Don’t Get Bombed Friday’s: Robin’s Story

Robin is someone I met online at the Booze Free Brigade. She’s a sister, a soldier, a trudger and one hell of a writer. Read her story and if you relate, just know, we’re all right there with you. She can be found at her blog Life On Its Own Terms.
And by the way, Saturday? I will have one year of sobriety. If you don’t know by now from how much I fucking blab on and on about it, it’s a huge deal to me. Boom.

And now, here’s Robin:

“I have a PhD and a boob job, so I suppose it’s redundant to tell you that I’ve always felt like a misfit. I’m one of those alcoholics for whom booze is only the tip of the iceberg: I was born to be addicted. Far from accepting life on its own terms, I attacked reality with a sledgehammer and a scalpel. In the end, though, life won, as it always does, and I wasn’t undone by anything extreme but by the simplest of nature’s blessings: motherhood.

I grew up in New England, and my parents were Republicans who drank prodigiously but never sloppily and made too much money. My sisters and I spent summers in the islands, skied at Vail for Christmas, and sulked when our parents left us with nannies while they vacationed in Europe. I had just designed my debutante dress – a knockoff of Princess Diana’s wedding dress, I was nuts for her – when it all disappeared in a cloud of divorce, bankruptcy, and suicide. I finished high school while working full time to help pay the bills and then, figuring I’d done my time, disappeared into the first ivory tower that would have me.

My first addiction wasn’t sex or even love but romance, in the purest medieval sense. My boyfriends always lived somewhere else. I felt like a fraud when I tried to do what I thought I was supposed to do, dating and waiting for phone calls and wondering if I could keep a toothbrush in his bathroom. I relaxed only when off-script, meeting a boyfriend for a long weekend in London or Key West; I had the run-through-the-airport-into-his-arms routine down cold.

My husband’s and my first date began and ended in an airport; hell, I tried to have a long-distance marriage. It suffered, of course, but I thought that was the way life went (remember I was raised in a John Cheever novel) so I concentrated on important things like making sure we used cloth napkins and forcing him to go to the opera with me. I got a job as a university professor, bought the boobs I’d always wanted, Botoxed my forehead and launched my own prodigious-but-never-sloppy drinking career.

Then I discovered I wanted a child, a desire my body denied, but adopting from Russia felt comfortably exotic so we went about that. I worked at becoming a mother as hard as I’d worked at anything, ever, but as with most of my goals I had no idea what to do once I achieved it. As had happened when I woke up and found a husband in bed next to me, soon after my daughter came home I found that I was more terrified of her than of anything that had thus far kept me on the right side of drink, so drink I did.

The end came fast for me, but not fast enough to avoid damage. My marriage was drowning, the promise we felt in discovering we liked each other as parents – who knew? – evaporating like alcohol on a stovetop. Finally grounded, my passport filed and my favorite carry-on serving as a diaper bag, I chafed and bled and rattled the bars of my gilded cage, which in no time was completely soaked in alcohol. It was everywhere. Stashed in the top of my closet, the trunk of my car, pockets of my coats. One day in a blackout I apparently started a new email account under an alias and wrote dozens of emails, perfectly spelled and correct in their grammar but nonsensical. To this day I don’t know who all I wrote or why or what I said. I’ve been assured by someone who saw one that I don’t want to know.

So I went to rehab. It was as simple and as catastrophic as that. I learned that separation from my daughter felt like my heart washed up on the beach, parched and scraped and sunburned, plucked at by seagulls. In short: worse than any misery I’d ever known or imagined, particularly sharp because I didn’t expect to feel that way. Still needing to chase some semblance of success I earned my stripes with half-my-age heroin addicts – you took how many Xanax? You rock! – and I danced and fenced with every rule, gained 20 pounds, let my wrinkles come back. It’s a very odd thing to disappear for four solid months, leaving my child in my sister’s care and my husband to foot some outrageously high bills and colleagues scratching their collective heads. It’s just as odd to return to life, sober but dependent as a newborn, realizing that all of my careful machinations had left me at the mercy of nature and people to a much greater extent than if I had just bothered to learn the rules of the game in the first place.”

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on May 21, 2010 4:23 amUncategorized18 comments  


  1. Jane said,

    ah jesus what a stunning piece of writing. The heart washed up on the beach line dropped me out of my chair. Robin, thank you for your honesty and wow – just thank you.

    And Stef – One year, wtf dude – that’s just as hot as it gets. I’m so excited and impressed I may pee a little when I see you on Saturday. You’re a fawking stud and I love you forever.
    .-= Jane´s last blog ..sweet dreams =-.

    | May 21, 2010 @ 5:49 am

  2. Kir said,

    I am still trying to catch my breath after reading this, thank you for sharing this, I know that someone reading it will come back from the edge, will seek help, will see themselves in your Beautiful words and illustration of a “life. ”
    I always stand in awe of all of you who so bravely share your struggle, story and success (one day at a time) THANK YOU.

