As my mom used to say, “Chocolate doesn’t solve everything. Sometimes you need wine.” This was a philosophy I came to hold dear throughout all the struggles of my life. A college paper due by 8:00am was a lot easier to finish with a bottle of wine at midnight. A drink at the bar eased a stressful day of work with my co-workers. When I was pregnant, it wasn’t a problem to be without an adult beverage for nine months but boy was I happy to indulge in a beer as soon as my daughter was born! Drinks at dinner turned into cocktails at play dates. All the other moms were just as relived as me to have a chilled glass of white wine while we watched our children play. Then every thing changed.
At some point between play dates and mooching off the new mom’s C-Section Vicodin I realized that drugs and alcohol especially, were my go to method to relax. Frankly, I got bored watching Dora the Explorer every day. When I wasn’t bored to tears, I was constantly terrified my daughter would hurt herself. Then I was out of my mind crazy trying to discipline her and maintain control. The alcohol helped me to process my anxiety with other adults going through the same thing. Having a community of mothers all ready to down a bottle of wine made me feel justified in my method.
I told myself, if I can get through nine months without a drink, then I’m not dependent on it. Then my husband got sick and between doctors appointments for him and taking care of my daughter I found myself not only having a drink at nap time, but one before bed, and a bloody Mary in the morning. I realized I didn’t want to stop drinking until I simply couldn’t drink anymore. It didn’t matter that my children were fast asleep, or even that my husband didn’t mind my drinking habits. I knew I had a problem. I didn’t do anything about it, however, until I made an almost fatal mistake.
My husband had to go to another doctor’s appointment so it was up to me to get my daughter and a couple of her friends from the neighborhood to a preschool play date. The mom hosting was hands down the coolest one from daycare. She was a photographer and former bartender with a fully stocked bar. Today she was handing out Cosmos and I was chugging them back casually. When my husband called to say he was home, I loaded all the kids in the car well over the legal limit. They arrived safety and I very easily could have gotten away with it. Then I saw my actions reflected back at me in the eyes of my husband. I didn’t just put myself in danger; I endangered a car full of innocent children. The next day I signed up for AA. With the help of my new friends and mentors I’ve been able to stay sober and appreciate daily mothering for what it is. A joy.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com
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