parenting

My Sobering Secret by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

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My Sobering Secret by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

This is totally worth reading. Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is awesome and she is “one of us.” Also check out her “Don’t get drunk Friday” series. Warning though: the stories might make you cry. Favorite paragraph from “Sobering Secret” article: 

I’m a little worried that parties will never be as much fun or that people will think I’m boring or or a little tense. But since I still plan to use the word cocksucker with wild abandon how boring could I be? Plus, the only person who is usually around me when I’ve had a few glasses is my husband and he says he likes me better sober (or “awake” as he so gently put it).

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F#*k Fridays

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This week has felt like one long sobriety test (pun intended) but I have decided that Friday, is by far, my least favorite day of the week (this might be because school hasn’t started and I am a teacher). I had a shit day on Wednesday and couldn’t find anyone to watch my kids so I could go to a meeting. Grrr. My solution was pizza and wings (better than bourbon, right?). I made it through. Thursday, conversely, was a wonderful day. I usually go to an AA meeting on Thursday (or at least that is the day I have “committed” to meeting attendance) but I was feeling so good that I decided to skip it. Friday (Today), however, sucked on a near biblical level. All day, thoughts of Friday “happy hour”drinks kept popping into my head. I spent the day with a really good friend, but she is a normie so I didn’t feel totally comfortable giving her a play by play of the inner workings of my alcoholic brain (although we did have a cool conversation about HPs).

The day went smoothly until it didn’t. Within an hour, I found out my dad was in the hospital and my children (6 and 4), who had behaved all day, lost their minds and turned into demon children right before my eyes. The icing on the cake was that my son decided to bring our very large, very untrained, very unworldly dogs out into the front yard on a leash. The dogs, being utter morons and weighing around 200 lbs together, took off down a huge hill that leads directly to a busy street. It was utter chaos featuring a cacophony of  of screaming children and their very angry, very freaked out (flip flop wearing- not conducive to chasing dogs down a hill) mom. No wonder the dogs made a run for it. It all miraculously turned out ok (the dogs are ok and I didn’t sell my children) but holy fucking hell did I want a drink after all of that.

On one of the messages my dad left from the hospital, he said he was proud of me for going to AA and encouraged me to keep going. Hubby watched the wee ones and I attended a meeting. It was my favorite meeting so far and I feel much, much better. I survived the afternoon from hell without bourbon, beer or wine! Woo-hoo!

I have been going to meeting for a couple of weeks and I feel like I might like to try out the whole sponsor thing. How does that work? Do you ask someone or wait until they offer? I feel like the little bird in “Are you my mother?” when I consider asking someone… Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank goodness Friday is almost OVER!

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The post that darted this way and that

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I have had a lot of thoughts kicking around in the old head the past few days. This past weekend was significantly better than the last. I am calmer, more reflective and I seem to have lost the inclination that I could, at any moment, crawl directly out of my skin. Signs of progress, perhaps. 

Last night, before bed, I read half of Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety. I read before bed, like a normal person. I have been reading at night all summer (mostly because I can’t fucking sleep), but last night it really hit me: this new life I have. I feel like I am settling in. The edges aren’t quite as sharp. The sounds are not quite so brash and vulgar.

Now, not everything is magically wonderful. I still hate doing laundry and will put off paying bills until the cows come home. I am still loud and temperamental. I still yell at my kids too much. I still spend way to much time dicking around on my laptop. But many things are better. When I laugh, I actually feel it. It actually startles me sometimes, this strange rattle in my chest. It is a different laugh. Or perhaps, I just haven’t noticed it before. I feel better. I feel more whole? My daughter flipped on the lights this morning while I was attempting to wake up (thanks, baby) and she looked into my eyes and said, “Momma, your eyes! They’re beautiful!” She said this as if she had never seen eyes before, but I when I think about what my eyes looked like in the morning (cloudy, red, miserable) just a month and almost a half ago, I see where she might be coming from.

Here is what terrifies me of late: I have managed to construct a lovely little bubble around my sobriety because it is summer and I am a teacher. School. Starts. In. Two. And. One. Half. Fucking. Weeks. Shit! I am no where near prepared, lesson wise and I an feel shakily prepared emotionally and spiritually. The roller coaster routine of school and work and the stress of teaching are HUGE triggers for me. As I have written about in the past, I began to suck at aspects of my job near the end of my drinking and I am expected to kick it into high gear this year. I have a stack of books I was supposed to read over the summer to bolster my classroom management of which I have read about 3 pages total. It all feels very unforgiving. But people do this, right? They quit drinking and go right back to work. They succeed, right? People do this. All the time. What makes me so fucking special? I have been given a gift these past months and I sincerely hope I don’t fuck it all up. 

Le Funk

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I am in a funk. I should be elated. I have 28 mother-fucking days, as of today. Cartwheels and confetti should be happening up in here, but alas- le funk has set in. Our vacation was… great… exhausting but great. The kids are at daycare today because if they were here I probably would have duct taped them to something out of earshot by now. The one incredibly positive thing I can take away from our vacation is that I feel stronger. I dealt with stress, children, heat and my bat-shit crazy dad without a drink (or 12). I did that. I survived. The less positive take away is that I have a lot of resentment and emotional shit, which I thought I put to bed long ago, to deal with. Yay.

