Moving Right Along…


Day 3.

Those who follow sober blogs know that relapse/attempts at moderation happen– especially to those who have never had a catastrophe occur in their lives that is like the “Leaving Las Vegas” rock bottom.  Kudos to all of us that keep on trying– there is something to be said about picking back up and treading on with the goal of sobriety.  Funny– I never realized I was an alcoholic until I tried to quit and realized it was a lot tougher than I thought….


Re-reading the Same Book

Day 2 after the relapse.  I’d love to report that I am blissfully happy about getting sober with no regrets.  However the truth is that the same internal dialogue is haunting me.  “Maybe limiting it would work?  How about no more beer (makes me fat) or hard liquor (makes me mean) — only wine (it’s healthy right?).  How about only two glasses a night– or better yet, one glass of water per one glass of wine?  Blah, spare me…. I (like many of us) already know what’s going to happen… I suck at moderation.

So, since all I’m doing today is focusing on drinking and sobriety, I decided to go to the library to check out some content on sobriety.  Inspiration.  I check out a book that received good ratings and seemed to take a humorous approach to sobriety.  As I read the first few chapters, I’m thinking, this seems familiar.  Now, in all fairness, it is not uncommon for me to read books and have to re-read sections the next day because I read after the kids are in bed which, clearly, is after a few glasses of wine.  I don’t always remember the last couple of pages the next day.  But this was different.  I literally checked out the same book with no recollection of having read it to begin with.  One can appreciate the irony in that I read the entire book on sobriety wasted.  That’s why I didn’t remember it… because when I’m boozing, everything is fleeting memories.

Exactly why I need sobriety.

Perhaps this is less about the book and more about my children.  My honest fear lately is that my children are going to be stored just like the countless books I check out– read through and forgotten under a fuzzy cloud of intoxication.  The visions of their beautiful faces and steps in their lives are going to be forever clouded and unclear.  I don’t want to waste that.  I want to remember every one of their life moments with vivid clarity.

It’s Day 2 and I’m definitely not drinking.  I’m going to read this book and I’m going to remember it.

So You Want to Quit Drinking

Running on Sober

so you want to quit drinking
after Bukowski

so you want to quit drinking
give up the bottle
clean up
dry up
grow up

so you’re finally ready
to quit waking up
in strange places
with spit
on your face
in your hair
in your hands
in your knees

oh I bet you really made an
ass of yourself
this time.
did you fuck up
fall off the wagon?
fall off your bar stool?
fall off the karaoke stage?

did you flash the bartender
kiss a woman
grope a man?
did you fuck a stranger
flip a cop the bird
throw up on a neighbor’s lawn?
did you scream at your mother
slap your kid
kick your cat?
did you drunk dial your ex
walk out on the tab
crash your best friend’s car?
did you lose your wallet
your keys
your dog
your mind?

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Why is it so hard?  Why can’t I stay committed to sobriety?

It makes me feel worthless and an utter failure that I can’t say no to myself.  I’m so tired of trying and failing.  One day it’s so easy and I’m so proud of myself… the next day I’m making every justification to have a drink.  It’s like in my head I list all the reasons why I don’t have a problem.  I say it’s okay and just go for it… in moderation of course.  That lasts a day then I’m back to a two bottle a night habit.  It’s almost easier to just throw in the towel and keep drinking rather than keep letting myself down.

Why can’t I change when I know I need to?  Why is it so hard.

Well, here I am again.  Day one.

Call a Spade a Spade

“For instance, you may not want to call a spade a spade. You may prefer to call it a spatulous device for abrading the surface of the soil. Better, however, to stick to the old familiar, simple name that your grandfather called it.”  — Joseph Devlin

Do you drink?  Yes.  How much?  Socially.  How much is that?  Depends.

This is part of the barrage of questions I’m asked at my doctor visits.  The nurse usually stops the questions relating to alcohol there– as I’m seemingly healthy (and not presently drunk for the 9 am doctor visit).  Only once did a doctor continue on and proceed to ask me what “depends” meant.  I responded that I drink every day– the amount depends on what I’m doing.  If I’m home, I drink less; if I’m out, I drink more.  I was undoubtedly evading the fact that it meant I pound a box of wine over Saturday and Sunday with little to no help from the social circle while keeping my alcohol intake relatively decent on work days.  The doctor just responded the same thing–  “no more than seven drinks in a week is healthy”, blah, blah, blah…

Acceptance.  It’s hard accepting that you may be or ARE an “A-word”.  I might rather own up to asshole before alcoholic.  Being an actual alcoholic is owning up to a plethora of negativity.  An irresponsible drunk with no control.  I prefer the term “social drinker”.  However, in the celebration of acceptance, I’ll share the unpleasant truth that I graduated from social drinker a few years back.  About a year after that, I realized that I didn’t drink like other people… they are on their first drink and I’m on my third.  Every.  Time.  Yet still, I held fast and found solace in the term “social drinker”.

It’s an exhausting internal dialog of justifying the fact that you are or are not an alcoholic.  It’s overwhelming to be labeled something that personifies a loss of control or lack of self-discipline. 

Recovery is allowing me to personally accept all the negatives and positives of who I am.  Everything is a part of me but not one thing stands alone in defining who I am.  I refuse to be labeled.  With determination to own who I am and move on in this life journey, I am finally finding comfort in all of me, the good and the bad.  

I am caring, generous, and empathetic. 

I am selfish, insecure, and disorganized. 

I am a wife, mother, and friend.

I am an alcoholic.

“Ain’t much fun since I quit drinkin'”

Irritable.  Moody.  A buzzkill. 

