud to call you theirs. Congrats on one year Steph!!!
    .-= Shannon Kieta´s last blog ..Happy Birthday My Baby Boy! =-.

    | May 25, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  23. Kir said,

    Congratulations Steph. I stand in amazement at your strength and perseverance this past year. Wishing you many more years of This kind of joy….I know it’s not easy, but that’s what makes it incredible ..that you’re doing it.

    YEAH!

    | May 25, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  24. Ellie said,

    You are so brave, so real, so true. I giggled at that last sentence .. “If nothing else, I hope this helps someone else who is feeling like I do.”

    I’d say you hit that one out of the park, sister.

    Congratulations, seriously, from the bottom of my heart.

    -Ellie
    .-= Ellie´s last blog ..Trust Fall =-.

    | May 25, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  25. Shannon said,

    Congratulations!

    | May 25, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

  26. Mary said,

    Congratulations to you Stef! Reading your post from a year ago brought tears to my eyes just like it did the first time I read it. I still completely relate to the whole entire post. Every last drop of it. I am so thankful I met you.
    xoxo, Mary

    | May 25, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  27. Mommy on the Spot said,

    Congratulations! That is a wonderful accomplishment!!

    | May 25, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

  28. Issa said,

    *stands up and claps*

    No joke. I did. Happy one year. Congrats. Am proud of you.
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..Introducing =-.

    | May 25, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

  29. Lulu said,

    Wow – has it been a year? I feel like I read that yesterday… Congrats!
    .-= Lulu´s last blog ..Mother’s Day =-.

    | May 26, 2010 @ 2:36 am

  30. STH said,

    Congratulations on One Year!! You are an inspiration to all of us tv & wine lovin’ mommies!!! Keep on truckin…I have a feeling you will!!! :)

    | May 26, 2010 @ 4:08 am

  31. Wendi said,

    Woo-hoo!

    Oh, God. Did I just do a Vicki Gundleson “woo-hoo”? Shit.

    | May 26, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  32. GingerB said,

    I am so very proud of you, and so very happy for you. I work in a related field, and I know what I am talking about: what you have done is Hard, Big, and Worth Celebrating. Hey is that a penis or sobriety I’m talkin’ here?!? Oh yeah, sobriety. Very big deal. I hope you are treating yourself, because you really do deserve it.

    | May 27, 2010 @ 6:02 am

  33. Jane said,

    woot!
    way to not be a cocksucker! (ok, I too struggled on how to get cocksucker into this serious congrats post, and while it’s a reach, it almost works – right?)

    LOVE you. so so so so love you. Look forward to adding many more anniversary coins to the PP box.
    .-= Jane´s last blog ..Bewitched =-.

    | May 28, 2010 @ 7:48 am

  34. heather said,

    following you, too. I just gave it up. keep up the posts, I need them! thank you!

    | May 28, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

  35. Kathy said,

    Your website and books are powerful channels. Thank you for having the courage to use them as you have. Kathy, Alcoholic. 8/4/2009.

    | May 29, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  36. Kendra said,

    Huge congratulations on the milestone. Huge.
    .-= Kendra´s last blog ..It Don’t Mean a Thing… =-.

    | June 2, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  37. mia said,

    wowee. congratulations on a year of sobriety! this was such a great post. i will keep coming back here.

    | June 6, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

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