Again With the Not Drinking

I know that we’re all completely bored to tears with hearing about my little “life change” and no, I’m not talking about menopause although I will be soon enough. In fact, I’m shocked that my periods haven’t slowed down already. You’d think my reproductive system would’ve fired off a memo to my uterus the second the twins popped out:

“Dear Senor Uterus” I don’t know why but for some reason I imagine that my uterus is male and Latin. “First off, thank you so much for the hard work you’ve done here. All and all, we couldn’t be more pleased with what you’ve managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Sure, your most recent placenta underperformed but, other than that, you’ve had a solid career. Unfortunately, we will no longer be requiring your services. Please consider this your one-month’s notice and prepare to vacate the premises. Adios. Sincerely, The Dept. of Reproduction.”

I digress.

I don’t want this blog to ever read like a journal but I do get asked a lot of questions about my non-drinking status and so I feel like I want to update you, yet a lot of not drinking is sort of an internal process. God, that sounded like something scripted off of Bachelorette. Next thing you know I’ll be saying “journey” without a hint of irony. No wonder my husband thinks 12-step meetings are a cult.

Here’s what I’m finding out so far in case any of you are doing this with me: feelings suck. And I’m feeling them all. It’s like a motherfucking roller coaster of emotions over here. It turns out that all this time, especially growing up, I’ve had all these feelings that I thought were “too much” so I tamped them down with whatever worked at the time. Since the twins came it’s been wine, but really all along it’s been something – anything to avoid being fully one hundred percent present. Strip away my ticket to tune out and what you’ve got left is a raw nerve.

I feel exposed.

Lately, I’ve been hit with fits of emotion that come unexpectedly and furiously. One minute I’m sitting in my car singing along with Kenny Loggins (shut up) and the next thing you know I’m crying helplessly for what seems like no reason at all. But there is a reason. I’m catching up on a lot of unpleasant emotion. Back when the girls were in the NICU, I didn’t spend all day at the hospital the way I saw some other parents doing. Here I had these little tiny babies – one (Sadie) of whom was only two pounds and no bigger than a Guinna pig, the other needed help to breathe and I couldn’t make it better. Every day when I hit the ward and scrubbed in, I felt more and more disconnected and less and less like I was making a difference to them. Oftentimes when I showed up, I wasn’t allowed hold Sadie because she was too fragile -and needless to say -or is it? – neither one of them could do the breastfeeding thing too well. So I went in the back room and tried to pump or sat by their Isolette and watched them for awhile and told myself that it was okay to leave after only an hour, that Elby needed me at home and needed me stable. Sometimes I was able to give kangaroo care which is where you hold your baby against your bare chest and for moments the feeling would be so intense it was unbearable and sometimes I would imagine just gluing a baby to my body and taking off but I knew I couldn’t even walk outside my curtained area, let alone care for a two-pound baby.

What I remember feeling the most during that time is Anxiety coupled with guilt that my babies were doing so well compared to some of the other babies and envy that still other babies were on their way out the door after only a day or two spent under the bilirubin lights. Other than that, I felt numb and I preferred it that way. Only a masochist wants to feel what I imagine I should have been feeling – like a big crap sundae landed on my head.

So now it’s payback time. Now I get to feel afraid, pissed off, out of control and all of the things I was through all of Sadie’s trials and tribulations -and really back a lot longer. I get worried that if I feel a certain way one day, I will always feel this way. And it will get worse and worse until I’ve completely lost my mind and am forced to spend my days in a locked ward playing poker with schizophrenics. But I’ve got to man up and deal with it because there’s no going back to the old way.

And yet, through it there are moments of peace. Real peace.

If any of you are on this path with me, I hope it helps you to hear me say the things I say because I know it helps me to say them. And your comments (well, most of you – not you Lynn Earley) have been a lifeline. So thank you.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 28, 2009 3:40 pmDrinking82 comments  


  1. Zoeyjane said,

    I wholly agree with this entire post. Everything is exactly what I've been dealing with for the past nearly year as I've tried to quit…self-medicating, to be completely cliche.

    Good for you. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to maintain and sometimes, I totally fall back on old habits for a little while, but looking back, it's been worth it.

