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Don’t Get Drunk Friday: Clara’s Story

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 pmDon't Get Drunk Friday15 comments  

15 Comments

  1. ann said,

    perfectly beautiful. you are an inspiration. thank you for sharing your journey.

    | August 27, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  2. kelly said,

    You wrote my story, too. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m on day 5 & I see life after drinking.

    Kelly

    | August 27, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  3. robin said,

    It’s crazy, how when we are still drinking our brains cannot fathom doing all those things (parties, dinners, outdoor activities, etc) without alcohol, but when we get to the sober side of life…totally DO-ABLE! And enjoyable! And not the big deal we thought they were going to be (mostly).

    Thank you for sharing your story, and I am so grateful I have your blog to read while I am on my sobriety journey as well.
    robin´s last blog post ..Weekend Lake FUN!

    | August 27, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

  4. Kelly said,

    Great post- thank you for sharing. You are brave and an inspiration. Good for you for not listening to that LOUD VOICE! After 7 years, I did let that voice talk to me and it was awful. But it reminded me of WHY I stopped in the first place. Keep on truckin!

    | August 27, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  5. Ginger said,

    Thank you Clara…Brave girl, you!

    Thank you Stephanie for “Don’t get Drunk Fridays.” Look forward to it every week!

    ahhh…Thank you, thank you!

    | August 27, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  6. Corinne said,

    Clara, I adore you :) I have tears streaming down my face… our stories are pretty similar. High bottoms and the difficulties that come with them (the voice, the disease that quickly jumps to tell use we didn’t have a problem…)
    But it’s there. And it always will be.
    Thank goodness for reading the right thing at the right time.
    xoxo
    Corinne´s last blog post ..Virtual Coffee I

    | August 27, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  7. mrs.notouching said,

    I really love your writing. I think I got to know you better reading your blog and following your journey through this. You are the most determined person I know. Love.

    | August 27, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

  8. Ellie said,

    Beautifully written as always, Clara. You are such an amazing power of example, strength and grace. I love reading your blog, too.

    I loved this in particular: “Most importantly, I am learning to accept myself and my imperfections. I am learning to let go and let in.”

    So true. So simply and yet not so easy. You have done amazing work, and you deserve all the rewards sobriety brings.

    -Ellie
    Ellie´s last blog post ..Why Cant She Just STOP

    | August 27, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  9. mommy on the spot said,

    thanks for sharing your story. great post!

    | August 28, 2010 @ 1:07 am

  10. mollyell50 said,

    Go Clara! You are a badass sober chick. My fav part of your story is your sudden moment of clarity, pouring out that wine and never looking back! I am happy to be on this journey with you.

    | August 28, 2010 @ 5:01 am

  11. Jae said,

    Thank you for sharing her story Stephanie!
    Jae´s last blog post ..And now we are drinking

    | August 28, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

  12. NT said,

    Hi Clara, I read this post on your blog several weeks ago. It’s funny though how you see different things at different times. That first read, I was held up by this image of you pouring out that wine and stopping right then. Because I couldn’t imagine it. I’m so glad I had the chance to read it again here, because I see so much more. What smacked ME in the face in this one was this: “…why I am afraid to let myself be happy.” I’m still digesting this question. So simple, but so important to finally giving up the struggle and walking into a new life.

    | August 28, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  13. Dana said,

    “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.”
    Me too. Yup. This one really spoke to me. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Dana´s last blog post ..Family Camp – The Movie

    | August 31, 2010 @ 2:17 am

  14. suzy said,

    thanks clara – this is such an important story to tell! I too had a high bottom and kept the outside looking ok – after 6 years sober I can see more and more that was unmanageable.
    But I am so grateful for not having to experience or put my family through anything more than I already did. I’m sure you have helped countless women with your post. Keep up the good work with your program! :)

    | August 31, 2010 @ 2:42 am

  15. Kim said,

    I read your post and was needing a boost. I am “Kate” from one of Stephanie’s June posts. I have been feeling lower than I expected celebrating my 5th month of clarity after returning to the world from a one year “experiment in moderation” – HA! What a joke. I’ve experienced a few firsts since March and it has been tough…first wine tasting business event with my husband without booze, trip to the beach last month, kids returning to school and dealing with the angst my autistic sons feel about new teachers — no beautiful yellow savignion blanc in the fridge to smooth things over..

    Your post “I can and I have been” was just what the doctor ordered. I needed to hear it and wake up. Thank you for being my mental alarm clock to bring me back and remind me of my purpose and what it is like to move forward with a clear head.

    God Bless you, all the bloggers and readers, and especially you Stephanie. I too look forward to Fridays.

    Kim

    | September 2, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

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