Archive for January, 2013
I have no reason to have a problem with alcohol, but I do. I was raised by both parents in a fairly well-adjusted environment, even though I think that my mom did a little psychological abusing…but hey, who doesn’t think their mom abused them psychologically from time to time?
My parents drank a little; that is, my dad enjoyed a beer or two after he cut the grass. My mom drank half a glass of wine or a quarter of a White Russian once or twice a year. Alcohol made her sleepy. Alcohol was not a big deal in our house. They gave me the occasional sip, I pretended to not like it, and that was pretty much it. I had a great group of friends all through high school, and we were the “smart” cool clique. We didn’t attend (nor were we invited to) the “cool” kids’ parties, where parents were out of town, or better yet, HOSTING the parties, and providing the alcohol. We were all church going, straight A, band nerds–although pretty popular band nerds; we were happy with ourselves and one another, and we had enough fun doing various other stupid things to have any need to drink. In fact, we thought we were “better” than those who drank. And we wondered why teenagers felt the need to drink, when there was so much more to life and friendship.
I went to college, and guess what? I didn’t drink there, either. Of course, I wasn’t in a sorority, so there wasn’t the never ending party scene in my social set. I spent summers working as a counselor at a Christian camp.
During my second summer, I fell in love. My boyfriend was planning to go to seminary to become a pastor. We got serious in a big hurry. And on New Year’s Eve, my senior year of college, he proposed. I said yes. And I blissfully set about preparing myself to be a pastor’s wife. Until, less than two weeks later, he decided he’d made a mistake, and not only was he not sure I was “the one”, he also wasn’t sure he wanted to get married, ever. Period. There followed weeks of clinical depression for me. And then an older guy, the friend of a friend, was always comforting me. With flowers. And wine. And I discovered that it was FUN to get rip roaring drunk. That didn’t last long, though–only a month or two.
Then I started dating a guy who had serious alcohol and marijuana issues. But I didn’t sink to his level…no, I tried to SAVE him from his evils. When I graduated, though, we went our separate ways. I went to camp for one last summer and dated another “I’m going to be a pastor” who turned out to be a huge jerk. But I can’t complain too much, because it was through him that I met my now-husband.
Then camp was over, and I was off to the big city. And hey, now I was a grown up, and there was nothing wrong with having a few beers at night, right?
A lot of crazy stuff happened over the next couple of years, most of which is inconsequential, but one important thing DID happen. Eventually I started dating my ex-boyfriend’s friend. Three guesses what his occupation was? Another pastor. I joked that it must be my destiny to marry a pastor. And at that time, my drinking was basically non existent. Champagne on NYE, that was about the extent of it.
When he and I got engaged, and then married, all of my dreams came true. Except that suddenly I wasn’t joking about being a pastor’s wife; I WAS one. And we were serving a most difficult church. And I had a rotten, crappy, difficult job. I would come home, and my husband would fix me a bubble bath and a glass of white Zin. Only later did he say that he worried I was a little TOO excited about my glass (or two) of wine every night. But again, there was an ebb and flow…I drank a glass of wine every night for a few months, and then I didn’t. I would have beer, and then I wouldn’t. He did the same. And then I got pregnant, and not only did the thought of alcohol make me sick, but so did everything else. I threw up for nine months. (And people ask why I don’t have another child!)
But then I breastfed for a year, so I didn’t drink for 21 months, right there. Then we both sort of eased back into it. We had some good friends who drank, and it was nice to hang out with people and NOT be “the preacher” and “the preacher’s wife”…to be “normal”. To have a couple glasses or wine or a few beers. And then we weren’t just drinking with them, we were drinking more at home, too. Basically, every night. Beer or wine for me, vodka for him.