    I call it 'bleeding on the page' but blogging posts like this? Keeps me on track because it helps make the too tangible processable, you know?

    | August 31, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

  2. abdpbt said,

    My sponsor used to tell a story about this old crusty woman with a deep voice, who saw her crying one day in a meeting when she was a newcomer, and she said, "Oh, yeah–those are feelings, you've got a long time to make up for." It's true. I remember crying at American Beauty of all things. It's sorta like waking up after a long sleep, eventually you get more used to it.

    | August 31, 2009 @ 10:41 pm

  3. My Bottle's Up! said,

    my thoughts are with you. your continued strength and honesty is remarkable.

    | August 31, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

  4. CateinBC said,

    Stefanie, I only found your blog a few weeks ago, and I've been reading through your archives — and I bought your most recent book and loved it… and I just want to say that I hear what you're going through. Not a drinker in this case, but there have been waves throughout my life where I've suddenly started feeling the pent-up stuff, and it's exposing, and hard, and ultimately leaves you looking at yourself as someone much more capable than you felt before. I admire your honesty and strength tremendously… not to mention your wicked sense of humour ;-).

    | August 31, 2009 @ 11:10 pm

  5. Lisa Page Rosenberg said,

    Thank you for the update. Sobering up is a tough gig and I would imagine that doing it with a lot of folks watching, is even tougher. I believe you are helping so very many as you help yourself.

    You are a wonder and I am thrilled for you.

    | August 31, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

  6. Mommy Melee said,

    Thank you for sharing all of this. It must be scary and hard to be so vulnerable so publically.

    I am intensely proud of you for being so brave, and I know your daughters will be too.

    Feelings kinda suck, man.

    | August 31, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  7. Anonymous said,

    Thank you for your honesty. Because of your candid posts, I went to my first AA meeting last night. I don't know if I can do this, but your words give me strength.

    Thank you. I'm rooting for you.

    | August 31, 2009 @ 11:19 pm

  8. MommaKiss said,

    I just wanted to say good luck w/ the feelings crap. It's NOT easy at all – there are so many ways not to acknowledge them. Embrace them (who sounds like the Bachelor now?)and let them in or out or whatever.

    | August 31, 2009 @ 11:20 pm

  9. MommaKiss said,

    For anon above me, good luck to you as well!

    | August 31, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

  10. Suzy said,

    When I first stopped drinking I was totallly a monster. Once I was SCREAMING at a parking meter because it wouldn't take my fucking quarter. Then I called my rehab and was all, "What's with all this anger crap?"

    That was the beginning. Now I've learned to stop and and pat the parking meter it on its head and say I'm sorry."

    And BEST of all, I'm able to tell people I'm angry at them and put away the loaded gun.

    | August 31, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

  11. Angie said,

    Your honesty about drinking, feeding probs, etc has been some of the most honest shiz I have ever read. Sometimes we need to know we are not alone, even when everything else in our life is screaming "NO ONE UNDERSTANDS WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH!!!" It's a big fat lie b/c someone ALWAYS understands.

    A lot of what you said is how I felt about the NICU too. Watching people leave was joyous and infuriating.

    But, one day, Sadie will be drinking a Big Gulp and you'll have to tell the girl to slow down.

    I don't know if we will laugh, but someday, we will at least be able to give someone else some support and drag them along this "journey" too. And when they feel like they are going to die, like they can't do one more day, one more feeding, one more puke, you and I will say "just hold on a moment longer!"

    Love to you, my friend!

    | August 31, 2009 @ 11:52 pm

  12. JennieB said,

    Thank you for your analogy about the new shoes. My son is currently being assessed for autism and it feels just like that.

    I know that someday these new shoes will be our favorite, most fabulous pair, but there are sure to be some blisters along the way. (Too far with the shoe metaphors?)

    | September 1, 2009 @ 12:05 am

  13. Babs said,

    I'm on that road with you. My first year was very hard. I think I must have been purging pure hate. I really was hard to be around. I've been sober for six years now and I feel like I can face almost any thing as long as I don't fuzzy mind up with substances. Stick with it, It gets so much better.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 12:23 am

  14. Ann's Rants said,

    Parenting is so hard. It pushes me to my limit every day–without an addiction.

    At least to alcohol.

    At least yet…

    Trust your path.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 12:47 am

  15. Amanda said,

    I'd like to say that its all good, all time but that's not always true. Most of the time but not all the time.

    Ive been sober for almost 5 years and just this year I got to where I could cry about stuff – it pisses me off – I've spent all this money learning to grieve (that's what they told me I needed to 'learn') only to find out that you have to pay MORE money to figure out how NOT to cry all the time

    You are doing great – keep going on your path.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:22 am

  16. amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said,

    you know- i lost my best friend last year to alcohol and yr posting this very real writing helps me. It helps me and I am happy and proud for you – you this amazing woman who lives inside of my computer.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:31 am

  17. Aunt Becky said,

    I love you. I just love you.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:31 am

  18. Aunt Becky said,

    But gah, not in like a MUSHY WAY.

