Archive for April, 2011
So many great stories coming in. So many great people. I’m so glad I get to know all of you and be a part of your sobriety. If you want to learn more about your drinking you can join us here.
“I think I always knew I had a problem. I was destined to, actually. My dad’s father was a raging drunk who died from the disease. I grew up with a mother who hid wine in the laundry room and blacked out regularly. I never trusted anything growing up, because I learned early on that nothing that I perceived or felt was the same as everyone else. That I believe was the beginning of my feeling like I never fit in anywhere. And that was the root cause of why I drank. I just wanted to fit in. I wanted to feel as good as everyone else. Because I always felt less than. It didn’t matter what I achieved. Graduating college, passing the CPA exam, being skinny, being fat, being blond…I never truly felt like I was as good as everyone else.
I didn’t start drinking until I was 21. I was a nerd and a goody-goody who wouldn’t try to buy alcohol before I legally could. I had 10 good drinking years. And by good I mean progressively worse. There were warning signs along the way. I got arrested for DUI when I was 23. That didn’t stop me. I blacked out, A LOT. That didn’t stop me. I came out of black outs in strange places with people I didn’t know and I had no idea what had happened. That didn’t stop me. I got sick in bathrooms I normally would’ve been too scared to walk into. That didn’t stop me. I had so many regretful mornings being told what I did the night before. That didn’t stop me.
I knew I had a problem. But I didn’t really want to stop. I had a lot of not yets. I still had my job, my car, a roof over my head and my boyfriend. My last day of drinking started like so many others. I had lunch with my mom (we were good drinking buddies – I’m nothing if not dysfunctional) and shared a bottle of wine. We then spent the afternoon shopping our buzz off. I had plans that night with some people I didn’t really know, so I was feeling nervous and self-conscious. So, naturally, I was drinking while I got ready to go out. As the night progressed, I proceeded to drink more and more, mostly to hide my discomfort. I felt fat and ugly around my boyfriend’s friends and I wanted to squash that feeling. I wanted to feel like I fit in and was as good as they were. Isn’t that why we drink? To feel better, different, not ourselves? The night ended with me on a dance floor at a club dancing with strangers (very inappropriately for a non-single woman) while my boyfriend watched. He was embarrassed and disappointed, and this was really the first time that I saw how my drinking affected someone else. He was also the guy that I hoped might be husband material, so the idea of losing him was scary.
So, off to AA I went. Now, this wasn’t my first foray into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I had managed to put together 6 months and then I had 6 “dry” months followed by 6 months of progressively worse drinking and blacking out. I was a binge drinker. I could go days or even weeks without a problem. But for those 6 months before I quit for good, I had a blackout each month. St. Patrick’s Day, my roommate’s birthday, the steeplechase, Jimmy Buffet, something in July…you get the idea. I didn’t see this at the time of course. I should also mention that I was about 6 months sober before I understood what a blackout really is. In a blackout I was still functioning – awake, moving, interacting with people, I just didn’t remember any of it. I think I thought I was sleeping or something. Which makes no sense, but it did in my actively alcoholic little brain.
I have to say, for me, the quitting drinking wasn’t the worst part. It was hard, but it wasn’t the hardest. The hardest part was learning to live differently. Think about that – live differently. Everything that I had done up until that point was somehow connected to my drinking, whether I knew it or not. All of my behavior was driven by addiction, character defects and fears. And although those things were essentially ruining my life, I didn’t want to let them go. They were comfortable. Like an old stretched out, stained sweatshirt that fits just right. AA taught me how to get comfortable with other things. Like my feelings. And my failures. And myself. That was the root of my problem. I wasn’t comfortable with myself – I hated me and I thought that I needed to hide me from everyone so they wouldn’t hate me too.