At the time, my husband was very busy with church things. He was gone almost every night during the week, and all day on Sundays. And I was just really getting into Facebook. Well, he wasn’t there, so I was getting started with my drinking earlier than he was… and he wasn’t there, did I mention that? And I found that a couple of old flames were on Facebook. I did not actually have an affair, at least, not in the Old Testament sense. But in the New Testament, Jesus says that THINKING is the same as DOING. So in that sense, yes, I had an affair. Two, in fact. Several months apart. And my husband found out about both of them. I am fortunate that he didn’t divorce me then and there.
We were working through things, but we were both still drinking.
And then we were moving to a new church, and we had the opportunity to start over, we said. A new church, a new town, a new beginning. And for him, it mostly worked. He stopped drinking. I started drinking more. He caught me. I cried. He stopped trusting me, but what else was new? I bought beer and hid it. He would confront me, and I would deny. And then cry. Our son worried himself to death because I was “acting weird” or because Daddy was “going to be mad at you.”
One weekend, something happened that made my husband stop drinking once and for all (but that is his story to share, not mine), and suddenly I was smug. Well, I rationalized, at least I’ve never done THAT. Until, less than a month later, I nearly burned down our house because I passed out while I was cooking something. But *I* had forgiven him, so he HAD to forgive me, right? Well, I thought so, anyway. But he continued to harp and nag (I thought), and I continued to hide alcohol.
He threatened to throw me out, to divorce me, to take full custody of our son… and so I finally stopped. But when he would go out of town, I would have more. Just to *show* him that he couldn’t tell me what to do. It was all HIS problem, you see. Not mine. I could handle it. And then came a few months where I actually did stop. It was a relief to not have to hide anything anymore. It was a relief to not worry if you could smell it on my breath. But one day I was in the supermarket, and I reached out, like I used to, and put a 6 pack in my cart. And I drank it, in between work and coming home. But that was it. No more. I was no longer drinking daily, look how good I was doing!
And then this morning, for some reason…I really and truly don’t even KNOW why, instead of going straight to work, I went to the store instead. And I never even drank it, because my husband saw it before I had the chance. And finally, FINALLY, I realized that the problem was ME. The problem was MINE.
It is not my husband’s fault that I have become addicted to alcohol. It is not my son’s fault. It is not being in the fishbowl that is a pastor family’s life that “made” me drink. It was, and is, choices that *I* have made. Destructive choices that have nearly cost me my marriage more than once. Dangerous choices that could’ve cost my life, or the lives of others. Stupid choices, that might’ve meant that I never got to see my son again. Because for me, it isn’t about the “alcohol”–I just really, truly like the TASTE of beer. (Good beer. Or red wine.)
Honestly, I don’t like the way the alcohol itself makes me feel. And yet I drank it anyway. Because it TASTED good. That is the absurdity of it all. That for years now, I have been putting my desire for a TASTE of something that is, for me, a dangerous substance, above my family. Above my husband, who has stood by my side in spite of my many and frequent shortcomings. (Oh yes, I left out the part about going to church drunk one Sunday…) Above my son, who is the reason that God put me on this Earth: to be his mommy. Above my God, who should be the center of all that I am, anyway. Because where would I be without mercy, and grace, and forgiveness? It has been many days since I actually had a drink, but today I gave into temptation and WOULD have had a drink, had I not gotten caught.
All I can do now is make the choice, daily, to NOT give into the temptation. My family is worth it. And so am I.
Note from Stef: If you’re looking for support the Booze Free Brigade can help.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on January 31, 2013 9:20 pm
• Don't Get Drunk Friday
1. When I read my journals from that period in my life, I mostly enjoyed listing what I ate that day. My blog would have been a non-funny, really bad version of Brigit Jones’ Diary. What I’m saying is I don’t think anyone would have bought the movie rights.
2. Drunk Blogging: I gotta be honest and say that many journal entries were written after a night out with quite a few Long Island Iced Teas creating havoc in my blood stream. A lot of really deep thoughts fizzled out mid-sentence. I can only imagine how shitty I would feel after realizing I’d hit “publish” in a blackout.
