On being a sober parent….

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 sons reality of their entire childhoods if I’d continued on the drinking path I was on.

It was like that for a time. For a while there I was modelling daily alcohol consumption as a normal way to live. I was showing them that  having a wine at 5pm every night was a normal thing to do, the best way to relax, an ordinary ‘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 evenings. On occasion I vomited into the toilet after a late night out (luckily they never actually caught me doing this, but they could have). Once I even did a drunken stumble and fell while carrying one of my sons (luckily we only tipped over onto the sofa, it could have been much worse).

But thankfully I quit drinking and now their reality is so different. They never have to see me slurry or stumble. They never have to worry. My eldest son was 7 when I quit and he 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.

And 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 in the years ahead when they become old enough to drink. I’m sure it won’t be a smooth road all of the time. At least being sober I am giving myself the best chance I can 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 be.

Love, Mrs D xxx

  1. Supersaloon 3 years ago

    This is day one last drop of wine 9.30pm 5 Jan 2017. So need to stop drinking had enough. I tried going once b4 4 3 days and had a horrible attack. I had this real itchy feeling all over i could not sleep then i went back to wine and have not stopped since. Im too shy embarrassed to ask anyone for help. Comments i have read are all familiar. I so badly want to stop.

  2. drummergirl 3 years ago

    Here I go- day 1. I am scared & feeling vulnerable. I am not well from few benders I’ve been on. Looking forward to tomorrow & it’s only 1pm in the day. I know I can do this & will do it. Love this site & think you are all.an inspiration! My body so needs this but my mind is a problem.

  3. Jellybaby 4 years ago

    Thank you for this.
    I am on day 6 and it is great to read how I can correct things – especially for Mr 9 🙁

    • MtCowgirl 3 years ago

      How are you doing Jellybaby? I’ve made it to day 7. Hard but so worth it.

  4. Anonymous 4 years ago

    good job! 8 days including a weekend is an accomplishment and i bet it feels great overall sure there are moments of frustration or fear but those existed with alcohol too! but niw you have a general feeling of healthy energy that is missing when drinking

  5. Ang75 4 years ago


    I only joined your website yesterday and this is the first post I have read. Made me feel very emotional, my main reason for wanting to be Af is my two beautiful daughters. I am only on day 8 and just survived my first weekend with no alcohol, early days but I’m feeling pretty amazing this Monday morning!!!

    I can’t wait to read more on this site it looks fab and so much support and tips! Thankyou xxx

    • Lindy 3 years ago

      Well done! Good luck x

  6. Purrl 4 years ago

    So thankful for this blog post. I really needed it today. On day 77, but sometimes it is really hard. I would never had made it this far without this group!

  7. davenajean 4 years ago

    I loved reading this( although it made me cry) and have great admiration for those of you who stopped drinking while your children were young.
    I did not and over the years displayed some not so good behavior and my children saw things they shouldn’t have.
    This fils me with regret and breaks my heart.
    They are adults now and I am coming to terms with the fact I can’t change the past just live in the present.
    However, my biggest regret is not quitting when they were young.
    I hope those with young children really think about Mrs D’s story.

    • Helme 3 years ago

      Haven’t been on this post for a while and have just read your comment. I’m the same, I drank right through my children’s childhood. Drank while cooking, drankk while reading story, (gave up reading to them cause the sluring was so bad), drank while bathing, drank during family dinner, drank during family sleep over in livingroom watching kids movies. Drank through everything. The guilt can be very over whelming sometimes. what emotional damage have i caused? Is my son’s lack of affection a direct result of my lack of nurturing? Is my daughter’s inability to to the truth due to the fact I was not emotionally present? Are the issues that still arise in my marriage due to my drinking? some days I look back and think wow I did it I’m not in that place anymore. Then other days I realise how hard this is and how much work I still have to do.

  8. olive31 4 years ago

    I really loved your write up here Mrs D – I too had been modelling that it was completely normal to pour a glass of wine every night at 6pm and also took my wine glass into the room whilst reading bedtime stories in fact my wine glass also came with us to bathtime it was my little helper that came everywhere with me while doing the night time routine – looking back it seems really terrible but at the time didn’t seem at all bad :/ I am currently sipping a cup of iced green tea which is nice a refreshing and my new fave treat drink is Kombucha – kind of like a natural cider being fermented tea and fruit even thinking about trying to make my own its that good 😀 thank you so much for this post really re-enforces for me that I need to stay sober for my little dude whom I love more than anything and who surprises and inspires me everyday <3 – he is only 5 so your comment about your eldest not remembering fills me with hope that after even just a couple of months memories of mummy and ever attached wine glass will vapourise from my wee man's mind :)) x

  9. Robert 4 years ago

    A very pertinent post @mrs-d, my children are a prime reason why I have forsaken alcohol.

  10. enzedgirl 4 years ago

    Lovely post @mrs-d my kids are a huge driver for me to stay AF.

    now all they gave to smell in my breath is whatever I ate last, or toothpaste 😀

  11. Prim 4 years ago

    I was re-listening to a Since Right Now podcast with Natasha Silver Bell yesterday and she had some really helpful words on being a sober parent which you might find helpful if you haven’t already heard it. The key thing I remember her saying is that research shows that the teenaged years are the key ones for protecting our children against addiction. Research shows that people who became dependent on substances later in their teenaged years have a better chance of succeeding in recovery. She says that as parents we have to ‘hold the line’ for as long as we can.
    My children are now teenagers and I am hugely thankful to be three years sober so I can speak with conviction about the risks of alcohol and they can see me walking the walk every day. It sounds as if your kids will also have a shining example of how a life doesn’t need alcohol in it to have a great time! Prim xx

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