Seekers Welcome

This morning the Today show aired an interview with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor about moms who use alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety. I had a lump in my throat as I watched the piece, knowing the impact it would have had on me back when I was starting to notice a terrifying momentum in my nightly wine ritual. It was becoming clear to me that I was losing control as one red flag after another waved – rotating stores because I felt ashamed of how much alcohol I bought; uneasiness about the recycling bin; stashing bottles out of view; cancelling plans so I could spend more time alone (sipping); vowing I’d cut back or quit and failing time after time.

If you are seeking today, I welcome you to this blog and to the online recovery community. My story is one of quitting while I was ahead, before anyone even knew that I had developed an addiction to alcohol. I saw I was losing control and realized that if I continued, things would get worse, then embarrassing, then downright bad. Soon there would be no hiding it. Soon it would not be my choice any more. I had heard that alcoholics have to hit rock bottom before they can get sober, and I did not want to find out what rock bottom might look like for me. Suddenly that whole concept seems utterly ridiculous, like saying “You can’t go on a diet unless you have become morbidly obese.” Screw rock bottom –  I just quit, very quietly and very much on my own.

Now, three years later I am still gratefully sober and recovery is still a surprising amount of work. I thought that by now I would be “fixed” and possibly could even start to moderate (that is, drink a little now and then – I don’t, by the way). I originally thought that 12 step programs that say “alcoholism is forever” were playing it a little heavyhandedly but I was way wrong about that. I also thought it would suck and be awfully boring to never drink again but really I feel great and pleased with my life now. Alcohol addiction alters the brain permanently – the neurological changes can’t be reversed so we live with the condition by avoiding alcohol for life. Recovery consists of more than just “not drinking” – it involves a lot of introspection to uncover and change the reasons WHY we drank in the first place. And now THAT is a big job, and a worthwhile change to pursue.

If you read through my blog entries, you will learn my story. But that is just the beginning. Please, please read the comments – they are an amazing resource and so insightful (except for the weird guy that recently comment “Bullshit” on a few posts – not sure what his deal was).

Check out the list of sober bloggers and resources on the sidebar, sign up for the Booze Free Brigade on Yahoo, and subscribe to The Bubble Hour podcast for which I am a producer and co-host.

I don’t have all the answers, and don’t pretend to have them. I am a little further on the road, waving you forward and (hopefully!) welcoming you to the start of your journey.

There are many pathways to recovery – many people “self-manage” recovery as I have done, without joining a program or attending meetings. Many go traditional routes with great success, and more an more alternative programs are available. Pick a path, any path, and start walking. If you realize it’s not for you, try a different way. Many of us become accustomed to isolating and hiding while we are drinking, and fear reaching out for help to get sober. I urge you to reach out – start with a comment here or on a discussion board like the BFB (above). Go to a meeting and just observe. Call someone you know is sober and ask if they are glad they quit drinking, if they might share about their journey.

The relief you feel will blow you away and you will never meet a kinder, less judgmental group than your fellow recoverees.

 

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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.
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273 Responses to Seekers Welcome

  1. readyforachange says:

    I am so happy to find your blog. I am drinking right now. Today is my last day. Nothing crazy has happened, except that I have reached an unacceptable level for myself. I quit smoking a couple of years ago and that is when the alcohol moved in, and now I need to free myself from it. My husband has an alcohol problem, but he still smokes as well so I just need to do it on my own. Thank you for sharing your story and I am ready to start.

  2. soberlynn says:

    Sober since 9/18/14. I drank to forget. To turn off the movie projector in my head. The trouble was that when I sobered up it was still playing. Now I’ve decided that I can’t drink my troubles away and perhaps by staying sober and strong I can finally put the past where it belongs….. Gone!

  3. missy 40 says:

    Jean,
    I am so grateful I discovered your blog. After listening to several BubbleHour podcasts (which I found through your site), I actually laughed when I heard several women say they googled “moms who drink” when they knew they had to find help with their drinking. This is how I found your site! My story is a little different than most I have read about. I don’t drink during the week, and don’t really feel the urge to. But, boy howdy, when 5:00 Friday rolls around, you better believe the beers are cold and ready to be drunk. Then there’s Saturday night. Ditto. Usually it is my husband and me. Very occasionally it’s with friends. This happens most weekends, not always. But I am at the point now that I don’t like the example I am setting for my kids (18, 16, 14).
    Let me explain. For more YEARS than I care to admit, we have been doing weekend cocktails. A lot of weekends, I don’t remember when I went to bed, what time I got home, driving home, discussions I had with the kids, etc… Did I really act that way at the gathering last night? I hope I didn’t embarrass myself too badly. I can’t believe I drove home in the state I was in! What an idiot. My kids could be orphans right now!
    So yes, I have decided to give up the drinking. I am actually looking forward to it. My husband and I actually told each other last weekend that we were done for a while, but he has no idea the level I am at. I am so DONE!
    But I have a huge gnawing in my gut of all the time wasted being drunk. Of feeling so guilty and shameful of how I have acted in front of my kids and friends. Of how stupid I was to drink and drive. Of how my kids have memories of mom being “buzzed” on the weekends. How do I get through these feelings. There is just soooo much shame and guilt.
    Do you have any advice on how to process the emotional guilt that drinking brings?
    Thank you so much for your blog, and for your honesty. What a blessing you are to others on their journey!

  4. Sar says:

    Hi there! Just now deciding its time to quit. I’m a mother of a one and two year old and I’ve been way out of control for a while now. I don’t hide bottles or drink and drive but I do black out and I often drink MORE than one bottle of wine at parties!! It’s just too much. I’m 36 and I can’t keep waking up half dead! I’ve got an amazing family and I’m ready to give them my best. I’m totally nervous about the party I’m hosting here this weekend for a friend….and my sisters birthday next weekend….and a wedding in October….. But this needs to start today with no excuses or exceptions. Glad to have found you all.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A refreshing way to look at this.

  6. onthewagon says:

    I don’t come here every day like I did in the beginning. But I still find this blog a great support when I take the time to check in. I have recently started other healthy practices such as meditation and betteer eating habit’s in adition to the therapy a d exercise I’ve already been doing to manage recovery and menopause. I am not interested in anti anxiety/depressants if I can avoid them. I have been reading “Clean” by David Sheff, after reading Beautiful Boy. Both Amazing books. Highly recommended if you want to learn more about addiction. Have a great weekend!

    • onthewagon says:

      Sorry about typos. I really do know how to spell but the auto correct is really funky on this device will be getting an iPad next time

  7. Nora says:

    I just posted a response to Brenda about taking money from a family member – PLEASE do not post it unless you post my name is norahelmer33. Thank you.

    • Nora says:

      Oh, I know see that if you don’t leave your name, the post appears as “anonymous” – ah well! Hello everyone, my name is Nora!

      • UnPickled says:

        Remove or leave comment? And Nora….the truth will set you free. 12 step programs encourage “rigorous honesty” and it is essential to freedom of the spirit and mind. You can face this and get through owning up to it.

        • Nora says:

          Please, leave my comment – I badly need to be set free, and this is an excellent start. Thank you for asking, and for your kind, thoughtful words. (And for your amazingly fast response!)

  8. Onthewagon says:

    2-1/2 months sober! It is not fun going through this while also going through menopause. I know I am much better without alcohol, but considering talking to my doctor about medications to manage menopause symptoms. Anyone else out there going through this too?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey there! It has been awhile but I am still here…hanging in there in 5 days 90 days…3 months without a drink! I know we are on the same time frame so I had to share : ) Feeling great and can’t believe it took me this long to really like myself. I thought summertime would be the hardest time with all the parties and bbqs, but I have been hanging in there without even the temptation of drinking. I know if I decided to go it would not be a good thing. Feeling good about myself is my new high..lol! Hope you are well and stay strong to all of you out there…one day at a time…be kind and gentle to yourself. Peace to you all xo

    • UnPickled says:

      Oh heavens yes! There are lots of ways to manage the symptoms – you don’t need to suffer. Many gps will poopoo women who come in with menopause complaints and end up encouraging anti anxiety or antidepressants. Don’t be dismissed like that – find someone who will listen to you and figure out what you need. There are also lots of gps who are great and care about helping you through. It is also a good chance to tell your doctor that you are in recovery and that it needs to be factored into your treatment.

    • Nowinewino ! says:

      Palpitations at night and rotten sleep ! Plus thyroid condition that affects all of those kind of things too plus of course mood swings ! Like peeling away the layers of skin from an onion to find what helps ! Also decaff and stress managemt helps ! I know alcohol only exacerbated these issues !

  9. TM says:

    Hi Jean,
    I would say that I came across your blog as a “seeker.” I am 34 and have always enjoyed my wine. I would say that within the last few years I have definitely turned that scary corner of being a social drinker to someone who abuses alcohol. The realization came to a head because my relationship with wine started interfering with my real relationship with my significant other. In the past, I tried to stop on my own but failed so many times that I became helpless. I started seeing a hypnotherapist for stress management because I thought that she could help me change my subconscious thinking – that didn’t work. After researching online and reading your blog (checking out “rethinking drinking” and even buying the book Changing for Good) it occurred to me that my relationship with alcohol is not healthy – what a sobering realization taking those rethinking drinking quizes. I have realized that the number one thing that people need when making large behavioral/habitual/changes in their life is support. I am grateful to have found your website and I will definitely visit this site when I need the reassurance that I am not alone. Thank you for creating a space where people can come to find some solace.
    Sincerely,
    TM

  10. larhodes73 says:

    My first day sober. Wish me luck. I am going the self motivational route. I have quit other self destructive habits before. I feel hopeful I can quit this one.

    • leavethefade says:

      I am working on Day 20 as of 12am today. This path comes with a lot of challenges and hard work. But let me tell you, with only a few days ahead of you, it is the best decision I made. Good Luck! It will be great. I received the best advice from Polly a few days ago that helped me with my diet. It has made such a difference to begin fueling my body right for this recovery. Check out Nutrition in Addiction Recovery by Rebecca Place Miller. Great information on how to help our bodies recover while we work on our mind.

  11. Onthewagon says:

    Two months sober today. It seems like a lot longer. Life is so much better without alcohol. Feeling more inspired every day!

  12. Onthewagon says:

    I just finished reading Jamie McCall’s Living the High Life Without the Champagne. It’s a page turner and read it in one day. This is a woman who is beautiful, highly intelligent and was highly successful and lost everything, including almost her life. She finally recreated herself in a beautiful way after numerous rock bottoms, alcohol rehab failures and hospitalizations culminating in a near death experience. After every attempt to quit, sometimes lasting 45 days, she convinced herself she could regain control, but the binges got worse and worse eventually leading to mental illness and total loss of function. Hopefully most of us don’t sink this far, but the potential is there. Like Allen Carr said in his book, all of us who drink are in the pitcher plant together – just at different stages on the same downward slope. Because alcoholism is progressive. This book resonated with me on many levels and I found it really inspiring! It reinforces my belief that once you learn to abuse alcohol there is no going back to moderation. Because something about our brain chemistry changes in the process of becoming an alcoholic. It also highlights how much better life is without alcohol.

    • SG says:

      Thanks for sharing! I was looking for a new summer read and this now is the one. Hope you are doing well and staying strong : ) I myself have a month and a half of no drinking. I can’t believe it, it feels good. Although I have to say the feeling of accomplishment and being so proud of myself( my therapist called it the pink cloud) is somewhat gone and reality is still here and life is still going on. Taking it one day at a time, enjoying life and being grateful for all that I have. I have to remember what brought me to this place and know that I am in a better way now. I haven’t been on here in awhile just been busy but I realize part of this process is having support. I now will be making it my daily routine to visit unpickled : ) Thanks again for sharing the book : ) About to download it now to my kindle…excited to start reading : )

      • onthewagon says:

        It is good to hear from you, SG and glad you are doing well. I know what you mean about the pink cloud. It is like the honeymoon is over! Like you I have to remind myself where I came from, where I was headed if I didn’t stop and how much better off I am now. I really do feel so much better and more confident. But life still has its ups and downs and I’m finding healthy coping strategies. I find that keeping myself in isolation is rarely a good thing if I am upset. Enjoy the book and keep going!

  13. onthewagon says:

    I am six weeks on the wagon. Feeling really good I don’t have a desire to drink- except in social situations. It is actually not about anxiety but more about the routine being around people I normally drink with and what I worry they will think of me when I say no thanks. I don’t know why I care. It’s pretty lame. I also have been thinking a bit that I am cured now so it is ok to drink socially if I just limit myself. I know inside this is not healthy . So I am going to stick to my guns and just eat lots of chocolate tomorrow at my social event if I need help getting through it. I’ve already thought about what I will say to people if they ask and I feel good about it I will get through this!

  14. Dena Dooley says:

    Thank you for being here. I have finally decided to reach out and look for people online for support in my decision to become sober. I am listening to the Bubble Hour in the background while reading posts and am having several aha moments. I have made this decision many times and really need to follow through. I have blackouts several times a week and recently mowed the lawn — I know this because the lawn was mowed. I don’t remember 95% of the experience. Thank you for your honesty and your willingness to not only share the road but welcome new walkers.

    • UnPickled says:

      My friend, I welcome you aboard this journey with open arms and heartfelt joy and gratitude to have helped you face your truth. The next steps aren’t easy but they are simple: don’t drink today and take care of yourself like the sweet newborn baby that you are right now. From what you’ve bravely written here, it is time for you to make some changes. Your life may well depend on it. I am rooting for you and you can always reach out here for support, encouragement, accountability, and recognition.

  15. brenda says:

    Hi, I have just read this blog. I needed to read something that would get me through the next few hours. I am not drinking and sober however,just having to start to fave up to slot of family problems my drinking and spending (money I took from my mother) has caused. I feel I am just hanging on. Reading your words has helped. I feel I have reached another level, another devil to fight!

