Finding the similarities not the differences

I used to think that there was no way I was an alcoholic.  It was so easy for me to look at my drinking and then look at someone else’s and think that I was not that bad.  I would say that my bottom was pretty high.  I wonder how many people who get sober have high bottoms.  I think there are more of us than we think.

When I read recovery blogs or posts from other alcoholics or when I listen to stories in AA, I usually can pick something out of the story that I relate to and here are a few:

1. Having an obsessive mind (even if I am not obsessing over wine, I obsess over finances, exercise, what my best friend said , where my daughter should go to college, etc)

2. Problems falling asleep or staying asleep after a night of drinking

3. shame and guilt

4. having a super stressful yet productive day and looking forward to wine as my reward

5. Making promises to myself to change my drinking habits (I did this one for 25 years but it looks like I am finally following through on that promise)

6. Being aware of what others are drinking

7. Drinking a glass or two of wine before a party or any function where there will be drinking

8. Drinking wine after the party

9. Drinking alone

10. Having plenty of drinking stories where I drank too much and acted like an idiot

The list goes on and on of things I relate to.

Even with all that I relate to, my alcoholic mind could easily pick out the things that other alcoholics did that I didn’t relate to.  I could find ways that I am not that bad and therefore not an alcoholic. Here is a few things that I never did:

1. Drank and drove (I just hosted a lot of the parties at my house and that means no driving and my hubby is a normie and designated driver…lucky me, okay, let’s not say never, probably three or four times in 25 years, see how my alcoholic mind quickly dismisses those times)

2. black out (since I have been sober I have learned about grey outs, I did a lot of grey outs where I would remember something if you reminded me but only if you reminded me)

3. Drink entire bottles of wine every night (I did drink an entire bottle of wine just not every night, I would save just a little bit on the nights that I drank almost a bottle)

4. Had my family or friends think I needed to stop or think I had a problem (I think this is partially because I surround myself with friends that also drink like I do, they see nothing wrong with drinking daily because they do it too and if they don’t do it everyday that didn’t really realize I was doing it everyday)

5. Drink hard alcohol. (I would tell myself that I didn’t drink hard alcohol, but really I did, I just didn’t drink it every night because I knew that drinking hard alcohol meant that I was crossing a line.  I spent years not drinking it at all and then slowly but surely I was drinking it at least once a week.)

This list also goes on and on.  I could easily pick out the things that make me not an alcoholic or not that bad.  But, I don’t want to.  There was something about my drinking that was not right and even if I am not as bad as this person or that person I am bad enough to need to stop.

I think there a lot of us that are high bottom alcoholics and sometimes that can be a bad thing.  Because, it is easy for us to find the differences instead of the similarities. If we let our disease take over our brain we continue drinking because hey, we never blacked out like Cindy Lou the alcoholic down the street.  We completely forget about all of the things that we had in common with other alcoholics.  That right there is how we can end up spending another five years in our disease.  It progresses and then there you are with more similarities than differences because you crossed line after line that you didn’t think you would cross.  I have already crossed enough lines and I am not going to wait around for a lower bottom because I have had enough.

At 60 days sober I can say that getting sober is the best decision I could have ever made.  I am so glad I found this soberphere and that I was able to quiet wolfie and not keep drinking.  I am so glad that I don’t let whether or not I am a high bottom alcoholic or a low bottom alcoholic define my alcoholism.  I am an alcoholic. period.

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Yoga found me and so did sobriety

I started doing yoga about two weeks into sobriety.  Right before I quit drinking, I had had this urge to start doing yoga.  My mind was going a million miles a minute and I thought maybe yoga could help with that.  When I decided to do yoga, I was not doing it for the physical benefits but for the mental benefits.  I did one of those 30 day introductory offers.

During those 30 days, I fell in love with yoga.  I found myself in tears on my yoga mat on more than one occasion.  It was during that Shavasana that I surrendered to my alcoholism.  It was during Shavasana that I realized that my friends don’t have to “get it”.  It was during Shavasana that I felt my higher power talking to me through my yoga teacher (Baron Baptiste).  It is during Shavasana that I get this euphoric feeling that could not be produced by any outside source. It comes from within me and that right there is AMAZING!

I am normally not one to do things spur of the moment.  I am careful about my decisions and tend to over think most decisions, especially financial.  So, when I saw that there was a yoga festival in Hawaii and it was 10 days away, I booked it without a lot of the usual guilt that goes along with any big decision like that.  I knew that I really needed this retreat and I was right.

