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.