Archive for November, 2010
I missed a week and I’m sorry about that but I hope this makes up for it. Laura wrote to me a little bit about her story and I immediately demanded a post. Laura, thank you for your bravery and for being an inspiration to God knows how many more wanna be non-drinkers out there. Check out Laura’s blog No One Here To Save and/or join us here at the Booze Free Brigade. Now, heeeere’s Laura.
I’m not exactly sure the day that I became an addict, but I do know that when I was 11 I drank for the first time. I drank, got drunk, blacked out, and woke up in a bathtub the next morning. I’m not sure which friend I told my parents I was staying with, but I can assure you the words “alcohol poisoning” never came up. From that first raging hangover until my last handful of pills, I never used again for any other reason then to get high. There was no “social” drinking for me. Well, I guess it would start socially, and maybe even stay acceptable for the first few hours, but then I’d cross over some mystical line that made it impossible to go back.
I was the most popular, most athletic and most kiss ass teacher’s pet you could ever dream up throughout my school years. I was an A student, pot head, and a jock that could, and would, fit in with whatever group I was running with that week. I was getting kicked out of service organizations at school for refusing to sell donuts on the one hand, and wooing the faculty with my coolness by bringing my “teacher pal” a six-pack of Moosehead. God, times have changed. Drinking with the faculty, I’m pretty sure, is frowned upon these days. I thought I had it all, and keeping it came at a price I was willing to pay. Hell, I enjoyed.
By the time I got married, I was drinking probably 70+ drinks a week. Yup, married…. When I was 32 years old, I planned and executed my wedding, and don’t remember a minute past 7pm. You may be thinking what kind of guy marries someone in raging active addiction…. a really good intentioned one. Someone that loved me, or still loves me really, in his own way. He’s taken care of me since we met, and these days, being that I am now capable of doing that myself, the boat is a rockin. We’re struggling to keep moving forward, but when your ideas about everything change so drastically, the journey gets a bit rough…..
My drinking came to a screeching halt when I found out I was pregnant with my first son, and I haven’t had a drink since. That was February, 2003. I can still remember those feelings like they were yesterday…. How am I going to do this sober? How am I going to survive without the booze? Fear. Not happiness or contentment that I was carrying my child… Full blown fear. Do normal people “allow” themselves three final beers before the OB appointment the next morning to confirm their pregnancy? My God stepped in that night, no question… absolutely no question. I made it through that pregnancy and the next, clean… strong. So Nicholas and Matthew came into my life 15 short months apart.
I’ve heard and can now attest to the fact that addiction is a progressive disease. Over four years had passed when, after my hysterectomy, that first pill hit my system. It was like I hadn’t missed a beat, and those years of living sober were gone. My obsession to use was back and better than ever, and I spent the next 18 months getting and using Lortab. I was spiraling out of control, and it seems as though no one knew. How do you take 60 Lortab a day, close the evening shift with a Xanax and Ambien cocktail, and no one notice? How do you spend $1000’s of dollars a week on drugs, have them delivered to your door, and no one, i.e. my husband, notice?? Hmmmmm. You lie and manipulate, that’s how. You sit on the board of your children’s school, you participate on every committee physically possible, you go to church, hell for that matter, you bathe. You don’t “look” like an addict.
Every morning when my feet hit the floor, I’m reminded of the day I finally hit my bottom…. the day I knew that if I didn’t quit using, I would die. I knew the time had come, and I wanted to detox as quietly as possible. (First red flag…. you may be in over your head if you think you can detox quietly.) When I heard my 5-year-old throwing his guts up down the hall that day I ran to him and quietly thanked God. I could detox, and if I threw up, it would be perceived as the flu. Jackpot…. my secret would be safe. (Second red flag… you plan your detox around your child’s flu.) Well, I threw up alright. My husband found me on the floor by my bed in my own vomit physically unable to get myself into the bathroom. I told him what was happening and then begged him to get me help. An emergency room visit and six hours later, the doctor explained in no uncertain terms that my detox process would have killed me. Killed me, as in no more. At that second, I was done. I knew that I could never use again. That was just over two years ago.
