*Deep Breath*

Okay, here I go.  At 75 days sober, I’m going to let out all this pent up verbiage–open the floodgates on the zillion and one thoughts I’m having every day about all this addiction and recovery stuff.

So, I’m a mom.  I’m actually a homeschool mom.  I’m a recovering alcoholic, homeschooling mom of many.

That’s a lot of things that I don’t see in the same sentence very often, unless I’m the one writing it.

My journey to today has been astoundingly unique, and dreadfully ordinary; I’m not as special as my addiction wants me to believe I am, and I am not as unworthy as my anxieties would have me think.   If there is one thing I am relearning every day, it is that this amazing, frustrating, precious walk through life is to be shared.  If even one person hears something that resonates with them, if even one lonely, dark moment is brightened by  knowing someone else is on the same crazy train, then I need to share my story.

And plus, I like to write.  I’m on a memoir junkie diet these days and I’m itching to write SOMETHING PROFOUND.

Of course, life is a huge part of addiction and recovery, all that jazz, so a lot of this will probably be just me ruminating on life in general.  There’s so much of it–so much DOING and BEING and all that.  All the tiny, common, everyday miracles that are part of life whether we deserve them or not.

All (or a little) about ME ME ME:

My family consists of me, my spouse, and 7 bright young things, of varying ages from 25 to 4 years old.   3 of our kids are in their 20’s and out on their own, and we’ve also been happy to add 3 grandkids and 2 partners to the family rolls.  That leaves 4 kidlets for me to edumacate whether they like it or not. 😉

We live in the heart of Alaska, on not-3-acres of land that I cherish with all my heart.  I love the place where my children have roots.  I live in a paradise of laundry, sunshine, moose, mud, snow, glitter, gardens and long division.

HOW I GOT HERE/Why is this a “sobriety” blog instead of just a mama blog?

Holy shit, that’s a biiiig topic.

But it starts, of course, with the fact that I drank too much.  For a long time.  Off and on.

Throughout my life I found myself going through periods of too much drinking…and in the last 10 years they started to overwhelm me.  I stopped being able to handle not drinking, and didn’t know what to do about it.  Or I did know, and just didn’t do it.

Like so many of us, I have an anxiety disorder.  I drank to be sociable, because I was scared of everyone; to loosen up and be friendly.  I drank because I never thought I fit in.  I drank because I felt lost and alone and unloveable. And when I wasn’t drinking I dealt with the anxiety that comes from hangovers, from mild alcohol withdrawal, and eventually from serious alcohol withdrawal.  And of course, the anxiety that comes from having an anxiety disorder.

I sipped wine while I was baking bread, chopping cucumbers, grilling dinner.  I had vodka and lemonade on the deck or while I was tending my garden in the summer.  I drank after they went to bed; and because I have serious issues with insomnia, I would drink and drink and drink to try to get some sleep.  Sleep that was fretful, sweaty, nightmarish, fleeting, never enough.

But I functioned.  Until I didn’t.

I educated my kids.  I did the shopping.  I made the meals and did the chores and read the stories and loved my children with a passion and a fear and a breathless awe that left me terrified and grateful and guilty.  I never felt good enough, or normal enough, or just ENOUGH.

I didn’t know that there was such a thing as postpartum anxiety.  I lived in that, awash in hormonal panic for months.  Not knowing that it didn’t have to be like that.  That I could ask for help.  So when they got a little older, when they didn’t nurse 24/7, I drank to calm those exposed, raw nerves.  To try to sleep.

I would stop.  I would stop sometimes for months or longer.  It would be no big deal…and then it would.  And I never understood why, never thought I was important enough that I should actually look into that.  Cause and effect, and fixing myself, would all have to wait until things slowed down.

I wasn’t a martyr.  I have a wonderful partner and great kids.  Nobody expects me to work my fingers to the bone and never experience any alone time, or joy, or have hobbies of my own.  Somehow, though, I kept working my life so that I was isolated, having very few longstanding friends, losing acquaintances as time went by.  Not just because of my drinking, although that would play a part here and there…I lost out on wonderful friendships because I was scared of everyone and everything.

Having an anxiety disorder is  like always feeling that you’re being tapped-Boo!-on the shoulder.  Always just a little jumpy, just a little worried.  I worried that I said or did the wrong things at park get togethers with other homeschooling moms…I’d go home after a play date and cry for hours.  Peeling garlic and telling myself that nobody would ever forget what a socially awkward person I am; they’re probably all at home laughing at me or angry at my opinion on that tax question or the abortion debate or the color of my youngest one’s mismatched socks.

So you can see how a drink at the end of a long day would sound justified?

And of course nobody argued with me.  Homeschooling moms do it all, we’re amazing, we EARN that glass of wine! (What we don’t say-what I didn’t say- is that it’s really 4 glasses of wine, but who’s counting?)

So finally, in March, I entered an Intensive Outpatient Program.  With the love and support of my husband and kids, I’m in the second phase of it right now.  4 weeks to go and I’ll be finished, and I’m so glad I did this.  At first I was terrified by the amount of time it would take, but I have learned SO. MUCH.

It’s my goal to put some of what I’ve learned into this blog.

For now, it’s almost 2a.m., and I’ve killed my 18th mosquito of the night.  I finally saw a specialist about my insomnia, and it would be kind of silly to waste all that effort by  not taking my meds and going to bed.

I’ll try not to have anxiety nightmares about hitting “publish.”




3 thoughts on “*Deep Breath*

  1. I am glad I found you. Of course being in NZ and watching old re-runs of Northern Exposure really romanticises Alaska doesn’t it!

    I too love love love my home on the water, and my adorable kids and sipped whilst cooking, whilst homeworking, sipped whilst whilst house cleaning….then I was just drinking.

    It crept up on me. Anxiety and Alcohol do not mix. Period.
    After 7 months I no long need medication for my anxiety, I feel more balanced… but it is a long road.

    Thanks to this blog I am still sober! Honest stories and support from fantastic, wonderful brave people.

    Michelle xx


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