    I have allergies, DAMMIT.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:31 am

  19. edenland said,

    Ahhh, feelings. One of the therapists in one of the *many* rehabs I was in once got so annoyed at me … "Oh for goodness sake Eden, you can't die from a feeling!"

    Maybe not, but sometimes it sure feels that way.

    It's said that when you get sober, you have the emotional age of what you were when you started drinking. Like all your thoughts and feelings have been stuck in formaldehyde.

    Good on you, Stefanie. Keep going, keep writing.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:36 am

  20. merrygirl said,

    I have also only discovered your blog recently. Good luck to you, you can do it. You are a very funny writer!!
    If you haven't already, try yoga, in a yoga studio, not a gym, it may help with the feelings coming out…. just a thought… helped me…

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:38 am

  21. Anonymous said,

    With the drinking, you're doing great and that's amazing!

    With your babies, who are doing marvelous now, and are as cute and amazing in every way, that's awesome too!

    I know how much it sucks to have a child born with problems. My son was diagnosed with a plexiform (think non cancerous tumor)that grew along the back of his neck to the top of his head and had a HUGE surgery to remove it at 3 months old. To get to that particular surgery, we have to go back several diagnosis/mis-diagnosis, every single test under the sun, it was hell.

    It was then he was diagnosed with NF1, which can be anywhere from mild to severe, cause no problems at all, to HUGE problems. Can cause you to go deaf, blind, disabled, retarded….nobody knows how bad each case will be, it can change over the lifetime too. You might have no problems all your life and wake up one morning when you're 38 and have all the problems.

    He was 6 months old when his leg snapped in two. Diagnosis psuedoarthrosis. Prognosis, amputation…….HOWEVER, my little man showed them all. He's 2 and still has his leg!!

    It sucks when a kid is sick. No child deserves pain, discomfort, doctor visits, hospital stays. But it happens and that sucks.

    Tell me why hospitals aren't equipped with mini-bars?

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:39 am

  22. Cecily said,

    When I'd been in recovery a little while my husband found me weeping in our room. He asked what was wrong and I said, "Dave!" and he said, "oh, our friend DAve that moved away?" and I said, "No, Dave the cat I had when I was six!!!"

    I can tell you this: thirteen years in, it's better. MUCH better (even though times can be tough).

    But the twins/NICU thing? Has anyone sent you the article about PTSD and the parents that live through NICU experience? Cause even though I didn't do that, I did lose twins at six months pregnant and yeah, I have some of that shit.

    I hope you feel better. In fact, I'm sure you will. Promise. If you don't feel much better by BlogHer next year, I give you permission to find me and belt me one, right in the face. Swear. (that's a promise I've made to all my sponsees at the stage you're at, btw, and not one of them has hit me yet. :D)

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:55 am

  23. MereCat said,

    Changing is really, really hard. Really hard. And I am so proud of you. So proud I could pop! You are a wonderful, strong, incredible mother and role model. Smile at yourself today. Ok, smirk. You deserve it!

    | September 1, 2009 @ 2:00 am

  24. Heather said,

    I've been clean for a little over seven years now and I have never been able to come to the conclusion you did in this post. Just today I was telling my husband that life has just been too real lately and I wanted it to stop so I could go back to burying my head in the sand. It never occurred to me that my drug use was just another way of hiding from the feelings. I can tell you though, that it gets much easier to process the feelings as you are forced to deal with more and more of them. You'll find yourself revisiting the hardest times of your life over and over again and seeing things from different angles and always learning something new about yourself and those who were there. You're amazing for everything you've done to get to this point and you are so strong for putting down the wineglass to begin with. Rock on!

    | September 1, 2009 @ 2:45 am

  25. ModernMommaBlog said,

    You can do it.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 2:52 am

  26. Lisa said,

    Food is my choice of self medicating and it makes life hell from time to time. Your post is honest and great.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 3:21 am

  27. Sa said,

    I'm so proud of you. Your honesty, integrity, determination to kick this thing's ass before it kicks yours and become the best mom possible for your babies… as mushy and cheesy as it sounds, you really are an inspiration to me, and, I'm sure, many other readers. We love you.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 3:23 am

  28. SUEB0B said,

    Did you read the story the other day – I think LA Times or NY Times – about NICU causing post-traumatic stress? I know, you're like "No shit!" but anyway, it was an interesting read.

