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.

FloridaCrab
06.05.09

You know the old saying -- "Admitting it is the first (and hardest) step! My sister and I grew up with an alcoholic mother. We never knew what to expect from hour to hour (sometimes kind and loving - sometimes violent and angry - mostly the latter unfortunately). She has been drinking as far back as I can remember (25+ years and counting) and has stopped more times than you can imagine. She could always justify going back to it. She's going to AA meetings now and still sneaking it when she can and thinks that nobody notices. I am the mom of 4 beautiful girls and go out of my way to be the total opposite of my mom. Unfortunately, even the three oldest girls can tell when grandma has an "off" day! I can't tell you how much good you are doing for your children! I am so happy for and proud of you. I know it will be very very hard at times but you will reap amazing rewards in the end and your husband especially will admire this tremendous task that you are undertaking and love you all the more for it! The other old saying -- "If you fall off the wagon, dust yourself off and get right back on again!" Godspeed on your journey ahead! Please keep us posted on your progress - We'll be here for all the encouragement and backup you need!!!

Ninfweet
06.05.09

Wow -- I applaud you not only for being so honest, but also for bringing up something that hits home for all moms I know - how do we manage the tremendous pressure of being mothers? Is it an evening cocktail (or 6??), antidepressants, sleeping pills (hello Tylenol PM!!)? We all find a way to cope with this and sometimes our coping mechanisms aren't always the healthiest. As always, you're insight and willingness to share so much of yourself in your writing gives me much to ponder. It is through honestly sharing our struggles that we learn and grow. Thank you for sharing your story!!

Pamela Goldsteen
06.05.09

Once you become a mother, and spend great amount of time alone with small children, it becomes clear why so many women were popping tranquilizers half a century ago, and why many mothers drink today.

Your column gave me an opportunity to take a look at my own drinking habits, as I do enjoy an evening cocktail since I had children, and became a housewife.

I applaud your ability to hold the mirror up to yourself, and do so in a public way. I know this is not easy.

It inspired my thoughts today on my own blog, Hausfrau.

For more, see:
http://njhausfrau.blogspot.com/2009/06/coffee-and-cocktails.html

PURVIROE
06.05.09

I think its great that you are evaluating your behavior before its too late. But if you are being truthful about how much you are drinking, having a couple of glasses of wine a day a few days a week is not bad for you. I say this because as Mom's we are soooo hard on ourselves and so are others. Never before in history have we been more judged, expected to be so perfect, our kids be perfect, yada yada yada. It is hard. So allowing ourselves to have time to relax and not be perfect is very important because at the end of the day we are only human beings. Knowing when to check yourself is very important but its not good to be too hard on yourself. Good luck to you and may you find the answers you are looking for.

Shwanda
06.05.09

If you think struggling with young children is hard, wait until they are teenagers. I am a mom of two girls 13 and 16 and stepmom to two boys 15 and 18 and a girl 11. When my girls were small I never drank. In fact I was kind of judgemental of the other moms on my block who all shared a bottle of wine every day. I thought they had a drinking problem and I cringed when they tried to convince me to have a drink along with them. My father was an alcoholic. A few years ago when I went through my divorce, I took a wine appreciation class and let's just say I starting appreciating wine too much. When it became hard to break the habit I knew I had a problem, but was still in denial until I read your essay. You have inspired me. It took tremendous courage to admit what you did. Yesterday, when I was in the grocery store shopping for dinner, I DID NOT buy my usual bottle of wine. Instead I bought sparkling non-alcoholic iced tea and that's what I will be drinking from now on.
Carol www.shwanda.com

Sunnygirl
06.05.09

Hi,

I too recently quit drinking. 2 weeks ago. I am 40 y.o. mom of three teens. I too drank to cut the edge, relax, take some warranted "me" time. I'll be honest.....It's hard! I am holding my own but I miss it. And now I find myself trying to keep myself busy so I won't think about having a drink. I have cleaned every nook in my house...now what? I also find myself rationalizing...I've been good ...so I deserve a drink. Wrong. I know it will start the over use all over again. I guess I am writing to let you know. You are not alone in your quest! Please if you ever need someone to write...I'm here. I could always use someone to keep me busy.

ciao
R

hbmomtogo
06.05.09

Good for you!! Life is hard and not easy and I think you really made alot of people feel better reading your post. I will be following you too know, best of luck and god bless...

mlange75
06.05.09

What a wonderful, honest article. I smoked cigarettes before I got pregnant, quit all through my pregnancy, then began again after my daughter was born just so I could go outside for a few minutes to myself during naptime. I felt like I deserved it after a "crazy" morning or afternoon or whatever it was. Your article brought me into reality. I am going to quit. I don't want to rush my child to naptime, just so I can go outside and give myself cancer.
Thank you so much. You may have saved us with just a few words on a page.

ChicagoMomma
06.05.09

As a daughter of an alchoholic mother, I can say that you have done the best thing for yourself and your family. History repeats itself but can stop with you. Hugs and love from Chicago1!
http://emotionbehindmoney.com/blog

procreation-station
06.05.09

Wow. What a very honest, very touching post. I know this fear. And the fact that you've recognized the need to make this change and share it with the world are very good signs that you won't "get into trouble." I'll be keeping you in my thoughts. Thank you for this. For those of us who have been there or are in this spot now, it's so good to see such an eloquent description to relate to. Good luck to you, dear.