So this was a letter I received from “Kate” who wanted to update me on how she was doing with the whole no drinking thing. Her letter was so cool and inspiring that I asked if I could use it and if she’d back track into a bit of her story. So she did. And here it is. God, people are awesome.
Dear Stefanie –
I’m back and I’m still sober. September 30th marked six months since I decided I meant more to my family and myself than crisp delicious Sauvignon Blanks and Vine Verdes in bulk. It’s seemed like an eternity and yet a flash in the pan. Thanks for indulging my need to vent once again. It’s cleansing –this time with a bonus like an exfoliant taking off another layer of the ugly skin I’d been hiding under.
For your readers who don’t know me I’m Kim, and I am a mother of three, wife of one super patient man, and yes, OUCH, I’m going to say it – an alcoholic. My last post I was “Kate” in June. This go-round, I’m going to be me and for the first time admit the “A Word” is another adjective for who I am. My story may be like yours in some ways (we all read and nod our heads in cyber-unison at Stef’s healing postings) and so different in others.
The loves of my life and sometimes my lame excuses for drinking are my husband, two sons, and a lovely, bright, almost 12 year-old daughter who is confident she could solve all of the world’s problems. She inherited the OCD, ADHD, and anxiety from me I know she’d love to pummel me for it. Thankfully, she’s in a good place and cruises through school and friendships with great confidence. She’s worked hard and I’m so proud of her.
My identical twin sons have Asperger’s Syndrome. They are nine. Aspergers is a high functioning form of autism where there is great intellect and yet devastating social skills deficits. One son has OCD, depression, anxiety, and other issues that make being his health care advocate a puzzle worthy of a Bill Gates level challenge. Loving these boys is painful and mama bear invoking like nothing I ever imagined. My boys continue to challenge me….with the new addition of migraines for the more troubled of the two. They break and heal my heart every day and I will never give up on them.
I started drinking when I was 15 and right from the start, I never could have just one. As an adult, I don’t think many folks around me know I was a “functional alcoholic”. I got all my work done and then some. Kept my girlish figure and ran 5 miles with a hangover on many a morning. My kids never were late for anything and I somehow mustered the energy to advocate for them quite effectively despite deceiving myself and those around me.
My first foray into sobriety came after the twins came home and had recovered from a crisis at birth. I resumed my almost bottle a day of white wine habit until my steel magnolia mother held a bottle of wine in one hand and a photo of my daughter’s cherubic face in the other and told me to pick which was more important. Her ploy worked and in fact lasted several years but then I lost my stepfather in Jan. ’08. He was a ray of sunshine in my life and I tumbled off the wagon.
I started an experimental journey in the “only one”, “only when we have a sitter”, “only weekends”, and finally “only when things are tough” method of drinking. Been on that trip? Are you there now? Excuses to drink are abundant. Traffic, kids, my husband didn’t notice that the house was spotless, but that I forgot to get a white onion instead of the pre-packaged yellow!
My experiment was as my daughter likes to say “an epic fail”. I quit again for good six months ago when I realized after seeing my son had self-injured himself while at school as a result of a med that was helping his ADHD. I wanted/needed a drink that minute and I didn’t know how I would ever make it until 5:00. I can never drink again and I know it.
Since that day I have survived some real moments that I thought would take me back to my misery. I made it through a wine tasting business event with my husband at about one month. The only food that appealed to me was dark chocolate that unbeknownst to me had been crusted with sea salt and black pepper on the bottom. I then endured weaning from and replacement of depression and ADHD meds that mad me feel like my skin was going to peel away and my heart would surely burst. My dog (the only living creature I thought unconditionally loved me) has decided he prefers the company of my husband who has fed him nary a morsel — except a steak he left out which gave the dog colitis for 3 months. I have selectively dodged situations where I could or couldn’t reveal my inability to imbibe without seeming boring. Recently, I attended a women’s happy hour where the wine was flowing freely and somehow managed through the first few awkward moments. On Columbus Day I slipped and landed on my jar of handy salon quality manicure tools and impaled my hand with a cuticle pusher. My, my how great a few glasses of wine would have been to ease the throbbing after the irrigation and tetanus shot.
But, the truth is, the urge comes and it goes away.
I confess my shoe collection has increased during times of extreme stress….. something about those really lifts my spirits and my 5’4 frame…again, a patient husband is helpful in this regard. My make up drawer is also overflowing…..who knew that a variety of concealers and lipsticks/glosses could make me feel so convivial and loquacious??!! I am an unpaid guinea pig for the cosmetics industry and I am hear to say officially that shoes, facial serums and elixirs can be healing too. Great news! I can remember buying them and putting them all on!
Along with your blog, I’ve read a few books in what I like to call the “Misery Loves Company List” that make me feel less alone since I can’t get to AA meetings. Ironically, I started watching “Rachel Getting Married” and low and behold the main character is “Kim”. I haven’t finished the movie. I hope she stays sober and feels loved like I do. I have opened my heart to a few poor souls in my life and have been sustained by them and faith in a loving and forgiving Lord. I wish this for anyone who feels alone and isolated by alcohol or substances. It sucks and at the same time it’s great to be me.
Stef – I will never forget how your story and site was the final push that opening my eyes. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Without you I don’t think I would be celebrating this milestone.
Kim (AKA Kate)
Kim –You’re welcome but really thank you. You are the one who is “giving it back” and that in turn inspires me to keep on going no matter what.
As always JOIN US HERE if you want to try to live without the booze. It can be done!
Kim Carlisle said,
I don’t know you, Kim, but your story is one of bravery and I feel proud of you. I relate to much of your story, and I too, can’t ever drink again. And it’s becoming more and more okay everyday.
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Kim Carlisle said,
I want to thank all of you for your encouraging comments. I appreciate so much knowing I can share with you all since I can’t do AA. God Bless.
Thanks so much for this, Kim. God, can I ever relate to the “only on weekends”, “only out to dinner”, etc, etc. I tried EVERYTHING, and I fought it long and hard .. I so didn’t want to be an alcoholic.
But I’m grateful, now, that I am an alcoholic in recovery, because I never would have had the opportunity to face some of the things in my life that had always been holding me back, I just never had to go through them because I was constantly numbing myself.
I used to want to punch people who talked like that — when I was new — but now it’s the damn truth.
Thanks for the update – for your bravery and honesty.
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