Archive for August, 2010
It takes pretty huge ovaries to do a post for my blog. It takes even bigger ovaries to not do it anonymously. There are so many stories out there that illustrate how drinking can so easily become a problem for us, but how there’s hope -hope for all of us and comfort in numbers. This is Clara’s story.
“I will never forget Saturday, December 26th, 2009. I hit my (thankfully high) bottom during Maddy’s nap time. I did what I often did when my husband was home and I was “off duty.” I poured a generous glass of red and got in bed with my computer for some me time. Except this time was different.
Several days before, I had walked with a friend and I confessed that I think I drink too much and wanted to not drink next year, for the whole year, and maybe blog about it. Clearly, I was still in denial. She recommended that I check out a blog called Baby on Bored and told me a bit about the writer. So I sipped my Cab and I began reading. I am relating to this. I peeked into the comments and whoa. It was like being smacked in the face, repeatedly. Hard and fast. What these women were saying was me. I was them. We were each other. Alcoholic mothers trying to stay afloat in a life boat because somewhere along the journey, our ships capsized and we were drifting away before we even knew what had happened.
I began sobbing. Sobbing big tears of anger, sadness, fear and a bit of relief. I continued on reading, and sipping, until I was so disgusted with myself that I got up and poured the rest of the wine into the bathroom sink, rinsed the glass and haven’t had a drink since. What have I done?
Now comes the hard part. I admitted my powerlessness to myself but I had to tell my husband. Surely he would notice that I am not drinking, it’s what I did. I parented and I drank wine. I wasn’t a bad parent though. I am not a bad mother…
It was just time to tell. And time to do something about my chronic state of angst and unhappiness. Time to do something about my inability to focus on the now. Time to finally figure out who I am, what I want, and why I am afraid to let myself be happy. Time to get sober and to deal with all that comes with it.
I told my husband about my habits and my shame. Some were surprising to him. The constant thoughts about drinking, the anxiety about when and how much. I had cleverly conditioned him to my ways, so he wasn’t really aware that I had a problem with it. He didn’t know what to do. The only thing he said was “well I won’t drink either.” At the time this kind of frustrated me because he didn’t have to stop, he isn’t the alcoholic. It bothered me that he was taking my extreme measures. I was thinking if I could drink like everybody else, I would. Why would he stop? I realize now that he really didn’t know what to do or say and this was his way of supporting me. He didn’t grow up in an alcoholic home like I did, he didn’t know anything about it nor could he really understand the feeling. The need to. The relationship that develops.
I can’t ever drink again. How will I live? I can’t eat Indian food or pizza anymore. I can’t go camping. Ikea, without a to-go cup full of wine…why bother? Clean the garage on Saturday, without a Kettle and soda with cranberry…no thanks. I can’t do it.
But I can. And I have been.
The initial feeling of breathlessness I felt over the fact that I have to do regular things now without alcohol has hit me pretty hard lately. It’s because I am getting back into life again. The first 2 weeks of my sobriety I spent avoiding people and allowing myself to do and feel whatever I wanted, as long as I wasn’t drinking. I drank soda, ate obscene amounts of ice cream, Baked Lays, popcorn. I sat around after Maddy went to sleep and watched crappy shows on the DVR and felt pretty sorry for myself. I dragged ass to a few meetings and thought holy shit, this is my life now.
Eventually it got better. I got better.
A few times I tried to convince myself that I had over reacted, made a hasty decision. Having a high bottom has its drawbacks, I probably could have continued on, relatively safely for some time longer. After all, I wasn’t that bad yet. I wasn’t driving my daughter under the influence. I was getting up everyday and putting on a really good show. I was put together, on time and in control. Happy. You would have never guessed in a million years and I made it that way.
But that’s just the disease talking. And it’s voice is loud. And it makes sense if you want it to. But I didn’t. Deep down I knew I had a problem with alcohol and I knew I was the only one who could change things. And somehow I found the courage.
I wrote (most of) that post to celebrate 30 days of sobriety. That was 208 days ago. This Christmas I will have 1 year, and what a year! I am learning more about myself, past and present, than ever before in my life. I am learning what it is like to really feel. And sometimes it sucks, but mostly, it’s amazing. I am learning to be in the present moment.
Most importantly, I am learning to accept myself and my imperfections. I am learning to let go and let in.
I am proud that everyday I choose myself and my family over a substance. That my daughter will grow up knowing the real me, even if it isn’t always pretty.”
