One year ago today, on May 23rd, 2017, I very nervously admitted to God, myself, and a room full of strangers that I had a problem I didn’t know how to fix. I was an alcoholic and I needed help, fast, before I destroyed everything that I held dear.
Now, I do not look like or act like what most people think an alcoholic looks or acts like. I don’t now, and I didn’t then.
When I was the most broken…
- I had a beautiful home that was clean and well cared for, with no family asking me to leave…yet.
- I had a husband who loved and supported me, who stood by my side no matter what and was not going to leave me…yet.
- I had two little girls who loved and adored me, with no painful memories of Mommy drinking too much and embarrassing them… yet.
- I had no legal issues associated with drinking like a DUI or DWI…yet.
…but all of those things were going to happen if I didn’t get control over my life. I was definitely on the path to losing it all.
What it was like…
In the program, we tell our story in three parts: what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. I guess for me, it all started with a PCOS diagnosis and several years of infertility. I’d drink wine at dinner with my husband while we got excited about our future family, and I thought that I better drink up because it was going to be a long nine months! Then: a negative pregnancy test, which I would cry over with another glass of wine.
This went on for years.
After finally conceiving our first, and a very long and sober nine months, it was time to catch up on all that wine I had missed out on! Until—surprise!!! Baby number two was on her way when baby number one was only three months old.
Once she was born, it was again time to catch up on all the drinking I had missed for a solid two years. Bonus points: I was a mother of two under two! Nobody thought twice about a glass (or two) of chardonnay over lunch on a Wednesday.
Wine was an integral part of my life and the “only way I could survive” this whole mommy thing.
Eventually, 5:00 became 4:00, which then became 3:00…and sometimes 2:00.
My nightly “glass of wine” was the first thing I would think about in the morning. I just had to make it through the day. And glass of wine is in quotation marks because, honestly…I can’t tell you how much I would actually drink. I never let my glass get empty, I’d just keep topping it off. That way I couldn’t honestly answer the question of how many glasses I drank. Clever, wasn’t it?
It wasn’t unusual to have Bailey’s in my coffee, and it was a regular occurrence for me to order wine with lunch.
The whole mommy wine-drinking culture had seeped into my soul. I would consistently share funny wine memes on social media and celebrate my well-earned wine buzz at the end of the day because: KIDS.
On Mother’s Day 2017, I was out to brunch with my family and my children. I finished my first glass of wine and spent the rest of the morning scanning the room for our waitress. Where was she? What was taking so long? I needed another glass of wine, NOW.
I never got that second glass of wine.
I was angry, and my Mother’s Day was ruined.
That was when the jokes stopped being funny. That brunch was incredibly eye-opening, and I realized I had been rationalizing my excessive drinking for way too long. It needed to end before something tragic happened.
A few troubled teenage years left me with the experience and knowledge of what I needed to do, and where I needed to go. I went out to dinner with my husband and told him, drunkenly, that I had a problem and I was going to need to change it, immediately.
And, so, I did.
What it’s like now…
It’s been a long and hard year, and I still have lots of work to do on myself and my sobriety. I am by no means perfect, and every day isn’t sunshine and rainbows. My life today is beautiful and messy and wonderful, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Today…I am a business owner, a more present and caring mother, a more devoted wife, a steadfast friend, and generally an overall better person.
I thought very seriously about posting my story anonymously. I mean, that’s the core value of the program, right? Anonymity! What will my family think? What will my husband’s friends think? What about my clients, or parents from my kids’ school?
But that’s the point. That is why I felt like I needed to share my story, say my name, and put my face out there.
Alcoholism isn’t a one-size-fits-all disease. It shows itself and does its damage in so many unexpected and devious ways. If my story will help just one mother reach her hand out to get the help she needs to live the life she deserves, then it’s worth a little embarrassment.
I am an alcoholic, and I will always be an alcoholic. Will I ever drink again? Who knows. I sure hope not.
One year of continuous sobriety is absolutely something that I will celebrate, but it is just another day.
One day at a time.
If you feel like you have a problem with alcohol and need help, here are a few local resources.
- Life Management Resources | Plano: (972) 985-7565
- Solutions Outpatient Services | Dallas: (214) 369-1155
- Alcoholics Anonymous
You can also email me – [email protected] – that’s my personal email address, and I would be honored to hear your story and help if I can. You are not alone!