This trip was a few days after my weekend with my girlfriends.  I came off of that trip a bit stressed and anxious.  This trip was the complete opposite.  It was a sober vacation, no alcohol in sight.  My mom and step-dad went with us and watched the kids during the day while my hubby and I did 3 classes of yoga each day.  I learned so much during those three days.  I felt just about as zen as a person could feel by day 3.  I felt empowered.  I felt grateful. I felt like I had my entire life ahead of me.

In that last class, I was so beat because he kicked our asses and I laid there in shavasana and I reflected on the last few day’s events. I thought about how none of this would be possible if I was still drinking. Yes, I could be doing yoga, plenty of people do yoga and drink, but it wouldn’t be the same because I don’t drink like most people.  I was laying there and grateful for my sobriety and this wonderful opportunity to completely look at life in a different way. Right as I was thinking this, Baron Baptiste (the amazing yoga teacher) had been talking the entire time but I was tuning him out. I was having these thoughts of gratefulness for being sober and how it is amazing that I got sober and found yoga and right at that moment I tuned into what he was saying and these were his exact words:

“Sometimes one door has to close for another to open. You shut the other door and walk through that new door and now you follow this pathway and THIS is your new pathway”

I thought WOW! It was like he was reading my mind and talking to just me (not the 300 other yogis in the room). I now realize this was probably my higher power talking to me.

Getting sober is by far the most amazing and life changing experience I have been through. While drinking, I had no idea what I was missing out on. Fully enjoying the experience of yoga has just been one of the gifts of sobriety.

During one of my classes one of the teachers said “you did not find yoga, yoga found you” and I believe that.  I also believe that sobriety found me.  It was not by chance that I stumbled upon that first recovery blog that eventually led me to other recovery blogs, the Booze Free Brigade, The Bubble Hour, Alcoholics Anonynous and all of the other tools I have been using to help me on this journey.

My first AA Meeting and my first vacation

Let me start off by saying I AM STILL SOBER!  Yay!  It has been an amazing ride.  In the last month, I went on to my first AA meeting AND I also went on a weekend trip with 9 of my girlfriends.

I decided to go to AA because although I was feeling great at about 30 days sober, I knew that AA worked for others and I should probably at least try it.  So, I went to my first meeting and I took my mom along with me.  It actually was not that bad.  I spoke, I said I was an alcoholic, I listened and I left.  I left there still thinking I was just doing AA as a precaution and not necessarily because I needed  it.  I will be honest and say that I really felt like I didn’t have problems like the rest of these people in AA.  But, I was still willing to go.

The day after the meeting I was off for a weekend with nine of my girlfriends.  Normally, this would have been a big drinking weekend for me.  Of course, I was not drinking but all of my friends were.  I didn’t think this was going to bother me.  I wanted to keep my life the same when I quit drinking.  I was going to hold on for dear life to this old life.  I thought I could keep my life the same. You know, just not drink.  I found during this weekend with my friends that maybe I don’t want my life to be the same.  Yes, I still laughed without alcohol.  Yes, I still had fun without alcohol. Yes, I woke up feeling amazing. Yes, I woke up with no regrets. But, what I did realize is that I don’t really enjoy hanging out with people who are drinking.  It is like I am looking at my old life from an outsider’s perspective and it is actually kind of sad.  I still have had no desire to drink but being around drinking is not good for me.  I had a really hard time sleeping while I was on this trip.  This sleep anxiety made me realize that this trip was harder on me than I thought it was gonna be.

I went to an AA meeting that Monday not because I thought I should but because I needed to.  I have found it really hard because none of my friends “get it” and I keep talking to them thinking that they are going to.  I need other people to talk to that get it and I am going to find that in AA.

I also am realizing that I just might be okay with not having the old life that I was so desperate to keep the same.  I love my friends and I will always love my friends but things are not the same.  The craziest part is that I am okay with that.  No one is taking my old life away from me.  I am choosing this new life and this new life is pretty amazing.  It is a little scary not knowing where my life is headed but I am trying to trust in the process.

My Sober Birthday

When I first got sober I was really worried about what my life would be like without alcohol.  I feared that it would be boring and that no one would want to hang out with me.  It is tradition in my group of friends to always celebrate eachother’s birthdays.  Usually, that involves some kind of function revolved around drinking.  This year, I wanted to do something for my birthday but without alcohol.  I decided to go on a hike and invite my friends.