Do you hear yourself in Clara’s story? If so, join the Booze-Free-Brigade and let us help.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 27, 2010 1:38 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday
Spoiler Alert: I don’t own this bag
but, fuck, I want to. And I’m mad that I want it because I’m not the kind of girl who normally gives a wit about shoes or a bag. In fact, I don’t usually even call it a bag, I call it a purse -you know, like people in the late 1900’s did before Sex And the City came along and made me feel like a loser for using that word. I currently carry around a bright pink Jessica Simpson purse that I purchased at TJMaxx for under forty bucks. Under forty bucks I feel is just the right price for something that is essentially in charge of bussing your wallet and keys from point A to point D with a few stops at point B and possibly C. Do I have a bunch more stuff in my purse besides wallet and keys? Yes but I don’t know if I really need it or if because I have a big purse I just shove stuff in because -why not? It’s sort of like if you have a lot of cabinets in your house, chances are they will all be full of crap that you don’t need to throw out because you have the space for it. II happen to have a glass multi-level cake plate that I will never in a million years put together let alone use but yet it sits there in my kitchen cabinet because I have the space. Nature abhorrs a vacuum (and I abhorr vacuuming but that’s another story).
So my new bag obsession started innocently enough: my nanny, Liz has a Dooney & Bourke purse in a giraffe design and I’ve always thought it was pretty cute even though when I found out how much she paid for it I almost coughed up a hairball. “WHY WOULD ANYONE SPEND THAT KIND OF CAKE ON A PURSE?” I screamed in my head. There are just so many more important things to spend my money on…like my nanny’s salary for one. And I have my pink purse already. I’m quite content with my pink purse. Yes, the fact that it’s a Jessica Simpson is goofy and when I saw it I thought, “no way can I buy a Jessica Simpson purse because that’s ridiculous.” But then I thought, “I must buy the Jessica Simpson purse because of the mere fact of its ridiculousnessness! The more ridiculousness we can bring into the world the better and if Jessica and Joe Simpson make money off of my need for ridiculousnesses that’s just the price I pay.” Plus, I make up a little story in my head that I’m secretly being ironic. I know I’m self absorbed. Whatever.
The thing is that I was just fine the way I was until Dooney & Bourke and it’s funkiness was brought to my attention. And so I started fishing around on eBay for the giraffe satchel until I found one and then I secretly coveted it until want got the best of me and I even bid on the bag. I bid and got sucked in to the bidding until I was sitting at my computer sweating and breathing heavy with two minutes to go in the auction. There were like 18 bidders for the damn PRE-OWNED purse! I went up way over what I think the purse is worth because was swept away in sheer want, need for something that I was sure would make my life better. Fortunately or unfortunately I was in over my head because these bitches were like Beverly Hills ladies fighting over a sale rack at Neiman Marcus. We were having a virtual tug o’war and in the end I let go of the rope. Somehow I came to my senses and realized that I didn’t need it, just the mere want of it was serving as a distraction to my recent existance with two shrieking children (they are shrieking as I write this). I thought it would bring me solace. But I never bought it and I felt better, that is until I saw that damn leopard purse. Now I’m screwed.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 25, 2010 9:39 pm
The last three nights Sadie and Matilda slept through the night. Cue the angel choir. It is that good, this feeling of getting uninterrupted rest. Mentally I feel so jaunty I should be wearing a little chauffer’s cap and riding pants or maybe sitting by a lake skipping rocks while whistling an old timey tune. I’m a new person I tell ya! It’s amazing what sleep will do for your overall outlook –well, sleep and drugs but one of those outlook changers is off the menu for me and one of them has been tough to get lately.
Not only have the twins been sleeping through the night but with the exception of yesterday, they have been napping again. Sweet Jesus am I lucky or what? P.S. – to all of you who suggested Melatonin, thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s working. I hadn’t actually asked my doctor but as I wrote this I started feeling guilty about it so I just emailed my pediatrician to ask. But this is the same doc who suggested Benadryl to cope with a bout of night terrors so I can’t see him suddenly being anti “something you can buy from Whole Foods that is all natural and will possibly prevent me from running in front of a speeding train.” He’s cool like that.
Last night I actually broiled some salmon (yes, I managed to set off the smoke detector), sautéed some squash and blackened some garlic bread in the oven and then Jon and I watched TV. It’s true. We sat our asses down on a couch and watched television uninterrupted for almost two hours. First we watched Mad Men and then we fast forwarded through Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch. I think the ultimate catch in his case may be the Herp virus based on the “ladies” he’s picking for his dates -I’m looking at you Tara. But I think the main point is my brain got a chance to relax and realize that there is more going on in the world than my children, their relentless whining and Lindsay Lohan.
I don’t know how long our reprieve will last but despite my proclamations that Sadie is damaged goods, I think she may be going through a rough patch and not showing signs of becoming a raging sociopath like I was starting to suspect. I have a bad habit of thinking that whatever is going on in my life is the new normal -that life is going to be this way forever and ever amen. If I have a migraine it’s impossible to remember a time that I didn’t feel like a machete was wedged between my ears, if I’m unemployed I can’t believe I ever bought a new CD without fear of sinking financially, when American Idol is between seasons I am positive I’ll never enjoy TV again.