    Tell me more about these "feelings." Maybe I could get some, myself.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 4:21 am

  29. sagessa said,

    Thank you for all of your honesty in posting this. You should be very proud of yourself for all that you've accomplished.

    Also, I second the recommendation on the NY Times article on PTSD. My son was a preemie (33 weeks) and even though he's doing amazingly well (14 months old now) there are still times that all of the emotions that I felt when he was in the NICU are overwhelming. Here's the link if you're interested.


    | September 1, 2009 @ 4:32 am

  30. GingerB said,

    Sistah, you rock for doing this work, and it is work. Getting it together is so much harder than hiding from your crap. I am still hiding from it – not drinking or using – but not dealing with all the feelings that three years of parenting, IUGR, cerebral fucking goddamn palsy and all the rest, because I tell myself I don't have time to deal with it right now – I am needed elsewhere! Will I pay for this later? Hmmm. You are smart to do this, and you deserve to tell yourself so.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 4:43 am

  31. Cindy said,

    I've just recently found your blog, after the NY Times article.

    We lost my husband's sister this year to alcoholism. Bless her heart, after many attempts at rehab, she was unsuccessful.

    I only say this to you because reading your posts and seeing how PUBLIC you are about your problem, I truly believe you will be successful. You have STOPPED early, which is so critical.

    My s-i-l (and her immediate family) unfortunately, was not public about her situation until very late in the struggle. It is amazing how quickly health issues can go VERY WRONG in that situation.

    So, I want to say to you, even though I am a new reader, I am SO VERY PROUD OF YOU.

    Please do stay sober. You will be so happy/proud of yourself and your family needs you so much.

    Take care!

    | September 1, 2009 @ 4:53 am

  32. Kelsey said,

    I don't share this particular battle, but I still appreciate your honesty in writing about it… thank you.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 5:00 am

  33. Lolly said,

    I appreciate the honesty. I hate writing posts like this too but sometimes it must be done. It's cathartic.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 5:10 am

  34. heather... said,

    I don't think it's possible to ever really get over a NICU experience. I'm still dealing with it. And I can't drink either, damn it.

    I mean, gooo Stef, booo booze!

    | September 1, 2009 @ 6:33 am

  35. Shannon said,

    There is absolutely NOTHING in this world you need to come down on yourself about. You have completely turned your life around. As far as the drinking problem, you are being waaaayyyy too hard on yourself. Did youbeat your kids, forget to feed them? Leave them unattended and alone? Naked outside in 40 degree weather by themselves sourrounded by a pack of hungry wolves? Did you purposely starve them or poison them. C'mon Steph; you are the best hands on mom ever! Everyone has issues…EVERYONE! You chose to share yours with all of us, which to me I think is even more "ballsy". You really need to give yourself a little more credit. You are a talented well-known writer, a mom of three beautiful little girls, the wife of a great and handsome man, you have a kick-ass ride( I am jealous for this one!).You have been on T.V. a million times, have three well known books! What more can you want out of life? To win the lottery? I think you already did that the day you brought your girls home from the NICU. You have a great life, shitty past, but look how far you have come from that. You should look in the mirror and be real proud of where you are today. You have worked hard to get here. Now, sit back and enjoy the ride, because before you know it, the ride is over! Hope I was a friend here and didn't piss you off in any way. You are my idol, and when I grow up, I want to be just like you!!! Luv Ya!

    | September 1, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

  36. Lola said,

    It does help to hear you saying these things that I feel but am too raw yet to say. One of the things that is getting me through this process, even more so than the 12 steps, is reading mommy bloggers who are either getting sober or have been sober for a while and knowing I'm not alone.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  37. Lil Mouse said,

    feelings do suck. especially if you're around people who don't have any and don't get that you do, dammit. my biggest one is frustration that turns to anger. very quickly. seems like we keep getting screwed over no matter what we do. one thing goes right and 12 go wrong and i'm sick of it. my husband goes with the flow and doesnt seem to be too affected by it. and then looks at me like i've grown horns… i wish i had an answer for both of us.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  38. cck said,

    Thanks. My husband is going through this. He's been sober for over a year, but is just now dealing with the "feelings" (OH! The feelings!). I didn't really know anything about alcoholism – and there are no books titled "What To Do When Your Newlywed Husband Decides to Get Sober" (there should be). Thanks for putting your story out here for all of us to read. It helps. And I'm pulling for you too.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  39. Kendra said,

    What a wonderful post. I can understand feeling like "People come here to read funny stuff, not this feelings crap." And the reason I started reading you is because you are so darn funny. But I stayed because you're honest and make us feel less alone. I'm really touched by every post you've written on this topic. Even if you do use the word "journey," I'll totally keep reading!

