Archive for March, 2011
Aimee’s story is very fresh. When she wrote it she had fourteen days off the sauce. So I adjusted since there was a lag in putting this up. You can check out her new blog at http://www.findingaimee.blogspot.com
“It’s hard to say when I lost my authentic self, or if I ever knew her to lose. I grew up the daughter of a highly function, raging alcoholic. My mother who is amazing was hard pressed to have enough time, energy and patience for all of my siblings and me. I learned very young to lie. I lied to teachers, neighbors and friends about our family and home. I lied about things you shouldn’t even lie about. Mostly, I lied to myself. I envisioned grand fantasies about my world, current and future and repeated them so often that I began to believe them.
Fast forward to becoming a mother too young, getting divorced twice to finding alcohol and making her my new bff. I didn’t drink much in my teens and 20’s, too busy, too poor. When I hit 30, I was in a emotionally abusive relationship and HATED everything about my life; mostly myself and found that a couple of glasses of wine made the hate less severe and brought the fantasy back. When I was buzzed and lubricated, I was strong, sexy, funny. I wasn’t a doormat, weak or scared. I’m not sure when the switch happened from a few glasses of wine on the weekend to a few glasses on nights that ended in Y. My disease is a wily lady-she slipped in slow, whispered wonder in my ear and then she came in for the kill. I was powerless. I have considered myself an alcoholic for the last 6 years but only sought help 24 days ago. There was no big intervention, no come to Jesus with my husband (not the above mentioned relationship), I was in no threat of loosing my possessions or freedom-I was just done. I was done waking up trying to figure out how I got that bruise (and trying to come up with a plausible excuse when asked), done with gauging the mood of my husband and kids when I finally woke up, spinning, sick and clueless, done with the panic of “Oh my God, who did I call and text last night”? (I still think phones need breathalyzers on them to avoid said OMG moment). I joined Booze Free Brigade- and went to a meeting, and got more freedom than I sometimes think I deserve.
I have 24 days sober as of yesterday. I have 24 days of being present, knowing and remembering conversations. 24 days of no hangover-I couldn’t remember how good that feels. 24 days of having to deal with myself, my thoughts and all the crap that happens day to day with 2 teen daughters and a 7 yr old daughter, one husband, 4 dogs, a business, girl scouts and my theater commitments. 14 days of no shame, guilt or anxiety over my drunk behavior. There has been anxiety but I have managed and ended up dealing with it and moving forward with baby steps and deep breaths with a few prayers thrown up to the Big Guy.
The best thing so far about being sober is finding out who really cares about you. It is your 18 yr old telling you she thinks you are amazing and engaging you in conversation again in the evenings, it’s your 75 yr old mother crying as she tells you how proud she is and the best, my 7 yr old telling me I don’t snore anymore so she would like to sleep with me that night. It is realizing that the only thing you had in common with the neighbors that thumbed their nose at you when you told them you were not drinking and avoided you for the last 2 weekends is booze. No great loss. I used to be terrified of the thought of not drinking for the rest of my life, what about New Years Eve or Tues night for that matter. I have learned to not think in terms of anymore than today. My husband said to me last week on a Tues night, that before I knew it I would have a year under my belt; I answered before you know it, it will be Weds. That is as far as I allow myself to think and it makes it tolerable and doable.
I am not even sure where this story is going-there are so many layers to it-so much hurt from my past that brought me here, so much damage I have done to myself and others. I can only tell you that nothing in the last 6 years of my drinking feels better than the last 24 days of not drinking. I am scared, I am hopeful and I am sober, today.”
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on March 29, 2011 11:36 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday
If you are new to my blog, Don’t Get Drunk Friday is a feature I do where other women and men tell their stories in the hopes that it will help others identify and see that they are not alone. As always, if you want to stop but don’t know where to start you can try online support here.
“The real you is shy and awkward, but when you are drinking, your humor, sense of fun and confidence shines, so how ‘bout we say that Drinking You is the Real You, the You that you are supposed to be. And will leave it at that, ‘kay?” That was the conversation I had with myself early on in my drinking career.
They say that when you start drinking, you stop growing emotionally. I started drinking at 15 and although I changed on the outside, I stayed that same teenager on the inside. Give me a few beers and I was fearless, outgoing, fun. I hung around other people who liked to drink a lot and I found it easy to meet people while out socializing. This drinking thing was really working out very well. I mainly dated guys who liked to drink, guys who didn’t mind a girl who loved to party, guys who could tolerate a black out drunk prone to nodding off at the bar, passing out on toilets and walking into sliding glass doors. A girl who wasn’t afraid to drink several beers, fall off a dock into a freezing lake, get out and crack open another one.
