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A While Back…

AWhileBackBySoberMommiesdotcomA while back, my mom gave me a little sandwich baggie filled with a stack of photos.  You know that stack: the one a proud father carries around in his wallet, the one that gets thicker with each passing year as the newest photo is added. The one he pulls out every so often for family and friends, with that look of pride twinkling in his eye: “Look at how big our Chris is getting. Isn’t she precious?”  And he will regale the listener with hopes and dreams for Little Chris. The most important of them?

“We just hope she grows up to be happy.”

Well, that stack of dog-eared, cherished photos of little me sat face down, untouched in the same spot for I don’t know how long. I couldn’t pick them up and face that the Chris in those photos had long ago drowned in a fifth of Vodka.

The pain of just reaching for those photos reminded me who how much of a failure I had truly become.  Sitting alone in a dark room, slugging back shots that no longer needed a chaser, wracked with shame and utter hopelessness, it was easier to ignore those photos than to deal with the fact I had not grown up to be  the happy, loving, carefree woman Mom and Dad had hoped and prayed for. No, I had grown up to be an alcoholic. I had grown up to be a liar.

From the outside looking in, I had a great life. Successful husband, a loving family, women people would be lucky to count as friends, and a job I was good at. But all I really had was a secret. A big, alcohol soaked secret. I was the only one who knew the truth: I was all alone.

Words can do no justice to describe the depths of despair, the shame, the agony, the fear or the anger that were my constant companions. The only way I knew how to escape dealing with the emotions was to get drunk, and for a little while, I would forget how much I hated who I had become. For a little while, I would think I had hung onto a little piece of that charming, funny and engaging wife/friend/daughter I knew I had once been.  But inevitably, I would sober up and reality would smack me in the face.

Here is the thing about being a liar: you learn to do it so well you are even able to fool yourself. I thought that I was so sneaky and clever, able to fool everyone around me. And for the most part, I did. But not the one person who had to watch me unravel one thread at a time: my husband. Though he couldn’t begin to imagine the depths of how truly far down I had fallen, he knew I had a problem. But it stopped there. He had had enough and, unbeknownst to me, he had one foot out the door. We just existed in each other’s worlds, no longer in the same one, with dreams and hopes of our own as a couple.

As the obsession for the drink became stronger and the time between those drinks became shorter and shorter, the need to withdraw even further became overwhelming. For things that I did show up for, I arrived already several drinks in, and inevitably snuck away as often as possible to swig the vodka nestled in the bottom of my purse. In the end I was happiest at home, alone, just me and vodka, curled in a blanket, checking in on the rest of the world via Facebook or just watching mindless TV until I passed out, only to wake up and do it all over again.

One day, April 4th 2013 to be exact, something happened. Five days into a mother of a bender, something in me knew that this was no way to live. Some glimmer of that almost forgotten Chris decided enough was enough, before she was gone for good. I don’t remember the details, or the exact words exchanged or how everything played out.  And honestly, I don’t think any of that matters. What I do know, is that day, I did what I never thought possible. I said, “I am an alcoholic and I need help.”

Almost four months later, I don’t have all or possibly any of the answers to this thing. I don’t pretend that any of this has been easy, or that it will be down the road, but today there are a few things that I have, and every day I get a little bit more. Today, I have a husband who thinks I am a super hero. Today I have time with family and friends and I cherish every minute of it. Today I wake up with a purpose and today I have hope. And today, I was able to look through that stack of long neglected photos.  I smiled and cried a bit as I did so, because today, I realized that my parent’s dreams for that little girl are finally coming true.

Today I am happy.

This beautiful post was submitted by Chris E.

Blogging And Social Media; Do Exclusions Apply?

SoberMommies.com Blogging Exclusions Apply Post

BlogHer conferences are a big deal for bloggers. I have been hearing about them since I first started blogging, and have learned that anyone who’s anyone wants to attend.

Some of us missed BlogHer in 2013 for many different reasons. Perhaps we could not afford it, or maybe we have far too many kids or responsibilities to be flying off to a blogging conference. Some of us wish SO badly this was not the case and that we could have been there. Especially in the wake of reports that it was a blast and the opportunity to see pictures of all of our friends embracing our favorite bloggers on Facebook. I for one wish I was squished in between all of you.

I was not there.

It was expensive, for sure. It was in Chicago and would have required both travel and child care arrangements. These are reasons that could have kept me from attending this wonderful event, but my reason is much more personal.

I have NO business attending a conference known for it’s “partying.” I wanted to be there for fellowship, seminars, and networking, but very much fear the “after-party” portion.

I have never been to a conference; nor have I been much outside dinner with fellow bloggers. I would LOVE to spend time picking at the brains of the popular bloggers I look up to and laughing with them. I have heard that it’s a wonderful time, but I have also heard it gets a little “Bloggers Gone Wild” after dark. This frightens me even after thirteen years of sobriety.

I cannot put into words all of the variable feelings, but it’s serious and feels similar to those which keep me out of bars on Saturday night. I have no justifiable reason to be there. The benefits of attending do not outweigh the possible cost.

I struggle with depression and I’m in the shit lately. It’s not a great time to be hanging out in a barber shop if I’m not looking for a haircut…. ya know? So, I stayed home…no biggie.

Some fellow bloggers not able to attend the BlogHer conference held a Twitter party instead to “celebrate” not going. I thought this was an amazing idea, and looked forward to getting my tweet on…until I logged on. The constant and immediate references to alcohol served as a fast acting deterrent.

Is alcoholism trending?

I guess I don’t understand the need to talk about drinking and alcohol all the time. Yes, being a mother is stressful. Good for you! You get to drown out your day with a box of wine or some fruity vodka throat punch, but why is that more socially acceptable to talk about than my choice not to? Why are your drinking patterns my business?

Perhaps I’m a little jealous, because I miss the instant gratification and relief I found in alcohol, and I can’t drink anymore. It now takes me much more time and effort to get relief, and sometimes I do wish it could be easier. Sobriety is completely worth the effort; don’t get me wrong. I just sometimes miss the spirited exhale. I get to pray and meditate for relief today, and while sometimes I do get a sense of ease and comfort far beyond what a drink ever gave me, that shit takes time — time I do not always have or want to take.

I get frustrated with you; it’s true. It especially bothers to me when you all get together in groups for #wineparty etc., because I’d love to be a part of that, but I can’t. I don’t drink wine and the hashtag is enough warning for me to stay away.

I just can’t help but feel like we’re missing out on each other.

This is not just just an issue in the blogging community, but also all over the social media front…

And I just wanted you to know how much I think it sucks.

You Can’t Bully A Memory

At one time or another, I’m sure everyone has been bullied. Whether it’s been physical or emotional, in jest, or with malice, most of us have been there. But what do you do when the bully is a member of your own family? How do you respond when it’s a sibling and that forces your hand with their “convictions” and it goes beyond rivalry?  When does imposing your beliefs upon someone else become bullying?

There is something to be said for having strong convictions, but where do you draw the line between that and arrogance? Furthermore, what is the difference between being arrogant and being a know-it-all? From personal experience, I don’t feel like there is much difference between these traits at all. However, as I’m sure everyone has learned at some point, there are two sides to every story. So, for some, I may be blurring the lines of these definitions. But for me, they are one in the same.

You see, this happened to me.

I wrote about my perception of what childhood was like for me with an addicted parent, and my sibling denied my recollection. The imposition of his convictions came pounding down my virtual door like a battering ram. He held his opinion of what I wrote so highly that his strong convictions about “what really happened,” quickly turned confrontational.

That confrontation ultimately, and swiftly, crossed over to bullying when I refused to edit my story as he requested. The bullying included, but was not limited to, vulgarity, harassment, and threats of legal action, against the publisher and me.

My own strong convictions told me to stand my ground. What I wrote was the truth – MY TRUTH. Names and dates were not specified, I didn’t provide documented proof of my recollection, and the situations referenced were in regards to my own experience. It was never meant to be scientific. They were my memories that only I could have written about.

You can’t bully a memory.

But, I caved. I fell victim to a bully.

I didn’t give in because I was afraid. I didn’t give in because he was right and I was wrong. I gave in because my strong morals and family values far surpass any strong convictions I will ever stand behind. When our daily routine, my children’s sense of normalcy, our family dynamic and the publisher was threatened, I felt it was much more important to rescind the publication causing the upheaval than to fight for my words. It was all for the greater good, I convinced myself.

HuffPost Parents recently shared an article entitled Sibling Bullying As Detrimental As Peer Bullying, Study Claims. After the experience I had, I completely agree. Just because the bully is your family, doesn’t make it okay or any less harmful. If anything, it hurts even more!

My job as a mom is to protect my children, and I can’t properly do that if I don’t protect myself. So do you forgive and forget, let bygones be bygones, chalk it up to a bad day and move on?

Maybe, but I can’t do that.

Correction—I won’t do that anymore.

This post was submitted to SoberMommies Anonymously.

An Anonymous Plea For Support

I received this anonymous email just now from someone who is obviously in pain. Please, if you can, leave a comment offering love and support.

Our prayers are with you, Anonymous Friend. 

There are some of us who prefer to fight our demons privately. Up until now, that was me. Mostly because I didn’t want to change. I do not want to stop drinking. Ever. Only I know I must. For many reasons.

Today, I received a call from my sister’s fiance. He informed me that my sister was admitted to the hospital, her liver failing. He told me that she has been going to the hospital for 2-3 weeks now to flush out the fluids that are poisoning her since her liver can no longer keep up detoxifying her blood.

He was very stern. Strong. Factual.

I am so worried for my sister right now. The thing is, this comes as no surprise. It is no real secret. There is a history. For all of us.  A history that cannot be rewritten until we are willing to face it.  It is a history I don’t want to accept. Only I must. If I don’t, my daughters will suffer… as my sister, my father, my grandfathers, and yes. Even I have. This is my charge in life.

I will take on this fight to the death. I only hope I am ready for the battle that will come.

I Buried Addiction

Sadly, this post was removed due to constant and persistent bullying of a family member of the author. This family member would not stop sending both the author and sobermommies harassing emails etc. until she decided to take the post down.

This is a very sad day for everyone involved.

Please say a prayer for this anonymous blogger.

Thank you. 🙁