The book reminded me of how excited I would be on the way to the wine store: the giddy relief of giving myself the go-ahead, that I was going to drink. It brought back the sense of acceptance- that I never really had a choice in the matter anyway- that once I considered it I was going to drink. I could feel how it felt to pour that first giant glass of sauvignon blanc, adding ice because it was warm. How wonderful it felt to sneak out the sliding glass door. How I stood on that grey paver at the bottom of the stairs and lit a cigarette. I finished my first glass and the smoke at the same time. The bones deep relief of that. The feeling that I was getting away with something. That I was an adult- finished with a day of work and relaxing with wine and a smoke. The feeling that no one, not even me, could stop me.
It brought back the awfulness of my youngest’s first year- me suffering from postpartum and boozing and breastfeeding and training for a marathon and picking up smoking again. I would sometimes go out with work friends and not come home- blacked out and coming to in a guilty rush on someone’s couch. Slinking home at seven in the morning. I feel sick just thinking about it- anxious, nervous. God, it really sucked.
It’s so wonderful to remind myself that I am here- almost a year and a half sober. THANK YOU.
I was disappointed that the book was almost all stories about being falling down drunk out making stupid decision after stupid decision. Why are the parts about being in successful recovery so small in most of these books when it’s the recovery part that is so damn interesting? I would much rather read about how she dealt with beginning sobriety, what it was like a year in, how she changed as a person and as a mother while she maintained her sobriety.
The recovery part is the one that deserves all the chapters, not all the black out wasted stories that we can all tell in some way or another. I woke up not remembering going to bed more times than I want to mention: How did I get here? What did I say? Do you really need to read more stories about how I screwed up again because I had ten gin and tonics? Or would you like to know about how I dealt with it when things went wonky in my recovery group instead?
I feel like I’ve read it all the flotsam and jetsam before. I know the shame of it, but I haven’t read anything about the recovery of it. The good part. The part that would inspire people to, you know, not be drunks anymore. The part where I sit in the den discussing my recovery stuff with my mom and my husband like we’re talking about just regular old stuff. The part about how I had an awful day at work and then ran over a block and blew up the A/C in the car and then the kids were cranky and there was nothing for dinner and I still didn’t drink. The parts we write about in our blogs- that should be in books out there for everyone to see. That’s why I love Anne Lamott- she alludes to how bad it was, but then focuses on how good it is.
When I read books like Drunk Mom I feel comforted in a way- “I was kind of like that” I say to myself “but not that bad“. Does it make people choose to not quit because they think that just being home having a bunch of wine isn’t as bad as all that? What if you’re just a boring old housewife getting drunk three or four times a week and not almost freezing to death? I didn’t drink during the day. I was just starting to feel like I had to hide the amount I was drinking, but not that I was drinking. It makes me feel sort of under-qualified. Did I really need to stop? (Yes) I didn’t do all that crazy shit. (Yet)
I think that bad enough to quit is when you know it, it isn’t like a race: “And in first there’s the woman who wrecked the car and lost custody of her children and now she’s in jail. In second the lady who has vodka in her coffee. In third the woman who screams at her children and is drunk by bedtime! Oooop! Here comes the woman who has two or three glasses of wine a few times a week and it just makes her life suck some!” Justified sobriety is the pits. It doesn’t make you the winner to have had more fucked up things happen to you, it just means you probably should have stopped sooner.
The only question needs to be “Does your addiction hurt your life?” and if the answer is “Yes” then it’s bad enough. The inner suffering on it’s own is plenty “that bad”.
We all win when we choose to cross the finish line and stop drinking. We all get first place, and medals, and trophies, and parades. Anyone can qualify, everyone can win. Reading these kinds of books are good reminders, but they don’t need to be the only reminders we read.