My Sobering Secret.

by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

 

I talk about drinking a lot on my blog. I've talked about it a lot in my books. I really like to drink. I like the way wine softens the edges, smoothes out the line between "their time" and "my time," helps me to feel relaxed, helps me tune out. But I drink too much. I drink seven nights a week. Sometimes just a glass of wine but usually two or three or even more. I always seem to have some sort of excuse like, "Today was an exceptionally stressful day so I deserve an extra glass now that it's all done."

 

I drank often when Elby was a baby to help deal with the stress of a new infant. I found myself drinking more than I had before I became a parent and I drank with other moms to bond and unwind (yes, I'm the cocktail play date mom and I stand by it being a healthy thing to do in moderation, in walking distance, if you’re not me). Before I got pregnant with the twins I had pretty much stopped drinking because I felt it was becoming a habit so when I was pregnant, it was extremely easy not to drink. But when the twins were born and I was home and my milk was dried up and postpartum was setting in, the simplest thing to do seemed to be have a glass of wine.

 

It was only too darn easy to fall back into the pattern (especially once the babies started having a regular bedtime) of having my wine every night. For some people I'm sure this is a nice thing, a tribunal thing (a drink at the end of the day with their spouse or friends). For others it might be a once in awhile treat to go out and have a couple of cocktails. For me, it's become a nightly compulsion and I'm outing myself to you; all of you: I have a problem.

 

I quit on Friday, May 22nd.

 

I've wavered before on this issue thinking, "But lots of times I have one glass of wine." Well, unfortunately, especially lately, most times I don't just have one -sometimes I have four. And being compulsive, I can't be trusted to "just cut down" because lord knows I’ve tried it.

Pearlsmommy
07.09.09

Thank you for being so honest. I am 36 and trying to conceive baby #1. Nightly drinking has become a pathetic habit for me too. Always wanting to get away and "relax" from the day...but what am I so damn stressed about? I have a fabulous life and so much to be grateful for. Like you, I have issues that haunt me from time to time, but hell, who doesn't?? Thanks so much for telling my story. Good luck to you! Bravo to you for being so strong.

smachuga
06.18.09

i look forward to hearing how you do ... best wishes

Kristin
06.10.09

Stephanie,
What a blessing you are! So refreshing to hear someone be so honest and candid in public. I can only imagine the amount of people you are going to help with your honesty! I am soooo grateful to hear you are not doing this alone. I am 38 years old with a 20 month old son and I am pregnant again...my son has never seen me drink and hopefully my new baby won't either! I stopped drinking on Oct. 15, 2003 right after (my 33rd birthday)...alcoholism runs in my family and I always thought I just liked to party because it never interfered with my life, I have always been responsible with money, always had a job etc...anyway, I could go on and on with my story but I want to say that life is so precious and beautiful to me now, not that I didn't appreciate things before I stopped drinking but since I got involved with AA...my life has changed 100% and I am truly grateful and I have so much fun...even at drinking events! It's great I still dance and laugh and talk and I don't have to worry about what I did because I remember the next day and no hang over!!! I am married and my husband is in recovery too! We have beautiful life...it's not without it's struggles, juggling working, kids etc. but we are truly grateful...I wish you much love and peace on your journey! I learned so much about myself in doing my steps! I learned how to grow up basically...like I said I could go on and on...I have never ever posted a comment on anything...I refuse to do Twitter and Facebook etc. but I was so inspired by your story today when I read it that I had to share mine with you...God Bless you and it sounds like you have a wonderful and supportive husband. Keep it Simple and remember ODAT! Much Love to you and your family

tamstermom
06.09.09

Thank you for your honesty. This is the first time I've heard my story. It starts so innocuously and ends with an inability not do it. It is not unlike grabbing a box of cookies and finding you've eaten the whole thing. At least when it comes to food, I can stop putting it in my mouth. With the glass of wine, no matter how many times I say just two, it ends when the bottle is gone. I want to tune out the demands of the day and fall into my own little place.

I have found I can replace the euphoria of the wine with watercolor. That same sense of isolation and down time with water-coloring. I find I can be lost in it for a few hours late at night. I sleep well, I don't wake up with a hang over. I am more centered for the next day. It is my meditation. I have obtained my need to o be still with nothing else taping into my consciousness but the thoughts of my soul.

Flowersmommy
06.09.09

Thanks for being so honest. My downfall is beer and karoake on my Thursday night out. I spend the next 6 days feeling guilty that I even do that (I do not drive drunk, it's quite a period of time before I leave). What kind of mom loves to go to the tavern and drink and smoke? I always judged before I had kids and figured it was alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. that did that, not a middle class, educated woman.

I stay at home with my 2 children and watch 3 neighbor kids which are all under 4 yrs of age. So, it's not that I feel guilty about net spending time with them. Why can't I get on the right track and find a positive hobby? I feel like I'm addicted to my "time away".

On my other 6 nights a week, I will be at home and crack a beer as soon as all the kids go home. Not every night and harldy ever is it more than 1 at home a night, sometimes a half and I'll save it for the next day, but still...

I wish you luck and am very glad that I am not the only one who feels this way.

hinks
06.08.09

Good luck to you. My daughter started doing AA after she reached bottom a few years ago. Sobriety has given her a whole new life in many ways. It's not perfect, but she now has and will have a much better quality of life w/ her son, now a teen, than she would have, had she kept drinking. Alcohol also wears your body down. Since you had your kids late in life, you need all the energy, physical and mental you can harness to deal w/ 3 little ones. It seems as if AA gives you that strong, ongoing support that really helps. I wish you well and I hope that the sharing of experiences here will benefit many, including you.

yellowtail
06.08.09

Hello, I am 59 , raised two kids with a husband who traveled and whose career caused us to be transferred to such garden spots as Tupelo, Miss and Dayton, OH. I now have two grandsons who live far away out of state. Being a caregiver to an inlaw with Alzheimers ( who died in Feb. '09 ) was the catalyst for my wine drinking career which began in Nov. 2007. Thanks you Yellow Tail Chardonnay. Now he is gone, the stress is gone but I continue with my wine. The worst part is I have Diabetes. Hello? Not a good idea to drink wine with this disease. I beg you t o get help with your wine habit. Try AA for awhile till you are sure you are over it. Your kids deserve the effort. Me? Party on! My excuse now? I have always always hated cooking and dishes. Wine takes the tedium out of it!!

edostie01
06.07.09

old as the hills now w/ grown kids. My wakeup call on alcohol was the day I had to go get wine to finish halloween costumes when they were 6 & 4 at 10 am and later in the day took them to a Halloween party at the local Catholic church having been using wine all day. Stopping isn't the problem. Staying stopped is. Best not to go it alone - get a group of some kind: AA for women or a drop in counseling group - I did that. 23 years ago - so glad I did. Your skin will thank you. Your hair. And yes, your children. In Maine....

gradmom
06.07.09

I'd like to recommend a book that has made a huge difference in our lives--End Your Addiction Now, by Charles Gant, MD, PhD. It's a program of vitamins and supplements and it works! Also, read what Dr. Jonathan Wright says about low-dose lithium for people who want to stop drinking:
http://www.tahoma-clinic.com/lithium2.shtml Best of luck to you!

nyc40
06.05.09

Your article hit home in a very direct way. I too wonder the exact things about myself. My question to you is are you getting outside support? AA or something like it? Because I have tried to cut down many times only to go right back to where I was before. Good Luck & I'm so very proud of you.