Addiction is a bitch, no question. And God it’s exhausting… every day, all day, consumed with making sure that I would stay high. Today it’s about learning how to live. Live without spoiling my kids, or over indulging those places in them that remind me of me. It’s about learning how to keep all the other areas of my life in check. Although I’d like to believe sometimes that a Hermes bag would fix what ever is wrong in my world, my junkie friends laugh and gently remind me that I was totin’ a Prada bag the first day I walked into a meeting, and oh yeah, I was still walking into a meeting…… Point taken.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on November 26, 2010 4:41 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday
Hello, first of all, let me start by saying sorry for not putting up a Don’t Get Drunk Friday last Friday. Sometimes I run out of good stories and then I have nothing to use. So, if you are an ex-drunky drunk, a current drinker who wants to quit, a wife or husband of a drinker or ex-drinker, a daughter of a drinker a mom of a drinker…I think you get the point, I would love to hear your story to possibly post on a Friday.
Next up on the agenda and I do have an agenda today, is my friend Elizabeth’s blog. I think you should check it out because she gave up shopping for a year, she has an incredibly interesting story that’s behind it (I’m trying to convince her to let more of that out) and she’s super generous. In fact, for every comment she receives on her current post, she’s giving a dollar to charity. Right there you know she’s good people yet she’s also downright hilarious and that is a pretty good hook.
Elizabeth’s blog is Flourish in Progress.
I also wanted to let you know that although I do not do review blogging (mainly because there are just so few things I get excited about that it would be pure work to do) from time to time I do come across things I love and want to pass along to you. I will be updating my I Love It section very soon with some of the things I can’t live without.
Lastly, here are a few photos of my cute children enjoying their THIRD birthday party in their classroom. Yes, you bitches read that right. My twins are turning three on Friday. Time flies when you’re in hell.
Hey Mattie, wrong cake hole!
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on November 24, 2010 1:36 am
So I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday, chatting up the Sample Girl when I heard a very disturbing story. It seems she was helping out a family friend with toddler twin boys for a few weeks and on the last day things got very weird when the dad tried to hit on her. Apparently, he decided to tell her about his imploding marriage and how unhappy he is and how his wife doesn’t understand him and how they’ve cheated on each other and how difficult having twins has been on their marriage. Sample Girl told the guy he was being way out of line and then it got all uncomfortable and weird.
While we’re standing there talking, Sample Girl suddenly says, “Oh no. He’s walking this way.” And sure enough, a kind of creepy looking dude sidles over pretending to be interested in the pumpkin cheesecake Sample Girl was dividing into little cups, and attempts to engage her in conversation. I was disturbed on about fourteen different levels. First off, really? This truly goes on? I watch Lifetime Movie Network for escape, not for a reality check. Secondly, do men have to be this typical? The girl was barely out of high school and this guy was at least forty and had a beard. Beards are never going to be attractive to twenty-year-olds (except maybe Kate Hudson but that’s a whole other ball of crazy).
I also started wondering if it’s true that kids are a marriage killer. And if kids are hard on a marriage, are twins exponentially tougher? And are kids only tough on marriages that weren’t strong to begin with or can they screw up even a happy couple? It’s probably a lot more complicated and probably depends a lot on the people involved.
As disturbed as I was by this story, I couldn’t help but think that I have a pretty good marriage despite my nineteen children. And that just maybe, people were wondering what my secret is. So I’ll give you a few of mine and feel free to leave a few of yours and then maybe, just maybe, we can save someone else from finding out their husband is trying to bang the sample girl.
1. Jon and I still have sweet pet names for each other. Jon calls me Dumb Ass and I call him, Asshole or whatever swear word I’m overusing the most that day.
2. We keep a coffee cup on my desk for spare change and when it’s completely full, I bring it to the Coinstar at our local CVS, and get cash so that Jon and I can have a real live date night. Sure, it may take six months to save up forty dollars but it’s always worth it to spend some time together without having to actually spend real money on each other.
3. Once in awhile my husband surprises me with a gift. One month he might just unload the dishwasher on a whim or another month he will throw a load of laundry in the dryer that’s been sitting in the washer for a few days. Obviously when I get one of these surprises it will be expected that I reward him with sex but, really, I WANT TO.
4. If we’re going to fight, we try to do it in public. That way, we can show others that even seemingly perfect couples do argue once in awhile.
5. We try not to let our annoyances build up which only leads to an explosion somewhere down the line. What we do to prevent this is point out the things about the other person that bother us all day long, making sure to accompany the complaint with disgusted faces and grumbling.
6. When complaining about something the other person does, we make sure to give credit for all the times the person disappointed us and not just that particular one. The trick is to say, “You never help me with the kids” or “You always forget to bring the garbage bins in from the curb.”
7. When my husband tells a story around a group of people I try to roll my eyes sarcastically at the other people as if to say, “Yeah, I’ve heard this a million times already” or “God, I can’t believe he thinks this is funny.” Because undermining is sexy.
8. Lots of exasperated sighing for no reason.
9. If we’ve had an especially great day together, I will try to pick a fight just before bed to really keep him on his toes.
10. Passive Aggressive behavior is the key to any long lasting happiness. We try to compliment each other by saying things like, “I said you need to go to the gym because I’m worried about your health not because I think your ass is getting fat. Stop being so paranoid!”
11. Oftentimes I will stomp around the house and when my husband asks me what’s wrong I will say “Nothing.” If he says, “It seems like something’s wrong,” I’ll say, “Well, should something be wrong?” Guessing games are like catnip to the fellas.
I hope some of these tips helped and be sure to leave your own!
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on November 15, 2010 9:28 pm
Hi All – Today I wanted to share an email I received from an ex-drunky drunk! I just love hearing from you guys because it never fails to make me feel less alone. We are not freaks, we’re just people who can’t handle our alcohol and therefore, need to stop drinking it. It’s fairly simple when you think about it. Here’s Hilary’s letter:
“I have struggled with being a “functioning” alcoholic for a very long time. I was quickly becoming non functioning when I decided to quit drinking.
I started drinking when I was 14 and since then was living for the next drink. Through my twenties I started to notice it becoming more and more of a problem but was always justifying it by thinking I was single and just having fun, I was a “party girl”. I was living in downtown Boston and going out drinking probably 4 nights a week and drinking at home the other 3. But, there was just me to worry about so it didn’t seem to matter that I was drinking my life away. If a boyfriend got on my case about it I would dismiss it as being his problem, he couldn’t handle dating someone who was independent and liked to party. But I knew in the back of my head my drinking was a big problem and despite my attempts to get it under control it was getting worse not better.
I became pregnant, (unplanned because of a drunken night) married, and living in the burbs in the matter of a year. I didn’t drink while I was pregnant and thought I had it in under control because of that, I clearly didn’t have a good understanding of my disease.
I began to drink just as much and then even more after I gave birth. I was in danger of losing my husband, baby and job. I was blacking out and hung over almost every night/ day of the week and I didn’t know how to stop. I felt hopeless, as much as I had the desire to stop drinking I just couldn’t. It was the only way I knew how to cope with life for so long. I became depressed and started having severe anxiety which are things I had dealt with my entire life and used drinking to cope with. Now the drinking was making those things even worse.
Luckily I reached out just in time. After blacking out and making a scene at a family event (my husband’s side unfortunately) and realizing I was going to lose my son if I didn’t get help I called a friend who I knew in recovery. I went to my first AA meeting that week and have been sober since. It has been quite an awakening learning more about this disease from research and talking to other alcoholics. I always thought alcoholism was simply a problem of control and now realize it’s so much more then that.
It’s still hard for me to tell people that I don’t drink anymore. Mainly because it makes them feel uncomfortable. I’m hoping that people like you and sites like this might help to give others more understanding/ acceptance of us alcoholics.
I’ve been sober for 7 months now and I haven’t been this happy in years. I realize that I’ve been living under the dark cloud of alcoholism for a very long time, probably since I started drinking. It provided me so many things and became the only way I knew how to cope with life. It relaxed me and and me feel happy and confident, even if only for a little while it seemed worth it. But in the end it didn’t make me happy, drink after drink it was always an attempt to fill a void that was never full. I’d have a drink in my hand and be thinking about the next. It was a completely unsatisfying addiction. Now I’m focusing on my family, career and personal en devours and am so amazed at all that I am able to accomplish without being drunk, hungover or thinking about when, where and how I will get drunk next and how I will hide my alcoholism. When I think about all the time / money I spent on that addiction I would have accomplished a lot more by now. But… no regrets. It’s because I went to that really dark place that I was able to come back and be more happy then I’ve ever been.
Thanks for listening and for giving people like me a forum to discuss our addiction without feeling like a Neanderthal.”
Thank YOU Hilary for sharing your strength and hope! Please come to the Booze Free Brigade if you are looking for an online source of support to quit drinking.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on November 12, 2010 5:14 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday
My littlest lady, Sadie, has had a lot of therapy in her (just about) three years. While my husband Jon and I spent most of our time focusing our stress on her lack of interest in food and subsequent NON weight gain, running back and forth between doctors and fending off each other’s fears that something serious could be wrong with her –William’s Syndrome anyone? -Sadie was busy falling behind on the developmental end. It wasn’t until she was six-months old that we learned she needed a lot more help than just getting sustenance, she would need help learning to sit, crawl, even hold her head up for long stretches of time. She also needed work on fine motor skills, such as holding things in her hand and eventually learning to use a straw cup at a year because she just never worked out the bottle aversion.
