So, here is a great voice from The Booze Free Brigade (link down below). I love this story and I know some of you will see yourselves. That’s what it’s all about for me and all the other boozy mommies I know.
“No one told me I drank too much. No one told me I drank too often. No one told me that perhaps I “had a drinking problem”. Not a soul. And I believe to this day that if I had continued drinking, no one yet would have said a word to me. I had to listen to myself for years before I stopped drinking almost 28 months ago.
I have been married to the same man for 22 years. We have three children (8, 10, 14). I am a professional, with a lucrative career which allows me to structure my work schedule around family and personal activities. It also allowed me to structure my days around drinking and around the recovery time needed from a heavy night of drinking. What I couldn’t negotiate around were my increasingly alarming feelings of shame, guilt, worry, and fear.
The largest of these for me was “fear”. Now, I am not typically a person who navigates through life from a position of fear. But my drinking, THAT was different. My fear stemmed from the knowledge that waking in the morning and immediately thinking “when can I start drinking today?” and “what booze do I have in the house?” and “what time does my day start tomorrow?” (because that dictated how much I could drink that night) was not right. I knew this. I also knew having blackouts at an ever -increasing frequency and on an ever-decreasing amount of alcohol was not right. I knew being unable to remember having sex the night before was not right. (I only knew because my husband would ask me the next morning if I had liked it. “Oh, sure baby!”) I knew monitoring the days I didn’t drink, and feeling ‘pride’ about those days, was way, way wrong. So why was I fearful of these things? Because even though I knew these things and hated feeling that way, I couldn’t stop drinking.
As my life changed, my drinking changed. I had a family and work. This meant I went out infrequently and had to move my drinking to the home front. Sure, I tried to hide it from the kids. Kinda. Sorta. Ah hell, no I didn’t. They knew mom drank, sure, but the drunk, blackout crap? That was after they went to bed. (Usually……). And yes, my husband saw it. But it is a fact that those who love you don’t want to see your pain and mess and crap, especially when it is self-imposed and you are saying, “No, I am OK, I feel OK today, not too bad, just tired. Just let me lay in bed a little longer.” Those who love you want to believe your lies. And I hid a lot from him too. I stuffed empties under the trash, I drank a glass and refilled it to the same level when he stepped out, I lied about how much I had drank, I waited until he was out of the room to throw- up when hung-over.
Because it is a fact of life: addicts lie, to everyone. We lie to cover up our drinking and guilt and fear and drunken behavior. We can’t tell you all this, because you might tell us to stop, or to choose between you and the booze. Thank God my husband didn’t push me into that corner; I would have lied more to protect my drinking.
Oh sure, I tried all the drinking “control” tricks. “Have a glass of water between drinks.” “Wait 30 minutes between drinks.” “Only drink when others drink.” “Only drink at home,” or, “Only drink at social occasions.” But none of these “control” techniques worked, because none of them removed my biggest, scariest obstacle: my obsessive, compulsive and overwhelming thoughts related to drinking and alcohol. I was frank about this in my early drinking days, but I hid these feelings as I got older and no age-peers were around to share my sentiments: “I love drinking! I love booze! I love getting drunk!” In college, no one bats an eye when you say that. Others look at you oddly when you are 40 and saying those things.
I don’t know why I gained insight into my drinking 4 years ago. In retrospect, I now see that my life, outside of drinking, was really pulling together. I had found a satisfying level of spirituality, my sex life with my husband had improved dramatically and my workout routines were in full swing, leaving me looking and feeling amazing. All this “peaking” left my drinking, and all its associated negatives, highlighted and screaming for attention. I could no longer ignore my problem.
I went to my first AA meeting alone and unannounced to family or friends. I stayed sober for 7 weeks, but then went back out for 18 more months of drinking. On May 25, 2008, I had my last drink and began the 12 steps. I discovered my children thought I was working late when I said, “I am going to a meeting”. I explained that the meetings involve getting together with other people who used to like drinking, just like me, and that getting together makes it easier to give up something we use to enjoy; this answer has satisfied them.
My biggest payoff? Every time my husband says, “I like that you don’t drink now.””
Check us all out at The Booze Free Brigade if you’re looking for support