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

  40. Beth Jannery said,

    author and super mom here – 4 years sobriety in November. two cars in the garage and white picket fence – a fabulous wine and martini drinker. but the progression is key. you start looking forward to cooking dinner so you can open the wine… you find the playgroups of the cool moms who serve wine…you can't wait to get to bookclub because you know there will be alcohol – you rationalize and justify and find others like you. an alcoholic is someone who found her life became or started to become unmanageable and she was powerless over alcohol (as in you said you wouldn't have glass of wine today and you just couldn't help yourself…again). you have a girls night out for dinner and find you are looking for the waiter to order your next drink before you are done with the one you are drinking….it's the little things….let's talk! for more about women and addiction (the secrets and the shame) please feel free to email me at bethjannery@gmail.com AA works if you work it. get a sponsor and do the steps from the big book. keep it simple. first things first. go to meetings, get rid of the ego and humble yourself. then, help another. you don't see it now but discovering you are an alcoholic and finding a new way of life, a sober way of life, is something you will be grateful for. stay for the miracle – but don't do this without AA.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  41. Beth said,

    by the way – many of us alcoholics life in a black and white world – we are super high achievers and assume alcoholics are the drunks on the streets. this disease goes from Yale to Jail, from the park bench to Park Avenue…. we are all or nothing women. you have support with the women in AA. if you are wondering if you "might" have a problem if you drink to much then you probably do. people who are not alcoholics probably don't wonder if they are alcoholics.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  42. Shannon said,

    Okay..Now I am PISSED!! I just finished reading what Miss Lynn wrote. Okay, she has a right to an opinion, but when you run someone into the ground for trying to turn their life around… FUCK YOU!!! I don't drink, I don't smoke, I do swear…sue me for not being perfect. Stephanie is quite a woman. Having a few drinks in the evenings does not make her Satan, or a horrible mother! I see your point about maybe having to go to the hospital in a hurry, but she took into consideration that her husband was home at the time, and some one was always around. Not that anyone needs to justify anything to your sorry ass. Why do you need to be so judgemental to someone who is trying so hard to make things right? Give a little credit where it is deserved. Are you that perfect that you do no wrong, cause if you are… can I have your auotograph? Nevermind I wouls rather have an autograph from a REAL author! One with a heart!

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  43. Ellie said,

    New to posting on your blog, but I've been reading along. Thank you for your courage, your wit and your honesty. Just past two years of sobriety, and those freaking feelings just keep coming, but it gets easier. Keep blogging about it -you are helping a LOT of people, including me, and hopefully it helps you to get them out, too. I knew I was on the road to feeling better when I could laugh- really laugh – about it all for the first time. Your humor will help you a lot – even though many days don't feel funny at all – there is healing there, too.

    Thank you.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  44. Piccinigirl said,

    does it help to know that I wish I had an addiction , because I swear to god with the twins in toddlerhood now, I need one. I find myself screaming and yelling and not being able to control my emotions and I don't have anything in me but one Xanax a day.

    So to say, I'm proud of you sounds STUPID, but I am. I'm envious too…because you're doing it, even though it sucks and it's hard and you have to "feel" all that crappiness…you're still doing it, for you , for the girls, for your guy.

    and so I am…I am proud of you. πŸ™‚

    | September 1, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  45. lar said,

    I think you're very brave.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

  46. gemma said,

    So, Stef, again your blog – right on. I'm a few days from 1 year sober. And what a relief to be free from it. I recall the mental anguish of my slide down that terribly slippery slope and fear of how it would end up. And I, too, quit before it was even known to my family that I truly had a problem (hmmm?).

    I think numbing the feelings is so commonplace it's ridiculous. We live in a sweep it under the carpet world. So think of it as a retrain of the brain. Feeling it eventually takes the wind out of that sail, too!
    If you make that choice to become sober, you can do a shitload more than you thought.
    Power through those feelings. They are yours and just believe every part of you wants you to succeed!!! I know you'll succeed and help heaps of us along the way.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

  47. Trish said,

    Found myself nodding a lot.
    I was sort of the opposite in the NICU but for the same reasons.
    I was one of the people you'd have seen at the isolette side all the time (often 12 or 15 hours/day) because it was the only place I felt okay. Everyone else, I was a horrible, horrible mess. I felt too much all at one time. Anxiety, worry, dread, fear, all of it overwhelming me. At the bedside, I could say "things are okay RIGHT NOW." But at home (or elsewhere) I'd think "what if things aren't okay RIGHT NOW?"