3. There would be virtually no talk about parenting which is…well sorta why people read my blog. On the other hand, no talk about parenting!
4. There probably would have been multiple instances of me writing “Talk to the hand.” And no, I probably wouldn’t have been being ironic.
5. The biggest story going when I was in my twenties was AIDS and AIDS is not as funny as you’d think to write about.
6. If you don’t like it when I do posts on American Idol you really would have hated my Star Search recaps
7. No husband bitching.
8. Due to my obsessive nature, all posts about my dating life would have started out “He STILL hasn’t called!”
9. I can’t think of a number nine due to all the partying I did in my 20’s.
10. You would have been subjected to pictures like THIS!
I don’t even know whose cat that is! Okay, so if you want more posts on this topic, hop on over to one of these blogs and see why you should be glad they didn’t blog in their 20’s. It’s a blog hop y’all!
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on January 30, 2013 9:03 pm
Kids are insane. We all know that. But to me, no age is insaner than four. There is no method to the madness, no explanation for the moods, no rationale to the irrational. This was a typical day in the life of my four-year-old -thankfully now five year old.
4:30 a.m. Hmm…I’m half awake. It would be so much comfier in mommy and daddy’s bed right smack between them where I can make my body seem almost twice as big and mommy and daddy can pretty much kiss the rest of their sleep goodbye.
4:35 a.m. OH NO! NO NO NO. I left Purple Blanket in my bed! If I cry I’m sure mommy will go get it because I am too tired to walk all the way back to my room.
5:01 a.m. Oh my gosh I overslept! Time to let these people know I need breakfast.
7:30 a.m. Please don’t let mommy tell me that I have to go to school. If mommy tells me it’s a school day I think I might cry. Scratch that. I know I’ll cry. OH NO! Mommy just said it’s a school day!! Oh, I’m snack girl today? That means I’m the line leader when we go outside! I want to go to school right now! Why aren’t we leaving for school NOW?
7:40 a.m. I MUST GET JUICE! I have never ever ever been this thirsty! Ug, why must my mommy always make me say please? It’s so time consuming. She could’ve been back with my juice by the time it took her to get me to say please. She needs to work on her time management skills.
7:55 a.m. Mommy turned on the TV! She totally read my mind! She knew I really really wanted to watch TV.
8:02 a.m. SWEET JESUS, I LOVE CAILLOU! HE’S FOUR JUST LIKE ME! I must relay this news to my mommy twenty times.
8:17 a.m. Why won’t someone change the channel. I’ve been watching Caillou for a thousand hours. He’s good but not that good.
8:30 a.m. I really like to be naked.
8:45 a.m. Mommy has asked me to get dressed so many times today. That’s funny. I wonder if daddy’s iPhone is charged up. I need to play games on daddy’s phone right now. I don’t want to get dressed, I want to play games! Why is mommy trying to make me get dressed? I don’t want to go to school! I want to watch TV and play games all day. Oh yeah, I get to be the line leader, I forgot. I am going to go get dressed.
9:15 a.m. I WANTED TO OPEN THE FRONT DOOR! WHY DID MOMMY OPEN THE FRONT DOOR WHEN I WANTED TO? THERE ARE NO WORDS! ONLY TEARS!
9:30 a.m. I must remind all the kids who are already outside playing in my loudest voice that I am the line leader today and nobody else! Hmm…why doesn’t anyone want to play with me?
10:00 a.m. I LOVE SCHOOL.
10:06 a.m. I HATE SCHOOL.
11:30 a.m. I want to go home right now.
11:45 a.m. I want to live here permanently.
11:46 a.m. I wish my teacher Martha was my mommy. She smells like bubblegum.
11:50 a.m I’m hungry. Oh God I have never been this hungry ever. Never ever.
12:00 Mmmm! pizza! I think I will have two whole bites!
1:00 p.m. I don’t want to take a nap!
1:05 p.m. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..
3:00 p.m. When is my mommy coming to pick me up??? Why isn’t my mommy here? I’m going to cry and cry until my mommy comes to pick me up! Oooh, pretzels.
3:15 p.m. She is still not here! Why why why? I bet Ariel has never had to wait this long for her mommy to pick her up. I wish I were a mermaid. My life would be ten thousand times better if I lived in the ocean.
3:30 p.m. Mommy!!!!! Oh no, mommy’s here! I don’t want to leave!
3:35 p.m. Now would be a great time to remind mommy that she promised to take us to McDonalds today. Why is mommy acting like she’s embarrassed in front of the other mommies? There’s nothing embarrassing about being a great mommy!
3:45 p.m. I wonder where mommy is taking us now. Hopefully the 99 cents store! I LOVE THE 99 CENTS STORE!
4:01 p.m. Why is mommy constantly asking me if I need to go pee-pee? I don’t have to go pee-pee!!!
4:05 I CAN’T BELIEVE MOMMY JUST SAID WE CAN’T GO TO THE 99 CENTS STORE. AM I HAVING A BAD DREAM? PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME THIS IS ONLY A DREAM AND WHEN I WAKE UP I WILL BE GOING TO THE 99 CENTS STORE.
4:06 Uh oh, I have to go pee-pee.
4:15 Oh no, I reeeeaaaally have to go pee pee. I should tell mommy I need to go pee pee.
4:17 Too late.
4:20 Yay, mommy is playing the tickle spider game with me.
4:40 Why does mommy not want to play the tickle spider game anymore? We only played it for ONE MINUTE!
4:42 Phew, mommy turned the TV on. Why is there just a man talking? I want to watch a kids’ show. This is clearly not a kid’s show. Why is mommy not responding when I yell at her to change the channel right now? THIS IS THE WORST MINUTE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!
4:43 Ha! Fresh Beat Band! Hurray! I love my mommy.
4:44 I’m sad. No reason.
4:46 MY MOUTH IS SO DRY! MUST. GET. JUICE.
5:00 Mommy is in the shower so this would be the absolute perfect time to let her know that I am really hungry.
5:10 Why is mommy getting so frustrated? I only said no to the last fifteen suggestions she made for things to make me to eat. We will find something for me to say y-e-s to eventually. Hopefully it will be pudding.
5:30 I ate one bite of my cream cheese sandwich. I can’t understand why I’m not being allowed to eat my Halloween candy until I have four more bites. I’M FULL.
5:41 I think I will play some games on mommy’s computer. But first I need to put on a costume.
6:50 Daddy’s home! Unfortunately, I’m a little tied up playing Jake and the Neverland Pirates so I can’t go say hi to him. I’ll let him come to me.
7:00 Why won’t mommy and daddy let me play any more games? I only started playing them a few minutes ago! THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO ME! There aren’t enough tears in the world to express how strongly I feel about this.
7:45 I don’t want to get in my jammies! I want to sleep in my costume tonight! I NEED TO SLEEP IN MY COSTUME! NOOOOOOOO…
8:00 Those were good stories. But I sure am hungry. I better tell mommy that I’m ready for my cream cheese sandwich now.
8:34 I’M STILL HUNGRY. I’M SO SO SO HUNGRY. AND THIRSTY. NEED JUICE. FINE. MILK THEN.
8:37 WHERE IS MY PURPLE BLANKET? I CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE! HOW CAN I SLEEP WITHOUT PURPLE BLANKET? I must yell and yell until someone comes running. Oh purple blanket was right next to me? Well how was I supposed to know that? Since daddy is here I should tell him that I hate school and that all of the kids are so mean. Hey, where is he going?
8:45 I CAN’T SLEEP! OH NO! I CAN’T FALL ASLEEP! I’ll NEVER EVER BE ABLE TO FALL ASLEEP!