We planned to do a pretty strenuous hike that would take about 4 hours.  Eleven of my friends wanted to come and nine showed up.  The two that didn’t show up drank too much the night before and 6:30 a.m. came too early (another reminder of why I am thankful to be sober).

The night before the hike was a Saturday night and had I still been drinking that evening would have been spent at a bar celebrating with all of my friends.  My birthday would have been spent hungover and recovering from the night at the bar.  Instead, I went to bed early and was excited about the next day.  I woke up early, refreshed and ready to enjoy my birthday.

We hiked for about 9 miles total that day and it was sunny and gorgeous outside.  Throughout the entire hike I was so grateful for my sobriety.  I was so worried about things changing when I quit drinking and what I didn’t realize is that I was going to like the change.

I did not think that my life was horrible before when I was drinking.  I was not miserable. I was high functioning. I thought I was happy.  I really had no idea that drinking had that much of an affect on my life.  But, now I see that it did because life is even better than before.

P.S. Although, I feel great and I have had no desire to drink I realize that I still need recovery in order to stay this way.  Plus, it can’t hurt right?  So, I am going to go to my first AA meeting this week.

In the first few days of me not drinking, my teenage son overheard me on the phone talking to my mom about quitting drinking.  I could feel him staring at me.  I turned around and looked at him and he said, “Are you talking about quitting drinking?” At the time, I wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing and I certainly was not ready to have this conversation.  I told him, “I am talking about not drinking as much.” His response, “You’re fine mom, that’s dumb.”  A few weeks later he questioned me about it again. “So are you not drinking at all? Did you quit?” I told him that I had quit.  He seemed somewhat disappointment because he thought I was funny when I drank.  One year, he bought me a wine glass for Christmas and had it engraved.  It said “I love wine and Sam (let’s pretend that Sam is his name)”.  I loved this wine glass and so did everyone else.  He thought it was the coolest gift ever.

With my teenage daughter, she didn’t really ask about me not drinking.  Although, she did ask why I had bought several new pairs of yoga pants because she knows I am frugal.  I told her that now that I wasn’t buying wine I was saving money and could justify buying the yoga pants.  This made sense to her.  She made me a card this Christmas that all kinds of funny stuff on it and at the end said “Don’t drink too much wine today!”  She wasn’t saying this in a pleading way, she was trying to be funny.  I honestly didn’t even think twice about the little wine comment at the end of the card.  It was my mom that pointed it out to me.

My drinking has never caused me to do anything that I really thought I would regret around my children.  What they saw was a lot of adults getting together and drinking at family functions and barbecues.  They definitely saw their fair share of uncles getting too drunk and acting like fools and Aunts doing the same and slurring their words.  They have seem me the same way sometimes.  But, because they never saw anger or violence like I did when I was a kid, I never worried about what they were seeing.  Now I am somewhat rethinking this.  The fact that my son can’t imagine why I would quit drinking and that drinking wine every night is fine is completely due to what I modeled for him.  This is what my children have seen.  This is what they think is normal and I was never really worried about that until now.

I have the two teenagers and I also have two younger children under 5 years old.  I find myself wondering how different they will turn out.  Raising one set around alcohol and the other set without it.  I worry about my older kids.  They have alcoholism all over my side of the family and all over their dad’s side.

It is interesting how getting sober can bring on all of these realizations.  I never really thought about how my drinking would affect my kids.  As long as I wasn’t doing anything while drunk that would qualify as “crazy drunk lady” I thought I was fine.  I may have been wrong.

I am not going to sit here and beat myself over this.  I realize that I may not have set the best example, but I also realize that my choice to get sober is probably the best thing I can do in this situation.  Now my kids will see me living without alcohol.  I saw my parents do this my entire adult life and I really believe that had a great impact on my ability to surrender so quickly.  I know it could be done because that is what they modeled for me, I have seen them sober for years.  I also know they aren’t living this horribly boring life.  They are both happy.

My hope is that my kids won’t have to worry about this disease.  But, if they do, they can at least look to me as an example.

If I haven’t said it or even if I have, I’ll say it again…alcoholism sucks!