    • Onthewagon says:

      Hi Brenda, I highly recommend Easyway to Control Your Drinking by Allen Carr. It has been extremely helpful along with this blog. I am just over a month now and feeling really great. It was super hard in the beginning (first two weeks) but has gotten easier over time. I have also found therapy, and going to Smart Recovery online as well as strenuous exercise very helpful. Good luck and hang in there!

    • UnPickled says:

      You can do it, Brenda. Be honest and brave. Keep doing the next right thing. it all adds up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Brenda: You’re the first person I’ve seen blogging about money you took from a family member and the problems it is causing or is going to cause in the future if somebody finds out. I have totally screwed myself by taking a fairly large sum of money from a family member who doesn’t know I took the money yet. If or when someone finds out, I am going to have a lot of restitution to make, and perhaps several family members who will never, ever, ever talk to me again. I have been trying to clear all of the other dishonesty and secrets from my life as I have lurched in an on-again off-again fashion to be coming clean and sober more consistently. However, the fear of being found out, and the shame of having taken all that money in first place, leaves me completely paralyzed sometimes, and I know that that feeling of terror and paralysis is a short step down the road to relapse. In fact, I know this well, because I have taken a drink or done a few lines in response to this feeling – that is, to try to crush it out of my brain for at least a short period of time. Of course, I only end up digging my hole even deeper and feeling more lost the next day. How are you handling this?

  16. ScottishLass says:

    I am a 26 year old professional woman. I finally admitted to myself around November 2013 that I had a problem with alcohol that I needed to get a handle on. Prompted, admittedly, by a number of raging arguments I had with my partner over my drinking and what it was doing to our relationship. I took a deep breath and went to see my doctor as I knew that the surgery offered an alcohol counselling service. After listening to me describe my drinking patterns the GP referred me on to the service, stressing that it sounded very much like I had a problem with drinking (not being able to stop at one, drinking more than I intended, putting myself in dangerous situations, perhaps most worringly of all – blackouts). I went out of the surgery satisfied that I was going to do something to ‘fix’ myself. And also convinced that what I was going to achieve was a way to moderately drink. Adamant that I was not an alcoholic and therefore didn’t need to stop drinking completely.

    What followed was weeks where I would control my drinking, stopping at one or two or not gettting (in my definition) ‘drunk’, followed by nights where I fell off the wagon spectacularly – drinking ’til I couldn’t remember anything, rolling in home at 4…5…6am. Followed by a heap of guilt and shame and a trip to the counsellor to convince her that this time would be different, that I was learning from my mistakes. And yet, the cycle repeated.

    Until last Wednesday night where my drinking got out of control again. And I was helped home by a number of friends – who I fought tooth and nail with to allow me to continue drinking. Nothing particularly new there. However, the next morning I woke up with the worst hangover of my life and to my shame I called into work sick for the first time due to drinking.

    Since then I have been thinking about quitting for good and I think you could technically class this as Day 3 sober. I find it difficult to count days sober as an achievment since my drinking behaviour revolved around binge-drinking sessions rather than drinking every day and I am always scared that that opportunity is just round the corner. But I am trying so hard to focus on making a real shift in my thinking around my relationship with alcohol.

    Wow this ended up being a lot longer than I meant it to be! I wanted to drop you a comment because I found your blog last night and since then have made my way all the way through it, from the start. I was clicking through and suddenly realised I have reached the most recent entry and felt compelled to leave a comment.

    So much of what you wrote resonates with me – the feeling that you needed to hit rock bottom before quitting, and realising that wasn’t the case; the worry about people not wanting to spend time with you; losing friends; not feeling able to tell anyone that you’re quitting, trying to do it in secret; the grief I feel at the thought of leaving alcohol behind (I cried for hours last night, which seems pathetic when I type it out); too many things to list really! I just wanted to say that I have drawn so much strength from seeing that it is possible to get through and survive – and that life doesn’t have to be terrible in doing so.

    I am sorry for hijacking the comments section with my essay…and thank you again.

    • UnPickled says:

      I couldn’t be happier than to read your words and learn from your story. You are a miracle for taking charge and bravely pursuing a better life. You can do it. it can be done. It has been done many times before and will be done my many after. Don’t give up. Keep going. It gets better and eventually it gets easier and soon is the best life you could ask for.

    • Leanne34 says:

      Hi scottishlass
      Your blog has hit a nerve with me, I’m 34 professional and I to have spent a few years on and off controlling my drinking then binge and wake up having blacked out, lost friends due to my behaviour etc. I have decided to stop for good before I get to the bottom thank you for sharing your experience all the best Leanne x

    • Young Girl says:

      I feel very much similar to your situation! I’m not a binge drinker by any sorts but when I go out I go ALL out! I feel shamed and embarrassed the next day with numerous black outs! I feel it is affecting my long term relationship and hope I can refrain from the temptation on the next big night out! I’m 25 and have many many parties weddings coming up and this is my biggest fear! I am die to start my first professional job very soon and hope I can start with a clear head and begin a next chapter in my life alcohol free !
      Good luck hope your going good !!

  17. HealthyJenn says:

    Wow I didn’t even realize people were still commenting on this thread. I’ve been reading all of it this morning. I haven’t drank for 50 days, and right now I’m like a kid in a candy store…I’m just amazed at what I’m learning and noticing every single day…how there are other moms like me who took the wine WAY too far and were just a train wreck waiting to happen. Thank you Unpickled…this blog somehow reached out and spoke to me right when I needed it. I’m keeping my own blog now, full of my daily, sometimes minute to minute ups and downs of my newly-sober thinking. It’s really helps to write. And it helps amazingly to read the early stories of other ladies who’ve been here…but managed to go on and lead happy lives without wine. If you guys can do it, I know it’s possible for me too.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am back commenting on this site to my own great shame. Several months ago after a particularly bad evening, I found this blog. I found the strength to stop drinking for a month. And then I thought God this is not really a problem after all, and I started drinking again. I only drink on the weekends, no more nightly wine, and I thought because I was limiting myself to

    • UnPickled says:

      Squeeeeeeze – that is my biggest hug. kick! That is a kick in the butt. Whichever you need right now. If your brain has rewired the pleasure-reward circuitry, you can not moderate. Sorry – that’s the reality. How are you doing? How can I help?

  19. onthewagon says:

    Day 29! I woke up this morning from a nightmare involving me getting completely blitz and not knowing where I was when I came to my senses. When I awoke, I was still in that half asleep confused state and thought this had really happened. I was crying hysterically and hated myself for letting myself fall off the wagon in such an extreme way. I finally realized it was all just a bad dream and felt so much relief! My husband had already left for work so I was alone. I haven’t yet told him about this, but will. He has been so supportive. I read in one of the books I’m reading that it is normal to have these types of dreams when quitting drinking. I am glad I am reading these books! I also felt good that this was not the type of dream where I woke up feeling as if I was missing alcohol, like how I sometimes used to feel waking up from a dream about some recent ex-boyfriend and missing the relationship (since I’ve been married forever, haven’t actually experienced that in a while). On another topic, last week was an emotional rollercoaster for me. My doctor ordered an esophagram because of throat pain I’ve been having over the past month considering the extent and duration of my heavy drinking (I was upfront with my doctor about this). My doctor said heavy drinking at my age is a risk for throat cancer. I had heard that before. But when I had the test, the male doctor said “I see so many old people all day long and it is refreshing to see such a young gorgeous woman with beautiful inner anatomy.” I cannot tell you how good this made me feel because I realized that any damage I’ve done to my body isn’t as bad as I thought (although I knew it was just a matter of time). I loved hearing the inner beauty part because I am really trying to focus more on this now that I am aging. I think aging gracefully is all about taking care of ourselves and being true to our values. When I was drinking, I was not living authentically and felt really ugly both on the inside and outside. Anyway, it turns out that I have a little bit of acid reflux which should improve with continued non-drinking. My doctor also said it is normal to have flu like symptoms for up to a month after quitting drinking. This is exactly how I was feeling, but I am much better now. I had today off work and for some reason I can’t figure out, I was compelled to start reading the Elliot Rodgers manifesto. It’s been one week since the horrible UCSB massacre. As a Mom with a young child, I guess I am just searching for answers, why did this happen, could this have been prevented? How does a young pure innocent beautiful life descend into such darkness? So sad. Going through the document, this is the first time I have felt a temptation to drink in a week. Weird. I think drinking was something I wanted to do when I felt depressed, troubled, or aware that there are circumstances in life we can’t control and how that made me feel anxious. I also realize that while drinking I was NEVER in the present moment, always rushed and thinking about how I would maintain my buzz. I am so much more relaxed than before and a much better mom as I am living in the moment, totally aware and being there for my child. Thanks for listening to my rambling! It helps!

  20. breakbad1 says:

    Man that part about the Today show is me all over! Hid bottles EVERYWHERE. Rotated stores so the clerks wouldn’t remember me. Was ASTONISHED at how I could FILL a huge recycling can with bottles in one week. Vowing to quit, every lousy morning when I woke up miserable. I’m doing better now, but some of those points made me feel like I was looking in a mirror.

  21. Elisabeth says:

    Day 36 of recovery. I wish I could say Day 36 without alcohol, but I slipped on Sunday and had 3 beers. We hosted the cookout. I was an emotional crying mess leading up to the BBQ, felt very irritable and was having a big pity party for myself. I pulled it together before the guests arrived and was good for a few hours, then one of my normy friends handed me an ice cold can of a new refreshing summer ale….down the hatch it went. I really didn’t even enjoy it, but still drank two more. I am trying not to beat myself up too bad about it. I did stop, the old me would have drank til I passed out. I am averaging 3 beers over 36 days, not bad. I feel like everything came to a head on Sunday. Monday woke up feeling much better!

    Went to a much bigger party last night and had no urge to drink. I discovered that my friends are really obnoxious drunk. I thought I was the only one! I am so happy that I went home early, gave my kids a bath, read a book and tucked them in. I woke up feeling great this morning and remembered everything from the night before. The old me would have kept my kids up too late, not remembered putting them to bed and sent them to school still dirty from the weekend. The old me would be hungover and trying to deal with work right now. Yikes!

    I had an AHA moment this morning….My kids are my ‘safe place’, they don’t drink and they want to keep active doing fun sober things.

    • onthewagon says:

      That is awesome that you pulled yourself together and got back on the wagon so quickly. I hope I can do that too when I have a moment of weakness!

  22. Mina says:

    Hi, I need this support and I absolutely must stop my own nightly wine ritual. Having a drink after work has become a routine and habit that I am so accustomed to, but I am also very aware of keeping this regular occurrence from my partner who I live with. I don’t get obviously drunk but I am altered. I find my secrecy about my drinking most alarming and cause for quitting. I need help but don’t want to pursue AA or smart recovery.

    • UnPickled says:

      Here is what I (and many others) suggest: try quitting. If you can’t do it on your own, you need to enlist some help (see resources at the side). There is a TON of information available to you online, tons of books, articles, podcasts, worksheets, etc. But I have to tell you, meeting other people who are also in recovery is the part that has added actual JOY to the journey for me. Let me know how you are doing and I am happy to help you find the resources you will need.

      • Anonymous says:

        Help. I am on day 1 for the 2,000th time. I am a good mom. My life is my children. I love this life. Then why am I checking out everyday at 4:45. The first sip and my ” work day ” is over. I may not be drunk but I am no longer present. I don’t want to go anywhere near rock bottom! Don’t want to know what rock bottom even looks like from a great distance. Why do I promise myself everyday, and mean it all day, until around 4:45. Then, maybe just one glass turns into the whole bottle. My life is passing me by and I feel like I am on a train that I can’t stop. How can I want to stop so badly but not be able to do the simple task of stopping! Will today be the day!!! I pray to God it will be. I pray to God everyday…

        • UnPickled says:

          Hello my friend, are you ready? You can do this. If you can’t stop on your own, don’t worry – there are lots of support systems out there to help you. The centrifuge you are currently in doesn’t need to be your life anymore – reach out. Let’s do it. I won’t drink today if you don’t!

        • tryingtostop31 says:

          I have the same problem…I want to quit..I wake up feeling horrible and regreting the night before whether one bottle or two to three bottles of wine… but once 7pm rolls around i just want to relax on the couch with my cat and my glass of wine while watching my favorite tv programs…How can i still enjoy all of my favorite things, be it a tv show, or just getting through the evening with NO wine????

          • UnPickled says:

            Oh man, I had those exact thought on “loop” for years. I was so perplexed by the thought of watching tv without wine. Over and over I thought, “What do people DO if they don’t drink?” I smile to myself every night when I make a cup of tea and happily sit down to enjoy tv time. In time, I started to enjoy the things I was doing and stopped thinking of wine. I am soooo much happier now and I feel and look better. It is possible to enjoy things even more, because wine NUMBS good feelings along with the negatives things we are trying to escape. I send you wishes for freedom from anything that pulls you down and holds you back and numbs your joy. If you see wine in this way, please consider making a change. You won’t regret it.

  23. onthewagon says:

    Day 22. Last few days have been great! Flying high as a kite on life itself. Have had three social functions in the last couple days. No temptation to drink AT ALL. Feeling more confidant than ever. This blog, therapy and Allen Carr book have helped me so much. Running too. I really can’t imagine ever going back to that dark place. Just ordered Living the High Life Without Champagne for my Kindle . Can’t wait to read it!

    • UnPickled says:

      Be sure to check back and let us know more about that book once you read it! HUGE high-five for over three weeks of AF living – that is amazing and you are an inspiration!

    • SG says:

      Day 22!!! Whooohooo!!!! Congrats! Today is one month for me!!! I can’t even believe it…This is the longest I have gone since being pregnant : ) I finally feel like I am coming into myself and truly liking myself again (if I ever really did) Treating my body mind and soul like a temple is really helping also. Eating good, exercising, not stressing the little things. Life is getting better by the day and I also can’t imagine getting back into that dark place again. Stay strong my friends, this life is worth it!!! And thank you to all who have shared this journey so far with me and will continue to share, you have helped more than you know, thank you unpickled..without this website I would be feeling so alone, this is a place I feel very much at home xo

      • Annie says:

        A month!! That’s amazing! I had been wondering how you were doing, but hadn’t thought to look back at the comments on this post, as I’d been commenting on the most recent unpickled post. So glad to hear you’re doing so well – you sound really positive and excited about life! I’m now on Day 32. Lots of ups and downs along the way. Have succeeded in 2 major social events without drinking, but actually what I find harder is the daily stuff. On Day 30, I thought I’d be elated, but I ended up feeling flat :( But I’m plodding on, day by day, and slowly slowly feeling that it’s working. Annie x

  24. DitchTheGrogBlog says:

    I am just starting my journey. Like you, the nightly ritual of wine is getting out of hand. I actually have to hide and stash bottles or top bottles up in our pantry to avoid any suspicion. I have a problem and like you I don’t need to hit rock bottom to find out. I’m glad I found your blog, I will keep reading for support along my journey. Thank you!

    • UnPickled says:

      Yep, you are reading the danger signs correctly – hiding booze is a big old RED FLAG. Take care as you make it through these first few days and keep coming back for updates, encouragement, support, and to let us all know how you are. There are many ahead and behind you on this pathway and we all take strength from hearing each other’s stories.

  25. Onthewagon says:

    Had a horrible day! I so much wanted to come home and drink a glass (bottle of wine). But here I am munching on chocolate chip cookies. I think I would actually call this is binge. Oh well, at least they are organic , vegan and gluten free and I didn’t succumb to the pressure I felt to drink (at least not yet). The urge started last night. I felt like I had said something to offend a friend. That ended up not being the case. Then I felt stupid for thinking that in the first place. Today I felt like I didn’t communicate something clearly to a client and felt like an idiot (even though the client said it made perfect sense). Then when I was talking to a friend about an upcoming stressful situation and she said to just make sure the wine frig is well stocked, I said “oh yeah, exactly.” Of course I’m not going to stock the wine frig. But why did I feel as if I had to go along with what she said? I just felt like one big loser all day long. I know that I am really hard on myself, way too sensitive and care way too much what other people think. I know that this has always been a huge trigger in my drinking. I drink to make myself feel more comfortable and fit in. If I say something I am embarrassed about later I just have another drink to cover up the feeling. It’s a vicious cycle. I need to get a grip. Not a good day at all. Last cookie down the hatch.

  26. SG says:

    Hey there. Today is day 24 : ) Can’t believe I have made it this far and feeling pretty good. I have been trying to live very simply and uncomplicated. When I was drinking it seems like everything revolved around when I could have a drink or when my next drink was coming. I rushed myself to finish everything I needed to do to be able to “relax” with my drink. Sad but true. I was always safe to start at around evening and then continue through out the night. Now I just go through my days and nights in somewhat of a routine and remind myself I should be so lucky to be able to do the things I do, even if it is something as little as folding wash or making a bed. Some don’t even have clothes to fold or a bed to make. On the Bubble hour I listened to an episode about being grateful for all you have and it says that a grateful heart is a sober one (something like that) Those are some of the words I try to live by now. It helps : ) Before when I would drink I would drink to numb my day to day mundane life and just to add a little excitement to it, everything seemed to be more enjoyable with a drink even folding wash..LOL! But now I take my time and have been noticing that all these things aren’t that bad after all. I have only felt better about myself since I stopped my regular binges.. pretty darn proud of who I am. Like someone said on here I am being reminded of the person I am without the alcohol and she is pretty cool! Not saying that I wouldn’t love to go to a wedding and drink my ass off, but one thing I wouldn’t love is the big fat hangover I would have and all the “what did I do?” and “hope I didn’t make a fool of myself!” Looks like the pros outweigh the cons. I don’t think I have ever been to a wedding sober!!! Next weekend will be my first. I actually have been waiting for this wedding for awhile seeing tons of people I haven’t seen in awhile, they all have seen me totally wasted before and probably are expecting that from me : ( I don’t want to be known like that!!! My therapist said if you feel good on the inside it shows on the outside. Looking at it as a new experience, it will be tough but I will keep reminding myself of how good I have been feeling and there is no turning back now. Plus I am looking forward to actually enjoying all the food, usually I just have a liquid dinner at weddings! LOL! So Elisabeth please know you are not alone with this whole wedding thing, it seems to be the norm to get plastered at weddings! You do what makes you feel good , we are here no matter what! Stay strong my friends : ) Wishing you all a peaceful day

    • Elisabeth says:

      Hi SG. Thanks for the support, it helps. Day 28 and I’m feeling much better than yesterday. It boggles my mind how I can have such extreme mood swings. Yesterday, I was irritated, depressed and felt exhausted. Today, I feel positive, motivated and I’m getting a ton of work done.

      In regards to the wedding, I’m not going to torture myself about it for the next 3 weeks. I too have been looking forward to this wedding for a long time. I too have been drunk for every wedding I attended, unless I was pregnant. I feel like I cheated myself just considering drinking at the wedding and then realized that I haven’t drank in 28 days!! Minus a couple of down days, I am feeling good. My face and belly are way less bloated. I’m spending money on things other than booze. No more waking up incredibly hungover and have to pretend that I’m fine. No more wondering what I did/said the night before. No more wanting to crawl in a dark hole and never come out!!! And bringing the recycling to the curb is much less work now:)

      I am a firm believer in positive thinking, I’ll have to listen to the Bubble Hour’s Podcast on being grateful. I am 65 pages into Allen Carr’s book and am seeing a therapist weekly. I’m committed and will keep working at it.

      • SG says:

        All I have to say is…You go girl!!! Sounding great..keep up the good work : ) We all must be cut from the same cloth, everything sounds way too familiar. Don’t torture yourself, that is exactly how I thought about my upcoming wedding. Take it day by day. Only you know what works for you : ) Went to see my therapist last night and he said to look up the word “selfish” which the definition is taking care of ones self. These are words to live by for us these days and I think for life. We are #1, we take care of everything and everyone, we need to be ok to do this well. I have been taking extra good care of myself lately, basically pampering myself, almost like nursing myself back to heath from the poison that I used to put into my body. Taking it slow and enjoying the ride with a clear mind. Putting no pressure on myself. Hope you do too…we deserve it!

        My “relaxing” used to be sitting on the porch downing drink after drink till I was numb enough to come back in and basically deal with my life. Nowadays “relaxing” is working out, pedicure, facial, reading a magazine in bed, catching up on my television. And I feel okay about it. This is our time to shine and feel good about ourselves. Be proud of your accomplishments, those days that I feel like crap, and I have plenty of them, I just think how far I have come in just only in a month. My only worry is the summer is coming, bbqs, and plenty of alcohol will be flowing. My therapist told me I need to think of a plan before I get there of how I will cope, either by bringing my own drink, keeping busy at the party. Again I will deal with it when it comes, for today I will enjoy it and feel good : ) Have a great day my friend : ) TTYS And glad you are enjoying Alan Carr’s book, I found it soooo very helpful, I was sad when it ended. It is definitely a life changer! : )

  27. Onthewagon says:

    Day 17. I got through the weekend including a girlfriend retreat with drinker friends. I felt tempted at times but just kept reminding myself how much better I’ve been feeling and how low I had been two weeks ago when drinking. I spent a little more money on shopping and ate more than I wanted to. But in the past I would spend a lot of money on wine purchases, drink a lot, then still do the shopping and over- eating! So I am making progress.

    Sometimes I feel sad that I,m giving up something that was so much a part of my life, like I am grieving the loss of a person. I wonder how I will live without forever. Then I remembered all those xboyfriends I felt the same way about after the breakup, and here I am years later questioning how I ever got together with such a toxic person in the first place. Or sort of like my son losing his favorite toy. I also wondered if recovering heroin addicts have similar feelings ~ how will they ever enjoy life again without their drug ! Imagine life without heroin. How horrible would that be?! Lol . This gave me some perspective as I realized that non drinkers or recovered alcoholics know their life is better without alcohol just like non heroin users know life is better without heroin. It made me realize that ventually all these bad grieving feelings will pass like everything else in life.

    • Elisabeth says:

      Day 27. I got thru the weekend too. But, that’s it…….got thru. I want to enjoy the weekends! I am irritable this morning and not sure how to proceed with my day, so I logged on to unpickled, it always helps. This past weekend I put my nose to the grindstone and stayed busy..went for a run, drove the kids from one function to the next, food shopped, laundry, cleaned the house. And now the kids are off to school and hubby’s off to work….and the house is a mess all over again! This weekend routine is not unusual (well, the run is new:) except I used to drink along the way and somehow everything seemed more fun! AAhh! A couple of my husbands friends stopped by and they relaxed in the backyard and drank a couple of beers while I unpacked the groceries. I was so resentful and hated the smell of beer on his breath.

      One of our best friends is getting married next month, I received the itinerary over the weekend, it is a big drink fest. Cocktail hour starts at 10am! Already worried about it, my husband asked, “will you be off the wagon for that weekend?” My husband does not have a drinking problem, drinks a couple of beers on the weekend..big jerk:) A big part of me is seriously considering drinking for the wedding: we are staying at the resort, no one is driving, we won’t have the kids (1st weekend ever in 10 years), booze is free, ALL my friends drink, this is the last of our friends to get married and the only other destination wedding we went to I was pregnant and couldn’t drink. On the other hand, there are many reasons I stopped drinking: I drink til I pass out, blackout often, nasty hangovers, I can get mean with my husband, I’ve gained 30 lbs in two years, my Mom died of alcoholism at 57, I have two beautiful kids, my husband is a good person, I have a successful business, and I haven’t done any permanent damage yet…or have I?

      • Onthewagon says:

        Hi Elisabeth, I don’t think anyone here will judge you if you fall off the wagon and relapse, even if it is pre-meditated :) Please think twice though. Imagine yourself at this wedding, doing your usual thing, drinking until you pass out. How will you feel after ward? In addition to being hung over, will you be angry at yourself? Hate yourself? Vow to yourself to never do this again and realize how many times you have made this promise but haven’t kept it and feel hopeless? I wish I could say can you just set your mind to a drinking limit and stick to it. I’ve said that to friends in the past and I’ve said it to myself. I am now at the point of finally accepting that it doesn’t work after we realize we have a problem with drinking and have tried unsuccessfully to cut back. Does your husband know your intention to completely stop drinking? I’m thinking he might not know this if he is asking if you are planning to be off the wagon. Can you tell him your true intention? I actually haven’t told my husband yet either. But I need to. I know he will support me.

        I also used to run around doing errands and everything else with a drink. I even put beer or wine in a special water bottle and drove around with it, sometimes with my kid in the car, sometimes even on the way to a business meeting. I am not even kidding! I felt horrible about myself. The alcohol made me escape from all my bad, stressed out and anxious feelings and tricked me into thinking that I was having fun and felt good about myself. What a lie! I feel so much better about myself now. I too have a successful career, great husband, beautiful child. I was in denial thinking I didn’t have a problem because not only had I not hit rock bottom and was not even barely functional, but was actually succeeding in everything in my life, including my profession, running marathons, giving public speeches, volunteering, etc etc. I knew I was a ticking time bomb.

        I am reading a book: Allen Carr’s Easyway to Control Alcohol. SG on this site recommended it. Have you heard of it? It is helping me so much. It is completely altering the way I think about alcohol and a lot of other things in life. All I really had to do was read the chapter on The Pitcher Plant and I knew that I was done FOREVER with this alcohol thing. Right now I am feeling happy to be a minority and standout in the crowd as a non-drinker. I am starting to remember how funny, fun, smart and attractive I can be without alcohol. And I would much rather be a fly on the wall than a fly in the trap (read about the pitcher plant to know what I’m talking about). I am also seeing a therapist a couple times a month and running my ass off! All of this is helping me. I really hope that you can find the strength within yourself and stay the course. You can do this! I am hoping that I can stay the course too and that this isn’t all just me being in some honeymoon phase of recovery.

  28. BeyondReady says:

    I am going to bookmark your blog. I haven’t begun my journey yet but I have seriously been thinking about it and know that very, very, very soon that a change needs to happen. I know that I will need encouraging words and motivation along the way and I hope your blog will help.

  29. SG says:

    I have either 20 or 21 days clean and I have been feeling really good. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I haven’t had any real cravings and that I have been on such a high, that is until today. Today it is sunny and warm out, you can feel spring in the air, this usually would be an excuse for me to enjoy some beers or some wine. My neighbors and all the kids are out playing in the street and on the yards and every adult seems to have a drink in their hand. A coffee cup filled with wine or the ice cold beer…both looking very good. Both of which myself would be indulging in before. I am feeling angry today that I can’t be like others and do what they are doing and kinda alone. Not to mention none of them know I have quit. My patience is very thin..usually with a few drinks I am more laid back and enjoy the company, but not so much today. Everyone seems to be annoying me and I just want to be left alone. So instead of being outside I choose to come in and relax and be alone. I can handle this today..but is this how it is going to be forever? Gosh I hope not. I wouldn’t go back to drinking, I just can’t do it to myself I know nothing good comes from it…but I just want to feel “normal”…Thanks for listening : )

    • Elisabeth says:

      Hi SG. Feeling the same way today. I’m 25 days in. Went to a kids bday party earlier…sangrias and beers for the adults. Used to be my type of party! So, I continuously ate for 3 hours instead, it helped:) Got home to a normy husband drinking a beer and asking who we should invite over tonight. I needed quiet, so I went inside too. Feeling frustrated, so I hopped on unpickled. I want to enjoy myself! I’m gonna keep working on it and hope time will help….already starting to feel better.

