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Reflecting

On March 18, 2011 the need to quit drinking hit me with such force and certainty it could only have come from some power greater than I.  Two days later, I began changing my life.

Many times in previous years I had tried, unsuccessfully, to remove wine from my daily routine.  I had tried “only on weekends” and never made it past Tuesday.  “Never drink alone” never lasted.  “No more wine in bed” would be overwritten by programming schedules and tv availability in my household.  “No wine while cooking” (unless there’s wine in the recipe).  “Just one before bed” was an easy foil – I would repeatedly top up the glass before it was empty and count it as one.

I couldn’t find the balance yet I knew I had at least some control – I never drove drunk, would never drink before a performance, presentation, or at work.  If there were small children to be tended to then I would not even consider drinking.

I had some control but not enough to stop.

When minor surgery required me to avoid alcohol for 24 hours before and after, I failed to comply.  I knew better than to drink my usual 5 or so glasses of white but compromised with a single, oversized glass of red the night before and after.

My drinking was escalating to include an extra drink or two “pre-wine” each day.  I had discovered the most amazing pre-mixed margarita – a huge, heavy, house-brand bottle from a big box wholesaler. It was strong and golden – just how I liked it and the closest thing to the first (and best) one I’d ever had on the River Walk in San Antonio just a few years earlier.

My routine was to arrive home from work, empty the dishwasher, set the table and start supper.  It was often too early to have a wineglass out but somehow it seemed okay to tuck a little glass of this heavenly stuff discreetly by a cupboard and sip away while I worked.  Once my husband arrived home I’d make a production of opening wine for a pre-dinner drink but never mention I’d started an hour earlier.

This bothered me but I enjoyed it and heck, I deserved it.  I worked so hard, cared so much, and clearly everything was in order.  No problem.

Well, except for the guilt. And shame. The secret failure.

I was ping-ponging emotionally and mentally between wanting to quit and loving to drink. Back and forth, morning and afternoon.  When I was finally moved to change my life, it was the result of a powerful urge to save myself that seemed to erupt suddenly from within.

In fact, it was anything BUT sudden.  The compulsion toward change came as the result of many years of reaching for change, searching for answers, for incentive, for guidance.  Little by little I found these things and though individually each small answer or example did not create change, collectively they empowered me when the time came for change.

I began writing “UnPickled” as a lifeline to help myself through the dark days of change.  I continue writing as the process helps me grow and survive in my new life.  As well, it is now my most sincere hope and prayer that what I share here may be received to help others.  Perhaps on it’s own, “UnPickled” may never be enough to change a life, but I do hope that laying out my heart here will add one more bit of information and hope to those who are searching, as I was.

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About UnPickled

I am learning to walk without the crutch of alcohol. As I begin I am 1 day sober. Gulp. I drank in private and hope to quit just as privately. The purpose of this blog is to help make me accountable - just by following you will give me enormous support and encouragement.

Posted on August 12, 2011, in Getting Sober and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. For years I’ve thought I was some sort of “special” drunk – special, because my drinking was mine and mine alone. At night, after the kid was in bed, while my husband worked, by myself. And I think because it was MY secret, and MY shame for so long, and because I didn’t drink and drive, endanger my son, make a scene in public – all of things that “real” alcoholics do – I couldn’t possibly have *that* much of a problem. I’d say that I’ll cut back, limit myself to one glass. You know what I’m talking about. And then I discovered your blog, and it all changed, in the best way possible. Your experiences are the life I’ve been living for years. Your words and reasons and rationalizing have been what’s in my head for years, and I’ve been devouring these posts now for weeks. Thank you for sharing your journey. You said above that you don’t think your blog alone can change anyone’s life, but I think you’re wrong, because it might just save mine.

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  2. I can’t stop reading your blog. Thank you so much- I’m feeling hopeful again although also desperate again, ridiculous again, disappointed again and know I have to get this under control. I started reading from the beginning & relate to every entry. After a very serious situation where I made an ass of myself in front of my professional colleagues and clients, I stopped for six weeks. I knew I was done & felt so strong & confident that it was behind me. Then I had the holiday celebration “just one” at a party and now three months later I’m back almost to the point where I was before. Not quite as bad but sliding in that direction & starting to have the “screw it, what’s the use” attitude. I feel like I’ve undone all the good I did & dread going through the beginning again where its so hard. Its so much easier to drink. However, your testimony makes me realize it can be done and it is worth it. Thank you again.

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    • I am sorry you had to experience this but now you know, right? It is really great to be free of that burden, I promise you. You may also enjoy listening to some podcasts and hearing others tell their stories in their own words. I am co-host of The Bubble Hour (www.thebubblehour.com) and you might really enjoy those, and there are also tons of AA Speakers on itunes. You’d be surprised how many people out walking or riding the train with headphones are listening to recovery podcasts! Super helpful to hear that you are not alone.

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  3. Thank you so much for your blog. I’ve been reading it all day and I’m so happy that I’ve found similar stories to me. It makes me think I can do it! I’ve been trying to quit for such a long time and was in tears earlier as I admitted to my husband how much I drink, and my fear of failing (as we HAVE been here before). I’m day 4 and attending a party tonight without my husband and I’m going to brave telling 2 good friends so they can help me get through it. I know I will face the ‘Not drinking? One won’t hurt, surely?’ conversation, but the answer is that ‘Yes, it will, as it’s NEVER, just the one.’ Wish me luck…

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    • I have logged on too late to wish you luck at the party – but not too late to send you encouragement for today, this minute this second this breath. Persist in your path and be good to yourself. Reach out if you need a hand – there is lots of support here and many pathways to choose.

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      • Thank you, that is so good to know. I told my friends and they were great about it and one other friend raised an eyebrow when I declined a glass of wine, but that was it. I did it!! I’m so proud of myself and I feel wonderful each morning as I’m not feeling guilty about failing or waking up with a hangover. I have more energy and resolve every day. (Who knew that I would think about alcohol so much though?) I have even been to the pub and didn’t drink my usual wine! Confidence or a fall waiting to happen? I’d like to think the first, wouldnt you? 🙂

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  4. I have been reading your blog all afternoon! Thank you, just day two for me. You remind me so much of myself. The drink before the wine in the afternoon ! Mine was vodka and crystal light. Evenly husband doesn’t know the extent of my drinking either. My son though told me he thinks I drink too much wine. I have everything under control on the outside but …… Thank you for sharing

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  5. I have just finished reading your blog from start to your most recent entry. I am on day 6 myself and get so much hope from your story. I feel like I can relate to you on so many levels – I too feel as if I am “not broken enough” to attend some of the other groups available as I did still have some control. No drinks at work, no drinking and driving, no drinks before a big run (I’m an avid runner) but I was losing a little bit more control everyday and felt as if i had to get a grip on things. I turn 40 next month and didn’t want the same guilt and shame to move into my 40s with me so I decided to make a change. Your blog has been a huge help for me.

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    • I am honoured to have helped your journey by sharing my own. Funny how we isolate ourselves and think we are unique, only to realize there are so many just like us when we open our eyes!!

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  6. I’ve been reading your blog for some time…checking back on you now and then. This post really got to the core of me. This is me. I’m still there. Yet this is not you anymore. I want what you have.

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  7. You have no idea how much your “laying out your heart” means to me. Your words…your emotions….they are so very real. I can identify with so much of which you write. You are very brave to share your journey. You give me hope.

    Thank you

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