    It fucks with brain. Forever, I think.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

  48. Anonymous said,

    I pretty much drank all through my kids' lifes. When they were small it wasn't until after they went to sleep. When they got older and started staying up later, it was before they went to sleep. When they became drivers and stayed out later and later, I'd do my best to maintain my buzz when they came home. Now they are moved away and in college and I drink still, maybe more cause I can. I have many regrets and many closed up emotions. If I quit at this point I think the feelings would push me over the crazy edge. God bless you for doing this now, before it has gotten too out of hand and before your children can be a witness. Stay strong; you are a way better person then I am.

    | September 1, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

  49. Stillie said,

    I stopped going to AA. I don't want to start drinking again, but I don't want to keep pouring my life out to people with whom I feel no connection. I need a group of people more like me – not that we just have alcoholism in common. I keep the Big Book in my passenger's seat and on the entry hall table, just in case I get the urge to go buy something. *sighs*

    I really admire your willingness to deal with the issues that made it all too easy for you to drink. I haven't gotten there yet. πŸ™ You're making really good progress! Keep up the amazing work. I didn't congratulate you on your sobriety benchmark the other day, so…Congratulations!

    | September 2, 2009 @ 12:21 am

  50. Mommy on the Spot said,

    Like one of your readers posted, changing is hard. Be proud that you can look at where you are going, not like it, and have the strength to change.

    When kids aren't healthy, it's the worst thing in the world. Sometimes I think moms need to shut down the emotions a bit in order to take care of their kids. My daughter was born with a big head, and we weren't sure if she would need a shunt for hydrocephaly or if she would have cp. That first year I stuffed all my emotions down so I could have the strenght to take her to all her doctor appointments and physical/occupatational therapies. And then when she was discharged from her neurosurgeon (which is still wierd that she had one), I broke down and cried for months. Like I was catching up. But I did what I had to do to take care of my daughter, and you had to shut down in order to take care of yours.

    Hang in there! Once I got through the messiest part, I found that the happier moments were much happier. And the bad moments, well,I try and remember that they are just moments and will pass, too.

    Keep us posted!

    | September 2, 2009 @ 1:21 am

  51. anita tedaldi said,

    Thank you for being so brave and sharing this. It's a real inspiration. I admire all that you're doing and how brave you're to share it with us.
    Takes guts, or balls πŸ™‚

    | September 2, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  52. Catherine said,

    There's a Buddhist concept that I read about called "leaning into the spear." (I think it was in a Pema Chodron book; I highly recommend her.) It helped me when I was first learning to truly feel my emotions after I left my alcoholic husband (it turns out enablers are great avoiders of feelings too! Woo hoo!!)- just lean into it and know that all feelings are temporary. The crummy feelings will pass.

    My sincere best wishes on your recovery efforts. Namaste.

    | September 2, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  53. honest-not-stalking-stef said,

    you're great Stef! Thanks for your honesty! Everyone loves you and supports you!
    ps-let me know when you're coming to the East Coast…easy enough with 3 kids-haha! I'll bake some cookies (sorry not magic ones…our kids could eat them too)
    Take care!

    | September 2, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  54. Anne Stesney said,

    When people take their recovery stories public, I know a lot of people bristle. Fuck them.

    If Carolyn Knapp hadn't written, "Drinking: A Love Story" I may be dead or worse, still alive and drinking. Keep it up for as long as it feels right. You are helping many people.

    It gets better. Good luck and congrats on your 90(plus) days!

    | September 2, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  55. Carverlane said,

    I was a drink-at-home mom and am now sober 27 months. Hang in there…it gets better and better! I love my life now. Do the Steps rapidly (with a good female sponsor) if you want to get well rapidly.

    | September 2, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  56. seran said,

    Of all your awesome posts, this is my favorite one ever. πŸ™‚ I've always loved your irreverance, but it's nice to see what's down deeper too. Back when the twins first came home and they cried all the time, I would think "geez, she should be wanting to bang her head against the wall, but instead she's unfailingly sanguine and funny." I couldn't imagine… either you were made of different stuff than I or you were putting a happy face on your blog…I didn't know which.

    I know you get a little tired of people talking about how hard parenthood is all the time. But sometimes I think it's okay to indulge in that. A little – not all the time. Just because other people have it much rougher doesn't make what *you* are going through any less important.