    • Onthewagon says:

      I am only on Day 15. I felt the same way as you today. Why are the weekends always harder? I guess it makes sense because what everyone wants to do on weekends is unwind from the stress of the work week and drink! Mimosas at brunch, the afternoon beers in the sun, the wine before, at and after dinner. But I have to remember that I always feel bad about myself during and after wards. Especially the next day, I not only feel hungover but depressed and look at my red skin and bloated tummy in the morning. I have been feeling so good about myself in EVERY way since I stopped and I have to keep reminding myself of that. This kept me on track today. I did have a VERY strange feeling this morning though. I did not have a craving or desire to drink. But instead I felt a compulsive urge to drink that reminded me of how I feel sometimes with heights (one of my phobias) when I want to jump off the edge. I actually forced myself to get out of the house and it passed. I know that what we are all experiencing is very normal and will probably last a long time. We have to keep reminding ourselves how much better off we are now, even when everyone around us is drinking. Now that my head is clear, I’m also seeing how many people have a problem or are developing one but don’t see it. It makes me sad for them, but glad I am quitting before it’s too late. Even though drinking always gave me some pleasure in the beginning, it was always temporary. Nothing good ever comes out of it in the end. Thanks for letting me vent!

      • SG says:

        Ladies..I can’t stress enough how much you have helped me get through this! Thanks so much!! Made it through Sat night, just relaxed caught up on some television. Feels good to be up early and feel good. You are right…think of how I felt during and after the drinking and even days after helps remind me of why I am doing what I am doing : ) Thanks again ladies..we made it! : )

  30. Onthewagon says:

    Thanks SG! The therapy was great. This was the first time I have spoken out loud about all the details. What a relief. My husband only knows I have/had a problem. I will gradually open up. I like the perspective about standing out in a crowd because we are in control rather than wasted

    Love Bad Genes idea about saying “Don’t worry, it’s not contagious” if people ask. I too think about humorous or sarcastic replies. Like I could say it’s because I’m expecting which would get a laugh from people who know me well since I’m in my late 40’s. Or I could say “someone needs to stay sober in order to drive your drunk ass home”. Cleanse/detox programs are popular where I live, whether you drink or not. My therapist suggested ” I started out on a cleanse and realized I felt better so decided to give it up completely for health benefits.” This will make sense to close friends because the know I am a health fanatic (the alcohol problem was very inconsistent with my values). I guess the response might depend on the audience or group of friends.

    Have a great weekend and stay strong!

  31. Onthewagon says:

    I have been thinking about all the people in my life who drink. It’s probably about 90%. Very few drink just on rare or special occasions. Most are regular moderate drinkers with occasional binge drinking. This is how I started out. Understanding that alcoholism is progressive and that you don’t necessarily need to have alcoholic parents in order to become an alcoholic (someone actually told me once that I didn’t have to worry about becoming an alcoholic because it doesn’t run in my family), I wonder how many of my friends will eventually become alcoholic (or are now and just in denial). It makes me sad. I am lucky that my husband is one of those guys who doesn’t drink out of habit or overdo it when he does drink. I am also lucky to have at least three friends who don’t drink at all, not even a drop on NYE. One of them is a recovered alcoholic. The other two, I don’t know. As long as I’ve known them they haven’t drank but I’ve only known them a few years and we are in our mid 40’s. This makes me curious but I don’t want to pry. Are there some people who just never tried alcohol and have no interest? I am eager to share my story with someone but not sure who yet. Maybe I should just keep it private. I am not feeling any desire to drink. But I do feel like a minority. I’m not sure how that makes me feel, especially since one of the reasons I started out drinking was to fit in and be cool. I have my first therapy appointment coming up. Wish me luck!

    • SG says:

      Good Luck! A therapist is one of the tools I use also. I LOVE it, helps me express how I feel without any judgment also gives me the insight of why I did the things I did : ) Hope you enjoy it as much as I do and congrats on taking that step!! Also your not alone with feeling like a minority, that is exactly how I feel also : ( But I am trying to look at it as I now stand out from the crowd not for being the one who is completely wasted, but the one who is in control and taking excellent care of myself. We shall see…I have a wedding coming up and of course the alcohol will be flowing. At one point I was excited to go..free alcohol and an “excuse” to get wasted but I am feeling a little apprehensive now that I quit. My husband doesn’t drink either so that is a plus, I bought myself a great dress and getting my hair done so I will feel great and look great, not for anyone else but for ME. Taking care of us is #1 on the inside and it will shine through on the outside! Enjoy your day and keep up the good work : )

    • Bad Genes says:

      I haven’t “come out” to anyone but my husband, and still, we aren’t using the “a” word yet. I decided, though, that when I do, I am going to use humor if it gets awkward. Like, “Don’t worry, it’s not contagious!” or something like this. My friends are all amazing and I seriously doubt that any of them is going to abandon me. They’ve stuck by me through some serious rough patches in my life. And to be honest, I don’t think any of them is going to be surprised.

  32. Onthewagon says:

    Well, it’s my lunch hour and I am blogging again. Better blogging than binging! Day 12 here. The mornings are getting easier. I was less emotional and slept better last night. I looked at myself in the mirror. I noticed my face is less puffy, the whites of my eyes look whiter and those little red rosacea lines that I always thought were strictly hereditary and I couldn’t do anything about are less visible. My stomach is flatter. All of this makes me happy. Someone on this site recommended Allen Carr’s book, Easy Way to Control Alcohol. By “control” he means quit. This book is totally awesome! Thank you to whoever mentioned it!

    • SG says:

      Hey there! That book is a life changer. So happy it is helping you : ) It helped and continues to help me through each day. I am on day 17 and I feel like a whole new person on the outside, still working on the inside and will probably for the rest of my life, although I do feel better about myself and pretty proud I made it this far. But all those outside changes also make me happy! Imagine what will continue to happen…its exciting a whole new us! Glad we are sharing and helping each other. Thanks for sharing…this is such a great help : ) Stay strong my friend

  33. Bad Genes says:

    It’s Day 2. Again! Just like Ground Hog Day! I didn’t realize I was alone in blogging about this. I guess I blogged in solitude, just as a way to make my quits more real to me. Anyway, I’m glad you are all out there.

    • Onthewagon says:

      This quitting process really is like Ground Hog Day! If you can stay focused on your goal, you will have fewer non-drinking days than drinking days and you will keep getting better and better! Stay strong!

  34. Annie says:

    Day 17 but I’m feeling really low this evening. Things seemed to be going so well, and I was feeling pretty good, and confident. But today I am plunged back into doubts, and wish I could drink normally (whatever that means), and I half wish I’d never embarked on the whole thing. Sorry to sound so down. Are these typical feelings at this stage?? I don’t know. I’ve been reading blogs for the last hour or so; I haven’t even cooked the children’s supper yet. I desperately don’t want to succumb to the voice which is telling me to give up. A party looms on Saturday, and I’ve already had a couple of comments from people saying that they hope I’m going to ‘start drinking again’ for that. I’m so miserable that I’m feeling like this.

    • Onthewagon says:

      Annie, I feel your pain. It is only Day 11 for me. I am feeling very strong today, though yesterday was a different story and who knows what tomorrow will be. From everything I have read, these are totally normal feelings. I did some Googling and found info on PAWS. You have to enter Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. Otherwise you’ll just get a bunch of websites and cute pictures with cats. Lol! Anyway, one site said even after the physical withdrawal symptoms are gone, the emotional and mental symptoms can last two years! This is why relapse is so common in the early stages because it catches people off guard if they don’t know what to expect. Don’t give up! You are where you are for a reason. I have heard and even read on this blog that once a person realizes they have a drinking problem, they cannot go back to any amount of drinking. It is what it is. I know some people think going back to moderation is possible and maybe some even do. But I think it very rarely works if ever and that it will eventually progress to unhealthy drinking.
      I realized that moderation drinking in alcoholics is kinda like first time sex. Once you have sex with a guy, you don’t go back to just making out. Right? I am glad I am not trying to give up sex! Lol.
      I too have parties coming up this weekend. If people ask why I’m not drinking, I’m just going to tell them I have given up drinking because it is healthier for my body. I’m not going into any further detail. I didn’t have a long story to tell when I gave up carbs, so it’s not any different with alcohol. I’m not going to let anyone get in my way!! I don’t care what anyone thinks. Can you reach out to an AA or Smart Recovery group. I am finding that I really like the Smart Recovery philosophy. Stay strong!! You are worth it!

    • Elisabeth says:

      Annie, I feel your pain. It can be unbearable (Day 21). I have to break it down by seconds sometimes. Forcing myself to reach for a non-alcoholic drink will often help me get over the hump. My head can be so loud sometimes, “Drink, don’t drink, oh my god, I can’t believe that I can’t drink! don’t drink, drink, ahhhh!” With time, your head will become quieter, I promise. I am seeing a counselor on a weekly basis, this helps me understand what and why I am feeling this way. It also makes me accountable. Hang in there, you and your kids are worth it. PS. The kids won’t starve. I’m sure they prefer cold cereal from a sober Mom than a gourmet meal from a drunk one:)

      Putting my kids to bed last night, I realized that I am a much better bedtime storyteller sober! And I have far more patience when I’m not rushing to put them to bed, so I can go have another drink.

      • onthewagon says:

        I just realized I feel this way too putting my son to bed. So much more relaxed, calm and in the moment with him. Plus I can remember what we read and talked about the next day since I wasn’t drunk the night before. Thank you for sharing your insight!

    • SG says:

      Stay Strong…I felt like that myself for a time today, like I would love to just disconnect for a bit. I found myself watching tv and being envious of the people drinking on the television. I tell myself I have come this far to turn back now. And this is the BEST thing. I want to feel good and I didn’t while I was drinking. Remembering those horrible mornings of foggy brain, getting sick and being a lump on the couch missing out of life quickly remind me to stick with it. Nothing good comes from drinking…nothing. Give yourself time, this will eventually become our new normal. Definitely check out that book I read by Alan Carr, it is great…puts alcohol in a whole new light, it shows it for the poison that it is. It has helped me. Hope you have a good night and please know we are all here for you and can relate : )

    • HealthyJenn says:

      Hello Annie,
      I think this is downright hard work and it is scary. I’m sorry you’re having a down day and I hope it gets better. I feel like I could have written your post myself and I wish I could say something to help you get through today. Sometimes I think I could just pretend that none of this ever happened and return to “social” drinking…but I’m becoming increasingly aware that I can not be a social drinker…. Please treat yourself well and stay the course. Be strong.
      Jen

  35. Elisabeth says:

    Day 20. Didn’t wake up hungover this morning, which feels great! Mother’s Day is not one of my favorite holidays even though I have two small children. My Mom died at 57 (of alcoholism) and my father-in-law died on Mother’s Day, 10 years ago. When my daughter was 2, she almost drowned in a pool on Mother’s Day. I was drinking (of course) and luckily saw her in the deep end and pulled her out. Even after all this…. (and this is only an example of one day out of my life), it still took years to stop drinking. I’ve tried to quit before, once for 18 months. This time I feel different. I feel more determined than ever. Feel like a rebel. I don’t care what anybody thinks….just get out of my way! There is more validity in what I say and do each day. I truly believe that if I don’t drink, everything will be OK.

    Thanks for this blog. It really helps.

    • Onthewagon says:

      Congrats on Day 20. I am 10 days behind you so I am inspired by anyone ahead of me. Please keep going! I am so sorry for your loss. I can relate since my mother died 7 years ago at 64 from years of smoking, alcohol and anorexic abuse. My father is still alive but we have never been that close. I have also had a couple of close calls with my son due to drinking. I would kill myself if anything ever happened to him especially if I had anything to do with it. This is my first real attempt quitting. I just kept denying I had a problem and had never really hit a true rock bottom, which just served to keep me stuck in a destructive cycle. Six months ago I decided to quit for a month, just to see if I could do it. Since I was able to (well, truth be told, with one relapse midway ), this justified my thinking at the time that I was not an alcoholic and I would be ok if I just regained control and drank moderately. But I couldn’t do it. As they say in AA, “it work until it no longer works.” Not everything is ok in moderation. I am changing the way I think. I am determined to be a better person and a better Mom. Stay strong! We can do this!

  36. Onthewagon says:

    I drank cooking wine once. I ACTUALLY DID THAT! Toward the end. It was awful. How crazy am I?

    On Day 10. Busy week ahead. A few meetings and lunches with clients. In my industry, folks drink at these meetings. There is one meeting in particular with a client in the alcohol beverage industry who will certainly expect everyone to taste. I will have to think up a story since I don’t think “No thank you, I’m a recovering alcoholic on Day 10″ would go over so well.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Thank you everyone for the reply to my message!! I’m glad I have found this. my self I’m on day 3 and kinda nervous about the weekend coming on, since that’s when I usually go to dinner n get hammered afterwards with my bf. I’ve been thinking a lot about different things I’ve been reading here and other site and I’m coming to the conclusion that maybe it’s not my bf trying to be unsupportive towards my new decisions but maybe he’s afraid of how it’s going to change our relationship. Just a thought I’ve been having. Thanks again everyone!!

    • Onthewagon says:

      Anonymous, hang in there this weekend! Today marks my 1 week anniversary on the wagon. Day 7. Feeling tired due to lack of sleep but I am getting through each day one day at a time. You are probably right about your bf. When I told my husband that I was done, he reacted by telling me verbatim that this will really effect his lifestyle – no more wine tasting, no more beer making,etc – and that this will be an adjustment for him. For him?? I was extremely angry at first. But after we talked I realized that he is being supportive, but that this really is an adjustment for both of us. He did not realize (and still doesn’t because I haven’t told him everything) the extent of my drinking problem. So it was hard for him to hear me say I do not want to ever drink again when he thought it would be easy for me just to cut back and drink moderately. He himself has no problem drinking an occasional beer or glass of wine (maybe 1-2x per week) and rarely goes overboard (maybe on New Years’ Eve). I actually think that I am going to be ok being with him if he has a drink and I don’t. I think this would be more difficult if he were getting blitz every time. That would be either more tempting for me or I would worry about his drinking. I have tried cutting back to moderation so many times. I kept asking myself “why can’t I control this any more when I used to?” I am becoming more aware of the stressors in my life that pushed me over the edge. But it doesn’t really matter why anymore. The fact is I can’t go back. And to keep trying without success makes me think of Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I am off to go sailing with a close friend and tomorrow is Mother’s Day. In the past, both of these occasions would be reasons to get bombed. But I have no interest right now. I just want to enjoy my surroundings and company and sip my lemon cucumber water. I’m hoping I can stay in this mindset. Good luck to you this weekend!

  38. Onthewagon says:

    As I just replied to a previous post, I sit here wondering when the emotional roller coaster will end. I felt great yesterday. Today is day 5 and I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept. Sobbed uncontrollably while my husband got ready for work. I told him last weekend that I wanted to stop. We did not discuss details. I’ve been drinking in private for a long time. I’m not ready to share everything, even with him. He gets it though. He gave me a huge hug and just held me for a while. I feel blessed. Still, I feel a bit like Sandra Bolluck in Gravity, floating alone in space, trying to figure out how to get back home. Thanks to the one who posted the article! It lifted my spirits.

    • Annie says:

      I totally understand what you’re going through. I’m on Day 13 and every day I have felt like a mad woman: either ecstatic, or miserable, with a whole load of other feelings in between those extremes. Reading lots of blogs, I can see that many people seem to go through this huge range of emotions, and in these early days of sobriety I think it’s partly about accepting that one’s emotional pulse is going to be pretty erratic. At the moment, nearly 2 weeks into my plan of action, I mostly just feel ODD. I also find that I can think of little else, and I feel bad that my family is having to take a back seat while I endlessly sit and read blogs, or look up recipes for non-alcoholic drinks…

    • LJP says:

      I’m still on the roller coaster too, but it doesn’t seem to be going around as many surprising curves and I can cope better when they appear :) It does get better!

      -Lyn

    • SG says:

      Great article!!! Hit the nail right on the head : ) Thanks for sharing..have a great day! : )

      • Annie says:

        Yes, really inspiring article, Lyn! Thanks for this. Very helpful reminder of why I’m doing this, as I head into another weekend. And Sara – day 13! Yay!

        • SG says:

          Hey Annie!!! Day 13 winding down…it is Friday though, the day that I would lose control for the whole weekend and let the alcohol guide my days and nights. Feeling strong though. Taking it day by day. Yes my emotions are also going crazy, but I am feeling pretty good on a whole. So happy to hear you are doing good also, we are doing this together! Stay strong over the weekend. Hope you had a great day and have an even better night. Don’t worry about bothering your hubby with all the sober talk…like you said it is a heck of a lot better than the drunken conversations! I know the feeling only too well!!! My husband can tell you that! I myself am going to watch my daughter perform in a play, it helps remind me of how important this is for not just me but for my family. She turns 10 tomorrow..I can’t believe it. Went fast. Looking forward to the next ten with an absolute clear mind : ) Yeah to day 13 my friend : )

    • Tammy says:

      Loved this!

    • Pondering in Montana says:

      oh my goodness, this is what lead me to this site.. i posted my ‘story’ a few days ago when i first stumbled upon this site… i read many posts and comments and when it finally brought me to tears, i wrote a reply… haven’t gotten any responses but I’m sure I’ll come across another that will inspire me to write more. Thank you to everyone for opening your lives on this site for those of us pondering the idea of sobriety… it helps me know what to expect and that there are people out there that will support me!

  39. Anonymous says:

    So I came home today apologizing to my bf about the horrific things I did and brought up the fact that I really don’t want to drink any more. I wish I could’ve been meet with open arms and support but I unfortunately didn’t. I had said I was going to stay sober once before so maybe that’s why I feel like maybe he doesn’t believe me. He told me I should just limit my self and one of my friends suggested the same thing instead. I find it hard to believe that I’m saying I don’t want to drink n they’re suggesting I do but just to have 2? I think my path towards this is going to be a long one

    • Annie says:

      Try to stick to what you want to do. If you are determined to give up, just one or two drinks isn’t going to help. Perhaps once your bf sees that you’re serious about this, he’ll support you more? Hang in there!

    • LJP says:

      Every time I tried to quit and announced it I was met with the same kind of reaction. “You don’t drink THAT much”, “You’re not an alcoholic!”, “Just cut back.”, “Only drink on weekends”. I finally realized I wanted to quit drinking for me and I only needed to tell myself and be proud of myself. I know you want the support (and yes validation) in doing the right think from those around you, but drinking is such a norm in our society that your choice to not drink will actually make others uncomfortable. I do little things that are good for me, instead of wine in my glass, I have diluted apple juice; instead of beer, I have ginger ale; instead of a caesar, i just order a virgin caesar. I have been able to make this change quietly and on my own over the last few weeks. I am now on day 19. Be strong. And remember this blog and that there are lots of groups out there to help you and support your decision.

      -L

    • Onthewagon says:

      I agree with Annie and LJP. Do this for yourself and not anyone else. Listen to your heart. Every time I’ve told a friend I want to quit altogether, I get the same response – you’re not an alcoholic, you don’t drink that much, just cut down, you can’t give up drinking wine “life would be no fun” ( yes, someone really said that to me). I finally came to my own realization and had two incredible insights that I am hanging on to 1. Moderation drinking for me (and a lot of people I know) is an illusion. It’s just not possible. 2. I am giving up nothing by giving up drinking. Except: bad feelings, weight gain, bad sleep, bad skin, financial loss, remorse. I am only gaining freedom and better health. The truth is alcohol is just as bad for us as smoking cigarettes. The advertising and propaganda around alcohol is no different than tobacco industry. It teaches all of us to normalize, romanticize and justify drinking to unsafe levels. I don’t want to just jump on the bandwagon because everyone else think it’s ok. I want to educate myself and do what I think is best for me. Please take care of yourself. We are all here for you!

    • Tammy says:

      I’m in the same boat. Nobody seems to understand I can’t limit myself. I just can’t. Hoping I can figure this thing out by myself. And thankful for the online support.

  40. Onthewagon says:

    Unpickled is a total inspiration!

  41. Onthewagon says:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kLlS2oCNzsg

    Hello everyone. I am feeling exhilarated on Day 5! Yesterday was the worst so far but I got through it. I have been researching about both cognitive behavioral therapy and especially EMDR used in treating anxiety and addiction. It sounds a little bit out there but the theory makes sense to me. I found a YouTube video that is very short and VERY powerful. It sent shivers up and down my spine. It is one of the things that stopped me drinking last night when I felt weak. I am sharing the link with you in the event you want to try it and add it to your “tool box.” Hopefully the link works as I’m not used to copy/pasting with my iPhone. If it doesn’t, try Googling “EMDR and alcohol aversion” and you will find the YouTube on first page. Stay strong everyone. We can do this!

  42. Onthewagon says:

    Thank you both LJP and SG for the encouraging words! I am working half day today then going for a long run. The first song on my playlist is Don’t Look Back by Boston. Love that song. Then I’m going to get a massage :). Stay strong and keep going!

  43. Onthewagon says:

    Today is Day 4. Had some family stress last night, which is usually a trigger. Surprisingly had no interest in drinking, though I felt anxious and sad. Woke up this morning feeling awesome initially. But then I was overwhelmed by sadness. Not over craving a drink. I’m not exactly sure but I do feel disgusted with myself over things that I have done while drinking (even as a mom) that I see clearly now. I never beat my child, no (though I’ll admit there have been times when I felt like it, drinking or not). But I did drink and drive, with my child in the car, more than once. I drank and drove to work, attended work meetings under the influence at 11am. After that meeting btw, I was told “great job” by everyone. Then my client suggested we all go out for cocktails after the meeting, which of course I was happy to do, then drive two hours back home. I was amazingly good at hiding my problem and still appearing like a rock star! I could go on about all the crazy things I’ve done. I have absolutely no desire to drink on day 4 and I really hope this feeling continues. But I am so afraid that this feeling might go away, that I might eventually think it is ok to drink in moderation. I know that does not work for me! For now I will hang on to this feeling of not wanting to drink at all. I just wish I could get rid of these bad horrible disgusting feelings I have about myself at the moment. I think that eventually I want to go to therapy. But this is all so raw and private, I just want to keep this secret for now. I am encouraged by the support from this and other blogs.

    • LJP says:

      I have made it to day 17 today. The first week was interesting because I didn’t want to drink and triggers worried me. The best thing was getting through that first stressful trigger event and knowing I did it. I was sober when it happened, was able to deal with it, and afterwards I just wanted to sit with a cup of tea and recover. That eyeopening event made it even clearer that diving into a glass (actually bottle) of wine with the excuse that I was stressed and needed it and deserved it was completely wrong. Good luck on your journey.

    • SG says:

      Please don’t beat yourself up about the past…it is the past. I know the feeling…I get sick thinking of things I have done while under the influence. You need to forgive yourself to move forward. You are on the right path now and be proud of yourself for making it this far! I started going to a therapist and he told me part of the reason people drink is because they don’t feel good about themselves. Which makes sense. It is only day 11 for me and let me tell you the first week was hell for me…I hated myself and couldn’t really figure out why. This week though, I am feeling good. Just like another said making it through a situation that would usually send you to the bottle is such an accomplishment and the proud feeling you have about yourself is awesome. Right now for me feeling good really does feel good!!! New beginnings are coming your way : ) For me I am excited for Mother’s day this year, it will be my first sober one..so sad but true..like I said before though that was the past and this is now. Stay strong my friend!

      • Anonymous says:

        Sara, you are sounding really strong today – that’s so uplifting! My Day 11 is not going so well and I’ve been feeling really doubtful and depressed today about what I’m doing. But I’ve come back to this blog to find support – and I’ve found it. I’ll plough on through this evening and try and make it to Day 12; I know it’ll be worth it. Annie x

        • Mares says:

          I am on day 11 too. Last week I was digging up bones and feelings from my past experiences too. This week, I am actively trying to focus on now and my future. There have been several small things that have come up that would have made me want to buy a bottle of wine in the not do distant past. I am finding a better, stronger voice within myself and taking really good care to use that voice when I need it. Please know you are not alone and that there are many of us out there. Be sure to reach out and remember what brought you here. Be strong and be gentle with yourself!

          Mares

          • SG says:

            Mares, You are sounding great!!! Keep listening to that voice in your head, I have the same one in my mind. Your right we need to take care of us, we have to be good to ourselves to be good to anyone else. We all feel we are entitled to that drink…but we are also entitled to live a great healthy life! Have a peaceful night : )

        • SG says:

          Thanks Annie!!! I am feeling good. I feel like there is no turning back now, I would be very upset with myself if I did. I guess my mind hasn’t been this clear in awhile and I am liking it. I started reading the Easy Way to Quit Drinking by Alan Carr (I would def recommend it!) I have been reading it every night since quitting and let me tell you it is an eye opener…it is available on amazon, I read it on my kindle. it is just one of my tools, plus seeing a therapist once a week. And of course this blog…without them I don’t know if I would be this focused. Stay strong we have gone this far which is definitely something to be proud of : ) We are worth this!

          • Annie says:

            Hi Sara. Hope things are going ok, and that you’ve reached Day 13 with me. I had some difficult days this week. It’s not easy, is it! As I approach my second sober weekend, I feel anxious about it. The sun is shining here today in the UK, and I feel positive, but around 4pm each day I start to feel nervous, and it takes a lot of diversion to get through the early evening hours. I am driving my husband mad talking about sobriety! But better that way than talking drunken rubbish (which is what I used to do)!

  44. Onthewagon says:

    Day 3 on the wagon. Just discovered this blog. Love love love it! Also just started reading I Need To Stop Drinking! I don’t know how I ever let this thing get so far out of control for so long. Now that I’ve had a few days off , I am getting some perspective. It is disturbing how much I would normalize and justify my behavior. I am determined to stop completely. I read a quote that “responsible drinking” is an oxymoron.” This rings true for me. I am grateful for this blog and for all of the stories and inspiring comments.

    • Onthewagon says:

      Found an article on medscape.com stating no amount of alcohol is safe. “Declared a carcinogen….,alcohol is causally related to several cancers. “. “Alcoholic beverages can contain at least 15 carcinogenic compounds…” If these are not reasons to not drink, I don’t know what are! When discussing modest drinking, article points out that the evidence for harmful effects of alcohol is stronger than the evidence for its beneficial effects. Reminding myself how bad this is.

  45. Thanks for blogging. It’s so helpful for me to blog myself and then to read the words of others on the same or similar topics. I appreciate you!

  46. LJP says:

    Today is Day 13. I have a birthday party to attend tonight. I know there will be a keg of beer there and people pouring for me. It is weird that I am proud of myself for getting to Day 13, yet when I think of announcing to the party that I’m not drinking my stomach knots up. What is with that. Anyway, my plan for tonight, is ginger ale in my beer cup and leave before the party gets into birthday blow out mode. Wish me luck. I hope everyone here has a good Saturday night too.

    • Annie says:

      How did your Saturday night go? I hope you’ve reached Day 14 in good spirits ( – but not those kind of spirits). I’m now Day 8 and creeping along, trying to hold on to my good intentions. I’ve felt very tired in the last few days, and am worried that the ‘novelty’ of sobriety might be wearing off as the reality starts to bite. I looked longingly at a 2005 bottle of wine at a lunch party today while I drank my ginger ale. And I have a dull headache which won’t go away. I guess I’m feeling a bit disappointed generally: with myself, with the idea of a sober future. But I’m going to hang on to the comments on this blog, turn on an episode of The Bubble Hour and chop up some mushrooms (not magic ones, you’ll be glad to know).

      • Mary Ellen says:

        Hi Annie. It is day 8 for me too. I attended a banquet at work on Friday and went out to dinner on Saturday. There was good wine flowing at both events. I am proud that I did not stumble. Today, however, I too have a dull headache and the ” itty bitty shitty committee” inside my head is giving me a lot of doubt and anxiety. I am taking it slow, but I got so much done around my house because I am not hung over. I am hopeful that I can do this, but scared because I have so many feelings today and I usually drown them with wine. I will go to meetings, I wanted to this weekend but am paralyzed with fear and anxiety about it. I resolve to be heallthy and positive and kinder to myself. I am going to try my best to share my journey with my family and friends, bu right now I am just doing this on my own. My little secret. I have no partner and most of my friends are drinking buddies. I need to feel stronger before I share my story.
        BFB and Bubble hour are helping me beyond my wildest dreams. It is so comforting to read positive words and personal struggles from others like me.

