When I first quit drinking over two and a half years ago (it will be three years on May 22nd) (Hold your applause! Calm yourselves, seriously! This isn’t an AA meeting!), I was under the impression that I was a fairly healthy person living an adequately healthy life, but my plan was to step it up and be an incredibly healthy person. Despite the fact that I am someone who is the indoor type, who loves nothing more than to lie on the couch watching Real Housewives and who can’t think of anything less appealing than a hike, I was going to be the opposite. I was going to instantly be a person who wouldn’t turn her nose up at a kale smoothie. A person who goes for a walk “just because” and a person with perfect bone structure and skinny knees. I was going to rock a miniskirt and have an enviable resting pulse rate. READ MORE at my Babble Voices Blog! Please. I get a bonus if I get the most clicks on this post so help an unemployed sista out! If you wanted to share it on FB I wouldn’t be angry at you.
Archive for January, 2012
Please enjoy Mary’s story and if you relate and want to talk about it you can go to our online support group The Booze Free Brigade. All people with a desire to quit drinking or at least examine their drinking are welcome.
For those who know me well, most would be shocked that I quit drinking. Funny thing is that I am the one who is shocked the most. Always the party girl throughout college, I really enjoyed the idea of getting ready to go party, the idea of drinking with my friends, meeting guys, but not always remembering everything I did or say the next day.
Oh God. I never gave drinking a second thought. I socially drank during my first marriage, but not too much during the week (I don’t think). Oops, I take that back. My first marriage was so toxic that I would party with my friends after softball games after work, sometimes into the night to avoid going home. I had two small children but they were never without their dad or a sitter. I was not one to turn down a good happy hour!
The marriage predictably ended but I continued to have fun with my friends when possible. A few years later, my wonderful new husband and I looked forward to the weekends. A couple of beers before dinner, and always a luscious bottle of wine during dinner. We kept this up for a while and really enjoyed it. Sometimes the night would be hilarious and others would result in a spat, due, I am sure, to the drinking. However, my husband traveled all the time. New husband, new home, new baby, step-children….lots of adjustments being made. Oh, and I had a full time job as well. Trying to keep everyone happy really stressed me out. Having to navigate all the issues that come with children while my husband was away was no walk in the park either.
For a long time my drinking was limited to weekends, but then I would have one beer, then two beers, then a glass of wine, then maybe another. One drink became two, two became three, etc. How many women do this after work??? Tons. Boredom, loneliness, stress..what else is new? I knew that after about 9:00 I was pretty much inert. Need help with homework? Laundry to be done? Bills to pay? Not going to happen. I think I just wanted to check out. Deep down inside, I was not happy. It was so ridiculous, I knew had a problem when my first thought leaving work was, “Do I have any wine?” It literally dominated my night. I did not want to be asked to drive anywhere, because I wanted to have a glass of wine. I stopped every other night on the way home to resupply, all the while telling myself that I should not be doing this. “See if you can go one night without it”, I would say to myself. It was really bugging me.
I want to clarify that I never drank to the point of passing out or blacking or throwing up. It wasn’t like that at all. Drinking was a comfort.
So, what happened? I found myself not enjoying it anymore. I hated the feeling the next day. I never prayed to quit, because I didn’t think I was an alcoholic. I thought I just had a bad habit. I know that God somehow helped me stop. I guess it was the night that my daughter and I went to a friend’s house for dinner on a school night and we went through a couple of bottles of wine, just chatting all night. Thank God she only lived a few blocks away, because when I got up to DRIVE home, I was really unsteady. I did drive home with my daughter, but could literally hardly see. I was terrified! I came home and passed out on the bed. If there was any emergency I would never have known it. I woke up the next day to go to work and had the worst hangover I have had in 20 years. What in the hell was I doing? It was pathetic. I quit that day. The thought of alcohol made me sick so I decided to see how long I could go without it. Luckily, I stuck to my plan. I never went to rehab and I am thankful to this day.
My life has changed dramatically. I never have to worry about driving drunk. I am productive at night. Fully engaged and clear headed in all conversations. I am present. I feel responsible and mature. I have a new sense of humility in that I know God did this for me because I never really thought I had a serious problem. That swollen look from my face is gone (according to my family) and almost best of all, I sleep like a baby! Drinking really disrupted my sleep.
Did my social life change? You bet. Who wants to have a nondrinker at a party? Not many. However, I know that many of my friends are struggling with this issue and want a way out but don’t know what to do. They are afraid of losing friends, not being popular, afraid to face their fears, afraid of nonacceptance. It’s the fear that controls their life. Wish I could help…I just listen.
I have been sober for 7 years, and never, ever look back. It is a gift.
I’m trying to post these suckers every week but I don’t get as many as I’d like. If you have a story you’d like to share please email me and let me know. I will be happy to help give you direction if you want. Also, as always, if anything you read here rings true for you, just know that you are in good company. There is hope and there is help. Feel free to join us at the Booze Free Brigade if you want to make a change.
“My love affair with alcohol began at age 13. I came from a loving and stable home, but I quickly fell in with the drinking crowd once I discovered this fabulous thing that would free me of all my inhibitions. I was always the one person who would get drunker than anyone else, never know my limit and occasionally blackout. I drank the same way all through my teens, my twenties and thirties, but was extremely successful in school and work, and managed to fit in well with the “work hard play hard” crowd. It honestly never occurred to me that maybe I was an alcoholic – never. And certainly no one else suggested that to me.
A few times in my twenties I tried to control my drinking unsuccessfully, but I didn’t think too much of it. By age 36 I had a successful career, loving husband and two beautiful children. But after two year-long sober periods while pregnant, I was beating myself up daily unable to figure out how I could possibly be so weak as to not be able to control this one thing in my life.
I simply had to drink at night, it was not an option to go without.
Nothing bad happened (except a few embarrassing nights out with friends, but those were few & far between with kids), but I was suffering deeply inside. I had a little window that year… there was one moment when I Googled “Alcoholic”, with tears streaming down my face – I couldn’t figure out how I could be sober for so long while pregnant and so quickly go back to the way I was!! That window passed and about a year passed by, with depression and anxiety slowly starting to fill my life. Finally one night I broke down, I looked up at the ceiling and begged God to help me find the strength to solve this hell that I was in. I didn’t know where to go (obviously not AA, since I did not really believe I was an alcoholic). I just remembered hearing somewhere “help is out there” so I did my best to find something – the next day I called a private addictions counselor. I actually envisioned in my mind that the counselor would tell me the way to drink responsibly! I had a brutal reality check as I learned the cold hard facts about alcoholism. I loved that first meeting as I knew instantly that I could not deny what I was being told, I accepted that I was powerless almost immediately (it was hard, but I was honest with myself and the facts).
The week I stopped drinking was brutal, absolutely brutal. I was told “it will pass” and I held on to this belief. The next two months were also extremely difficult. I continued with the counselor weekly and tapped into some deep rooted issues. When I told my family and friends all of them were shocked and resisted the idea that I had any sort of a problem. But only I knew the internal hell that I had been living – I had reached rock bottom internally.
I have been sober now almost four years. The first year was very difficult. I had to discover who I was, learn how to socialize, how to live without alcohol. But now, my life is everything I hoped it would be. It amazes me how much I can do now – the world is my oyster. My relationships are deeper and more meaningful, my depression and anxiety gone, my personality the same but better, and I am truly happy. Many days go by when I don’t even think about alcohol. Social functions are just that, a chance to socialize, not a chance to drink. And I compare my perspective on life now vs. the last few years of drinking as looking at life with a crystal clear lens versus a dirty, muddy window. Life is beautiful, and I intend to live it to the fullest.”
First off, I want to say before I even begin this post that I’m not a whore. I realize that information should go without saying so I’m not trying to come off all defensive like Nixon and his “I am not a thief” speech. I guess I just wanted to clarify that when I like something it’s not just because I like everything. To illustrate: I can’t stand Good Earth tea. Ewww. Most people love Good Earth tea but I’m not most people. Sorry Good Earth but your tea smells like feet. Another thing I don’t like is books about science fiction. Why can’t everything be based in reality? Is it necessary to worry about what life would be like if we lived in an alternate universe where a robot was president? Sorry, not into it. Oh, here’s a good one: anything crafty. If it involves yarn, glue, beads and especially if there is a booklet of instructions involved, I don’t want to be a part of it.
So what do I like you might wonder. I enjoy glittery nail polish, things that are edible, things that smell delicious (ie: lotions, stickers, candles) and books. I have a big old weakness for books, especially kids books. I have written a post about my favorite kids’ books on Babble but I forgot to include one of Elby’s favorites, Pinkalicious. Yeah, I know, how could I leave that out? I screwed up. Sue me. Let’s just move on okay?
Now, it’s hard to find books that actually please kids. If you have a kid, you know what I mean. To most kids, books are a lot like clothes which is to say that aren’t toys. With that in mind, if you can find a book that puts this sort of crazed glimmer in your kid’s eye, you can go ahead and pat yourself on the back for some great parenting. Me, I’m always looking for a reason to pat myself on the back. Pinkalicious actually got a “YAY! COOL! All the Pinkalicious stories are in here!” And they are. School Rules -where Pinkalicious tries to take a unicorn (named Goldie) to school, Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink -which has to do with setting up a lemonade stand and not drinking Pepso Bismal as the name implies, Pink Around the Rink -Pinkalicious gets ice skates for her birthday and makes them pink with a marker, Tinkled Pink -where Pinkalicious tries to become a stand-up comedienne using stolen jokes (sort of) and Pinkie Promise -I don’t know what this one is about because it’s only January 5th people, get off my back!
The book also has a CD and activities like instructions for setting up a lemonade stand, spot the differences pages, jokes, a page on “how to write your own story” and a lot more good stuff. So every night Elby goes to bed with a flashlight and her Pinkalicious book and reads it under the covers like I have no idea what she’s doing (hello, did that for years myself, my friend!). So cute. And so irritating because she is incredibly difficult to wake up in the morning. You’d think she was in a coma and wanted to stay in it by the way she refuses to move or respond to human voices at 7 a.m. but I digress.
So the book the twins are in love with is “If You Give a Dog a Donut.” Originally it was also going to be for Elby because apparently they read it in her 1st grade class and she was all jacked up because she’s read the other ones in the series. You know the cat and cupcake, moose and muffin etc. These animals all have a serious eating disorder if you ask me but maybe that’s why I like them. I can relate. ANYWAY. “If You Give a Dog a Donut” was a huge hit with the twins who love the fact that the dog drinks apple juice just like they do (and Brittney Spears’ boys). There’s also something less, I don’t know, fantastical (seeing as I don’t like the sci fi) about this book, as opposed to the others in the series. Something a bit more simple more grounded in reality, just a classic tale of a boy and his dog who likes to play pirate and hit home runs. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the whole series but this is the best one.
So there you go. Enjoy my recommends and I will get back to you soon with my thoughts on The Seven Chinese Brothers which I just received from Amazon.