My drinking career

At the end of drinking career (I like to call it a career because I put some serious time in perfecting this) it wasn’t easy for me to see that I had a problem.  After all, I was doing what a lot of people I know were doing.  Having a glass or three at night after a long day with the kids.  I was just taking the edge off.  I spent the weekends drinking more than we would on the weekdays but this was ok too because there was always a reason to celebrate even if it was an eight year olds birthday.  This was completely acceptable.  There were many things that I did when I was in my teens and twenties that shouted that I had a problem.  But back then everyone was doing crazy stuff too.  Once again, I felt like everyone was doing it and I wasn’t that much different.

In my thirties, I would have thought that my drinking actually slowed down.  But it really didn’t.  Instead of binge drinking on the weekends, I was now spreading those drinks out over an entire week and not really binging on the weekends.  This was my way of controlling the hangovers.  I could handle the hangovers from binge drinking in my twenties but there is no way that I could now.  I am not saying I never binged in my thirties because I did, just not as often.

When I reflect back on all of the drinking I have done in my day, it is amazing to me that I did not see it before.  I mean my story shouts that I am alcoholic.  But then again, no one sees me as that.  I still get people telling me all the time that I am not an alcoholic “yet” or I am not a “real” alcoholic or I can do this sober thing now and maybe later just drink one or two when I want to.  These kind of reassurances can keep me active in my disease.  I could easily tell myself “see you are fine, everyone thinks you are fine, you are fine”  But I am not fine and over the years I have chosen friends that find excessive drinking acceptable and it is no wonder that they don’t see a problem with my drinking.  I am not saying that they are bad for finding excessive drinking acceptable.  I am just saying that had I made friends with people that would never dream of serving wine at their kid’s first birthday party, maybe they would have a different opinion of my drinking and weather or not I have a problem.

Thankfully, it doesn’t matter to me what others think as far as my drinking goes. It wasn’t working for me and I am not doing it anymore.  And here are a few stories to remind me why I am an alcoholic.  These are the signs that I can clearly see now that I couldn’t see before.

1. The first time I drank, I was 13 and I drank a pint of vodka with absolutely no off switch. I blacked out and ended up two miles away from where I was staying on someone’s doorstep.  They called the ambulance and I woke in the hospital spewing charcoal.  I almost died.

2. When I was about 20 I smoked pot (something I rarely did) before a movie and I passed out at the ticket counter in front of a huge crowd of people.  When I passed out, I hit my head on the concrete and my whole body went into convulsions.  I was so freaked out by this that I made my friends take me to the hospital but I was too paranoid to go inside so we just sat outside of the hospital for hours until the high went away.

3. I used to hang out with a crowd that did ecstasy and cocaine every weekend.  I was proud of the fact that I wasn’t doing those things. BUT, I was right there with them every weekend while they were doing it.  I would drink to excess and I could stay up until 5 or 6 am right along with them.  I would do all this and still function all week long working as a teacher, taking care of my kids and taking graduate courses.  The fact that I could function told me that I didn’t have a problem, I did.

4. I made a ton of bad choices while drinking in my twenties.  No need to go into all those details but I did a lot of things I wouldn’t have done sober.

5. I have probably had no more than 6 days sobriety outside of pregnancy since I was 18.

This list is only the beginning of a really long list.  I just wanted to start the list as a reminder to myself that this isn’t all in my head.

Here is to making lists of all of the things I get to do now that I am sober!

 

Am I or Aren’t I?

Sometimes I find myself in awe that I am sitting here sober.  I just really never ever thought this one going to happen.  When I say that, I don’t mean that I thought I could never get sober.  I mean, I never thought I would need to.  Up until a little over a month ago, I didn’t even really realize that I had a problem.  I was so productive, successful, happy, driven and alcohol had no negative effects on my life or so I thought.  It wasn’t until I got sober that I really realized that I was in fact an alcoholic.  I have been able to look back and clearly see these signs but at the time I saw nothing.

It was very easy for me to see someone that was worse than me.  I drank the same amount as most of my friends.  I stopped at two or three glasses of wine on most nights.  For the most part, I stayed away from hard alcohol (my definition of an alcoholic included hard alcohol because of my mom’s drinking). I never drank and drove.  I never showed up to non-drinking functions drunk.  I never drank in the mornings or early afternoons.  No one ever ever told me they thought I should cut back.  I did everything that I said I was going to do.  If I committed, I was doing it.  I could easily tell myself that I was supermom and as long as I was juggling 20 different tasks at once then there was no way I could have a problem.

I had two months of some pretty progressive drinking that led me to taking some time off.  Initially, I just wanted a break.  I still had no idea that I had any type of problem.  This really amazes me because now it is so clear and it was so NOT clear then!  I think in those first few days I was “white knuckling it” and had no idea that was what I was doing.  I was an emotional mess.  I found myself googling “quitting drinking” because even though I didn’t want to quit drinking I knew that I might need to take a look at my drinking.  I found Unpickled’s blog and here was a woman who was completely high functioning and she was a recovering alcoholic and I couldn’t stop reading it.  This led me to an entire online community of people just like me.  For the first time ever, I realized that you don’t have to drink vodka out of coffee cup in order to be an alcoholic.  This scared the crap out of me!

I found myself torn.  I was faced with some new knowledge.  There were many women that were extremely successful and extremely driven that were alcoholics.  I didn’t need to be falling down drunk to have a problem.  I still took some time and did some soul searching before I accepted it. I found myself still questioning “am I or aren’t I an alcoholic?” Everything was pointing to the fact that I was. But, I still had people in my life telling me that I was fine and that I was probably over thinking this like I do most things.

I started going through some pretty intense emotions.  I was crying over little stuff and normally I don’t cry.  This was kinda of scary to me.  I didn’t realize how much of an effect the alcohol had on me.  Obviously, it did.  Deep down I knew that this wasn’t normal.  It scared me to think that taking away alcohol had such an emotional effect on me.  This showed me that alcohol was definitely effecting my life even if I thought it hadn’t been.

There were many nights where I was obsessively reading blogs or posts on the Booze Free Brigade when I told myself “stop obssessing!”  I just wanted to go back to my regular old drinking.  It was almost like I just wished I never found this information out.   I knew I couldn’t look myself in the mirror and know what I now knew and still drink.  This wasn’t gonna be as much fun anymore.  Damn it!  I don’t like to worry about things.  I like everything in it’s place and now I had just given myself something to worry about.

I drank on Day 11 and found that I really wanted to continue not drinking because being hungover sucked and I was already being sucked in by the sobersphere.  I again tried to see if I could moderate about a week later.  I drank one glass of wine throughout an entire day of many chances for drinking.  I didn’t leave that situation feeling like “look I can drink just one, I’m fine”   I had insomnia that entire night.  I kept thinking about what my dad had said about how miserable he was trying to moderate.  He was right,  I left that situation feeling like moderation sucks!

I spent about one more week freaking out because I knew I needed to stop completely in order to get the obsessive voices in my head to go away.  I didn’t want to constantly think about not drinking.  I knew that I could probably “control” my drinking and if I let myself drink just on weekends, I was just going to repeat this obsessive cycle every Monday.

I have two trips planned for February and April.  These are both trips where lots of drinking will be involved.  They are also trips that I planned myself.  I found myself freaking out about these trips.  I didn’t want to cancel them and I couldn’t imagine myself going on these trips and not drinking.  It was almost like I was worried that I was going to ruin someone else’s time by being the sober chick.  In my drinking days, I wouldn’t have wanted a sober person around watching me while I acted like an idiot.  Through some serious thinking I realized a few things about these trips. 1. it was only 6 days of my life and I shouldn’t let my sobriety rest on 6 days of my life  2. my friends don’t really care what the hell I am drinking as long as they can still drink  3. I will probably have way more fun without drinking because I won’t have anxiety or a hangover.

I went to yoga one morning and I came out of there knowing that I had surrendered.  It was all glaringly obvious to me.  I was an alcoholic and I needed to stop drinking for good.  I felt the most amazing since of relief.  I could stop worrying about impending trips.  I could stop worrying about whether this was just another one of my obsessions. I could stop worrying about whether or not I was gonna drink at that wedding in July. I wasn’t going to drink. Taking away the choice made all the difference. It was amazingly liberating!  I wish I could tell someone how to get there, to the point of surrender. But, I think you just need to go through it and I promise you will get there.  Just don’t drink!  I know, I know it is not that easy to just not drink but trust me it is so much better on the other side.  What has been the most helpful to me is the BFB.  and finding other people that are going through similar situations.  This has been the most supportive group of people I have ever come into contact with.  I think recovering alcoholics just may be some of the most introspective, caring, funny people I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with!

The truth will set you free

A little on my perspective about the stigma of being an alcoholic.
I was having another one of my long talks with my mom about me quitting drinking.  In that conversation, I told her that some of my friends didn’t “get it” and that I had told them that I had two parents that were recovering alcoholics and I very well may be one too.  My mom looked hurt when she heard me say this.  She asked me not to tell people that she was alcoholic.  This baffeled me!  18 years later and she is still ashamed?  I have always told people that my parents are recovering alcoholics and many of my friends saw the crazy drunk lady so they knew.  But, now they didn’t think of her as that.  They thought of her as who she is now and who she has been for the last 18 years.  My mom told me she was referring to any new friends that weren’t around when she was drinking.  She didn’t want THEM to know.   It seems that even with all of these sober years behind her, she still feels the need to hide that she is an alcoholic. Maybe this is because she never worked a program, I’m not sure. I have been very open about the fact that I am an alcoholic. I told her she should be proud of her accomplishment and beating this disease for 18 years. I felt so bad for her. I hadn’t realized that she was still struggling with this.

I have taken the opposite approach. I’m not ashamed. It’s a disease and it’s not my fault. I’m actually pretty proud that I can do this. This takes hard work. I’m doing something that most people couldn’t (even normies).
I have told most of my friends that I am not drinking and why. For me, it has been so much easier to just tell the truth. I wanted to tell people up front so that I didn’t feel uncomfortable around them if they were drinking. I didn’t want to have to sit there and stress out about what they are thinking and wondering about me. If I tell them they know and don’t have to wonder.

I have found that most people don’t even bat an eye at my decision, we just move onto the next thing in the conversation. This always amazes me that they aren’t taken aback by the thought of someone living without alcohol. These are the people that I have watched over the years be able to take it or leave it. These are the normies in my life.

I also have a close knit group of family/friends that I have spent 20+ years drinking with every weekend. I was very honest with them from day 1 and never worried about judgement because there just isn’t any with these friends no matter what we do. These are the friends that I know have struggled with their own questions about the possibility of them being alcoholics themselves. I feel like I may be leading the way and showing them that it is possible to go to a party and not drink. We are still the same people without the alcohol we just remember the conversations and don’t have to deal with a headache or guilt in the morning.

That being said, I am not at a point where I am telling co-workers or anything like that. There is no need for that. I know that everyone chooses how they deal with telling people and I think everyone should have that choice to do as they wish. I just wanted to say that I feel somewhat liberated not having to hide it.

Recovering with my mother

While I was growing up, my mom was a chain smoking, vodka bottle hiding, closet drinking alcoholic. Because of her, I never wondered about my own drinking because she was the picture I had in my head of what an alcoholic looked like.  You can read more about her in my previous post Conversations with my mom.  In the past month, we  have spent hours talking about my sobriety and talked through so much of her early days and what led her to finally getting sober.

Wait, I say that she finally got sober, but she really hasn’t.  She now takes vicodin.  I feel bad even typing this….see I am always going to be that child of an alcoholic…protecting, making excuses, pretending that it is not happening.  My mom has been on a ton of Vicodin for the last ten years.

My mom has always been a hypocondriact and when she got “sick” about ten years ago, no one believed her.  I thought she was drinking again (she may have been). My brother was getting married and my mom would tend to relapse right before major functions (my wedding, my graduation, her wedding).  I was pissed at her for drinking again. She wouldn’t get out of bed to help prepare for this wedding that was being held at her house.  I ignored the fact that she was as sick as she was because I KNEW it was alcohol.  Finally, we took her to the emergency room because she had a temperature of 104.  I sat in the hospital room with her watching her puke, annoyed at her, with no sympathy whatsoever.  She was clearly drinking again and I was hurt all over again.  Why did she have to do this EVERY TIME?  I told the doctor right in front of her that she was drinking.  They admitted her to the hospital and I went home to scramble and once again take over the things she should have been doing to get ready for this wedding.  The night before my brother’s wedding we got a call that my mom was going into emergency surgery because she did in fact have a huge infection and it was not from drinking.  I couldn’t be there because I had to get ready for the wedding.  I did feel bad for not believing her.  I somewhat apologized later but I also felt like it was “the boy who cried wolf”.

That was ten years ago.  After this infection, the doctor put her on ridiculous amount of vicodin to help with the “pain” in her leg from the nerve damage.  When my mom takes vicodin, she is not a crazy drunk lady.  She seems normal to me.  I do realize that taking the vicodin is not good for her and that she should stop.  I have encouraged her to do so many times throughout the years. But, there is always the issue of the pain.  Every time my mom gets her perscription filled the pharmacist says no because it is way too much vicodin for one person to be taking.  They always have to call her doctor for approval.