I don’t envy my husband these days.  Things that I normally would brush off– I’m unsettling irritated at.  Not to mention, I’m trying to compensate my drinking time with other things — so in essence, I expect everyone to follow my lead.  “Okay everyone, let’s clean for hours and take care of projects we have been putting off “.  These days I’m trying to occupy my time with things other than sitting around yearning for a glass of wine.  The problem lies in the fact that I’m the one with an unhealty relationship with booze and as a result, I’m the one laying the consequences down to the fam during my quest for sobriety.

My family has never chastised my drinking.  It’s actually the opposite– my husband’s position is that I tend to over think it.  Actually, I have an overwhelming feeling they actually like me better buzzed… who wouldn’t?  I’m relaxed and easy-going– not this stressed-out mommy being pulled in a thousand directions. 

Or… am I confusing it with the personal feeling of me loving myself buzzed?  And am I looking for justification that I don’t have that much of a drinking problem because no one complains about it?  There is no doubt I like masking my anxiety with drinking, I like to fake that I am a chilled person.  The problem is that chilled turns to sloppy.  The pattern is always the buzz inevitably leading to one too many… which leads to tremendous personal guilt & personal regret.  As much as I wish I could, I can’t “normally” drink…. it’s my passion. 

Early sobriety is a tough period.  I’m truly thankful that I’m supported by my family… but I tell you what, I’m definitely no fun these days.

All I can hope for is better days to come.  I take it one day at a time.

Stellar Parenting

I like beer.  Revise.  I love beer or as I refer to it: “God’s Nectar”.  When I walk into a restaurant and see someone drinking a beer, my mouth waters a little bit.  When I run in to get some tomatoes from the grocery store, I find myself perusing through the beer section just to see what seasonals are out.  True story.  I think I left out I leave with a couple six packs…. every time.

Beer reminds me of growing up.  It portrays the essence of country living to me.  When I think of home, beer is always in that vision.  It’s the sun setting, friends laughing, music playing and a keg flowing.  Red solo cups are a thing of beauty to me and personify fun, energy and life.  Normally, just discussing this trip down memory lane would prompt me to attend a happy hour to keep the nostalgia going.  Not today.  I’m doing this sober thing.  Blah.

It’s times like these that I need to remind myself why I’m doing this sober thing and shunning what I deem “God’s Nectar” from my life.  Remind myself that this nectar doesn’t nourish– ironically, it sucks the life out of me.  Remind myself. 

My last drink resulted from a family day.  Yep, tag me #1 Mom — I know.  So we’re at the river — soaking in the sun, floating in the banks, drinking a few beers.  Did I mention a few doesn’t always constitute three for me?  Hours later after drinking my weight in ounces, accompanied by an ice chest full of unopened water bottles and empty beers cans, I make my way out of the water.  That is about the last clear thing I remember until I woke up that night at 9 p.m.  I start trying to piece together the ride home and rest of the day before I made it to my bed.  How did I even get in my bed?   Turns out the group I was with, including my kiddos, stopped to get a bite to eat and I– for the first time in my life– was refused service.  Yep, a friend ordered me a beer and the waitress kindly singled me out stating that she could not serve me.  Super classy… definitely of my shining moments.  While recounting the story, my children were quick to include the stumbling and inability to walk a straight line.   Yikes.  Grade A examples for the kiddos there, I know. 

So, my reaction?

Inside I was mortified– yet outside I forced myself to act like it wasn’t a big deal.  I did it as a defense mechanism– I didn’t know how to react.  I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I’m that person that you “can’t tell” has been drinking all day.  I can handle my alcohol.  I’m normal remember?  This is not normal.  This is a middle-aged mom acting like a unresponsible college kid with her kids watching and learning.  Learning what constitutes a good time.  At that moment I realized that while I continuously preach to my kids how irresponsible drinking leads to very serious consequences– I just gave them a first hand account.  I humiliated myself because I didn’t control my drinking — and worse, I engrained that example in my kid’s memories. 

I’ve always thought the mantra of “do as I say, not as I do” was bullshit.  My parents said that to me all the time as a kid, never offering a justification for why they say not to do “bad” things but choosing to partake in them personally.  As a kid I thought well of course I’m gonna try a cigarette, my mom smokes.  Of course I’m gonna have an open container, my dad would have a koozie stashed in the car.  You get my point.  But as a kid, I always thought I would do better with my own.  As a parent, I’d try to communicate a real example of life.  I wouldn’t do one thing and HOPE my kids would do another.

This was different.  I don’t want to HOPE they don’t get drunk in front of their children when they are parents and get refused service and totally humiliate themselves. 

I want to be able to say they wouldn’t do that because I taught them better.  I want them to have a normal view of alcohol– not this view of it being a borderline love affair.  I don’t want them to inherit this slanted view of alcohol that I am haunted with and end up enthralled in a struggle with sobriety.  I want to say that I raised them better than that. 

But have I?  Probably not.  Despite my high hopes, I realize that I am raising them exactly how I was raised.  Drinking is the norm and it is a staple to a good time.  I just included all the other bells and whistles I didn’t have: one-on-one attention, family vacations, extracurricular sports… but I have failed at the one thing that matters the most.  That day I faced the dark reality that I’m setting them up for failure. 

I realized that in truth, I’m never without a drink in my hand when I’m relaxing and having a good time.  It’s just that I would still act “normal” — or “functional”?  It took me being completely wasted to see that I’ve been parenting with the same bullshit theme of “Do as I say, not as I do”.  At that realization, I would be a completely shitty reproductive unit if I turned a blind eye and didn’t attempt to fix my actions.  So I tried to.  I decided I would try sobriety (again).  And I did what my parents never did– I apologized.  I told my kids what a misstep it was and how irresponsible.  I made a choice that day to be a better mother. 

They deserve a fighting chance.

They deserve a better example.