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.

areshea
06.03.09

Bravo for having the courage to talk about it and do something about it. I was raised by a divorced white collar working mother and what started out as one or two drinks, because she was stressed is now a 30 pack of beer a day habit. In almost 30years time that is what she has become. I don't drink except a glass of wine on special occassions. I am also estranged from my mother. I am glad you decided you are ready to do something, your children will love you for it. I am a stay at home who put her dreams aside to raise four, soon to be five children, I know stress.

MEMom
06.03.09

Wow, This article set off some bells in my ears. My mom and brother are recovering alcoholics and I always told myself I would never raise my kids the way my mom raised me(that is passes out on the couch after drinking a gallon of Julio and Gallo) However, in the past months I have reached the limit of my ability to stay at home with my kids and be an effective parent(I'm sitting here doing this instead of feeding my kids breakfast) so I'm searching for a job...but the more months that go by without a job the more I want to drown out the fact that I feel like a completely worthless human being...but then I drink and then I feel even more worthless because I become monster mommy and don't want to do a damn thing for my kids or husband. Here's to staying sober and loving every imperfect moment. "By your stumbling the world is perfected." Sri Aurobindo

Laureen08
06.03.09

BRAVO! I was really moved by your "coming out"! Your story is so similar to mine, I was stunned. I too decided that I liked drinking (to excess) way too much to continue. After the birth of my second child, I swore I'd never drink again and I haven't - that was over two years ago. It's not always easy, but YOU can do it! I was so glad I stopped things before the drinking began to take away all the wonderful things in my life! Your story is just like mine (and many others) and you are both supported and admired for your decision. Stick with it. It's totally worth it to be sober. I'm still struggling with finding new ways to have fun without alcohol, but each time I do something without alcohol I feel so liberated! Wishing you all the best in your journey! I'll be watching for updates. Thank you for being so brave and sharing this with us & being a mentor for others!

juliedaley
06.03.09

Stephanie,
What a gem of a column. It is so refreshing to read words shared from the depth of truth. As another comment said, no one knows if it is a problem but you...but, more importantly, you eloquently spoke to a problem affecting so many mothers today: that of believing they must be perfect mothers. I am a mother of two grown daughters and now have three grandchildren. I watch my daughters and hear how hard it is to be a new mother these days. There is so much pressure to be a perfect mother. I think women have been taught to not trust in their own motherly wisdom and intuition. Every mother, if she can quiet her mind and listen, can tap into her own maternal wisdom that will never steer her wrong. And, yes, it will help to be more 'awake' when you do so! ;-)
I applaud you and your decision.
With great respect,
Julie

tornshoelace
06.03.09

Thank you for being so brave.
You have the strength within you.
And now you have a whole bunch of folks to help you out in those moments of weakness.

mvbobs
06.03.09

I definitely drink more than ever, now that I am home with 3-year-old twins and a 20-month-old who is as much work as the twins together. My husband has commented, and I defend with, "It's just one drink" but we all know that it's not how much, it's why you drink that matters. So I am tapering off (current antibiotics helping dissuade me) and focusing on developing other coping skills.
I hope you are able to do so as well, and thank you for sharing such a painful and intimate part of yourself.

flowinharmony
06.03.09

For what it's worth -- I think you're incredibly funny and more than anything, today, you gave all moms the courage to face whatever it is that stands between them and a more full relationship with their family. Thanks for continuing to make it safe for all of us moms to be a little less than perfect as we raise perfect little angels! Congrats on finding your power and taking the reins!
teri@littlesoulproductions.com

lengeft1
06.03.09

I come from a long line of drinkers. My mother is an alcoholic who only quit drinking when she ended up in the hospital on the very verge of death. Twenty-five years ago I awakened from a night of alcohol poisoning and agony, looked at the wretched hag in the mirror, and realized that I might just have a problem. I drank to dull my pain. My life had been a sort of unending trail of misery. Though I did not know it at the time, I am clinically depressed and suffer from schizophrenia. At that particular moment in time, what mattered was that the woman in the mirror was a total disaster, and threatening to become her dreaded mother. I quit drinking, right then and there. It was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. You can do it to. I can see that you are strong. As for losing that which makes you unique, you won't. I am 50 years old. I am the mom at my 11 year old son's school who wears Doc Martens and a crew cut, listens to Pink Floyd and Massive Attack, and actually takes the time to try and understand what makes the kids tick. I just started singing lessons, too. Big Mama Thornton is one of my inspirations. You will be you, as special as ever, without alcohol. And your children will thank for its absence in your life, forever and ever. Trust me.

Peace

drcarina78
06.03.09

How courageous to write so vulnerably about something so personal. I applaud you for accepting the reality of where you are, it is definitely the beginning of turning everything around. Please don't let anyone discourage you from making such a valuable decision, not only for you, but also for your family.
Another thing you mentioned which is very important is the amount of pressure and stress we have as mothers, and how easy it is to use something like alcohol to help us "check out" or even cope. I understand your fears. I think they are true for many of us that are moms. Sometimes it all seems like too much to bear. But, it sounds like you have a very supportive husband. I will pray for you and your precious family. =)

dcwarrior
06.03.09

I appreciate your column today, and frankly did not appreciate all the alcohol references in previous columns. I have been sober 7 years and I used to have all the same fears you do. Sometimes I still do. I have heard your story a thousand times and tell the same story myself. The difference is now I do not have to drink over it. You still have a long ways to fall. I would encourage you to trust those that did hit a much deeper bottom than you or I that it only gets worse. I wish you peace.