I know intellectually that life does keep moving forward and my children will continue getting older and moving through stages and I should enjoy where they are now because they grow so fast …I do know that. But if one more person says it, I will kick them in the uterus, because this shit, right now, is hard.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 23, 2010 10:38 pm
How can something this cute make me want to move to move to a foreign country, check myself into a psychiatric facility where shock therapy is still the go-to treatment? I need some quiet in my brain!
So here’s the thing: Sadie is officially a nightmare. She’s 22 pounds of attitude who doesn’t sleep. She has no interest in sleeping, no tolerance for the mere suggestion of sleeping and is also disgusted that anyone else in this house would want to do anything so distasteful and bourgeois as putting their head on a pillow and lying still for a few hours. “Don’t sleep, mommy!” Sadie’s been known to scream at me if I dare rest my head on the couch cushion -while sitting up I might add. I don’t have the balls to actually lay on the couch in front of her, but I need to grow a pair so I can start standing up to her.
Last night was one of the worst Jon and I have had in a long time. Sadie’s been getting worse and worse about sleeping lately. The last few days neither twins would take any sort of nap so of course by four in the afternoon they are wrecks but yesterday morning they woke up at 7 am, refused to nap, and began the whining and crying out of exhaustion around 4 pm. We’d been to the park in the morning and then swimming at my brother’s house in the afternoon and when we got back they seemed so tired. After a quick bath and stories they were in bed by 7:40 and that’s when Sadie began a two hour screamfest. Well, first she demanded milk and not in a pink sippy cup, in an ORANGE one, asshole! Then the crib was lowered on one side so that she could climb in because she NEEDS TO DO IT HERSELF. Then she spilled some milk on her jammies so SHE NEEDED NEW ONES. And then the lights were lowered -but not too low because THAT’S TOO DARK and music was turned on NOT JAMES TAYLOR and then finally I got a “Night night mama.” The door was quietly closed behind me BUT NOT ALL THE WAY and I tiptoed down the hall and then the screaming started.
WHY? I don’t get it. She’s tired. I’m tired. Mattie’s tired. Elby needs our attention. And yet, screaming. Blood curdling, want to slice your ears off with a paring knife, screaming.
Nothing is wrong with her. She is willful and doesn’t want to go to bed. How do I know this? Because she yells, “I DON’T WANNA GO TO BED!” OVER AND OVER AND OVER BETWEEN SCREAMS. So what are we to do? We have tried letting it go for hours. It used to only last twenty minutes but her endurance has been building. Last night she screamed for two straight hours while Jon and I cursed our lives, Jon had a vodka and I played Brick Buster wordlessly on my BlackBerry. Every so often we wondered how long it could go on, would she be able to scream all night? Would Matilda sleep through it? What were the adoption laws pertaining to two-year-olds with behavioral problems? I hear the Duggars are looking to have one more -maybe Michelle just wants ours?
This was clearly a battle of wills and I was not going to allow her to think that if she just screamed long enough we would eventually let her come out because she NEEDED SLEEP! She’s now been awake for 15 straight hours and so had we and this needed to stop.
Finally she stopped screaming and we realized our patience had paid off. I’m fucking with you. She continued yelling for over two hours until Matilda started screaming as well and we had to remove Matilda from the room which is how we realized that Sadie was butt naked in a stripped bed and Matilda was in no state to go back to sleep either. We brought both girls out of the room where Sadie continued to cry and act like SHE’D been traumatized.
ONE AM is when both twins were finally asleep in their cribs. WHAT THE FUCK? And this is not highly unusual. Sadie is pretty extreme I know. Her therapists know this too and want to try to get us a little help with her – some coping skills etc. She is a firecracker, stubborn, and bright as hell. She’s always been like this possibly because as a little baby she was frustrated and unhappy (who can blame her?) but now she is able to communicate just fine and we need to establish boundaries. How do we do that without having to completely drop out of society, rent an bus and go find a cabin somewhere that Sadie can eat berries and scream to her heart’s content. Maybe in the woods people will think we’re just part of some sort of “let your inner wild child out” type religion or that Sadie’s a witch.
Any words of wisdom? Do you have a kid like this? Will she grow out of this phase? I’m soooo tired.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 16, 2010 7:32 pm
So I’m not sure what the rules are regarding reprinting something on my blog that was originally published elsewhere. Even if I credit the original source and link there etc. it may be wrong so I won’t do it right now but…this is one of the best essays about quitting drinking I’ve ever read. It gives me goosebumps. It’s by everyone’s favorite writer Anne Lamott so it can’t be bad right?
Someone on the Booze Free Brigade suggested it a long time ago and oooh I related. Related, and felt so much less alone. And isn’t that what we all want? To feel like we’re not alone? Go read this and tell me what you think.
Night Train To Sobriety
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 13, 2010 6:19 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday