Why I Drank, and What Happened

The links between why I drank and what happened as my drinking progressed matches this chart exactly.

I drank to cope: with anxiety (made it worse); a bad relationship (made it worse); work stress (worse); parenting stress (you get it).

The more I drank to cope, the worse care I took with myself. I only managed the bare minimum-clean clothes, basic hygiene, some kind of calories. Risks? Plenty. The worst of them was drinking and driving. I went to jail and everything. Work problems? See ‘jail’, above. I risked my professional license. I also was just phoning it in at work, and my job wouldn’t last long with me doing the bare minimum.

The other motive that fits my story is to “enhance” positive feelings. Basically, I read this as “to try to falsely create some.”

This is the one with binge drinking and blackouts and a primary outcome. This fits. If I’m trying to feel good (in other words, completely different to how I really feel), a slight warm relaxing feeling won’t suffice. But getting wasted, that’s more like it. Let’s dance. Ughhhhhh.

It helps me to work through some of my “whys” to fix what’s really wrong. It helps me to remember what happens when I think the fix for what’s really wrong is at the bottom of a bottle.

Happy Friday sober family! Keep it simple today.

**This is a very simplified snapshot of an NIH (National Institutes of Health) study from 2012, called “Motivational Pathways to Uniques Types of Alcohol Consequences.”

Life After Quitting

When I decided to let go of alcohol for good, I was pretty focused on just not drinking. I set up new routines and committed to them. I told my loved ones and asked them to support me. I went to lots of meetings, read books and articles, counted and celebrated days sober.

When I felt solid, I started chipping away at my underlying issues bit by bit. I prioritized my self care, met shame and fear head on, and nurtured the best parts of myself.

I feel transformed, and also exactly like myself. I’d lost my connection with my most authentic self forever ago. I didn’t think I was worthy of a great life. I was wrong.

The longer I live in alignment with my deep knowing of what feels good and right, the more calm and happy I feel.

That includes accepting the parts of me I tried to shift around to make other people happy. It was too exhausting, trying to play different roles in the same life.

Cutting ties with an addictive substance and staying stopped for some time gave me the mental clarity and physical/emotional well being to grow.

It’s so much better on this side. ❤️

Do it Today

Do it Today

I drank for many years after knowing I shouldn’t. Alcohol slowly started strangling everything important to me, like a creeping, sinister vine. I let it take my self esteem, my work ethic, my sense of responsibility, my hobbies, my peace and my joy. For a few years, I could somewhat control my alcohol use. I’d go weeks without drinking. But once I took the first sip, I couldn’t control how much I drank.

The crazy part? The days I woke up without a hangover were the best days. I started the day with a little energy, not feeling so sick, and proud of myself for not drinking. I’d be productive and active. But the obsession to drink would come back and eventually win out. And I’d be thrown back into chaos and shame.

My sister and I talked today about what it was like when we were in that purgatory state with alcohol-hating it and being disgusted and ashamed…. and then still drinking. The absolute worst. I quipped, “It’s like picking at a scab.” (These things just roll off my tongue. It’s a blessing and a curse.)

I used my body like a science experiment for decades. Decades. And my behavior like a sociological study. My insane thinking was for the neurologists and psychiatrists to dissect. It’s like I was detached from myself, like I was just watching someone else go through life. Like I wasn’t real.

And I kind of wasn’t real. I was a walking, talking, smiling mannequin, somehow miraculously human-like, but something’s just not quite right.

I have known all of this for years and been so scared of what it meant that I drank more to try to protect myself. I tried detaching enough, medicating enough, to not fall apart.

Then the drinking caused most of the crises but the only coping skill I had left was drinking. This could have gone on forever until one day I made a decision, one I shared with loved ones, that there could be no more empty promises of “tomorrow.”

If I were reading this while still drinking, I would indignantly think, “This is bullocks. This is the WORST time to quit drinking because [every excuse in the book].”

It is ALWAYS the worst time to quit drinking for people with drinking problems. Which, when you think about it, makes you realize it’s the best time of all. Or even the only time.