    Anyway, I love this side of you as much or better than the funny side, and also loved the chapter of your new book you posted. I'm definitely going to buy it and read the rest.

    Also, that person who posted about PTSD brings up an interesting point. When Avery was sooo sick and choking and turning blue all the time with reflux, I felt like I was never going to recover from it. I did, but it seems perfectly normal to me that rough experiences with babies *could* cause lasting problems.

    | September 3, 2009 @ 12:57 am

  57. Carolyn...Online said,

    Oh man. I'm proud of you for doing this – especially now with the little ones when all you really want some days is….nothing.

    Good for you. *Pat on back*

    Oh and schizophrenics hardly ever play poker. Aren't they more Dominos people?

    | September 3, 2009 @ 2:32 am

  58. gemma said,

    OK, So I feel like screaming from the top of the Empire State building, WHY cant all you people be in NYC and why can't this be the best support group ever?!?! I'm in NYC (and yes, mom to 2) struggling to find a "group" or "meeting" that suits. Having said that I'm a year this weekend, which I'm pretty damned pleased about! (I remember a year seemed like, well, may as well have been forever.) On the "parenting effect", my son had "episodes" of temporary paralysis when he was 1, and they happened every 3 months for a year. He did a 6 day EEG testing stint in the hospital, neuro peds,50 wires sticking out of his head 24/7 in a cage/crib.I was with him the whole time in an environment you cant imagine (serious epilepsy, neuro probs,etc.) They found nothing. When we walked out of the hospital, I cried in a way I have NEVER cried before- it was utterly crippling and more profound than anything i had ever experienced. THe mother role and feelings of HELPLESSNESS are not good bedfellows. I always think helplessness pushes us to reach out to a higher power or whatever you want to call it. Which, actually, is a very good thing.

    | September 3, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

  59. Cat said,

    Why I seem to tune in here only on the days you're dealing with this topic…I choose to overlook that coincidence. For now.

    Incredibly powerful words keep coming out of you.

    | September 3, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

  60. Heather said,

    All I can say is it does get better. I remember the first time I started feeling anything it was REALLY overwhelming. I'd gone so long with no emotion that feeling was uncomfortable and I wanted it to stop.

    I'm glad to see you sharing, I'm sure it helps for others to be able to know that they are not alone.

    | September 3, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  61. Anonymous said,

    You're right where you should be, sugar. It does get better, more even.

    Keep coming back – it works!

    Sr. C

    | September 3, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  62. mfk said,

    Have you read Dry, by Augusten Burroughs? It's quite a book. Funny and biting and tragic. Totally recommend it.

    | September 4, 2009 @ 3:57 am

  63. SusieP said,

    I have read both your parenting books, twice. They were proof to me that, despite my best efforts to find any in my vicinity, sane moms still do exist. I can’t express how much that meant to me while I was navigating the seas of new-mom-dom. I developed my girl crush, became a cyber-stalker, and found your blog.

    I am heartbroken at what you have been through in the last several years. You are so strong and brave. You were my hero before, but now are my superhero. Do you have a cape? If not, you really should look into it…

    | September 4, 2009 @ 4:16 am

  64. mleweytoo said,

    I love Kenny Loggins. There. I said it. How's that for public honesty?

    Love you too. Very, very proud. Next time I see you I'll bring my vinyl copy of Keep The Fire (The one where he's holding the glowing crystal ball?) and we can listen to This is It over and over and over. xoxo

    | September 4, 2009 @ 4:37 am

  65. Lynn from For Love or Funny said,

    Just wanted to let you know that I'm rooting for you. We all are. It takes such courage to face our feelings, especially when they make us feel vulnerable, intensely angry, and wildly anxious. In my experience, the only thing that gets rid of those feelings is facing them head on.

    Keeping you in my thoughts.

    | September 4, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

  66. Uncommon Julia said,

    I just wanted to tell you I'm proud of you – even though that's kind of a creepy thing to say, coming from someone who isn't related to you or responsible in any way for your behavior or life. Still. Very proud.

    | September 4, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

  67. Wicked Step Mom said,

    I never really drank but food was my way of escaping. I could go totally numb eating a large pizza. When I stopped eating that way, that is when the depression really hit me. It was like I was catching up on all of the emotions that I had drowned out with ice cream. Now, the feelings and emotions are less intense. I think it is because I am learning to cope with them and actually feel them and deal with them. I know that eating is not the same as drinking, but for me it was an addition.

    | September 4, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  68. Anonymous said,

    I'm very glad you've stopped drinking. Your children's childhood will be better for them and for you.

    I agree that a mom can drink some while raising kids, but alcohol can be a monster that starts consuming you, more than you consume it.

    My kids are grown, and I think they were raised well, but my husbands's alcoholism meant that I did all the "raising" once it was about 5 or 6, most nights; because he basically passed out (he called it 'falling asleep'). He stayed (mostly) sober later on soccer practice nights, and on school event nights, but I was the one who did everything in the evenings.

    Anyway – good luck to you; I just found your blog lately, and I've enjoyed reading it alot.

    | September 4, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

  69. MommaNecey said,


    | September 5, 2009 @ 3:45 am

  70. Anonymous said,

    Thank you.

    You're so right to tackle this before your kids are older. I wish I had.

    | September 5, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

  71. Anonymous said,

    I love your openness. I think so many moms beat themselves up, it helps to hear we are all not perfect together! Some might judge moms who drink period. (ex http://www.enjoyingasimplesophistication.com/blog/?p=414 ) You chose to reach out, be open and honest. Thank you.

    | September 7, 2009 @ 2:33 am

  72. JRC said,

    I'm with you on the "again with the not drinking" because *again* I'm not drinking. I took about 4 months off. Then I was 4 months on. Now I'm 24 hours off. *sigh* Why can't I just enjoy that glass of chardonnay like a normal person?

    Sometimes, when it sucks, it just sucks. But I'm guessing it will get better. I think I'll keep reading to make sure it gets better.

    | September 7, 2009 @ 4:55 am

  73. Jean (ffjewelry on twitter) said,

    I think that anyone who has been through traumatic experiences can relate, because we all have to find a way to get through the pain. I guess there are several ways to get through things. Mask the pain in some way, work through it without anything, lean on God and let your faith get you through it. I think if you mask the pain then you have to either keep masking it for a lifetime or work through things sooner or later. If it's any consolation, you won't always feel the way you do now. I don't drink but I have been through traumatic experiences. After you work through things, the pain does subside in time. You are doing an excellent job and you should be commended! Keep up the good work! I have faith in you that you can do it.

    | September 7, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  74. Anonymous said,

    ?? ???????????? ???????? ??????? ??, ??????? ??????????? ???????? ?????. ?????, ?????? ???? ? ????????? ????????. ????????? ?????? ???? ???? ??????? ? ?????, ?? ?????????? ?????? ????? ??????? ?? ??? ????. ???????? ??????? ?? ??? ??? ???????, ? ?? ??? ??? ????????? ???????????????. ??? ??????, ??? ?????? ??????.

    | September 8, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  75. maggie, dammit said,

    It definitely helps to hear you say it out loud. Definitely.

    | September 8, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  76. How to Party with an Infant said,

    great post, thanks. Love the way you write about feelings, those icky things.

    | September 9, 2009 @ 6:19 am

  77. Anonymous said,

    It's like you speak my mind. I am 10 days sober and you and Rachel were the brick in the face I needed to finally do it. I miss my wine and beer desperately; I hate going to friends' houses for dinner and not drinking the wine. I hate the process of starting to be with my feelings. But I'm proud of myself and my new recycle bin, which is full of caffeine free diet soda cans.

    | September 9, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  78. Anonymous said,

    Good for you!! Keep coming it works if you work it. And for all of those who posted here who are affected by someone else's drinking, come join us in al anon……..it will help you recover as well.

    | September 9, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  79. clearness said,

    So, are you going to make a new post for us or are you going to leave us hanging?

    | September 9, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

  80. Econmom said,

    You are a very brave woman. I really understand what you are going through. Thank you so much for your honesty. I believe it has given me new strength. Rock on mamma!

    | October 23, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  81. Anonymous said,

    Hi! I just read your post about not drinking, and want to say that I know your pain. I am a mom who drank and have been sober for 2 years now, with the help of AA. It has given me a "framework" for life, and has taught me how to feel my feelings without freaking out. I hope you check out AA. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me (and it's not a cult!)

    | October 26, 2009 @ 7:16 pm

  82. Anonymous said,

    Hi! I just read your post about not drinking, and want to say that I know your pain. I am a mom who drank and have been sober for 2 years now, with the help of AA. It has given me a "framework" for life, and has taught me how to feel my feelings without freaking out. I hope you check out AA. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me (and it's not a cult!)

    | October 26, 2009 @ 7:16 pm

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