4:30 Mommy and Daddy’s bed sounds so good right now…
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on January 29, 2013 11:52 am
My name is Lance, I don’t drink but I used to. I don’t drink because I am an alcoholic.
I did not start drinking early, only a handful of non-eventful times in high school. I really discovered the benefits of the magic elixir in college. The feeling of freedom from moving away from a strict USMC Drill Instructor father was my E-ticket to the ethanol ride and I jumped on without a second thought. That ride was fun, a whole lot of fun. I was accepted, funny, sexy, mostly stayed out of trouble, and people wanted to hang out with me. But something was always wrong, I didn’t see it at the time but I do now. I never drank solely to achieve those results. The drink was never enough, and those results were never enough – I always wanted MORE. More acceptance, more funny, more sexy, and more alcohol. There was a dark side too. There is a pool of anger in me that I still struggle with today. Sometimes my quest for more would tap into that pool. Fights, and not just with assholes in bars or parties, fights with friends, punching college buddies in a drunken rage, anytime I felt wronged, sometimes even when sober. Despite my bad behavior at times, I was still never aware of any consequences.
I graduated and started a successful career. I feel now like my life was running on two different threads. There was the responsible Lance who did everything he needed to do, and the party Lance who sought out fun and drinking. It was not a problem, “this is what people do, everybody does it.” I didn’t know that I was different. This went on for years, I thought with no ill returns. Had I been able to see “The Picture of Dorian Gray” that was my soul, eroding in the background, I would have known differently.
I believe the tempest began somewhere in my mid to late 30’s, but I would not address it for almost a decade. Things had always seemed very easy to me and for the first time I think I started to struggle with life – unprepared with any tools or emotional control to deal with things. I wasn’t always the young golden boy whiz kid at work anymore. I struggled with marriage and children, I believe mostly because these beings had come into my life that I could not control. I always needed to control. I turned to that other part of my life for relief, and the two threads began to mix. It was a slow and insidious mixing. Drinking more alone at home, creating parties with neighbors so I could drink, starting to hide things, but still avoiding any serious consequences. This cancer slowly spread through me for the better part of a decade. I spent tremendous amounts of mental and emotional energy being a chameleon – keeping up the facade of responsible Lance, trying to keep a separation of those two threads of my life while they slowly merged into one. Energy I could have well used elsewhere.
As they say it will, it got worse – much worse, and it happened fast. One day, the slow cancerous spread stopped and I dropped off a cliff. Beer turned to vodka, night turned to day, parties turned to a dark corner of the garage, glasses turned to bottles, and bars turned to cars. I still didn’t have a problem, but I can remember very brief times of clarity where it was like I left my body and would look down on that guy holding the Budweiser and say “Lance, are you going to do this fucking forever?” – but then it was gone.
I don’t really know what happened. Still no major consequences (I thought), sure there were troubles at home, but that was nothing new – nothing I couldn’t forget with a few drinks. I have no doubt those consequences were guaranteed to come had I not gotten off the ride. Something did happen, and I cannot really explain it. One day I discovered that picture of my soul in the basement, it had fully bore the burden of my behavior and there was absolutely nothing left. I sought help.
Sobriety is tough, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is well worth it, I have discovered that I can change, even some of my personality traits – which I never thought possible. I don’t believe you just stop drinking and all is well. It was a struggle to stop the drink in the beginning, and after that it is even harder to seek “emotional sobriety”, which is the thing that really takes me from “not drinking” to “not feeling like I have to drink.” I view my sobriety the same as trying to become a top athlete. I must practice – every single day. I practice my sobriety with a 12 Step program, and finding other people like me – participating in things like the Booze Free Brigade.
If you want off the ride, you can get off, there is nothing stopping you. You are worth it.
Practice starts today.
To join the Yahoo group the Booze Free Brigade go here.
Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on January 18, 2013 9:19 am
• Don't Get Drunk Friday