From my teens to my early thirties, I had a lot of fun with friends and often daydreamed of all of life’s possibilities. I would have pangs of guilt at times and question my drinking, but I would always be able to find someone who was so much worse than I was and would then repress my suspicions. I looked like a normal, all American girl on the outside but I always felt like I was tainted, knowing I loved drinking more than others around me seemed to. It was like the stink cloud which hovered over Pepe Le Pew, except mine was invisible and only I smelled it. I had feelings of being “Less than.” Those feelings battled the opposing belief that I was fabulous when drinking.
In my mid 20’s, I met a guy who was a recovering alcoholic. At that point, my drinking was still more of a binge-drinking pattern, not daily, but over the top, once or twice a week. We went out for a year and, during that time, I suppressed my drinking. I didn’t want him to know how much of a drinker I was, and there was something else: I wanted what he had. Where I was anxious and chaotic, he was serene and reflective. He would take me to AA meetings with him and I would get so much from them. I loved listening to the people in those rooms. It was a combination of philosophy and barroom camaraderie, a mix of raw emotional confession and comical humility.
The relationship didn’t last because I really needed to get back to my friends and my party life and I knew I couldn’t straddle both worlds. But I never could get the recovery community out of my mind. During my darkest hangovers, I pictured the people in those rooms. I remember the peace. Someday, I would assure myself, when I’m ready…
In my early thirties, I met a great guy and got married and had a reception at an ocean side club with beautiful weather. It was a perfect day.
Then I had a reversal of fortune. Soon after the wedding, I started trying to get pregnant and quickly found out it wasn’t going to be quite that simple. I went through all the fertility testing, and in the end, my infertility was unexplained. Anyone who has been down the road of infertility knows what the process does to a woman’s self esteem and psyche. Someone along the way mentioned heavy drinking can lead to difficulties in conceiving. Rubbish, I thought. They blame alcohol for everything! Lily-livers.
In the meantime my husband broke his neck surfing and after we lived through the initial terror of the accident and learned he would eventually recover, I decided to do the hyper-stimulation route where my husband injects me with hormones until my ovaries are big pulsating egg nests. What a pair we were: him bending over me with his neck brace and jabbing a needle into my ass. Just precious.
I was over the moon when the treatment worked and I became pregnant with multiples. I guarded the pregnancy with my life. No unpasteurized food, no heavy lifting, no alcohol. The babies came early and I spent the next few weeks mothering them in the Ninth Ring of Hell, otherwise known at the NICU. When they finally came home, I had nurses watching them. I slowly resumed drinking but I was so busy, it was maybe a beer a day when a nurse was watching the babies. Just a beer in one day! I thought I was cured! The babies grew and started to get stronger and healthier and I allowed myself to dream of what they would one day become.
Then came the diagnosis: autism. The person I had been for 39 years was now dead. I now had no hope, no dreams, no direction. I was angry. I hated my life. My world shrunk down to my children, their therapists, teachers, paraprofessionals and any friend or family member who embraced my children and their diagnosis. I hated everyone else. At 5 o’clock, then 4 o’clock, I popped the cork on my Shiraz and started my nightly ritual of numbing myself. My shame of drinking alone was gone because I had decided that I deserved every precious drop of alcohol I put in my body. Why? Because I had been royally screwed, that’s why! I stopped yearning to go out with friends and have girl’s nights like the old days. Instead, I looked forward to late afternoon when I could start drinking. Alone. I would power my way through making dinner and the kids’ bedtime ritual and then I’d top off my wine and go down to my burrow, in the basement and get on the computer, drinking wine until 12:30-1 am. I’d stumble back up the stairs and go to bed, only to wake up for what I call the 3am mental beat-down, where I would lie in bed and panic about what I was doing to my body and how I was going to die and leave my young children motherless. And then I would promise myself no alcohol tomorrow. But I always did. And earlier and earlier in the day.
I decided to stop in October of 2009. My prior experience going to AA meetings made it easier for me than most to walk into my first meeting in 15 years. I loved the meeting. Hearing people telling bits of my story here and there and expressing feelings I have had all of my life made me feel I had finally come home to my people. The stink on me slowly lifted as I immersed myself in recovery and learned more and more about myself and the disease of alcoholism. Today, I have hope, I feel love, and I feel compassion. I can now feel gratitude. Sobriety has given me my life back and although I’m a little more mellow, I feel that at age 44, it’s time to pass the party baton onto someone else and to give it a rest.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on March 25, 2011 2:21 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday
The other day, I went to pick the twins up from school and ended up having a little chit chat with one of their teachers about Sadie. It seemed to me that lately Sadie had been having a little attitude about going to school in morning and I couldn’t figure out if there was something going on with her besides being three and, oh yeah, being three. Her teacher had a guess for me that part of the problem Sadie’s been having is that she’s too popular. Yeah. The kids in that preschool love them some Sadie. They stampede toward her when she comes through the door, screaming “Sadie!” at her. You’d think a giant cupcake shaped like Dora just rolled into the room. They dote on her, they pick her up and treat her like their own little doll. And this is the problem. Her teacher says Sadie doesn’t like being treated differently because she’s so darned little and cute. She doesn’t want the other children, most of whom tower over her, grabbing her by the hand to lead her around with them. At least they stop short of trying to put her on a leash.
The weird thing for me is that I’d kind of forgotten she so much smaller than everyone else or maybe I’ve been a little bit in denial. But once I heard that this issue was going on for her, I realized that she hasn’t been seen by her endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital in awhile because she had the nerve to go off and have a baby. Maternity leave is for people who don’t care about children, obviously. We now have an appointment with a fill in doctor in a week.
I think the last time I talked about Sadie in detail was to report that she did not qualify for an IEP which was extremely positive news. Intellectually, she kicked ass in her evaluation, leaving everyone to wonder how it was that she was ever so far behind, and developmentally, she hasn’t looked back since. Size wise, it’s a very different story. Sadie is still about 2 and a half feet tall and can’t seem to pass the 24 pound mark on the scale. Let’s put that into perspective: An empty 5 gallon Sparklett’s bottle could totally take her in a fight. She’s a feather weight is what I’m saying. She eats really well though which makes it all the more confounding that she’s not gaining weight. She definitely eats more than Matilda who is having no problem in that area -just ask her size 4 T jeans.
Earlier in the twins game, I shared all the issues we had getting Sadie to eat, having to use a feeding tube, worrying over her global delays, dealing with every kind of therapist, it was almost all I could talk. When you are worried about your child and uncertain about their health and future, I can tell you with certainty that there is no worse feeling. But the last year or so she’s made such strides! The worry over bigger issues subsided, and now she has no problems at all besides being TWO FUCKING FEET TALL.
It’s difficult to see it in pictures but believe me when I say that people still gasp in horror when they ask how old my twins are and hear that they are the same age. “They’re TWINS??”
“They can’t be”
“Oh, but they can. And are.”
“They’re very different…in size.”
“Yes. You are very observant.”
I don’t know what the endocrinologist is going to say but I do know that we are planning to still turn down growth hormones for the next few years at least. Unless of course someone has a very good, extremely good case for them.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on March 23, 2011 8:25 pm
I woke up the other night at 2 a.m. and as my burning eyes glared at the clock I said to myself ..”crap I did it again” then I lay awake praying and swearing that this was absolutely the last time for this. I knew the next day I would feel like shit and be tired and short with my kids and my husband and just hate myself all day long..not to mention feeling like I had to work out all day and starve myself because I drank like a zillion calories worth of alcohol the night before. Boy what a vicious cycle I had created and really not much fun at all. I knew this had to stop. I want to be there,lucid for my family at all times.
I have always liked to drink , When I was in college and throughout my twenties I drank with my friends and yes we usually drank too much and were hungover but I never gave it much thought as it was not an everyday occurrence. Then into my thirties about the same until about a year or so before I got married and had kids. That is when I noticed that I had developed a habit of coming home from work and immediately opening a beer..it was like I waited all day for it. Well one turned into 2 and so on but I felt like I worked hard and I had to relax. Then I stared wondering if I had a problem but quickly dismissed that thought since I never missed work or didn’t do what I was supposed to do.
Well I soon got married and pregnant and stopped drinking and smoking( I smoked on occasion but any it too much) right away. I proceeded to have 3 boys in four years and with the first 2 I came home from the hospital and went right back to my drink or two every night or every other night but boy by the third one it was like the minute I came home I opened a beer and never stopped!! I was feeling so detached from the outside world. I barely had time to shower and hated getting dressed because nothing fit right and yah yah yah…but my life was on a spiral out of control and I did not know how to stop it. I have a great husband , a great house and three great kids so why did I need to escape into a can of beer for sanity..it did not make sense to me. I felt like I was grasping for anything or any moment that was just mine and I think I sadly that I only felt like myself when I drank because I was not relating to this new self as a stay at home mom of three.
For the next 2 years I would drink on a schedule..one day on one day off for the self loathing. I would sneak out front when the kids were in bed and sit and drink and smoke like I was escaping into some other universe for a minute or two. The whole time I did it I knew I would regret it the next day but that never stopped me because at the time each sip eased more and more anxiety. Then one night I happened to look out of the corner of my eye and there was my son peering out the window watching me take a drag off of a cigarette with a beer in my hand. I felt like such a loser..who does that? What kind of example was that?
That was it..no more. I was not about to let alcohol ruin all that God had blessed me with. I really wish that I could have a glass of wine or so or a few beers but it is like once I get a taste I lose control and have no cut off switch. I need to be there for my family and that is more important to me even though it is very hard to recondition yourself and find things to fill the time that was previously spent drinking , however the more days that I do it I feel better and better. I really like letting go of that daily shame and not to mention the fact that I feel much stronger and healthier and happier.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on March 22, 2011 3:03 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday
And this week…a story from a friend on the Booze Free Brigade. Can you see yourself? Can you see someone else?
“I was hesitant to write my story because I don’t have much sobriety time really. But maybe my story can help someone or give them some hope despite that so here goes. I am a late thirties single mom to a wonderful teenage daughter. I live in a small town and have for all my life. I had a great childhood and a great family. I knew alcoholism ran in my family but hey I wouldn’t have “that” happen to me. My parents would be disappointed I gave it the chance to get me but they would also be proud that I am trying to make better choices, if I ever tell them.
I have drunk off and on since high school. During high school it was more the social kind of drinking. I was a good girl and didn’t get in much trouble. I married right out of high school. My ex was/is an alcoholic so during most of my marriage I didn’t do much drinking. Looking back I think I felt like I needed to be responsible and “take care” of things. As our marriage progressed he got on drugs. I put up with it for a few years then decided enough is enough!! Somewhere during the last couple of years of our façade of a marriage I had started drinking on weekends with friends. Ahhh here was the fun I was searching for. I could relax, dance, flirt and enjoy myself. I thought I deserved it. After our divorce the party was on every weekend. I had the best time for a while. Then things started getting just a bit out of control. Passing out in bars/public places was a common occurrence for a period of time. I was always embarrassed but not enough to stop. Not yet.
Fast forward a few more years of the same over drinking. Thankfully that public passing out mostly stopped. I was in an on again, off again relationship for years after my divorce. Again I put up with a lot of things I didn’t deserve. Nothing awful. Just not what I deserve. I think I felt like I didn’t deserve anything too good because of my drinking choices. Any drinking led to too much drinking and frequent regretful behavior. I quit for almost six months in 2007. My then boyfriend and I went to dinner. “Don’t you want a glass of wine?” he asked. “Why, yes I do” me. Thanks for the support man.
Couple more years of that stuff and enough was enough and we broke up. Ahhhh no one to answer to, freedom to do what I want! Well this was always to drink. Ever since my divorce anytime my daughter wasn’t home was my cue to drink. After all I deserve some “me” time after all my bad relationships, life, etc.
This leads us to the last few years. During this time I have repeatedly thought almost every time I drank I need to quit. Hmmm you think? I have done countless careless, stupid, dangerous, just asking for trouble things while drinking. I almost always blackout. I wake up and pray that my car is home. I try to piece together what happened. I retrace my texts/phone calls/facebook interactions. I try to avoid friends I may have been with because I have no clue what I said or did or how the night went. I had a few briefs stops. Couple weeks at best. That little drinking bitch in my head, I call her Trixie, always tricked me (get the name lol )back into “having just one”. Ha like that would ever happen. I quit for 58 days from August to the beginning of October. Back at it for a couple of months. Nope, still can’t drink “normally”. I have had 5 different sobriety dates that I can remember since December. I have no doubt I am an alcoholic.
My sobriety date is February 26, 2011. 20 days today. Again, no expert at this. I can tell you what I am doing and that is to try and do things differently than before to get different results. I found a wonderful online board of amazingly supportive women, The Booze Free Brigade. I joined an online AA group and (gasp) have even been to some live AA (bootleg cult) meetings. I try to be honest with someone when I am fighting with the little drinking bitch in my head, whether it be posting on the board or calling a friend who knows I am giving sobriety a shot. I have made friends through my AA meetings and am actually considering getting a sponsor and working the steps. Works for many. Maybe, just maybe, it would work for me too.
I want to quit because my daughter deserves better, I don’t want anything worse to happen, I fully believe I was not created to be drunk. I want to quit because this disease is progressive and I see it happening and it scares me. I want to quit because I deserve better!
It’s hard, it’s a tricky disease, it totally sucks at times not drinking. I worry I won’t have fun again, I worry I won’t be fun again, I worry I can’t ever hang out with my friends again. I try to trust that my amazing supportive BFB girls and AA friends aren’t lying to me when they say it is worth it and it gets better and better. After all they probably have better things to do than lie to me right? So that’s my story in a nutshell. Thanks for reading!!”
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on March 18, 2011 11:18 am
• Don't Get Drunk Friday