If you want to stop drinking, do it today. If you’re a heavy daily drinker, get to a medially supervised hospital detox. If you’re a problem drinker who doesn’t get significant withdrawal symptoms, dump it down the drain (if there’s any left). And go get the rest of the hidden stash too. And even the emergency stash. This is the hard part: after all that, DO NOT BUY MORE. And stay away from it until you feel stronger. That’s how I had to do it, anyway.

Show a Little Class

Show a Little Class

My sister and I have been talking about how we would like to show more class and grace. Kindness and manners are always in style. That doesn’t mean you won’t hear the F bomb drop from our lips on occasion. Sometimes it’s just called for.

What isn’t called for is getting fall down drunk. It’s really not cute at any age, but it’s just a ridiculous state of affairs for professional moms with teen kids. I mean, REALLY. Ladies. Come on.

How do we drink with class? We drink water and sparkling water and coffee and an occasional tea. Maybe we throw a splash of juice in the seltzer when we’re feeling sassy. Because, make no mistake, we are no ladies with an alcoholic beverage. That one drink is gone in about 1/2 second, so fast either one of us easily could say, “Oh, I believe you forgot to pour my drink.” I can confidently say neither one of us has ever been satisfied with just one. Our motto was always, “Why waste the calories?”

We retired our drinking career, choosing to treat our bodies as the temples of our lovely spirits. We still aren’t exactly models of decorum, but fuck it. It’s a start.

The Peril of Being “High Functioning”

The Peril of Being “High Functioning”

I’m what a lot of people would call a high functioning alcoholic. Like, my family didn’t worry about my. There were no staged interventions. When I brought up my drinking to friends and family, like, “maybe do I drink too much?,” I always got back an emphatic NO!

Mind you, it’s not like I told anyone the truth about how much I drank alone. More like, I wanted to know if I was getting away with it. And I pretty much did. I was there at all my son’s little league games and my daughter’s theater performances and got them to the doctor and dentist and playdates. I was involved in the schools. I knew all the teachers and their friend’s parents. I hung out at school pickup with the other mamas.

I never missed work because of a hangover. I worked hard. I got through a very challenging 4 year graduate school, with excellent grades, then right away started a business and grew it and have staff and serve people in my community.

I have friends. I volunteer in my community. When invited to social events, I showed up, with a hostess gift or an appetizer. My house was clean-ish. I paid my bills.

What’s remarkable is the incredible resilience of the human brain and body. Like, I routinely poured ethanol down my throat and my body kept going.

It’s a trap, being a drunk who still pulls off the show. If I had been confronted by those close to me, I might have sought help sooner. Not necessarily for myself, but because I care about my reputation so much and would be ashamed to look people in the eye if I knew THEY knew I was a drunk. Plus, our culture pretty much revolves around alcohol. So if everyone in my circle drinks, they’re going to be more comfortable if I do, too.

Getting away with it helped me ignore the problem, rather than looking beyond my reputation to how I was treating myself. I was sick and tired ALL THE TIME. I was always trying to control my drinking. My diet sucked. Exercise was erratic. My mood was awful. I lied about my drinking. I wasn’t proud of myself. I stopped feeling pleasure from everyday things. I suspected I’d be happier not poisoning yourself. I’m so glad I gave sobriety a chance ❤️

Contagion

Contagion

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday. A very good friend of mine told me today that the Sober Sisters is spreading like crazy online. She said we’re like COVID in that way – we’re becoming contagious. I love that we are reaching so many people out there. It’s especially cool because the metamorphosis of this whole project was super organic. It started out with sharing stories with my sister and laughing our asses off. It’s exciting to be able to share these with you, too. We aren’t trying to change, convert, or influence anyone. We are, however, here for you if you do choose to live the sober life. It’s working for us.

welcome to the sister blog!

welcome to the sister blog!

Hi ladies! We are SO gad you found your way to our community of fun-hearted, sober, and sober-curious women. Welcome!

Let us tell you a story…

So how did two sisters wind up sober just weeks apart? What makes us alike, what makes us different? How’d we finally put the plug in the jug?

Keep up with our blog and listen to our pod and we will tell you everything.