This past month I have spent a lot of time talking to my mom.  I think that my sobriety has really made her take a look at her own recovery and alcoholism.  For the first time, she is understanding that although she got sober from alcohol, she never got help and she has been living with the regret and the shame that goes along with being an alcoholic.  She is still self medicating.  I am steadfast in my focus on my own sobriety.  However, if my own choice to get sober can inspire my mom to get help it will be just one more point on the sobriety board.

Summing up the last 28 days

28 days ago I decided to do something about my drinking.  I wasn’t really sure what, but I knew I had to do SOMETHING.  I never in a million years would have thought that I would completely be giving up alcohol.  I drank on day 11, because I wasn’t really sure yet what I was doing about my drinking. You can read more about that here in my post Starting over. I really wanted a drink and I talked myself into it not being a big deal. I didn’t beat myself up about it but decided that I felt better not drinking and that I would continue  to not drink.

Not drinking was giving me all sorts of crazy feelings because it felt like everything was changing and I didn’t know what to do with those feelings.  I tend to be an obsesser about a lot of things and I wasn’t sure if this was just another one of my kicks where I was convincing myself that I needed to do something. For example, the time I decided I shouldn’t eat dairy after watching Forks Over Knives or when I decided that I really needed to be a juicer after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, or after reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad and deciding that I just need to spend no money.  I once cut out everything that was not a necessity out of our budget.  We saved a lot of money but my kids didn’t do their extracurriculars, I only had them in preschool two days a week to save money which left me with no time to get my full time job done.  I did eventually realize that I went a little overboard and that some things I would have to pay for in order to stay sane.  My point is that I sometimes get obsessed and fully immerse myself into something.  I had lingering questions in my head if this not drinking thing was just like all those other times that I became passionate about something and completely commit.

All of sudden, I WAS an alcoholic and I was immersing myself in the sobersphere of blogging and the BFB and The Bubble Hour.  I would have these fleeting moments where I didn’t like the way this felt to be worried and scared about what my future would hold being a sober person and I would tell myself to stop obsessing.  There was a voice in my head telling me to just stop and let whatever is supposed to happen happen.  But every morning I woke up and went straight to the computer and read as much as I could about recovery.  I couldn’t stop and that was somewhat of a sign for me that this wasn’t just some obsession of mine.  But I still wasn’t convinced that I really needed to quit forever.

A couple of weekends ago we went to the beach and spent the night in a hotel.  We met friends there.  They were drinking during the day and I had already given myself a pass to just drink on the weekends.  I knew I was going to drink wine but I was going to wait until the evening.  We sat by the pool and everyone ordered drinks but me.  They all just ordered one though and then they just stopped.  I would have wanted to keep drinking all day once I started.  I still had a fine time without drinking.  I did find myself obsessing about not drinking and what they were drinking and I knew this was not normal.  We ended up going to dinner that night. I had already given myself a pass to drink wine but I was on the fence and completely obsessing in my mind about whether or not I was going to order a glass.  I did end up ordering a glass.  The entire dinner I couldn’t stop thinking about that glass of wine and how much others at the table were drinking.  Normally, I would have ordered at least three glasses of wine.  I realized just how much drinking was controlling my thoughts and I didn’t like this.  Everyone else at the table stopped at their one drink and we all went back to the hotel room.  Normally, I would have bought a bottle of wine and had a few glasses while I watched TV and thought nothing of it.  But, I didn’t do this.  I had a really hard time sleeping that night.  I was really conflicted because I knew in my heart that this just wasn’t right and it wasn’t just another one of my obsessions.  Drinking really had a control over me and that was scary.  The next day Lilly, a fellow blogger, suggested I just do 30 days and go from there.  This was exactly what I needed to hear because the one glass of wine and spending the whole day wondering if I was or wasn’t going to drink was pure torture.

Since then, everyday I have come to realize more and more that I am an alcoholic and that drinking is no good for me.  I keep telling myself something that I read  “It can’t hurt not to drink” so why not just stay sober?

I am incredibly thankful for the support I have received and extremely thankful that I found this sobersphere that I never knew existed that is full of people just like me.  It is hard to believe that a month ago I was an extremely high functioning alcoholic who would have had to convince people that I have a problem with alcohol.  I find peace in the fact that I don’t need to explain why it is that I feel the need to quit drinking to my fellow alcoholics.  They just get it.