I was watching a movie the other day and it showed a woman having a flashback to her childhood where her mum was a total wastoid and completely blotto all of the time. They showed her mum passed out on the sofa, vomiting at the table, slurring in the supermarket - it was really bad. And they showed the little girl looking scared, confused, and sad.
That could so easily have been my three sons reality of their entire childhoods if I'd continued on the drinking path I was on.
It was a little bit like that for a time in my house. For a while there I was modelling daily alcohol consumption as a normal way to live. I was showing my boys that having a wine at 5pm every night was a normal thing to do, the best way to relax, the perfect 'treat' or 'reward' for a hard day. I would check out emotionally by filling myself with booze almost every night. I would drink wine in their rooms while reading them bedtime stories. I would be slurry late into the evening. On occasion I vomited into the toilet after a late night out (fortunate not to be ever caught doing this). Once I even did a drunken stumble and fell while carrying one of my sons (we only tipped over onto the sofa, it could have been much worse).
Thankfully I quit drinking and now their reality is so different. They never see me slurry or stumble. They never have to worry that mum isn't acting right. They never have a little knot of anxiety in their bellies that they can't even explain.
My eldest son was 7 when I quit, now he's 16 and says he can't remember me drinking. Thank goodness for that. Nowadays there is hardly any alcohol in the house and they see me relaxing and having fun without needing to drink it.
I am modelling abstinence as a totally do-able life choice for someone who struggles to control alcohol. They're growing up with an understanding that alcohol has a dark side. That it is highly addictive, and that for some people it can be very destructive and dangerous. They are witnessing that there is a way out.
Who knows what will happen when they start to want to drink. I'm sure it won't be a smooth road all of the time. At least being sober I know I'm giving myself the best chance possible to stay calm, connected, and available to help them get through their teenage years and into adulthood as well rounded humans.
My kids are my greatest inspiration to stay sober. I will never go back to being that blurry, boozy, numbed out version of myself. Raw, real, and recovered.. that's what this mum intends to forever be.
Love, Mrs D xxx
Thank you so much for this. Sounds just like me with my little ones…glass of wine in hand bathing them, reading them stories, putting them to bed. Every night. Cooking dinner, going on a walk with them. Etc. I’m so done. I don’t want my babies growing up thinking that’s normal. Thank you for your blogs, website, books, and everything else!
such an important standard of care mrs.D, so many parents worry about the dangers facing their kids yet model one of most dangerous paths of them all…we regulate just about every other hazard but this one is a free for all… you said it well, and also after many years this dad will forever be…
Thank you so much for your honesty Mrs D. I too want to model a life without the need for alcohol to my teenage boys. It’s taken me a while but hopefully better late than never. Just passed the 3 month mark and still feeling so relieved to no longer have the booze voice in my head. Our culture is awash with booze and it truly feels rebellious to say no to being numbed by alcohol. Let’s hope upcoming generations will realise the manipulation they are being subject to and feel strong enough to say no if they choose to.
So many things in your story resonate with me. One time when my 14 year old son had 5 of his friends at our house I fell over in front of them all and flipped a puzzle board off the table getting showered in all the pieces on the floor right in front of them all. My son must have been really embarrassed. However, i continued to drink and do silly things for another 3 years. Falling and cutting my head several times among other things that are too numerous to list (do you have all day?) My son had started commenting on my being an alcoholic so I started to hide that I was drinking but its hard to hide the overflowing recycling bin and hard to hide your drinking when a normal Saturday was rolling in from the pub and then cleaning up 12 beers and 12 Gin & Tonic then passing out on the floor. Now ive stopped drinking (33 days) my son and I have a better relationship and I have started taking better care of myself. Loving waking up feeling fresh and actually sleeping and not waking at 3am then eventually getting up around 8am still drunk only to start drinking again once 11am rolls around (something about waiting until the pubs are officially open) and starting the cycle over again. My parents had a rule and it was called elevensies…Work on Monday was torture every week. I grew up with a drunk Dad who used to fall over and break furniture etc and I saw myself turning into him (i have consumed heavily for 32 years) and i recall my childhood and felt guilty that I am putting my son through the same shit i grew up with. My dad is 82 now and fell over (drunk) a week before i stopped drinking. He broke 3 ribs and spent 5 weeks in hospital. This was my turning point. Turned around now and determined to stay off the booze. Loving being sober. I need to remember my last hangover to remind me. Living Sober is helping me in an amazing way. Cheers 🙂
Great post Mrs. D. I just watched 28 Days with Sandra Bullock. This must be the movie you are referring to. It was a great flick!