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