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Don’t Get Drunk Fridays: R’s Story

This is the story of a friend of mine. She’s a woman who reached out to me when I first blogged about quitting drinking. This is the thing about us “quitters,” we are shamed, yes. We are sad, sure. But when we find the strength to fight, we also realize we have the strength to help other people fight as well. I truly believe that part of the lesson I’ve learned since admitting fully to myself and to others that I am an alcoholic is that I’m not alone. It’s a highly treatable condition. All I have to do is not take the first drink. Some people may think that I’ve lost myself or that I’m not funny anymore. That’s fine with me. If you read my next book you’ll see that it’s not true overall but maybe yes. Maybe I have let this topic overrun my blog because IT’S IMPORTANT. You have no clue how much mail I receive from women who are suffering and embarrassed and don’t want to admit how much they are drinking or that they need help. So if me posting a lot about drinking bothers you? There are a million other blogs to read. Now back to my friend. She emailed me a letter she wrote to her daughter after she stopped drinking and I posted it on DGDF. But she just sent me this which is more of her story. It rings true to me, I hope you too. If you want to talk to others you can join our Yahoo Group.

–At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, she passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected.

Pg 24 of the Big Book

But what about the real alcoholic? She might start off as a moderate drinker; she may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of her drinking career she begins to lose all control of her liquor consumption, once she starts to drink.
Pg 21 of the Big Book

These two passages in the Big Book are underlined, stared and re-underlined because for the last part of my drinking days, my “bottom” and into my sobriety I have struggled with the question: “how did this happen to me? How or when did I become an alcoholic?” At what point in my drinking days did things go wrong? Where and when did I tip over from the social drinker to becoming an alcoholic.

Was it when I had to have a drink while I was pregnant? Was is when I started drinking alone? Or was it before that even…the first time I got a real buzz and knew I wanted to feel that way again? YES. Like EVERY alcoholic, I reached a point sometime when drinking became more important than my relationships and I gave this obsession (disease, allergy or whatever we want to call) my whole self. And it couldn’t be
satiated anymore.

I had an “alcoholic mind.”

I like to think of the “wine cube” as my ultimate downfall. Knock if you want to…but I stumbled on it at Target…it was much easier to hide than bottle and containing four bottles of wine per box…I never really knew where I was in terms of a line on the bottle anymore. And with multiple cube going…white wine and two types of red…I could hide how much I was drinking from my husband. In the end I was drunk every afternoon and evening. The hand on the clock was a slave-driver as I refused to drink before noon.

My bottom came at 11:30 in the morning when I had fixed myself a juice glass of red wine and I was eating “lunch” with my daughter. She looked at me and said “Mommy why do you drink so much wine all the time.” At that point I knew the game was up. My husband might have been oblivious, ignoring or avoiding the issue, by my five-year-old had the courage to innocently take it on. It wasn’t so much that I felt caught as I felt like a mirror was being held up to me and I was being forced to look at it. I knew that if I continued to drink I would be a drunk mom…and I wasn’t willing to “fuck up my kids lives.” There are many reasons people stop drinking. In the beginning I did it because I didn’t want to be a drunk mom. Now I know that alcohol will consume ME…every bit of me if I let it…or I can have the life the Big Book talks about…the promises can come true for me.

I will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

The first and only call I made was to my therapist at the time…who I had been lying to about how much I drank. I was finally honest with her. And this is what she said… “Well kiddo, your game is up. You can call a friend of mine and go to an AA meeting. Or I think we are going to have to send you to treatment.” And with that, I made a phone call. I think at my first meeting that amazing thing happened that happens in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I knew I wasn’t alone.

I did not hesitate for a second when they offered the white chip. I was so relieved to start a new life with a group of people who had hope. I got up immediately when it was offered. I didn’t even know what I was agreeing to…I just knew I wanted to do it. Another major moment for me in my sober life was the first time I called myself an alcoholic. I was at a the meeting at St. John Episcopal. They went around at the end of the meeting and people could introduce themselves. As people who had not “shared” at the meeting spoke their name and those…..WORDS. I knew they were coming for me. I had picked up a white chip, but I had not said the words myself. I knew I would have to say it. “My name is R and I am an alcoholic.” Again, there was a huge relief when I said those words. I spoke them to a room full of perfect strangers…but I was again released to be “part of”…and it was like an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders…I was anonymous…but I had admitted to being “part of” the fellowship. It was a huge moment.

I knew from that moment on I had an alcoholic mind.I saw that “will power” and “self knowledge” would not help in those mental blank spots. –quote from The Big Book

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on July 23, 2010 6:22 pmDon't Get Drunk Friday16 comments  

16 Comments

  1. seekingclarav said,

    “I knew that if I continued to drink I would be a drunk mom…and I wasn’t willing to “fuck up my kids lives.”

    I copied that with tears in my eyes. I grew up with an alcoholic father and though he eventually got sober, it’s hard not to think of that as a major part of my relationship with him. The alcohol.

    I too “said the words” for the first time, even to myself, to a room full of strangers. And I balled my eyes out and admitted that I didn’t want to be there but also have never really experienced relief in that way before.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    And Stef: I LOVE that you put that bit in your intro about others complaining about sobriety taking over your blog. I was one of the people who reached out to you early on, and you responded and it IS IMPORTANT. So there!
    seekingclarav´s last blog post ..Just as long as it’s healthy…

    | July 23, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

  2. robin said,

    I knew I had to quit for myself, but really I was quitting for me AND my kids….the relationship I needed to have with them. I may have been willing to let other aspects of my life suffer, but not my kids….that was where I drew the line. And I am so grateful to the program that it helped me save those relationships. And ME.

