Back To Basics

Finally, the media is actually presenting some real truth about moms and alcohol! If you haven’t seen Maria Shriver’s segment featured on the Today Show this morning, click here. And, coming from one of the morning shows that basically promotes daily drinking, it meant even more (I’m talking about you Kathie Lee and Hoda!).

Many of us in recovery are familiar with the author Stefanie Wilder-Taylor who was interviewed for the segment. Oh, how I can relate to her story! She pretty much sums it up when she says,“All of a sudden I was like, I don’t have an off switch.” But, as a mom who looked the part, she didn’t feel like she could be an alcoholic.

I talk a lot about my life living sober and what that’s like, but I think once in a while it’s important to go back to the beginning when I finally realized I was an alcoholic and the fear that consumed me then. I’ve been contacted by a number of women in my community who have read my blog and know my story and I’m constantly reminded of the intense fear in admitting you have a problem. Most of these women are like me. They’re moms and wives who on the outside look like they have it all together, but inside they are suffering and questioning their dependence on alcohol.

I cannot begin to express the fear I felt in admitting I was an alcoholic. I was fearful of what others would think, how they would react to the news and how they would respond to me personally. I couldn’t imagine my life without alcohol, mainly wine because that was my “thing.” It had become such an ingrained part of my everyday life, that really (as horrible as it sounds now), I couldn’t imagine life without it. Date nights, happy hours, weddings, parties, girls’ night outs, work events, conferences, and yes, even play dates – you name it. The thought of not having a drink at any of these was incomprehensible. I even briefly thought about becoming Mormon because they didn’t drink anyway, right? Yes, these are the thoughts that went through my head.

Most of the women who have contacted me haven’t followed through with getting help. And, believe me, I get it. It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. It takes major desperation, defeat and humility to walk through the doors of treatment or your first recovery meeting. You’re afraid of giving up what has become your comfort, your best friend; you’re afraid of what people will think and say; you’re afraid of who you will see and who will see you. We all have our bottoms; our lowest point when we realize we can no longer go on with the way we’ve been living. As much as I want to tell them how amazing and gratifying sobriety is, they have to truly want it. It’s one of the hardest parts of being sober – seeing yourself in others and knowing what is possible for them as well.

I know there are people who aren’t crazy about me sharing my story. And, I know there are people out there who think, “Just shut up already about your drinking and sobriety.” Or, those who think it’s a personal matter that I should keep to myself. And, to all of those people I say, “Hell, no.” Hell no I won’t shut up. Hell no I won’t shut up because if I can share my story and save one life – just one life – I will have accomplished everything I ever set out to do in sharing my story.

I know we have all seen the “Are You An Alcoholic?” quizzes, but I think it’s important to go back to some of those basic questions. Our society still has this image in their minds of what an alcoholic looks like, but the reality is we are all over the place. Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Do you drink alone?
  • Do you look forward to drinking?
  • Do you drink to relieve boredom or loneliness?
  • Do you drive after drinking?
  • Do you drink to maintain a “buzz”?
  • Do you have memory loss after drinking?
  • Do you drink before leaving the house for an event?
  • Are you uncertain about going to events where there will not be alcohol?
  • Do you drink to feel more relaxed or less anxious?
  • Do you create situations (outings, parties, etc.) so you can drink?
  • Do you become defensive when someone questions you about your drinking?
  • Are you concerned about your drinking?
  • Do you drink while angry, upset, depressed or under stress?
  • Have you switched types of alcohol to prevent becoming too intoxicated?
  • Do you limit the amount of food you eat so you can get a better “buzz?”
  • Have you tried not to drink, but find yourself drinking anyway?

Just because you answer yes to some of these questions doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic. However, if you see yourself relating to many of them, there’s a good chance you have a problem. Believe me, I’ve been there. I knew way before I ever admitted it that I had a problem.

I know it’s scary to think about opening yourself up to the possibility that you might have a drinking problem. But, there are SO many people out there who have been where you are and are willing and able to help you take the next step. If nothing else, check out some of the other recovery blogs on my site. Or, read some of the books listed. It’s easy to feel like you’re alone and the only person in your situation, but know that you are not alone. And, of course, I’m always available to answer questions or just talk with. Please feel free to e-mail me at chenoaawoods@gmail.com.

 

 

 

14 responses

  1. You are super woman! I know I tell you all the time. I admire your willingness to be so open and transparent in order to help others.

  2. Thanks for sharing this link 🙂 Not something I would have picked up here in the UK and I hadn’t heard of Stephanie Wilder-Taylor (I’m new to this game!). As a mum of 3 who leant far to heavily on wine until very recently, I found the piece interesting – it really pointed out that normalisation of drinking within our culture, particularly with mum’s and white wine (why is that so often our drink of choice?) I think it’s great that people like Stephanie (and you) can talk openly about their problems. It’s so isolating and scary as a mum with a problem with wine – I thought that quitting alcohol would be the scariest bit, but in truth I think I am more frightened of talking to people about it. Sober blogs have really helped me. Thank you for yours 🙂 🙂

    • Hi, thats a very good point about talking to people about it?? something people like me who doesnt drink much sometimes dont understand that the way we should!!

  3. Pingback: Back To Basics | momma bee

  4. This is a really fantastic post Chenoa! There are people in my life who worry that I talk about sobriety too much too. I can’t blame them for being blinded by the stigma but the only way for people’s minds to be changed is to show them that alcoholism has many faces and this is what it looks like on me. Every one of those bullets was true for me when I was drinking except the not eating to get a better buzz. I ate MORE so that I could drink longer.

    • Hi All, im new to this site but have been on several others.They are so helpful and educational to us all.They need sites like these to help people with their addictions,and also those who are around these people.I myself have learned so much from the nice people on the blogs etc that without it i wouldnt have coped well at all. My gf admitted to me after a period of really nice and loving relationship she had a drink problem,” a functioning alcoholic” she finished our relationship as a result of this.Whatever her reasons were she admitted this to me,and she said she ended it so not to hurt me or her.Wether this is true or not i,ll never really know,,all i know is that it must have been so hard for her to deal with all the pressure and the things that come with a new relationship,,to me it seems normal,,however to her it was impossible,,she just couldnt see a future with me as a result of her drinking.I feel so sad and sorry for her,,she is a lovely sweet lady whom has had it difficult over the years,,but im afraid she doesnt seem able to want help or even discuss the alcohol problem..I probably should understand and except that more than i did,”i know that now”. I wish i could understand she thinks as an alcoholic would do,,im understanding bits now,its just relly dificult to understand how she acts etc and how and to what extent she needs to drink.Her attitude of “it is what it is” means shes given in to the drinking and has no intention of trying to quit,,a defeatists attitude i would say.What buzz do she now,what does it take to get like that,,she said she drinks about 7 to 10 bottles of white wine a week and has done for approx 2 years. I get lots of different responses off all these blogs,,they are teaching me so much,,and as i learn i then pass this knowledge forward again and at least i feel im helping someone else whos going through similar things.So all and any comments from u all are greatly appreciated.Thanks and good luck to all of you.

  5. Hi Chenoa

    I get this a lot with my clients.

    There is a huge difference between ‘wanting’ to quit drinking and ‘choosing’ to quit drinking and very often people don’t understand the difference between the two.

    You need to make the choice to stop drinking. Once you make this choice then nothing should get in your way of success. Failure only comes when you ‘want’ to quit, because you allow your mind to fill with the usual excuses – in fact you welcome them.

    Choosing to quit is getting into the ring for a bare knuckle fight. Wanting to quit is just watching the fight from the third row.

    Lee

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