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.

darlingo
06.05.09

I somehow stumbled on this article and I had to register and post a comment. I feel like I wrote this article. I am a 28 yr old mother of three girls (a 3 yr old and a set of 1 yr old twins). I work full time, and I bring my girls with me. I work for my family out of my fathers home office. My husband works a lot, leaving me at home with the girls. It's nice to know I'm not the only person who feels like this...

KCsMama
06.04.09

You are so brave to share this with all of us and I wish you the best. I read your blog article earlier in the week, but didn't comment. For a couple of nights in a row, I thought of you when I looked at the fridge and thought I might like a beer/glass of wine. I too drink almost every night. Not a lot, but it has changed as my life has changed. Having a baby has shifted me from a weekend only drinker of multiple drinks in one night, to a most-days-of-the-week drinker of one or two. Occasionally a couple more. I still don't think I'm out of control, but there is a growing voice in the back of my head that says, "no one starts out with a big problem. It grows over time." You've really given me some inspiration to take it more seriously. I have a lot of alcoholism in my family. I have seen how bad it can get. Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I love your writing. You are so smart and funny. I've no doubt that will NOT change!

suzy0110
06.04.09

Good luck to you, and thank you for being so honest with all of us.

amyjane13
06.04.09

You are so brave. I have to admit I was astonished at your age. I'm 32 and I HAVE to stop. I'm on day two. So like you said, one day at a time. :) I broke down and told a good friend today. She said "Amy you need to stop" and gave me suggestions of what to do. Anyway I frequent Shine and when I saw your article link I HAD to see this! Someone is going through it too! Anyway great read, I'll be coming back :) Good Luck!

luv-it-sober
06.04.09

Stephanie, I have never been to this site before, my husband emailed me your article. It sounds like your heart is telling you that you might have a problem. Take it from a mom with many regrets, listen! Your husband may also be telling you something. Atleast you owe it to yourself and your family to investigate further. When I was in my mid twenties, I thought I may have a problem, I even went to a treatment center to talk with someone about it. I wasn't ready yet, I thought I could control it. Wrong!!! Now I am 46 yrs old, my three children that were little then, are all in their twenties,with addiction problems of their own. I have been sober now a little over a year, and I can honestly say, getting sober was the best thing I have ever done. I owe it all to GOD, and to the fellowship of AA. The obcession to drink is gone, and believe me when I say obcession, I mean it. I drank all day, everyday. Alcohol gets a hold of you gradually, but it will progress. I missed alot that I can never get back. You only get one chance raising your kids, and one chance at life. So if you think you might have a problem, please, for you and your family sake, get help.luv-it-sober

pinkytuscadero
06.04.09

First time reader, first time commenter. Actually, I've heard of you and read you in many forwarded posts from my many funny, literate friends who love you.

My husband told me to look at what was on his computer screen when I popped into his office to tell him it was his turn to answer to the calls of our (supposed to be) sleeping darling 3 year-old, and, oh, by the way, would he mind opening the second bottle of wine on the way?

We've been through this, girl. I started drinking a lot right before I got pregnant, got worried, got pregnant, started drinking a lot after my child was born, got worried, stopped drinking, got comfortable, and now am sliding again.

I have been kicked off of sobriety websites so I'm not going to preach to you. I'm a renegade mom and always will be. And I don't know if I'll ever put the crianza down for the criancas (Spanish to Portuguese there).

But I think it's probably a lot less work, and a lot better for them, if we're laying there listening to those babies throw up or muttering how mean we are into the Playskool monitor than it is to wake up every morning wondering if they notice how we can't quite enjoy life with them without a drink.

Godspeed,
Pinky

Silkie
06.04.09

Thank you Stephanie, and good luck. I'm not a mother, but I quit drinking the same day as you after years of progressive drinking. I feel better already, even though I go through occasional desires, especially in the evening. I'll be following your blog, and sincerely wish you all the best. I'm happy to have my brain back, and more time.Drinking makes problems much worse, and feel worse. A big hug!

j
06.04.09

You go girl! I had twins first and the third one five years later (why did I get pregnant again--I could've had twins!). I quit drinking 12 years ago when the twins were 7 and the baby 2. I wish I'd done it sooner, but if you'd told me I had to quite I would've said you're crazy and I would've probably hoped to maybe run over you a bit with my car.

Apart from marrying my husband and having my children, it was the best thing I've ever done. My husband joined me about two months later and we are constantly reminded how glad we are we did. I wish I'd done it sooner because my daughter was old enough to remember when I'd be cranky in the morning (they still get up early, no matter how much fun you had the night before). I know that my twins didn't drink in high school because they didn't see us drinking while telling them not to. We were honest with them about our drinking and how quiting and about how we never want to talk to either of our parents after 5:00 o'clock their time. How their personalities change. I know that we have much better family dinners because we aren't consumed with the idea that we just want to drink and will therefore ignore them; or that we want to get rid of them so we can drink. The older your children get the more they'll need you--homework, rides, sleepovers, advice. I always made my highschoolers (they just graduated!) wake me up when they came in at night (I couldn't always stay awake for the 11:00 curfew) and though I trusted them, I still hugged them and smelled them. You will enjoy your time with them so much more. You can get through this first part. Write yourself a list of all the reasons why you're doing this, and haul it out when you think a glass of wine would help right now. It does get easier. Parties are actually more fun. I find that now that I don't drink I don't notice that other people are drunk, I don't worry about what I said, and I go home remembering the party. Make sure you have your friends backing you up on this. Right after I quit I went out to dinner and two of us weren't drinking. The waiter said, oh, c'mon, you can have a litte. What an idiot. You can do it! Be brave, be strong and your kids will be so much better for it!

mamabearx3
06.04.09

Brava Stefanie! This is huge and so healthy for you and your family. I had twins 10 months ago, who join my 4 year-old-son. My daughter has spina bifida, so I needed to stay home to be her primary caregiver and raise all my kids. I am loving being a stay-at-home-mom, but it is also the most challenging job I have ever had. I find that I drink more than I ever have (which still isn't much.) Luckily, I am fully aware of it and will not let it get out of control, but I see how easily it could- for any mom with a crazy-busy life and worries about her kids. I want to run away and hide at least once a day.
I can't really give any advice on super-fun things to do sober, but I can tell you that silence and breathing are two new-found coping mechanisms for me. Not having the TV blaring in the background during the day (something I used to do) helps so much. And taking time to BREATHE- 5 counts in and 10 counts out, alone or even holding both babies- calms us all down. At the end of the day, I am in much better shape if I have kept to these two simple things. Also, regular exercise. I have begun to crave walking with the kids or run/walking alone at night. Never thought I would say that!! Your body and mind will tell you when you're doing the right things. Congrats and best of luck to you!

RachaelBrownell
06.04.09

Stefanie,
Thank you for your honesty... Like you, I tried quitting cold turkey... but I could only last a month or two before I *had* to have something to (as you say) "soften the edges"... that's why I had to turn to a 12 step group for support. I hope you find what you need during your time away from alcohol... and if you need more help, there's lots out there.