    Thank you for adding to your story for us to read. The boxed wine is so relatable because it isn’t see through!

    And Steph, you already know you helped me when I reached out to you way back in the beginning, but if any of the haters are reading this, here is proof that what Steph is writing about is making a difference.
    robin´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday

    | July 23, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

  3. Emily said,

    People really think you are less funny? Or hate on you for advocating? I bet those are the same people who discourage and bring down others.

    I think you are doing a great thing and providing a great resource for so many people. I wish everyone was as supportive and encouraging!

    But, I would like an ittybittybaby update…i have a little peanut now myself (hoping and crossing my fingers that he’s on the growth chart at his 6 month appt)!
    Emily´s last blog post ..For this face

    | July 23, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

  4. Christina said,

    I think your blog is amazing. I found it from the special they did on you. And I’ve been reading ever since.
    My Mom is an alcoholic. She went to rehab, where I spent 28 long fucking days with her, and it feels like to me, she doesn’t even really care I was with her. We think she’s drinking again, and its tearing me up. I hate it. And I don’t know why I keep dealing with her BS. Well, I guess its because I love her. But she’s totally wrecked me.
    Christina´s last blog post ..Ice cream!!!

    | July 24, 2010 @ 12:18 am

  5. Cheryl said,

    Love your courage, love you, Stef. Think of you often and wishing you well. (You heading to BlogHer next month? Would love to see you!)
    Cheryl´s last blog post ..Bad Haiku Friday- From Whence We Find Strength

    | July 24, 2010 @ 2:13 am

  6. Mommy on the Spot said,

    I thought the whole idea of a personal blog was to write about what was going on in your life. I think sobriety it a pretty damn big part of your life, so of course you would write about it. Why people have the nerve to question that is beyond me. Except they are uncomfortable with your change because that means they feel the need to question their lives. And if that’s the case, click away, I say! Keep on with the Don’t Get Drunk Friday posts!

    Can’t wait to read your new book. When’s it going to be out?

    | July 24, 2010 @ 2:37 am

  7. Ginger said,

    You, girl, are FUNNY! I check this blog every Friday with fingers crossed hoping for a new post.

    I too saw you on the 20/20 special.. I cried, I emailed you, you responded and here we are…SOBER! So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Keep on Truckin’ —

    | July 24, 2010 @ 7:24 am

  8. Kendra said,

    You know, I started reading this blog because, as a mom trying to find my way, I needed to know I wasn’t alone. I think that’s why you started writing so long ago. And that’s such an important thing you and R hit on: whatever you’re dealing with, you need to know you’re not alone. I’ve never been through a 12-step, but I’ve been through times in my life when I was sure I was the only person ever to have experienced such a terrible, shameful thing. And the most healing moments I ever had were when I realized I wasn’t alone, that there were other people who were like me and who were getting better. I’m very grateful to you and to R for reminding all of us that, whatever the problem, we’re not alone with it.

    | July 24, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  9. Ellie said,

    I loved this post. Your honesty and eloquence are truly gorgeous. Thank you. I can identify wil EVERYTHING. You helped me today.

    And Stef – I think one of the biggest gifts you bring women struggling to get or stay sober is that you prove – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that sober and funny go hand in hand. You’re saving lives here, and helping us all have a good laugh along the way.

    -Ellie
    Ellie´s last blog post ..Answers – Part Two

    | July 24, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  10. lauren said,

    I love your blog. It is your blog and you can write about anything you choose, you don’t owe it to people to write about what they want.

    I hope you never stop writing about what is important to you. I would, however, LOVE to see some updated pics of your amazing kids:)

    | July 26, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  11. Maggie said,

    I love your blog.It has helped me immensely.

    | July 26, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

  12. Sarah said,

    For any one person who may feel you post too often about drinking/sobriety/recovery/etc., there must be a handful more of people like me, newly-sober alcoholics who find your blog tremendously helpful. Do what you do. You’re helping people. Thank you.

    | July 26, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

  13. Kate said,

    R-

    Thank you for your post. I too had an intervention from my child (10 year old) and it was sooooo humbling. Your refusal to extend the damage to your children is so familiar to me. (Steph posted my story earlier this summer) Your talk of the box made me laugh inside as I had been so thrilled with its deceptive qualities myself. Consider me on of the many kindred spirits in this wretched journey of alcoholism. This challenge even extends to my dreams… I woke up today freaking out because I dreamed I was drinking last night. My heart was pounding and my head was spinning (fortunately not the way it used to). I hope one day you and I will be able to look at our daughters and say “Because I love you so much I got well for good.”

    Steph-I can’t wait for your next book and please never stop posting about the sauce. WE NEED YOU!

    Kate

    | July 28, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  14. Kate said,

    R-

    Just realizing my last comments failed miserably in that it was constant blather about how your story related to mine — blah blah blah!

    You are a star and an inspiration to me and others. Your children and husband are blessed. Thank you for your honesty and update. It helps women so much — especially those who are asking themselves the same question you had to. Bless you.

    Kate

    | July 28, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  15. rebecca said,

    Okay…..I’m totally missing your kids. It’s been forever since you have posted recent photos and given an update on the kiddos.
    rebecca´s last blog post ..Meeting At McDonalds

    | July 28, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

  16. Deborah said,

    Stef – coming out of lurking to say, you are always funny, often touching and usually brilliant. It’s your honesty that makes you that way, no matter what you are writing about.

    Deb
    Deborah´s last blog post ..Adelaides Lament

    | July 28, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

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