Once I was able to open myself up and be honest, amazing things happened. I met a wonderful man and got married. I have two lovely sons who are the light of my life. I took control of the responsibilities that I’d been shunning for so long – my finances, my health, my relationships. It’s not easy, trust me. Some days I just want to stand and stomp my feet and say, “I don’t wanna!” But then I do it anyway. Because I’ve learned that sometimes I can’t wait to want to do some things. I’m never going to want to do them (yes, I’m talking about the dishwasher – I will always hate it. Doesn’t mean I can’t unload it). And I’ve learned that I always feel better when I do the right thing. ALWAYS. Whether I wanted to or not.”
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 29, 2011 7:20 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday
Whoever invented miniature golf should die a slow and excruciating death and then they might have a vague idea of what it is like to attempt their little blood sport with 3 year old twins and a perfectionist 6 year old. But, knowing you, you will probably immediately make this my fault by wondering why the heck I would take that many young children on a mini golf excursion and expect anything less than pure hell. Yeah, you’re so like that.
So let me get my reason for being there out of the way: There was a birthday party at a place called Castle Park and Elby was invited but according to the invite, siblings were welcome! Now normally, my first reaction to any party at a place with “castle” in the title would be that I hit the jackpot. “Castle” insinuates princesses, does it not? If you try to argue with me this early on and tell me “castle” could also imply knights and/or some sort of unfortunate jousting situation, I will challenge you to an epic sword fight! En garde!
I’m always looking for free stuff to do on the weekends and unlike a lot of my mommy friends, I don’t have ten thousand activities including pottery, drama, swimming and vocal lessons already lined up so I actually say yes to most party invites. I’m probably the only person I know who is happy to see that evite come up in my inbox or find miniature envelope in my kids’ folders at school. I immediate run to Target to buy a gift -just give me a reason! When I got the invite to “Castle” Park, truth be told I was going to send my husband with Elby to give them a little bonding time but my husband’s back conveniently got strained and he had to do some work (P*rn Hub) so I offered to take Elby and since my husband couldn’t lift anything heavier than a beer and siblings were welcome I brought them too.
So, yeah, there were no princesses. It was an arcade/mini golf place and I don’t even know why it had castle in the title. Maybe there was some sort of King Arthur theme but I don’t recall actually seeing anything remotely Round Table related. You were right, I was wrong. Happy now? So, note to anyone planning an outing to a mini golf place with preschooler twins: stay home.
Problem 1) The party was at 3:30 pm and my twins don’t nap. By 4 pm in general, Mattie is tired and tends to have the emotional stability of Kelly Bensimon, but if it’s been a busy morning like, I don’t know, EASTER? the wheels are going to be flying off the cart well before then.
Problem 2) The weather in Los Angeles has been completely bi-polar so what started as a shitty day became hot enough for flimsy dresses by the early afternoon but cold enough for a parka when we arrived at Castle Park…dressed in flimsy dresses with no parkas.
Problem 3) The event was boy heavy. Now parents of girls will be on my side immediately and parents of boys may have stopped reading to write me a negative comment but here’s the truth: boys in groups are loud. Also, they don’t share in any of my interests which are A) quiet time B) eating C) eating quietly D) glitter. Now nothing against them individually but in herds they are a menace to my sanity and from now on need to be avoided at all costs.
Problem 4) Wide open areas + unfenced water + crowds + 2 three-year-olds = CONSTANT PANIC THAT MY CHILDREN WILL WANDER OFF THE SECOND MY EYES LEAVE THEM AND END UP KIDNAPPED OR FOUND SWIMMING WITH THE GOLF BALLS AT THE BOTTOM OF A MAN MADE LAKE.
Problem 5) The schedule: Food, followed by cake and ice cream followed by “everyone go play mini golf.” Now I have three kids on a raging sugar high after a crazy day wielding golf clubs. A certain behavioralist I know would call this “bad local conditions.”
Problem 6) MINI GOLF
Sorry but mini golf itself is pure torture. I’m willing to concede that it’s possible I may have enjoyed it with just my six-year-old but I have my doubts. I don’t like golfing in general. I don’t like it as a sport nor do I particularly enjoy people who are really into golfing. I find them to be wholly extremely conservative politically and possessing very limited fashion sense. I get that mini golf isn’t the same thing as what Tiger Woods does but still, you’re trying to hit a ball into a hole in as few tries as possible. This happens to be very frustrating for adults but apparently a billion times more so to a perfectionist six year old who broke down crying every time it took her more than three tries to putt the ball in. Which by the way is about thirty fewer putts than it would’ve taken me had I played.
Did I mention it was freezing out at this point?
How about Matilda’s emotional state? Neither of my twins would allow me to help them or even just touch their club or their hands that were holding the club but since I couldn’t move them to the next hole without some sort of assistance we ended up at a stand-off. Finally Matilda pulled out the big guns. She lay down on the course and screamed that she was tired and didn’t want help and wanted to go home.
This was at hole two. There were 16 holes to go. I called the whole thing off at hole 10 which was 10 more than I wanted to play but since it was Elby’s friend’s party I felt bad making her leave because I was too dumb to realize the twins shouldn’t have come and because I didn’t plan well enough to bring a damn sweater.
All three children were led out of Castle Park crying. Elby was crying because I wouldn’t let her play video games in the arcade (and apparently I “never ever let her play video games at the Castle Park arcade” despite the fact that we’ve never been there) and the twins were crying because…I don’t know why. I’m not a child psychologist, I’m just a very tired mom. A mom who could not be happier that school was back in session this morning.
And now, I must go binge on grapes and have a nap.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 25, 2011 4:51 pm
Okay here comes the typical rant minus any actual ranting because I’m not angry, I’m just tired -so very tired. My little ones were on a break from school -because apparently the curriculum at preschool which consists of story time, outside play, the letter Q and tracing the outline of their hand gets tough to maintain. The first week of the break (because they need two weeks -imagine if they focused on the letter Q and the letter S -they’d need a month off) there was an optional camp. Camp is where you pay a week’s tuition over and above the tuition you already pay to keep your kids out of your house for half the break. I probably don’t have to tell you that I took them up on their generous offer. But then last week no such camp was available so it was just me and the twins and my older daughter had half days all week.
Here’s a challenge: get two three-year-old’s up and dressed and strapped into a minivan to take a six-year-old to school by 8:15 every day for a week. Good luck. If you can do it five straight days without being tardy even one, you are a better parent than I. While I’m on the subject of tardy, it’s incredibly anxiety provoking to know that when you bring your child to school late, you are forced to go to the office and get a “late pass.” It feels no different than junior high school! I swear to God I wouldn’t be surprised if I suddenly developed a raging case of pizza face, sweat circles under my arms and a crush on a popular dad from the damn stress of it all. When I was in high school I was late almost every day. Mostly when I was late it was on purpose because I was hanging out with my friends at McDonald’s trying to avoid homeroom and first period and also because I was defiant, disliked authority (still do) and basically didn’t give a shit. But now I’m a mom and I do care! My heart starts beating like a hummingbird as soon as I start the car and see the clock says 8:05 and I realize with a sick feeling that getting to school on time is a long shot that will require a potent combination of no traffic and not hitting red lights.
Back to my original post subject (which I’ll be the first to admit is boring). I often feel like I’m a hot mess who is not holding it together in any area of my life. I physically look a mess in the a.m., my house is a wreck, my children rarely wear socks, I cook dinner only a couple nights a week and baths are the exception and not the rule (that includes me). I don’t know how other people do it. I really don’t. Maybe if I read more parenting magazines or watched more mommy makeover tv or, I don’t know, read websites devoted to telling me how to make healthy meals on the go or manage my time more efficiently or whatever. Unfortunately, I just can’t get myself interested in self improvement.
I struggled through that week almost losing my mind many times but yesterday they were back in school. And yesterday started my older daughter’s two week spring break. And…I no longer drink. Speaking of no longer drinking, the Don’t Get Drunk Friday posts have their own section now. They are still going up every Friday but you need to go to the link at the top to find them!!
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 12, 2011 7:57 pm
Note: all future DGDF posts will be under this heading on the blog. This way you can scroll through as many as you want!
As always, if you want to join like minded folk talking about sobriety click here
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 April 1, 2011 3:44 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday