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Don’t Get Drunk Fridays: Susan’s Story

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

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on September 25, 2010 12:50 amDon't Get Drunk Friday9 comments  

9 Comments

  1. Dana said,

    Just so you know, I thank you thank you thank you for these Friday posts. This one, like so many of the others, speaks to a life I’m happy has been behind me for two and a half months now.
    Dana´s last blog post ..Ive been busy- yall

    | September 25, 2010 @ 1:13 am

  2. Meredith said,

    Susan – awesome story! The sad fact is, people don’t understand that you can be an alcoholic (“foodaholic,” chronic gambler, etc. – basically have any kind of addiction issue) and still be a high functioning, productive member of society. People with addiction aren’t always passed out behind the bar without a job or family. They don’t always show up to work drunk or have DUIs. Kudos to you for realizing you weren’t happy with your life and having the balls to make a difficult but lasting commitment to sobriety!

    | September 25, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  3. Jae said,

    Thank you for sharing. I’m at 19 months, and so like you is so many ways. No one said I had a problem. To this day there are those that are sure I didn’t and don’t. You gotta listen to your own heart sometimes. Even if it’s a hard line to toe.
    Jae´s last blog post ..Takoma Park

    | September 25, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  4. seekingclarav said,

    Dear God I relate to this story. And I appreciate your sharing it.

    Being pregnant, I rarely give my sobriety much thought these days, except for when I visit the BFB or come here for Friday posts. And it’s so good that I do. I forget that being sober is a choice I make daily, and some day, possibly soon, I will need to dig deep to keep myself on this path.

    So thanks to the both of you. I’m grateful as ever.
    seekingclarav´s last blog post ..Huh…didn’t we have this conversation yesterday

    | September 26, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

  5. Lisa H. said,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. It so mirrors mine in my last days of drinking. The alcoholic family is a tricky thing for me. My husband didn’t see what he didn’t want to see. I hid things from my friends. Like Jae said above, I still have friends that didn’t think I had a problem. I think they believe me now, but at the time, I had to explain that although I didn’t make an ass of myself (all the time) when I was drinking with them, they never got to go home with me where the real party started.

    Thank you again for being so brave and helping me remember…everything.

    | September 26, 2010 @ 11:48 pm

  6. Ellie said,

    Oh, I love this post. Susan, you write so beautifully about that obsession, the compulsion, all the hard work that does into managing the drinking. It’s a prison.

    It reinforces, for me, the idea that it isn’t how much, or how often, it’s what is DOES to you that matters most.

    Far too many people (myself included) took it so far, have to have a lot of losses, before they get help. Because when the outside looks okay, it’s twice as hard to admit that the inside is falling apart.

    Your words will help so many. I know they helped me.

    Thank you!

    -Ellie
    Ellie´s last blog post ..What A Girl Wants

    | September 27, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  7. Kir said,

    these stories always inspire me…to look inside myself and find the one place that is not right and make it Right…I don’t drink, but I know that there is somehting hat needs to be filled in me and reading these stories encourages me to be better, do better and rejoice in your efforts to do the same.

    thanks as always for sharing with us , both of you.
    Kir´s last blog post ..Perfect Moment Monday- A Life in the City

    | September 27, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  8. Heather said,

    Hey, where you at? Are you OK?

    | October 9, 2010 @ 5:54 am

  9. GirlzMommy said,

    Thanks for posting this. I can so relate. My husband didn’t think I had a problem although I like to think that I hid it well. It was harder to hide when we’d be out for the night and I couldn’t stop drinking.

    I’ve been in the Program for 5 mths now, doing well. I tell my kids (they’re young) that I am meeting friends for coffee! Kinda true :)

    | October 14, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

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