For everyone who is “not really that bad” (Guest Post)

This guest post was written by member @sunshinestace. She actually wrote it as an update in the Members Feed, but I thought it so well articulated and powerful it was worth featuring here. Enjoy reading her warts-and-all account of her drinking problem.

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Today marks 2 weeks of not drinking. It has been about a year since I really looked at my drinking and realized it was not healthy, and was acutally a problem, and I want to share a bit about what the process has been like, so that maybe it can help others in a similar position.

For me, never having any serious consequences (no DUI’s, no broken relationships, no getting fired from a job) due to my drinking kept me from acknowledging that it really was a problem, for a long time. People would see me as a high-achieving, educated, always happy mom and professional who “has it all together”, and is living a great life. But on the inside, I was anxious, depressed, and lacked coping skills to deal with my emotions and life’s stresses, and that’s how I ended up using wine (mostly) to numb my feelings. It is such a socially acceptable way to “relax” at the end of a day, and it was easy, and for a while it seemed to work.

But then, over time, I noticed that when I felt upset or worried about something, my immediate thought was “I need a drink!” and after a long day of work I would actually perk up at the thought “I can go home and open a bottle of wine!”. My husband travels a lot for work, and I noticed that I felt happy when he was gone, because it allowed me to drink the way I wanted to ...

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(pour glass after glass, as soon as the kids were in bed) without him giving me judgey looks.

Then there were the times that maybe the kids had a snow day from school, and it was 3pm, and I was bored out of my mind and I thought having some wine would make the day more fun. I usually didn’t “get drunk” in front of the kids, but let’s be honest… even having a slight buzz meant that you are not really yourself and you are not fully present.

Then I started drinking before the kids went to bed, during our bedtime routine. I would pour a huge glass of wine and bring it with me when I read bedtime stories. Instead of laying down to cuddle the kids, I would sit up (so I could take sips from my glass, perched on the nightstand). Sometimes I quit reading early because I noticed I was slurring.

I switched from wine glasses with stems to the stemless type, “so the kids won’t knock it over” when it was my lack of coordination after several servings of wine that would send a glass breaking. I started resenting it when my kids picked a long bedtime story, because I wanted them to get to sleep ASAP so I could be alone and “really relax”… which meant drink lots of wine. I began shifting the wine bottles around in the recycling bin, hiding some, because in the morning I felt ashamed seeing how many I had gone though that week. And I was worried my husband would see.

I began to classify social events in my head as “it will be fun, because there will be drinking” and “it will be boring, because alcohol won’t be served”. When we ate dinner at a restaurant that didn’t serve wine, I felt resentful, like I was being cheated out of what was my happy thing. That’s what alcohol became… my Happy Thing. My One Happy Thing.

I didn’t notice the sunset (I noticed how much wine was left in the bottle), I didn’t notice my child’s laugh (I noticed how close it was to bedtime, so they would go to sleep). I didn’t enjoy social gatherings (I was calculating how much I could drink without seeming like a lush).

I began to wake up at 3am, feeling anxious and sweaty after a night of drinking wine, and I would swallow the 2 advil I had set next to my bed, and drink a glass of water, and think to myself, this is ridiculous, you really need to stop drinking so much. Many mornings I stood in the shower and closed my eyes and my balance felt off and I could still taste the wine, stale in my mouth. My head felt foggy as I drove the kids to school. I would need to stop at the drive thru and order a greasy breakfast sandwich to try to “soak up the alcohol” and feel better. My skin looked bad and I gained a lot of weight. I never worked out anymore because who wants to get up at 5am and exercise when you are hungover. Sure… nothing “bad” happened to me with all this drinking. But certianly nothing GOOD was happening either.

So about a year ago, after yet another night of drinking more than I wanted to, and feeling like crap in the morning, I started googling “how to stop drinking” and “am I an alcoholic”. That started my journey towards sobriety. I read blogs about stopping drinking, I ready sober memoirs, I listened to podcasts, I found an app that counts days, and I found this site and this community of sober friends. I would like to say that’s IT – I saw the light and I’ve been sober ever since! But that’s not how it worked for me. The process has been non-linear, and humbling. I have had over 100 days of not drinking, and I have also had a couple of nights that I binged and blacked out. I have bared my soul and my secrets to online groups like this, but I have not talked to anyone “in real life” about this issue. I see that alcohol is the enemy, a trickster that lies and controls and takes away joy and life, but sometimes I still minimize my relationship with it, and lie to myself and say “I can moderate, I was never really THAT bad”.