        • Annie says:

          Keep going – we can move along together. I haven’t told many people what I’m doing, and find that this blog and The Bubble Hour are lifelines at the moment. Getting through this first weekend has been a small triumph for me, and I’m amazed that I’ve done it! And you’ve done it too!

          • Mares says:

            Hi Annie,

            Day #10 – so far so good. Getting thru last weekend was a triumph for me too. I feel very confident I can quit, but I have not had too many temptations. I am trying to focus on the positive things in my life. I have 3 great kids. I have a good job and nice friends and family close by. I have been reading a lot of blogs and realize how my story is not unique. There are so many courageous women and men choosing to be sober and to get control over their lives. I hope you are taking good care of yourself. I am being kind to myself and trying not to reflect too hard on my past mistakes – just keep them in perspective and carve out a good life. I hope you are well!

            Mares

            • Annie says:

              Hi Mares. Hope you’re on Day 13 with me! How’s it going? I’ve had some major wobbles over the past few days, but I went back to the blog and read the helpful comments, listened to some episodes of The Bubble Hour, and moved through the difficult moments minute by minute – literally. I feel better today, but am still apprehensive as another weekend looms. Really hope you’re doing ok, and hanging in there!

  47. Lucy R says:

    Glad to see you are back and public now. You’ve been such a tremendous help to so many people. Last year when I went sober for over a month yours was the first blog I read. I read the whole thing. It made me feel like I was not crazy and it gave me hope. Unfortunately I didn’t stick with it but fortunately, I am back now and more committed. Thank you for all you do!
    Just one question for you– I left a comment on the Bubble Hour site after listening to the Early Sobriety piece but no one has yet responded. I went to check out the BFB and it says that it is for moms and dads, I’m not a parent, is this group only for parents and if so do you know of any other online support groups? If you would be so kind as to shoot me a quick e-mail I would be eternally grateful.

    • UnPickled says:

      Hi Lucy,

      I’m answering you from a beach chair Mexico. Im here on the “she recovers” retreat with 15 other sober women and it is pure heaven.

      You asked about the BFB – it is not just for parents at all. I think it might have started out that way but I find there is great discussion and support for all ages, stages, and such. Sign up, watch the messages or jump in – you’ll love it!

      >

  48. Annie says:

    Help! I am on Day 6, and have just hit my first Friday evening. I thought I was doing really well this week, but my mind is now crowded with wheedling voices, trying to persuade me that the whole sobriety thing is too dramatic, that I could go back to the ‘only drink at weekends’ rule (it never worked for me), that no one has forced me to take this challenge, that I’ll miss the chilled wine with my husband etc etc. It is scary how forceful these voices are. I have listened to podcasts of The Bubble Hour all week, have read and reread this blog and others, have bought endless alcohol-free options – but for the first time since I began 6 days ago, I am feeling really weakened. If anyone is reading my comment, I would be so grateful for some encouraging words.

    • UnPickled says:

      Hi Annie. Don’t drink tonight, okay? You have six beautiful amazing days of strength and clarity behind you. Let’s celebrate and spend your first sober Friday night with the best day you could ever give yourself – another day of sobriety. Take it one minute, one second at a time. There are a zillion ways to sooth yourself that don’t involve drinking. A bath. A walk. Baking. Reading. Splurge on a massage or pedicure (spending the money you’ve saved by not drinking!!). What activities appeal to you?

    • UnPickled says:

      Ps — if you find you just can’t pull yourself past this feeling, it’s time to get your butt into a chair in a room full of people who understand! Their help and fellowship could be exactly the thing you are missing. Consider it, ok?

    • SG says:

      Annie…Day 6 here for myself too…I know the feeling. We can’t give into it though, we are in this together. Don’t think of the drink tonight, think of how productive you will be tomorrow, waking up rested and NOT hungover. I agree with the other comments… go out take a walk, a movie ( I saw there are tons of new ones out), mani/pedi. Stay strong, you got this girl!!!!

    • Mares says:

      Hi Annie,
      I am on Day #6 too. Yesterday was really hard for me, I am drinking seltzer – keeping my hands and mind busy and listening to the Bubble hour in the car. I am spending my “wine” money on buying perennials (I love gardening) I think about all of the sad/sick times I promised myself I would stop drinking – I know I can have a happier, healthier life if I quit drinking. I secretly so proud of myself for hot drinking in the last 6 days. I am going to my first meeting tomorrow – which is scary, but I know it will be hard to do this alone and I need to have a resource when I am having a tough day. We have a long road ahead of us – so just take really good care of yourself today, ok? You are not alone and you can do this.

      Mares

      • Annie says:

        THANK YOU so much Unpickled, SG and Mares – have made it through to Day 7! And I promise you, your comments made all the difference. I sat and read them, and was so encouraged and moved by your solidarity. It’s also allowed me to have an open talk with my husband about it all, and I found myself telling him what had been going on – hiding glasses of wine in the cupboard, that sort of thing – and he was brilliant, and said he’d support me and would make sure I didn’t feel alone. I have never actually met any of you, but I feel as though I have. Heartfelt thanks as I start Day 7.

        • SG says:

          You are so very welcome Annie! Knowing we are in this together helped me get through my night. I kept busy helping out at my daughter’s school, they had a spring auction. Let me tell you the baskets of wine were abundant..but I did not put any of my tickets in those! Funny thing most of the wine baskets were named “mommy’s night out”. Trying to see things through a clear mind it was kinda disturbing. It just shows we really are not alone!! Please know just as much as my words helped you…you helped me just as much! Great job on your first Friday night. We did it!!! Moving onto day 7. It is a beautiful day here and I am excited for the day, it feels good to be able to get out of bed and not be hungover. Hope you feel the same! Enjoy your day!!! : ) TTYS ~Sara

          • Annie says:

            Hey Sara, and Mares – are you on Day 8 with me now? How is that going? I hope you’re both ok, and have survived the weekend. I’m with you all the way.

            • SG says:

              Yeah!!! We survived the weekend. Day 8 yes, came and went. How is it going for you? This is hard stuff but it actually feels good to have self control (something I usually lack!) This is the longest I have not drank in forever!!! I went to a communion party today and there was a bar there. Most of the people I kissed hello I could smell the alcohol on their breath. I just kept myself busy chatting with friends and drinking diet coke…as much as a nice glass or glasses of wine would have tasted good I resisted. I can’t even tell you how good I feel, this is the first party I have gone to in years without drinking, usually I would have left wasted…. and I survived and actually enjoyed myself!!! Looking forward to a fresh day tomorrow and waking up clear headed : ) Wishing you well, hope you have a great Monday. : ) TTYS

    • Kathleen Reeves says:

      Hey Annie. I’m Kath, day 16 and feel like a whiney wimp. I have a dull ever present refractory headache and a bad case of the blahs. I’m positive a large glass of red wine would make me much less whiney and help me clean up the basement play area with the energy of a whirling dervish. However the niggling anxiety and darting thoughts of what that actually means is preventing me from having. Well that and the fact that there’s none in the house. No actually I have committed to no more. And when I am having thoughts that I’ve blown my ‘problem’ way out of proportion I come here. I can’t quite believe there are other “moms” out there who have been doing the same thing as me AND knowing it’s not healthy AND wanting to stop and having trouble doing it. I know there are lots of drinkers out there and I knew I was wasn’t one of them – because I didn’t want to be one of them and they all seem OK with the amount they are drinking. Or do they…? At any rate I don’t care about any of them any more. I was drinking too much. Ms Unpickled’s story is virtually the same as mine. I would wake in the night slightly hungover and hear a voice as clear and loud as if it was spoken aloud by my husband sleeping beside me “you need to stop drinking”. In those wee hours I would feel anxiety for my mental health and shame for my broken resolve. I would rise in the morning feeling ok with the idea that I would go back to weekend drinking and sometime around 3pm I would feel the tides turn and start looking forward to my nightly, what by now, was nothing short of a binge. It’s the right thing to do. I am so very very grateful I didn’t wait till my shame was smeared all over my family. And I am so very very grateful there are other people brave enough to share their stories and journeys so that I might use their foot prints through the snow drifts. So glad you made it through last night and glad some others were here to help. Seems there are several of us who are close in our ‘embarking’ dates perhaps we will become pals in sobriety? I’d like that.

      • Annie says:

        Hi Kath. I agree – it is reassuring to know that there are others who are in their first couple of weeks of sobriety. I am in awe of people who have managed 80 days, 100 days, who are sometimes years down the line, but they must have started at Day 1 as well. I had a much moe positive day today, the voices were quieter, and I really think that was due to my reading the encouraging comments here. I felt as though there were people behind me, urging me on, and that really helped. Let’s keep supporting each other – that’s a great idea of yours. Sleep well and good luck with the rest of Day 16.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi,
        I am on day 3. I have wanted to stop drinking for awhile but all my friends tell me I’m normal. I have been drinking 3 large drinks a night for about 3-4 years now. I would be proud of myself if I ever only had 1. I would start the minute I got home from getting my kids from school. I am a very funny drunk person however I have gotten mean at times ( only
        Infront of my husband). I had my own business and have a very exciting social life. I’ve been worried what my friends will think of me and I will be the lame one who doesn’t drink bc I’ve always been known as such a fun and hysterical person. However many nights I wake up at 3 or 4 and immediately think “I hate myself for drinking so much “. No matter how many times I seem to get it under control for a month or so it comes back and I go overboard….. Not totally wasted all the time but def not just buzzed. I decided to stop 3 days ago after I threw up in the car ( my husband was driving) and my kids were in the back seat. I basically missed the fireworks celebration and has told myself is only have 2 drinks tht night but Ofcourse I ended up drinking 4-5. This blog has been very helpful. Very worried about social situations. All I want to do is take walks or watch tv. I’m doing this for my children as they are my world.

        • UnPickled says:

          You will still be that fun person without alcohol – maybe even moreso because you’ll feel so free. It takes time but you can get there. What a beautiful gift to your children!

  49. LJP says:

    I’ve made it to day 11. Last night was a realization… when I got stressed due to a runaway dog, I realized what I really wanted was a cup of tea. Normally I would have been well on my way through a bottle of wine by the time it all went down, and would have just kept drinking, felt inadequate and overly responsible for everything that happened. Being sober gave me the power to realize that the escapee was just that an escapee (she is a friends dog I am looking after and she jumped my fence – not my fault), that i did everything I could to look for her and knew what I would to today to continue. I know I wouldn’t have been able to think that clearly a week and a half ago. Anyway dog has been recovered now and I am pretty proud of myself for getting here on my own.

    • Elisabeth says:

      Good job LJP. I had a similar experience when my young son innocently hurt is arm on a Saturday night. I was sober, normally I’d be three sheets to the wind. As a family, we brought him to the emergency room…it was just nurse maid’s elbow and we were back home in 30 minutes. Under the old circumstances, I would have either gone to the ER smelling like booze or had to stay home….I definitely couldn’t have driven him myself. And I would have been consumed with feelings of guilt and responsibility.

    • UnPickled says:

      Awesome. Love it.

  50. healthyjen1 says:

    I am so grateful for this blog. I came here a few weeks ago, began reading like crazy, and today, I haven’t drank for 16 days. I have been blogging my experience…I’m not quite as eloquent of a writer as some of the wonderful ladies who’s stories are on here but my blogging is really, truly helping me to keep track of my thoughts and experiences. I’m in the process of kicking a several year daily wine habit (backed-up up by many previous years of sporadic drinking). This is scary as hell. I think it’s worth it. I’m going to keep listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and not drinking for now. Thank you UnPickled and everyone who shares their stories here. http://healthyjen1.wordpress.com/

    • Annie says:

      16 days! That’s brilliant! I am only on Day 4 and Day 16 seems a LONG way away. This evening I’m having some serious doubts about the whole thing, so I’ve turned back to this blog and read some more posts, and earlier today I listened to another episode from The Bubble Hour. I’m just willing the hours to pass today, so that I can go to bed and stick to my goals. But it’s tough and I’m worried I won’t make it.

    • UnPickled says:

      My pleasure, Jen, and thank you for spreading support and encouragement.

  51. Elisabeth says:

    Denial has never been a problem for me. I’ve known I have a drinking problem since I was a teenager. I’m turning 40 this year. I am my toughest critic and carry the full weight of shame, embarassment and sometimes hopelessness of drinking. Not to mention, the horrible hangovers. I would pay for every beer I drank. Sometimes, I wish I was in denial…..it seems easier. I am a Mom, wife and successful business owner. I marvel at how much I have accomplished while drunk and hungover. Imagine what I can achieve sober! I’m on day 8 and feel strong (in this moment). I quit drinking about 3 years ago and it lasted 18 months. I slowly started drinking again…1 or 2 beers every now and then. And before I knew it, I was back to binge drinking to the point of black out on a weekly basis. Of course, I didn’t tell anyone I didn’t remember the night before. Prior to my first stint of sobrierty, I drank everyday. I work in a predominantly male industry and felt that I could have a beer after a tough day on the construction site, just like the guys. Recently, I drink mostly on the weekends. But, if I keep drinking I’m sure it will be back to everyday. My husband is a good man, but he doesn’t understand. He says things, like “Just have one or two”. I am a mean drunk and he gets the brunt of my drunken tirades. I probably wouldn’t put up with me, if I was him. I am exhausted and depressed about my drinking…although 8 days in and I’m starting to get out of my funk. Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts…it is very helpful.

  52. QuitToLive says:

    Hello. I have been struggling with drinking since my 22nd birthday. I am 37 now. I started out getting drunk on the weekends, progressing to adding a couple beers on the week nights, then I discovered wine and the last few years have been pretty much a blur. I am high functioning, but drink a half bottle of wine or three or four beers every night and have at least one good binge a week. The guilt I struggle with is overwhelming. I go back and forth between desperately wanting to quit drinking and being scared about what life would be like without alcohol. I feel pathetic, but I am actually scared to quit drinking because everyone around me drinks – my husband, my family, my friends – and it seems as if all of my life experiences revolve around drinking. At the same time, I feel as if I haven’t really truly enjoyed a holiday or celebration or even just a Tuesday in so long because I am always either hung over or simply tired and “dried out” feeling from drinking the night before. I did give birth to one beautiful little girl nine years ago, and had no problem with not drinking while I was pregnant. Since then, the longest I have gone without alcohol was nine days, and that was three years ago. I distinctly remember waking up on a Saturday morning and feeling really strange, only to realize that this was because I was not hung over! I am thankful to have come across this blog. I am hoping that it will be part of the answer to my letting go of the wine bottle and grasping on to all I want to do in life! I am excited to learn how to enjoy things like date night, vacations, and yes even Tuesdays, without being numbed with alcohol.

    • SG says:

      Hey there QuitToLive, Your comment stuck out to me..so many things I can relate to. I am a 34 year old mom with a drinking problem that started in my late teens. The holidays with alcohol, the fear of life without alcohol, the few beers per night ( I tell myself hey why not..men do it all the time!) or wine if I am not feeling beer plus it is quicker and of course the weekly binge which is most likely on a weekend, waking up feeling like crap and hoping I didn’t embarrass myself too much!!! And the guilt!!!! I also have a nine year old daughter, well 10 next week and another girl who is 4 years old. Please know you are not alone, after several attempts of trying to quit, I am hoping this is the time. I just can’t live like this anymore and plus my husband has had it…he doesn’t drink so he doesn’t get it. Yes I am too excited to learn how to enjoy life without being numbed to alcohol….it has been awhile. Many other people do it I always wondered why I couldn’t. Imagine what we can do not drinking! Our girls deserve it and also SO DO WE!!!! Stay strong and feel free to reach out anytime. We are all on this journey together. As cheezy as it sounds a whole new world(you know the song from the Disney movie!) is about to open up to us.LOL! Enjoy your day…stay strong this weekend. I am a bit nervous myself, I have a communion to attend and normally I would be wasted by the end, but I am feeling pretty strong. It has been 6 days for me, not much but hey it is a start!

  53. Mary says:

    Hello, thank you for sharing your path to sobriety. Like you, I am going to try to do this alone and feel confident I can leave behind my nightly ritual of taking the edges off the day with a few glasses of wine. I realize the wine doesn’t help address my loneliness or sadness and it is time to find beauty in gardening, hiking and in my work and by enjoying my kids. Tonight, I Googled sobriety and women. It is so encouraging to see how well you are doing and that so many people commenting here have found a path to sobriety. Thanks for the inspiration. Almost thru Day 1 – wish me luck.

    • Annie says:

      Mary, I am on Day 3, so I’m with you all the way. Unpickled, Mrs D, The Sober Journalist, and The Bubble Hour have really helped me so far. I know it’s early days, but each day that goes past, I feel a little bit more determined. I’ve got a couple of big social occasions on the horizon, and for the first time I was aware of the scarcity of non-alcoholic drinks on this order form I have to complete in advance: wine, wine, wine, champagne, or fizzy water. What’s that all about??? Good luck on Day 2. And Unpickled: thank you for inspiring me. It was your blog that I found and read first and that encouraged me to start this quest.

      • Ellen says:

        Day by day you’ll hold more dearly to this new sensation of sobriety. And it’s going to be a bigger stake to let go of it. After 9 alcohol free nights, I realised that I felt more loney and isolated back then when I had my wine glass all night. Wine in the end is not such a nice company. Mary and Annie keep going!

      • Mary Ellen says:

        Thanks, Annie. Day 3 is done. I am listening to the bubble hour and learning so much. I know quitting is going to be hard some days, but I just feel so sure I am doing the right think. Seltzer water with cranberry or lemon and lime are a good substitute at functions. I like the strategy of keeping one in your hand so no one offers to buy a drink… Good luck to you. I am going to join BFB and read some more tonight I am really happy I am going to bed sober tonight and am thinking of all the things I am thankful for including unpicklled. Reading unpicklled 3 days ago literally set me on the path to sobriety, Good luck to you, Annie.

  54. seemesober says:

    Thank you so much for your blog. My story is similar – or at least the quitting before I lost everything part. “Hitting bottom” was something I struggled with a lot at first because my bottom was much higher than a lot of other people I first met in AA. But then I realized that it was bottom enough for me! I really appreciate your candidness!!

  55. Rosie says:

    Dear Unpickled… I am devouring your blogs as it seems so many of us in early sobriety seem to do. I love your writing style, and feel that we have a lot in common. However, I do not have a supportive spouse. I am divorced and remarried, and unfortunately carry a lot of shame with that. That being said, he’s a hard worker and a hard drinker. I am five days sober and love the way I am feeling. I am beginning to see glimpses of myself again. He’s let me know however, that he will continue to drink, go to the bars, etc., but he’s proud of me. I feel a lot of anger and resentment …. I never drank like this before him. That being said, I know I need to take full responsibility. Does anyone have a similar experience? Advice? Words of encouragement? Thank you and I’m rootin’ for all of us! We are not alone.

    • M2 says:

      Hello Rosie. I have a drinking spouse. It’s been almost five months and in the beginning his concern was not for my sobriety, but how my sobriety would affect him. As I was trying to regain control of my life, he was losing control of what he knew to be his life, my life, and our life. He acknowledged my drinking had gone somewhere in the past few years that it hadn’t approached before, but felt I was overreacting by quitting. However when you blackout, it’s not really an overreaction to quit.

      He struggled with me saying I was quitting forever. Saying I didn’t want the kids to look back and say, “Man, Mom was liquored our entire high school years.” gave me a sound reason to not drink until they have graduated high school. Logically, in three years he should be so use to having a sober wife that forever will be meaningless. Forever works for me, not for him and I get that.

      Understandably, he misses his drinking partner. I didn’t ask him to quit or cut back, but I made it clear after X number of drinks if he was obnoxious/annoying/fill in the blank, I was not going to engage. This meant a few nights fuming in our room in the beginning while “we” were adjusting to the new “old me”. Not drinking with him has cut his consumption back significantly and made him question his own drinking. He is not about to quit altogether and that’s his choice. This is my journey alone and I’ve come to like that. We are in a good place together right now and I know my sobriety has much to do with that.

      I have thought about the “what if I had married a non-drinker” and have come to conclude that’s part of the process along with “Why me?” and “Maybe I can moderate”. I was hoping I could change my brain and mindset to go back and drink again, but I don’t think science or the cosmos have aligned yet. Give your husband space and understanding. This may be a scarier future to him, than you. Helping to settle his fears, albeit an effort when you are giving all you can to yourself, may give him the wherewithal to support you. Best of Luck!

      • Rosie says:

        M2.
        Thank you for your wise words. I really appreciate it.
        Congratulations on 5 months.
        I always try to to remember, everyone has something they deal with.

  56. Anonymous says:

    4 days

  57. Anonymous says:

    Day 3 I am trying hard.

  58. Michelle says:

    Bot sure if my other blog linked up correctly. Trying again. Thanks for the patience.

  59. Michelle says:

    I stumbled upon this blog at the perfect time. I just started my own blog to track my own progress. If anyone is interested here’s my story:

    Myjourneytocrazytown.com

    It sounds like a lot of our stories aren’t so different.

  60. LJP says:

    This is exactly how I feel today. I know I can go a day or two without drinking. But, if i’m at home the white wine is here. My husband with his nightly drink is here. 3 to 5 glasses 7 nights a week is becoming part of my life and it scares me. On the few nights when I have not had anything to drink I recognize how good I feel physically in the morning. I’ve been so proud of myself. And, on nights when I’ve had what I like to call ‘one too many glasses of wine’, like last night, I wake up feeling sick (big surprise!). I don’t know exactly how I got here. Your story is an inspiration to me. I know if I put my mind to it, I can do this. Thank-you for being here.

  61. annon says:

    I found your blog searching for mom’s who drink too much. I am shocked at the similarities I find between myself and others on this blog. I really thought I was the only one, and with that thought, I was destroying myself. I spent the early years of my children’s life as the typical “suburban mom”. I was responsible with my drinking, when I knew my husband was going to “tie one on”, I stayed sober so one of us would be the “responsible” parent.
    Yet, as the years rolled on, our oldest became addicted to drugs. That was also my downfall. I was the predominant parent on the scene, so this down fall must have been my fault! I started drinking to hide the pain.
    Now, I’m 48 years old, and no longer a functioning alcoholic. I need to stop, I know this, yet it’s still hard. Especially when your spouse is a practicing alcoholic! I know that once I go forward with this, if he doesn’t follow me, 28 years of marriage will be gone…….as it should be……..it is not a healthy relationship. I just need the strength……….

    • annon says:

      A side note: I was listening to your podcast on The Bubble Hour, and was waiting anxiously for that “sign” you were talking about, where 25% of people with this have an addiction……..my laptop was on my lap and I was habitually picking at my cuticles as you announced the sign…picking at your skin and nails!!!!! I just about lost it!!!! My problem with my cuticles has only started since my problem with alcohol! It has become so problematic, I hide my hands in public! And for the hair. I never thought I had a problem with that either, until about a year ago, when my husband caught me outside pulling my hair out as I sat and smoked a cigarette….(also drunk). I’ve even asked doctors about my fingers, they just said I had severe dermatitis and to use a good lotion. I can’t even go get a manicure, I’ve cut my cuticles to the quick, most are bleeding. I’m so embarrassed!

      • healthyjen1 says:

        Hello Anon. I’m sorry you are suffering. I can’t offer you much wisdom, as I just began this journey on Monday so I am on day 4. But I can relate to your post. I am 40, and for most of my life I didn’t drink compulsively, but over the past 6 years, it’s gotten progressively worse…and in the last two years I’ve become less functional. My ex husband of many years is a very high functioning raging alcoholic…and the fact that his drinking is so obvious has made it easy for my drinking to look “not so bad in comparison”. I can’t make my choices about him any more…when I take an honest look at how I want to live the next half of my life, I know I don’t want to be a middle aged mom who “checks out” every night with 1+ bottles of wine. I don’t want to try and figure out what I said or did stupidly last night. I don’t wan’t people to be afraid that I’ll drink too much, or drive. I am scared that I won’t figure out how to live without alcohol. I am angry that I can’t just be normal and kick back with a glass of wine. I’m quite a mess right now really, yet I am finding a lot of comfort and inspiration in reading the blogs on this site and I am enjoying waking up and not feeling like total crap. I think the longest I’ve gone in the past few years is about 5 or 6 days without drinking…so if I can make it to next Monday it’ll be a miracle.

        • M2 says:

          Most of us feel that our drinking is not normal when, on the contrary, we are one of millions. That makes us pretty normal. Our drinking is not healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically, which is true for most who drink, but we are choosing to do something different than those who continue drinking and that’s admirable. If you share with others around you your decision to quit, you will perhaps be surprised by the number of people who tell you that they’ve thought of quitting as well. The minute a person questions their drinking is usually a sign there’s a problem on the horizon.

          For me, writing my feelings out as they came over me helped. I’d pull out my phone and write just to get the thoughts out of my head. Find a place for the negative thoughts to land in lieu of swimming around in your head. What the early entries in my journal showed was me scratching and clawing to get myself out of the hole I felt I had descended into.

          On a walk with my husband early on I asked him to do only one thing for me. I said if I say I want to drink tell me to just wait until tomorrow. Find that person in your life who can tell you what you need to hear. Believe me, they will be happy to be there for you. In the meantime, find a way to smile or even laugh in life. You will be amazed at how good it will make you feel.

          • healthyjen1 says:

            Thanks M2. I made it through a social engagement last night without drinking, and I’m now on day 6. I took your suggestion and started my online journal. It probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to anyone else (my thoughts are quite scattered) but it is helping me stay the course right now. Once I make it to Monday…I will have my first weekend without alcohol in about 2 years. Now that I have a week without being in my wine-coma, I’m seeing things just clearly enough to know that I need to physically heal over the next few weeks and months before I can even think clearly enough to even understand how I am going to live without alcohol. I also just listened to the Pod Cast about the stigma of abuse and addiction…I think I’m ready to own this…to say that I can’t ever drink again with any expectation of normalcy.

        • Anonymous says:

          How are you doing Anon! Hope you are ok? And if you’ve slipped thats ok too we keep trying until it works!

        • Anna says:

          I am also scared i cant live life without drinking. Honestly, writing this from my bed, where i have been for the last 2 days. Coming of the drink, shaking, sweatIng after a 3 long day binge. The embarassment of it. Usually its just 2 bottles of wine 3 times a week. I could not go longer than 3 to 4 days. Thats because i wouldnt dare turn up to my job after drinking the night before, being a single mother the only breadwinner i couldnt take that risk. But i can fall over, vomit after to much, talk to much. Embarrass my childern at parties, what kind of mother am I. I have found an AA meeting scheduled for tonight here in London where i live. I cannot continue to live like this. Thankyou for your site.

          • healthyjen1 says:

            Hello Anna. Stay strong today. I am on day 10, and I am finding a lot of comfort and wisdom in the blogs I am reading here. I am certainly so new that I cannot offer any wisdom except to share with you that I am feeling so much better physically and I am thinking more clearly than I did from the other side of the wine bottle. This is not an easy place to be…but I am putting my faith in believing that I am better off sober. You can do this.

            • Anna says:

              Thankyou so much, yor reply brought tears to my eyes! Im going to the meeting in 1 hour. I dont know what to expect, Part of me is saying how can they help but im hoping thats the part of mr thats scred not to drink. Ill let you know how it goes !

              • ellen says:

                Anna all the best to you. Enough is enough. And you deserve better than this!

