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.