My dad is a narcissist with a good heart. He is a paradox. He and my mother divorced when I was a month old. I didn’t meet him until I was 11, at which point, he basically hung around for a year, did as much damage as possible and then took off again. I was pissed at him for a long while. Perhaps I am still pissed. There have been periods of years where no words were spoken between us. When I was pregnant with my first kid, I severed all ties with him. I didn’t want him around my kids. I heard from an aunt last year that he had major health problems… I couldn’t remember why I was angry with him anymore so I reached out. Once he discovered that he had grandchildren, he really engaged and I began to see him in a different light. He has been in therapy for years. He has mellowed. He adores my babies and they adore him. Over the last year, we having been working on mending our fences. However, spending almost a week with him, freshly sober, in 106 degree heat, tested the patches. Some held, some didn’t… (thankfully my sobriety held)… Today, I find myself replaying conversations with him and, in my mind, screaming at him like an angry teenager. What the fuck? I am almost 40- far too old for this. 

I need to go running, do yoga, punch something- but all I can do is sit here, listening to Aimee Mann while I play games and consider my daddy-issues. Maybe I just need to lighten up, eh?

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Vacation in progress

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SLC (1st stop on our trip) gratitude list:

1. RAIN and cool temperatures on the way down.

2. Friends who are incredibly supportive of our new sobriety. 

3. Sleeping soundly from 11PM to 6:30 (!)

4. Two days of beautiful park runs

5. Taco truck burritos and really amazing sushi

6. Apple cinnamon pancakes and amazing coffee

7. Having a friend who is willing to sit through 20 some odd clothing changes at Loft (I don’t get out much).

8. Also having friends who are willing to be planetarium explorers, zoo adventures, jungle gyms, magicians and water park escorts for my little wildlings. 

9. Our new roof carrier

10. My sweet hubby along for the adventure

SLC was amazing. We had a beautiful, restorative weekend with 2 of my favorite people in the universe.

We are in Boise now. My dad is sweet but he is high maintenance. Between his obsessive nit pickiness and children who are operating outside of their usual sleeping schedule, my nerves are FRIED. Extra, fucking crispy. Last summer when I did this same trip (without the hubby, mind you), I had a glass of wine (at least) with dinner and grabbed a six pack on the way back to the hotel… Wonders upon wonders, I felt like cat vomit in the morning.

This time I have my seltzer, my 22nd day, more of my sanity and a whole lot more $ in my purse. The children are asleep now, (much closer to their normal bedtime) so they should fare better tomorrow. I am grateful for every morning I wake up without a hangover. Tomorrow, I will try more deep breaths, less teeth clenching and more time to ourselves. 

One thing that has given me strength during these past two more challenging days is reading blog posts from my phone. Thanks for all of the beautiful, sometimes heart wrenching but always thought provoking posts. 

Oct 1st

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I miss counted. I thought my 100 days ended on September 21 (a wonderful day) but I was wrong. It is October 1st. The crazy, unplanned but totally awesome thing about October 1st is that it is also my BIRTHDAY. Weird, right? Ah, universe, you have such a quirky sense of humor. 

I counted out the days last night in sharpie on our kitchen calendar. My 6 year-old, being ever so observant, asked why there were numbers on the calendar. I have been honest (to an extent) with him about quitting drinking but I almost brushed off his question. Instead,  I explained the 100 day challenge to him. He commented that we could resume drinking after the 100 days. I explained that we could not. He was a little incredulous, “You mean you are never going to buy beer again?”

“That’s right. Never again.” I replied

“But… you can drink on your birthday, right?”

“Nope. I can’t drink ever again.”

“Ok.” 

And with that he skipped off. With a few simple words, I made the ultimate promise. I am terrified yet, strangely fortified. I hope that someday my children can read this blog and understand the dangers of drinking. I hope they won’t be as pigheaded as their mom. I hope I can live up to my promise. 

What am I so afraid of?

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I started drinking and smoking pot heavily after my mom was in an accident when I was 22. At 22, ridiculous drinking is adorable. More than drinking, though, I smoked pot. Anyone who says marijuana is not addictive is FULL OF SHIT. I was high and probably a little drunk when my mother died in hospice. My mother died alone because I couldn’t get my shit together.

A year after she passed, we moved from Atlanta to Wyoming, where we stayed with my grandma. We traded copious amounts of pot for ridiculous amounts of beer. Slowly we made our way to tequila. Then, of course, there was the martini winter. In 2003-2005, I drank like a fucking 18 year old frat boy. The problem, of course, was that I was rapidly approaching 30.

I had my babies in 2006 and 2008. I didn’t drink, for the most part, throughout my pregnancies (never more than a glass of wine or a beer a few times a week). In 2009, I started my Master’s and I quit breastfeeding. My drinking became epic. My sweet, wonderful husband was my constant drinking buddy. We were a united front, hiding the true depths of our addiction from those closest to us. We drank when we had bad days, good days, holidays, when our kids were driving us nuts, when family visited- pretty much, we drank heavily on a daily basis.

Last winter, we had to put my grandmother in a nursing home. My drinking over the last 6 months sounds like a damn movie about alcoholics. I never drank at work, but pretty much any other time of day was fair game. Still, I didn’t want to quit. Even when my hubby said, “Enough.” I wasn’t convinced. Sure, we needed to pulled back but quit? Come on! I was terrified. Never drinking again meant painfully sober holidays, never having anything to take the edge of a bad day, dealing with my in-laws (who don’t drink heavily but they do drink every night) without an alcohol buffer… Add to that the stigma of alcoholism… How would I have fun? How would I be social? What would people think?

I really liked drinking, or so I told myself. It was fun. I was fun when I drank. It is all bullshit. I have probably had five hangover free mornings in the past 6 months. It wasn’t fun anymore. Bills were piling up (because alcoholic drinking is fucking expensive), the pounds were piling on, I was starting to suck at my job but the icing on the cake? My son noticed. He is six. What terrifies me more than not having “fun” anymore? Having my son grow-up either without a mom or with a raging alcoholic mom. We were pretty good at hiding and being “functional” but it was all starting to fall apart.