So I guess that is what this post is about. For everyone who “is not really that bad”… and everyone who is considering moderation… this is for me, and for all of you. Looking at my story, laid out as it is, its obvious that alcohol is a problem for me. I am one of the lucky ones who has not had a horrible life consequence (yet) due to my drinking. This is a gift, and instead of using that as an excuse NOT to quit it entirely, I should grab on and stay sober because I know its the right thing for me. I am still a work in progress… and I have a ways to go, I know, but I encourage anyone who is thinking “am I really that bad” to instead ask yourself “is my life really that good?” … does alcohol add good things to my life? Does it make me happier, smarter, more productive, and more healthy? And if the answer is no – it doesn’t add good things to life, then its probably time to let it go and stop.

That’s what I have found to be true for me.

29 Comments
  1. GirlyGirl 5 months ago

    That was a wonderful post and it was exactly what I needed to hear. An honest, good mom, like me, who drank. Drank out of boredom, drank when the kids were asleep, and then before they were asleep. Good for you. Good for your honesty. I don’t do sobriety perfectly either but you are correct: Nothing good, in the end, comes from any drinking at all. Thank you. I loved this post and it really, truly helped me!

  2. NewStartSteph 6 months ago

    Hi @sunshinestace – I just found this post published under the blogs. Thanks for writing it and sharing. As some others have said, its really helpful to hear someone’s story at the earlier stages as well – both for those of us who are right there with you, but I think also for those who are much further along but need a reminder about what they have left behind so that they stick with it. So well written. Thanks x

  3. Zeb1 6 months ago

    As someone who too thought “im not that bad” but also knew in my heart that “its not that right either”, this post really resonated. Thanks for sharing x

  4. Greenfinch 6 months ago

    Wonderful, thank you so much.

  5. sarah47 6 months ago

    Hey @sunshinestace! Oh my gosh, I was sure you were writing about me! Except throw in running marathons to to justify how together I really am ( not!)

    • Monica 5 months ago

      I was a runner, Sarah and have actually done several half marathons hungover. In fact, my last half marathon i was still drunk at the starting line. 🙁 Needless to say, that was not my best run!

      That was proof everything was good, right?! Ugh! Day 127 for me today!

  6. Megnesium 7 months ago

    Love this story – I hear you ?

  7. Schubaby 7 months ago

    Your story sounds much like mine. There is comfort in knowing I am not the only one who is struggling with alcohol.

  8. Camelia01 7 months ago

    This really resonates for me right now. Excellently put. Thank you !

  9. SunshineStace 7 months ago

    Thanks to every single one of you for reading my story and for lending your support!!! Its very comforting to know I am not alone on this journey, and that other people can relate. On day 26 today and I’m not looking back!! Sober is better! xox

    • JR 7 months ago

      @sunshinestace – Wow! You articulated your story so well….and hit me to the core. This was me. My kids are teens and college now, yet when they were younger I used to get inwarded annoyed when they wanted another story and extended snuggle time as it was encroach on me ‘getting to my wine’. Oh how I wish I could change all that, but looking back with shame does not help….looking back to see how far I have come is productive.
      Nothing bad happened as you said…..yet did good happen? Love that line!! Thank you for taking the time to share your story!

  10. Oceania 7 months ago

    Wow @sunshinestace so glad I read this , you’re amazing ! Thank you for your honesty , I must of missed your original post , gosh I can relate , especially those foggy mornings in the shower ,

  11. Anonymous 7 months ago

    Can totally relate thank you! And thank you mrrs D for posting a personal story that is more in the thick of the struggle rather than the usual veterans who are all set for over a year. It’s the stories like these with the raw detail and ups and downs that help me so much because I then Remember why I am here. 159 days now for me and couldn’t have gotten here without stories like yours. Love and hugs.