    Stef, ONE YEAR…that’s incredible and awesome. As always , standing in awe and amazement at how F’ing awesome you are. 🙂 CONGRATULATIONS!

    | May 21, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

  3. Robin said,

    Thanks so much for the comments. This is the first time I’ve read my words on someone else’s URL. What a wrecking ball. Lying here in bed with my lovely daughter and my valiant husband, knowing my house is finally clean and we have food in the larder and the household is happy, I just want to reach back through time and slap myself!

    | May 21, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  4. Glenda said,

    Absolutely breathtaking! Thank you for sharing your heart and soul! You are an amazing writer, I was sad the story ended, I WANT MORE! (Yes, I’m an addict) 🙂
    Congratulations on one year! You helped inspire me to get sober and I’m on day 13 so one year seems like forever!
    I feel like I know both of you from reading your blogs/books and BFB posts. Please continue to share with all of us, you really do make a difference!!

    | May 21, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

  5. Val said,

    You put words to my feelings. My heart was right on the beach with yours. Going to treatment was simple and catastrophic. Just beautiful.

    | May 21, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

  6. Ani said,

    Wow, Robin…amazing!! Thank you, thank you for putting it out there for us…

    I am celebrating (YES – celebrating!) 11 months sober today and cannot thank God, firstly, and my sponsor Stephanie, and family for this incredible new life I have…

    ANd Stephanie, congrats on your year!! Well done….my family (4 children and husband) watched you on tv the other night and my third child, 11 yrs old, looked at me and said, “mom – she’s strong just like you…”…needless to say my amazing husband and I could not stop crying…

    thank you all for everything….
    Ani (11 months and counting….)

    | May 21, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  7. Ellie said,

    Holy crap, Robin, that blew me away.

    That was the most stunning piece of writing I’ve read in a long time — honest, beautiful and breathtaking.

    I always feel like I’m making it about me when I say this, but I mean it sincerely: I am you and you are me. I am so grateful to read someone else’s words describe what motherhood did to them and know that I wasn’t the only one. Like you, I’m in awe of my gratitude that I finally, finally want want what I have.

    I just love you to pieces.

    And Stef – I can’t find the words to tell you how grateful I am that you are a sister in sobriety. That you’re still your funny, smart, irreverant (sp?) self, just way cooler in my eyes. I know it’s always odd to read comments like this, what with the emphasis on keeping it real and all that, but in your case it’s true: you saved a lot of lives in the last year. Including your own. You have balls, girl, and I love you for it.

    .-= Ellie´s last blog ..The Kindest Cut =-.

    | May 21, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

  8. Corinne said,

    Robin, I’m so thankful to know you on this journey. I can’t tell you how much your story, and your posts help.
    Thank you for being so honest about everything, so open.

    And Stefanie?? ONE YEAR!!! That’s freaking amazing 🙂 Go you, lady!! Celebrate!
    .-= Corinne´s last blog ..{Five for Ten} Courage =-.

    | May 21, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

  9. mommy on the spot said,

    Your imagery is breathtaking and ,at the same time, heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Congrats to you, Stefanie, for you 1st year of sobriety!

    | May 22, 2010 @ 12:24 am

  10. laurie said,

    “…but as with most of my goals I had no idea what to do once I achieved it…”

    I think, out of all of these Friday entries, none has resonated more than this one, and especially, this line.

    Congrats on one year, Stefanie. You’re awesome.

    | May 22, 2010 @ 1:28 am

  11. Fiona said,

    Holy shit, this was amazing. Thank you so much Robin and Steph. I am not yet sober but reading both of you and bfb is preparing me. Such lovely people you are. xx

    | May 22, 2010 @ 2:30 am

  12. Fiona said,

    I missed the one year piece but now want to comment. Bless you Stephanie for starting the conversation.

    | May 22, 2010 @ 2:32 am

    • Fiona said,

      and congrats!!! (oops)

      | May 22, 2010 @ 2:33 am

  13. Lynn said,

    Wow. That’s just about all I can say. Wow. Ok, I’ll say more. That was fantastic. And your story has just as much depth in the things you don’t say. Thank you for sharing a bit of your beautiful soul. I am astounded at the beauty and grace that you, Robin and Stef, have opened for me and for so many others. Our worlds are tiny –surviving sometimes second to second without numbing ourselves– and huge at the same time. Thank you.

    | May 22, 2010 @ 11:43 am

  14. Maggie said,

    Thanks so much ladies. All of your stories have helped so much. Congratulations Stephanie. 7 days sober today.

    | May 22, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

  15. Mary said,

    Fantastic! I too loved the part about achieving goals…. WOW. An amazingly powerful, beautiful post.

    And Stefanie, you totally rock!! Congrats on 1 huge year… no more firsts woohooo!!!

    | May 22, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

  16. Purplume said,

    Like others have said, my Gody, you write beautifully. Because you write so honestly and with heart, I thinks that’s why it is so excellent. Thank you for sharing.
    .-= Purplume´s last blog ..OW, OW, SCRATCH, SCRATCH – COPING WITH SHINGLES =-.

    | May 24, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

  17. mia said,

    eloquent, lovingly and stingingly honest. good grief, thanks so much for sharing.
    .-= mia´s last blog ..Let’s Wait A While, Get Sober Later, Pinky Promise, Okay? =-.

    | June 6, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

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