Don’t Get Drunk Friday: Lee’s Story

Note from Stef: Two weeks in a row!! If you want to investigate your drinking or get support go to the Booze Free Brigade. Okay, here’s Lee:


Nobody knew I was an alcoholic.  I guess they call it a “high bottom” drunk, but to me, an alcoholic is an alcoholic.  The only difference between me and the obvious “under the bridge, drinking out of a paper sack” drunk is progression of disease and a great deal of luck.  My name is Lee, I’m an alcoholic, and I belong here.

I never even had a sip of alcohol until I went to college.  I was the “perfect” straight-A, star athlete kid in high school that never did anything wrong.  My parents were not alcoholics, nor did they make me feel like I had to be perfect. We were a loving, middle-class family and I’ve never felt anything but full support from them. That being said, when I went to college, my first order of business was to escape my own self-induced perfection. I wanted to get drunk. I wanted to act irresponsibly. I wanted to not feel socially awkward. So, of course it’s very clear now– I was thinking like an alcoholic before I ever took a sip. And I did get drunk that very first weekend in college, and nearly every subsequent weekend for the next 18 years. The desired effect was immediate. I was social. I was a party girl. I was silly. And for just a little while I could leave the perfect little girl behind. Relief.

Some stories might take a turn at this point, but mine doesn’t.  I continued to binge drink my way through college, graduate school, and early adulthood. I never lost my academic and athletic scholarships. I graduated with honors. I got the first job I applied for. And I did some ridiculously embarrassing things while drinking alcohol, but so did everyone else, so it didn’t really occur to me that I was a problem drinker. I drank alcohol to celebrate. I drank it to socialize. I drank it to relax. And I never ever ever drank just one drink.

What finally tipped me over the edge into realizing I had a serious problem was motherhood.  Motherhood did two things to me in the world of alcohol. It made me drink more and more, and it made me want desperately to drink less. The stress of day-to-day life as a working mother drove me to reward myself every single night with “a glass” of wine. Of course, by glass of wine, I mean a bottle of wine. Or two. Secretively. I have no idea how the people around me didn’t know, but they really didn’t. At some point I switched to liquor just so I could reach the desired effect quicker. There were many times when I’d watch tv at night and the room would be spinning, yet no one seemed to notice. This is unbelievable to me to this day.  When I got pregnant with my second child, I was so relieved. I knew I wouldn’t drink while pregnant, so that would “kick-start” my sobriety plan. I think I drank a “glass” of wine immediately upon returning from the hospital, and once I stopped breast-feeding a year later, all bets were off and I was in the throes of alcoholism. Nothing “bad” happened. No one complained about my drinking. I never got a DUI or got arrested. It doesn’t matter. I had a problem, and I knew it, and that’s the only thing that matters. That’s the only reason ANYONE needs to stop drinking.

The last few months of my drinking consisted of  constant 3 a.m. panic attacks over what I’d done/said the night before, exhausting efforts to hide bottles, and weekly trips to liquor stores (never the same one twice in a row) to stockpile my supply. I gained a lot of weight. My blood pressure was up. I had constant heartburn. I knew I needed help. And at that point, there was no way in hell I was going to AA or anything like it, so I started scouring the Internet. I found this page, which led me to the Booze Free Brigade. I read but never posted. Finally I worked up the courage to reach out to one person. Just one person. Just one e-mail. That’s all it took to get the ball rolling for me– just reaching out to one person at a time, one minute at a time. She replied, and I started “talking”.  It’s been almost six months since my last drink. I now attend AA meetings. I post on the BFB board. I read. I try to not forget what it felt like. None of this is easy, but it’s so much easier than the alternative. And I’m getting my life back and being the mother my sweet children deserve.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on November 8, 2012 6:44 pmDon't Get Drunk Friday7 comments  


  1. Ellie said,

    OMG. I relate to every. single. word. in this post.

    Especially this:

    “What finally tipped me over the edge into realizing I had a serious problem was motherhood. Motherhood did two things to me in the world of alcohol. It made me drink more and more, and it made me want desperately to drink less.”

    Admitting motherhood was gasoline on the fire of my drinking problem was SO hard for me to admit. It was hard to admit, too, after I got sober, that my kids are triggers sometimes.

    Thank you SO MUCH for your brave and beautiful words.


    Ellie´s last blog post ..Failed Pregnancies, Fear and New Babies in Arms – TRIGGER WARNING

    | November 8, 2012 @ 6:52 pm

  2. Michele said,

    Thank you for this Lee,

    so relateable, so honest.
    I am very glad that you had the courage to reach out to that one person.


    | November 8, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

  3. Angel V said,

    I relate to so much of that, Lee, except the honors and scholarship part. 😉 I was a “high-bottom” drunk too, and that made it harder for me to recognize and admit that I was an alcoholic. I have been an alcoholic from the first sip and drank heavily right up until getting pregnant. As soon as that baby was out, I was back to drinking, it was just part of who I was and I didn’t think that was a bad thing. After two kids, I HAD to drink to deal. Like Ellie mentioned, my kids are big triggers for me. I am SO glad we both got sober while our kids are young and maybe they will never remember…



    | November 9, 2012 @ 6:12 am

  4. Arnebya said,

    I keep wanting to find a way to say I can relate to this BUT…this sounds like me EXCEPT.

    I can’t.
    Arnebya´s last blog post ..Haven’t I Covered Cleaning?

    | November 9, 2012 @ 7:43 am

  5. K. Telling said,

    I love this Lee, so much! I was high bottom too, though that bottom was inching down as I quit and drank again, quit and drank again over and over during the last two years. I belong here too.

    Thanks for telling your story. I know so many women will relate. xo

    | November 9, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  6. Libby said,

    Great post Lee! I really related to how you said motherhood made you drink more and want to drink less. Wow! Perfectly said!

    And those 3AM mental beatdowns! Oy vey!


    | November 9, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  7. Bridgette said,

    Great post! It was the same for me too. I stopped between child 1 and child 2 and felt like maybe I got pregnant for child #2 so I wouldn’t have to explain socially why I wasn’t drinking. The problem when someone like you and I stop drinking– people notice.

    Motherhood is so much a part of the alcoholism for women. But the good thing is, it might also be what makes us want to stop for good. When I look at their faces and know they won’t ever have a memory with me and a drink, that’s a high in ad of itself.

    Thanks for posting!

    | November 11, 2012 @ 3:33 am

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