  12. Cinderella 7 months ago

    0MG that was a really sobering story. It highlighted so much stuff that I don’t wish to forget, only because I never want to travel back the way I came. Thankyou for your post and for sharing Mrs D.

  13. Tam 7 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. I can relate to this exactly. I had 6 months up before forgetting what alcohol takes away, and started drinking again. I’m now trying to start again.

  14. Kamo 7 months ago

    Oh @sunshinestace, I am a little over 9 months sober. Lately I’ve been wondering if I could moderate after hitting one year. Maybe I was “not really that bad”. Your description of how it used to be knocked me on the floor! Thank you for writing this. And yes ”laid out as it is”, I do have a drinking problem. Thank you for the reminder!!

  15. barnmomma 7 months ago

    This was amazing, @sunshinestace. I could relate to everything. Alcohol is so insidious in the way it takes over our lives without our even noticing the changes and then, once we’ve decided to stop imbibing, plays a trick on us once again by making our drinking days seem like they were innocent and brought true enjoyment. Lies, all of it. Thanks so much for sharing your story in such a beautiful way.

  16. Scarlet 7 months ago

    I could have written this! It’s so similar to my own experience and many others, I suppose. I haven’t posted in a long time because I struggle. Back and forth, on and then off again, all the while knowing it’s no good for me or those around me. I needed to read this to be reminded once again that I’m not alone.

  17. Poppy88 7 months ago

    Yes the sad rushing of the story for the cherub to get back to drinking. Far out. The power we gave it is an eye opener for sure. I love that my eyes are open now for so long they were closed. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  18. Treehugger 7 months ago

    Yep, ditto to everything. It’s like reading about my former self. Thank you for sharing your story, by doing so you will help many xo

  19. Iowadawn 7 months ago

    @sunshinestace THANK YOU !! Just brilliant..so raw, so true, and we can sooo
    relate!!
    Like you..I didn’t get a DUI (lucky ) or jail/legal situation….close call back years ago when my underage son(at the time) snuck into my basement with beer/I’m newly divorced/brought friends/cops called..I was upstairs asleep AFTER being drunk…close call(cops could smell wine on me when I had to wake up and come downstairs..my other 4 kids awake by than, as well..humiliating)..could have been horrific. YET I still drank…switching to “weekend only” and “holiday/celebrations only” drinking (which was black out wasted once home) (I know…right? Wth?)
    Now 473 days and…sometimes my mind plays tricks(“I wasn’t that bad…”) I get it.
    An inspiring post and thanks for highlighting Mrs D. Thank you for sharing☺

  20. Enoughsenough 7 months ago

    Thank you so much for sharing @sunshinestace, there are so so many parts of your story that ring so true, beer not wine for me, and i was having exactly one of of those “am i really that bad days” really craving one + after a physical weekend.

    This is exactly what i needed to log on and read (today marks 2 weeks for me also).

    Thanks for this site and you again, i am going to get a ginger beer.

  21. kitten 7 months ago

    Great post, @sunshinestace. thank you for sharing.

  22. Sunny_Disposition 7 months ago

    Great post @sunshinestace, thoughtful, honest & beautifully written. Thank u for sharing 🙂

  23. Bluewren 7 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, your story is well articulated, and one that I can so relate to. The way you breakdown the stages how alcohol can creep into your life bit by bit, especially how it has the power to stop as enjoying the things we love most. Well done on all you have achieved, thanks for sharing, it helps.

  24. SteveF 7 months ago

    Wow. Just wow. I have been here for almost 12 months and this just might be the most powerful post that I have read. It is so spot on about what abusing alcohol is really like. I too have experienced just about everything you described. Thank you so much for laying it all out. It is truly inspiring to me and hopefully will help others who are still thinking they’re “really not that bad”.

  25. 01oceanbreeze 7 months ago

    Wow, can definitely relate – so well written – such an honest account – thanks for sharing!

  26. enzedgirl 7 months ago

    Beautifully and clearly written @sunshinestace – your story is also my story xxx

  27. Kimbo 7 months ago

    Wow, powerful. Thank you for sharing.

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