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Four Months Sober, And Miserable?

Sober Mommies Four Months Sober And MiserableI was rummaging through some old papers and found a journal I wrote in during my first year of sobriety. What a gift it was to find! This entry was from September. I was four months sober.

“One day at a time” * “Easy does it” * “Keep it simple” * “Don’t leave until the miracle occurs.”

Rushing thoughts through my mind. What do I do with the shit that I feel? Sobriety feeling like a game of Russian Roulette; one false move, triggered, dead.  I walk through life with Band-Aids over my eyes, nothing seen, nothing real, nothing hurts. “No pain, No gain.”

I wipe the tears from my eyes for others now, trying desperately not to cry my own. What did I think I was doing? Running from the inevitable? Jails, institutions, and death to look forward to; “yets” to be discovered, to be continued.

Feeling like shit, looking marvelous. WHY? Acting out, feeling lost, someone pinch me.

If life is what we make it, I chose Hell overall. I chose darkness over light every time.


I’m drowning. Someone help me, I’m drowning! It’s getting harder to breathe and I’m suffocating! I can’t feel anymore! I want to be numb.

I’m so fucking lost. Please help me find me, please help me search.
I know I’m around here somewhere.

I can hear myself breathing.”

I am so grateful that I found my journal, and this very entry today. I needed a fierce reminder that everything passes. That day, thirteen years ago, I had no idea how wonderful this journey could be; how amazing life could get. If I hadn’t trusted the process and stayed sober, I may not have had the opportunity to find out.

Thanks for believing in me until I could. XO

Drowning In Recovery

Source: Aimaness Photography via Flickr

At some point, I lost the ‘me’ in ‘Mommy’.

For the past year, I have been actively working on my recovery. Working a 12-step program, seeing counselors, seeking group and individual therapy, working with a mentor, reading self-help and motivational literature, writing – you name it, I was probably willing to try it. It was a no-holds-barred attack on the compulsive thinking that was ruining my life and hurting the ones I loved the most.
Once I was deep in the self-work, a curious thing happened. This former workaholic lost all interest in working outside the home. I loathed going to my job, even though I loved what I did. All I wanted to do was be at home. I wanted to just be me – specifically, I just wanted to be Mommy. We were due to move in a few months, and as soon as I hired my replacement, I could stop working.

Oh, how I looked forward to that! Work had been my identity, my salvation, one of my drugs – a way to compensate for the ugly stuff inside. This particular job had also led to my “rock-bottom” that catapulted me into recovery work. Being there every day reminded me of the awful things I’d done – something that isn’t so conducive to forgiveness and healing.

Since I was all about self-examination, I wondered if this complete 180 was healthy. Going from obsessive workaholic to dreading the office couldn’t be healthy. I discussed it with my therapist and we agreed that maybe I needed this drastic change. I’d been a pretty shitty wife and mother before working on recovery (my opinion, not hers). Maybe I needed to immerse myself in the other end of the spectrum before I could work my way back to a healthy balance of taking care of my desires while caring for my loved ones. I was satisfied with this and was sure at some point I’d just naturally find “me” again.

Except, I didn’t.

One year later, I don’t really have an identity besides Mommy. My life revolves around my son. I spend my days playing trains, watching PBS Kids, reading Golden Books, working on letters and numbers and making sure he doesn’t put holes in the walls with trucks. I take him to playgroups, tumbling class, museums, zoos, parks and other activities to make sure he has plenty of socialization.

But that’s it. That’s all I do, besides sitting on Facebook in between those activities. I don’t know what Sara is about anymore. I got rid of the yucky stuff, but haven’t filled those gaps with healthy stuff. I feel like I’m floundering. And when I lay in bed at night and feel like a failure as a mommy, I realize that’s saying I’m a failure as a person, since mommy is my only identity.

Something’s gotta give. I can’t be “just” mommy anymore. I need to be Sara, too.


The Walls Come Down

Sober Mommies dot com The Walls Come DownThis is the hardest post I’ve ever written. I’m so uncomfortable with being vulnerable, even after all these years. I have a solution for almost every problem in my life, but there are certain things I can’t get passed. I’m usually the one in support and I’m really struggling with being the one that needs it.

Depression has me by the throat today and I’m stuck. I can’t think straight and I can’t tell you about it. I want my mother and wish she wasn’t so judgmental so I could call her and not feel worse. I wish there was anyone I could call and feel better, someone who would understand without suggesting a meeting, meds or a walk. I can’t; don’t you fucking get it?

I don’t want to leave my house.

I miss appointments and constantly reschedule plans because I don’t want to see you. I don’t want you to see me. I don’t want to showcase my mess. Because the truth is, something happened to me and I can’t look at it. I can’t see it for what it is because I’m so afraid to admit that it happened. I can’t let it go and it’s killing me. I can’t let you know that it broke me because I’m too prideful. I’d rather be pretty and dying than tell you the truth and lose face. I haven’t seen light since that night. A part of me wishes he’d killed me and doesn’t understand why I fought. If I hadn’t I never would have met my husband and wouldn’t have the boys. There is a part of me that feels like I died that night. I can’t get out from under it. I don’t know how. I have so many wonderful things in my life and I just want to enjoy them. I want to feel safe. I’ve been to twelve different therapists, EMDR, trauma therapy, hypnotherapy, I’ve meditated, I’ve tried medication, but nothing works and I can’t breathe.

Every rustle of the trees is him in the bushes. Every noise the house makes is him inside, waiting patiently to get me when I least expect. Even when he was in prison, I thought he might send someone to hurt me. There were nights I woke up screaming and crying in the hallway, running away. Try explaining that to your family, to your children. Try explaining to your husband that you want so badly to feel safe in his arms, but you can’t. He’s in my head now and I can’t get him out. I haven’t wanted to drink, but I have wanted desperately to disappear.

It’s been years now and I’m doing a little better, but then something triggers and sets it off again. This time it was a meeting; his meeting. He hasn’t been there in years and a friend was celebrating 20 years of sobriety. I thought I would be fine. It’s not his anymore and I should feel free to go wherever, right? Wrong. I found myself outside unable to step foot inside. I had to call a friend to walk me in. I had to cry first. My friend asked me to speak and I heard the words “Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.” This is what thirteen years of sobriety look like? What is wrong with me? My friend corrected me immediately saying, “This is what 13 years of sobriety can look like, if you don’t drink.” He was right. I have made it through all sorts of horrific things, sober, but this one is tough.

I’ve learned to see myself as not a victim, but a survivor. I just don’t feel like a survivor today. I feel like a fraud; like a coward. I know all the slogans. I know that feelings aren’t facts and that they will pass. I just wish they wouldn’t return. It’s overwhelming to know that kind of threat exists. It’s one thing to watch it on the news, but quite another to live it. I know that I’m lucky. I know that I’m blessed. Intellectually I know all sorts of things.

I just wish I could feel it.

Is there a “Most Fucked Up” award? If so, I’m pretty sure it’s mine.

When Enough IS Enough

Superhero kid against blue sky background. Girl power concept

“Chris…I went back out last Thursday.

I don’t plan on staying out,

 but I don’t know when I’ll be back either.

I’m proud of you, friend.”

This is the text I received at 7:21 pm this evening. This is the text that broke my heart. But, this is the text I have been waiting on for my five months of sobriety. I knew just what to do to restore a dear friend to his sobriety. I had the right words, the words that would fix him. So, I put on my cape and dialed the phone. Twenty four minutes and nineteen seconds later, ego properly deflated, I realized my cape was much more suited to wipe my tears as I learned one of the hardest lessons I have learned in my sobriety: You can’t fix people and you can’t make someone not want to drink.

What do you tell someone that says they hate being an alcoholic? “Yeah, I do, too.” How do you respond to someone who tells you they were staying sober in hopes of regaining a lost love that, in reality, will not return? “That’s probably not the right reason to get sober.” How do you console someone who is giving voice to all of your own reservations and objections to this seemingly simple but at times almost impossible goal of never again picking up a drink? “Yeah, forever IS a really fucking long time.”

I sat and wondered why no one gave me a script for this conversation. Someone has to know just what to say, right? I don’t know who that person is, but it is certainly not me. Without my superpowers, I was forced to do as a mere mortal and just be there, just be me, just listen. Boy, is that some hard shit to do. It is our nature to want to fix, to mend, to heal. It’s a hard fall when you are struck with the realization that you are just you, plain and simple.

So I listened to his justifications, his rationalizations and to his explanations. I heard the fear, and the self-loathing and torture that was underlying all of it. I recognized the need he had for me to tell him it was ok, the permission he was seeking and his promises that it wasn’t going to be that bad this time. I didn’t tell him that he was wrong, I didn’t tell him his bottom was so close I could see it. I didn’t tell him that one beer was never going to be enough and that it would rapidly turn into a bottle of booze and drunken despair and shame. I didn’t remind him that alcohol has never fixed anything, ever, for anyone. He knew all of that, in the end he was saying it to me. We got where we needed to go. So I let him know I was there, no judgements, no holier than thou statements. And that I was going to be there with an open heart, no matter the time of day, no matter what he had to say.

I realized after hanging up that it was not going to be the last of those calls that I will get. There will be another alcoholic in need, in pain, in despair.  And another after that.  Because this disease is an asshole.  And no one understands that more than another drunk.  The only thing I can do is answer the phone, open the door, open my heart and pray that someone will do the same if I need it one day.

I hope he makes it back to sobriety, but I don’t know if he will. I just know that I will love him.  
And you reading this, I love you, too. Because, although we have not met, I know you and you know me.  And we need each other.  Maybe, just maybe, that will be enough.
Have you ever had someone close to you relapse? How did you deal with your powerlessness? What do you suggest to anyone who might currently be struggling with this situation?