When at 12 months old and only thirteen pounds she still hadn’t figured out that food is imperative to growth, we had to go kicking and screaming to a feeding tube. At eighteen months when she still wasn’t talking we found out we needed speech therapy twice a week on top of the PT twice a week, OT twice a week, child development, and a nutritionist all of whom had become part of our inner circle. My daughter had a bigger staff than Oprah friggin Winfrey.
But guess what. It paid off. We are lucky is what we are.
A couple of weeks ago, Jon and I took Sadie to a little something called an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting. This is where many specialists and a psychologist gather to assess your child and determine what special help or intervention might still be needed once your child is of school age and the Early Intervention program doesn’t cover them anymore. Although most of Sadie’s therapists agreed that she’d come an awful long way and had mostly determined that her therapies should be on a check-in basis once she started school, I still felt a sense of trepidation going in.
You see, Sadie is still a few months behind her sister Matilda. People always say that kids develop at their own pace and they are all different and you shouldn’t compare and I know this. The twins are not Elby (who will be six in three days!) and they are not each other. Duh. But still, after having the struggles with Sadie, it’s hard not to have her development under a microscope -impossible really since we were updated on how she was doing in almost every area on a semi-weekly basis. So although I’m so proud of the progress that Sadie’s made and I remain confident that she will keep moving forward at the steady rate she has been, I still worried that I’d hear something I didn’t want to hear; some discovery would be made of a shortcoming that failed to make my radar, a problem I thought was solved but was in fact, needing attention. The unknown factor.
Like a lot of people I find the unknown intimidating. I would like to always be able to see around every corner so I can be prepared. Is there an iPhone app for this? I’m not fond of surprises. When I was first dating my husband, I was terrified that he would lose interest in me but not tell me. I worried he would just go along because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings but then break-up with me seemingly out of the blue. I worried I wouldn’t see it coming.
I’m so scared of not seeing it coming.
When I was in the hospital being monitored 24/7 to make sure that Sadie was alive and staying that way, I just wanted to know what to expect. What did a two pound baby look like? How could a baby be that small? So I toured the NICU to see the babies so that I could prepare myself, and I sobbed when I saw how impossibly tiny a one thousand gram infant actually is. How frail. But it didn’t prepare me, how could it? I had to live through it, hold her, worry about her, save her and fail her. Over and over again. I just had to do it. I didn’t know how.
Early on, not one of the dozens of doctors we saw could figure out why Sadie wasn’t growing and wasn’t thriving. And although specialists gave us hope and tried to help, not one could tell us how the story ends. Every fiber of my being wanted a doctor to tell us what would happen so that I didn’t have to find out the hard way.
When I took Sadie for a feeding tube, I knew that wasn’t the “answer” just another decision in Sadie’s care that could ultimately help or hurt but it just seemed to be the only option left and we were exhausted. And it wasn’t the answer, but it did help.
Two years after spending four days at Cedar’s Sinai for the g-tube surgery, and eight months after Jon and I decided to pull the tube, Sadie went for that IEP meeting. My little Sadie sat right down at the table and started playing with colored blocks like it was her job. She sorted them, told the therapists what colors they were, talked about the “boys and girls” at school, gave them her name and age (no last name though -she’s a future diva like Cher) and regaled them with the sweetest renditions of Twinkle Twinkle, Wheels on the Bus and Mary Had a Little Lamb and Hey Hey You You I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend.
She had a little trouble with a human body puzzle and started to get frustrated. I had to force myself not to intervene and help her place the hand piece beneath the sleeve piece but eventually she worked it out and finished. I worried that they would find her frustration suspect and I tried to defend her. “She can really do tasks like this, she just needs a minute to work it out,” I said.
“Oh no worries! That puzzle is for four-year-olds,” the child development specialist said. “She surpassed all the things we needed her to do so now we’re just challenging her. This is fun for us.”
Yeah. They were just having fun.
“We’ll sit down and give you the official results in a couple of weeks but between you and me, she is extremely intelligent and shows no signs of delay. Physically she is a little bit weak but that’s most likely due to her tiny size. I guarantee she won’t have an IEP.”
No one in the room could stop grinning including Sadie who knew she killed it.
Unofficially, Sadie is perfect. My daughter is unofficially no longer delayed. She’s not Matilda and she’s not Elby. But she’s officially absolutely where she’s supposed to be. And I still don’t know exactly how the story ends but I can’t let that hold me back. God, I love her so much. Can you blame me?
Update: As of this morning, it’s official.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on November 9, 2010 8:32 pm