                • Anna says:

                  Thankyou Ellen ! Yes enough is enough. I attended the meeting and everyone there were really nice. Afterwards i spoke with men and woman whom had not drank in years. Im going again today, actuallly going everyday this week before i go back to work on monday, I hope to find the strenghth not to buy alcohol.

              • healthyjen1 says:

                Hi Anna. I am glad you went to your meeting and that you found fellowship there. How are you doing today?

                • Anna says:

                  I am good today thankyou. However about 30 mins ago my mind started to tell me mabye i was being dramatic! Yeah right, but has anyone else had theses thoughts ?

              • healthyjen1 says:

                Hello Anna. How are you doing this weekend?

  62. I found your blog by searching for something to make me feel better (something slightly less discouraging than the WebMB “withdrawl could last a long time and could drive you clinically insane” warnings) on what I hope was my last Day 1. With every post I saw, every comment from others in the same place, it seemed that much easier to focus and commit. I hope today is my last Day 2. Tomorrow will be my first Day 3. Thank you doing this. I had no idea there were so many moms just like me.

    • UnPickled says:

      Oh my gosh, you are FAR from alone in this. So many others are on this same journey and that is meant to give you HOPE because it is entirely possible, there are many ways to do it, and life is GREAT on the other side. I laugh more, so more, live more, enjoy more, feel more, and have more strength for the difficult times. Life is amplified without the haze and burden of booze. BRAVO for your new beginning. Don’t stop. Keep going and don’t look back.

  63. healthyjen1 says:

    I ran across this blog/site last week, and I’m finding that many of these stories resonate with mine. Today is my first day without alcohol and I don’t even know what my goal is right now. Until last fall, my story was much like UnPickled’s story…I am outwardly successful, educated, I own my home, raise my 3 teenage children and run my own business as an education consultant. I’d known for some time that the wine I started drinking a few years ago in the evenings to relax has taken on a much more looming role in my life…I could feel that it was starting to to turn on me. I didn’t heed my own internal warnings and In the past 6 months I’ve had blackouts, and then I was arrested for DUI. Now I can hear the universe screaming at me and begging me to stop slowly killing myself. .I’ve tried moderating…which seems to sort of work…but not really. I am quite scared right now. I’m scared of what would become of me and my family if I drink. And I’m scared that I don’t know how to live without my wine. And I feel mostly defeated. My only hope is there is a small…indeed very small voice inside me that is begging for my attention…and the voice sees the trainwreck ahead for me and my family…its the last little part of me that wants to live, grow stronger, address my demons, and become healthy….And so I’ve decided to name that voice “healthyjen”. Right now, healthyjen is mostly drowned out by anxiety and fear and a horrible hangover from drinking two bottles of wine yesterday.

    • UnPickled says:

      Welcome, healthyjen! You can do this – it is very simple and very difficult and very do-able. You deserve it!

    • Ricky Uys says:

      Hi Healthyjen. I could have written your post. I also quit yesterday. I also have one small hope: I will save myself, i’m worth it and it is possible. This site proves that because there are so many people busy saving themselves that I have hope. Every time you feel weak first read the posts, think about why you are doing it again, it really helps. Let’s do it together!?

      • healthyjen1 says:

        Hi Ricky…yes let’s do this together.

        • Ricky Uys says:

          Easter Weekend. OMG this one will be tough. Watching my hubby finish his half marathon on Saturday, and of course everyone is talking about the beers and ciders that will be at the refreshment stand for after, and hey Ricky we won’t have wine remember to bring some…yes I have that reputation. #Dread.

          • healthyjen1 says:

            Good luck to you Ricky. I have a birthday party on Friday with my good (girl) friends, all who drink wine and beer. I have not decided if I am going to share my decision not to drink with them, or just say that I’m “not drinking tonight”. These are my very good friends and I will tell them eventually…I just have no idea how I’m going to handle any of this right now… I did however, plan to take my teenage daughter with me to the dinner and asked her to remind me that we leave after 90 minutes (that way I can stop by, honor my friend’s birthday, etc. but not be around everyone drinking tons of wine for hours on end). Let’s be strong together and get through this weekend without drinking.

  64. mishedup says:

    I love your blog jean, and I wanted to address some of the comments here about AA, and the need for some sort of campaign to fix it’s image.
    Here’s my take on it….it’s not AA’s image, it’s the image of an alcoholic that needs to be changed, and interviews like Stefanie’s go a long way to help that. But until we are all out and telling our truths, the image most people have are nasty drunks swigging from bottles in paper bags, and then they extrapolate that to AA. I believe that because that is exactly what I did. In AA it’s called “contempt prior to investigation”…the way we make a decision about something without checking it out for ourselves. It is a convenient habit…convenient to keeping us “above “it all since we only drink a couple of bottles of wine a night, right? And we drink from our hidden stash in the closet, not out of a paper bag…so we’re nothing like “them”, those real alcoholics, those AA people.
    I think that idea keeps a lot of people away and it’s a shame. Because, as much as I love sitting in my house reading sober blogs and having friends in this sphere (and omg I do love so many of you), that is a lonely pursuit, and getting out into real life and meeting sober people “Just like me” has made a huge difference. Then add to that a great way to figure out the root causes of our drinking, which AA did for me, and it’s is the perfect recipe for me to stay sober for over 3 years.

    YES…there are people in AA who come from homelessness and low bottoms, and to see them with jobs and families and looking all normal, like me, and to hear their stories is nothing short of miraculous . But even more miraculous to me is seeing people just like me, moms and wives and highly functioning (in the world) people who I can identify with on every level and to know that I am part of something so huge. To get the help I need any time I need it, to have a course of action that I can choose to do, nothings forced on you, to help me to stop the drinking. That’s miraculous. and that is what AA can do….and so can other programs, I am biased because AA is what has worked for me. There are too many examples of great sobriety without AA for me to hold that as the “only” way. But those who succeed without AA “do” something, have some sort of plan to stay accountable and help others.
    But the bigger stigma, I think , is that of alcoholics in general, and what they represent to people. THAT has to be changed. WE have to be more vocal and honest and, if not proud, a least humble enough to say to others “me too”…
    I didn’t kill anyone or get a DUI or have any terrible fall out, I just hated myself so intensely, couldn’t understand why I could Not stop drinking and wanted to die. That was my bottom. Isn’t that low enough? And being open about my alcoholism, and, especially, my RECOVERY, is the only way I know to fight the stigma. Once that stigma is down I think there will be no judging about how we get better….we will just quietly find what works for us and do it.
    Sorry for the wordiness….obviously needed to get that off my chest.

    • M2 says:

      On the Bubble Hour podcast with Dr. John Kelly, he mentioned the need to consciously change the language we use to positive, person first language. Similar to the gradual shift or change to using the term mental health in lieu of mental illness, there needs to be a shift in how we talk about alcoholism. Dr. Kelly used the term alcohol use disorder instead of alcoholic. I don’t mind telling people I don’t drink and why. I don’t mind owning that I have an alcohol use issue, but I don’t identify myself with the term alcoholic. Alcoholic is a label that makes me feel one dimensional and I’m so much more than that.

      While it seems like just semantics, it does involve perception. I call myself a gardener, but I could use the term yard worker (which my kids might call themselves). The perception of gardener to most is a person who “tends to the garden”, while yard worker is the person who gets out there and “cleans up the yard.” The net results of the gardener and yard worker are the same, but the perception is different. I like the softer perception of being a gardener. A gardener is just one part of who I am.

      Same with my alcohol use. I want the softer perception. Sobriety is a work in progress that I continually tend to. With constant care, I hope for beauty. Not to kid myself, I do get in their and work really hard at whacking out the overgrowth that has occurred. A gardener and yard worker know how much time it takes to find and maintain beauty. Same with the alcoholic and person with an alcohol use disorder.

      • mishedup says:

        I get this.
        It makes perfect sense. I rarely refer to myself as an alcoholic….I say I don’t drink, and if really pressed I usually will say that I am in recovery. That stigma runs deep, and I have no problem with changing the language used at all. I don’t think AA does either, at least people I know there don’t. In an AA meeting though I do identify as alcoholic, because that’s how they do things there. I have heard “alcoholic in recovery”, “recovered alcoholic”, “trying to quit drinking”, “real alcoholic” (that one always stumps me…am I a fake one? lol).

        Alcohol use disorder..hmmm. Haven’t listened to that Bubble Hour yet, sounds good.
        Like I said I am all about getting rid of the stigma, and however that happens is good. I guess I am merely saying that AA didn’t create that stigma, and it seems to get blamed for that, thus keeping people away from getting real life help with their alcohol use.

        • Paul says:

          Why label it? Per AA “alcoholism is a fatal illness for which there is no known medical cure”, yet “Only you can decide. No one in AA will tell you whether you are or not”. Well I think I will decide that I am just a problem drinker then….it makes it easier to cure yourself.:) I quit drinking on my own a few years ago, and I realized that to label the problem causes more of a problem. In my opinion addiction is a belief. Much like the strongly held beliefs we hold regarding religion and politics. We have a belief that we cannot be happy or social or successful without alcohol even if it’s causing us problems. The key to being sober and happy is changing that belief. The problem occurs and we feel an uneasy incongruence within ourselves when our actions don’t match our beliefs. If you believe you need alcohol to have fun and yet you don’t allow yourself to drink you are going to have internal issues. Labeling yourself even causes deeper problems. If drinking is causing you problems in your life you need to find a way to change the belief that big alcohol, and the media and your friends and family have all forced down your throat all of your life….Alcohol is good and it makes you happy and you can’t live without it.Once you change that internal ingrained belief sobriety becomes a simple decision.
          Love the blog!

          • M2 says:

            I see it as two forms of labeling. There is labeling as described by Dr Kelly which is done so in a collective way to be inclusive of all who may benefit from the studies conducted on the mental health and brain research involving alcohol use. There is also the individual choice of recovery path that allows you to label yourself, collectively or individually, as part of or not part of a group that shares common beliefs in recovery. I don’t subscribe to AAs belief set, but certainly support any program where people find relief from their struggles with alcohol.

            I also don’t believe addiction is a belief based on all the brain science out there. If it was just a belief I needed to change, I would have chosen not to subscribe to the belief set, the same way I gave up my early religious and political beliefs. I never felt I couldn’t be happy, social or fun without alcohol. I never felt I couldn’t live without alcohol. I found it was harder and harder to live without it and I was using it in a destructive way. I did think it would be a struggle from time to time to abstain long term and it is with that in mind that I found a way to label myself.

            When asked why I don’t drink, I reply “Because I suck at it.” When pressed on by people who never saw me as having a problem, I say the blackouts from nights drinking were wreaking havoc on my psyche. You can’t really question a person when they say they blackout. To stop I did lots of research and read this blog. The science behind alcohol/drugs and the brain gives me a clear understanding outside of a belief set as to why drinking and me don’t agree.

            • Paul says:

              I completely understand if you don’t agree with the concept of addiction being an ingrained belief. My observation comes from my own experience and working with other people who have drinking and addiction problems. The reality is physical addiction to substances like alcohol and nicotine are minimal and withdrawal from these substances last normally less than a few days if that, yet cravings and thoughts about usage for some people last for years or longer. If it’s not physical it’s basically the way people think and believe they should feel. That’s why I see it as a belief issue. For me, once I was able to see myself as a happy sober, nicotine free person the cravings for these substances went away. I was a very heavy binge drinker which progressed to daily drinking for over 30 years, and I also had a 30 year daily nicotine habit. I tried quitting both numerous times, forced to do AA, used nicotine replacement etc. Once I realized it was my internal beliefs about my relationship with alcohol and nicotine that kept me stuck I was able to change these long held beliefs and give up both cold turkey without even physical withdrawal. But that was my personal experience, but it has worked for the people that I have worked with as well. Thank you for your input though!

              • Ricky Uys says:

                Hi Paul, when you say “. Once I realized it was my internal beliefs about my relationship with alcohol and nicotine that kept me stuck I was able to change these long held beliefs and give up both cold turkey without even physical withdrawal” would you mind sharing what that was, what did you figure out your internal belief was.

                I hope you don’t mind me asking? I realise mine will be different, but I am interested in other folks journeys. Thanks, and thanks for you comment.

                • Paul says:

                  Hi Ricky, much like my religious views, my political leanings and my favorite sports team, i was indoctrinated to believe that alcohol was a necessary and important part of my life which I needed to be happy. This idea was imbedded in my mind at a very young age. It was who I was. I equate it to finally realizing that I was in a cult. My beliefs about alcohol making me social and relaxing me and making me tough were all just that, false beliefs. Same with the beliefs that quitting drinking a specific substance was hard or if you give up nicotine your body will act out and I have to act moody etc. Don’t get me wrong, there are physical components to withdrawal from specific chemicals, but our beliefs and our imaginations multiply what these physical effects really are. Once I realized that these beliefs were just lies that I had told myself over and over throughout the years and started focusing on the positive impacts that sobriety and abstinence from nicotine would have on my life it was like I finally saw the truth. Then becoming sober an nicotine free became just a daily action taking exercise because I didn’t have a little voice in my head trying to tell me why I needed these substances, (which were killing me), to live a happy life. In my experience the “addictive personality” really was more about a person who was strong in their beliefs, which is a great thing if you are on the debate team or you are fighting for a cause, but not so good if you are trying to break a long time habit. Let me know if that makes sense to you.

                • Ricky Uys says:

                  Thanks Paul, I understand 100% My challenge is that I can quit for a week or so and then somehow convince myself “there I did that, I can quit, let me now reward myself with a bottle of wine per day for three days”, (?!?) and end up being more confused and sad afterwards. I think I need wine to just relax, just stop for a minute and forget. I have lots of head-work to do about that. What do I need to relax from, and how can I relax in a different way. Appreciate your reply.

                • Paul says:

                  Hi Ricky, maybe this will help you change your belief as well. You said you use wine to “relax and as a reward”. Those are also false imbedded beliefs that you have. Alcohol numbs you and depresses you. Any other positive belief you have is false. Alcohol is a poison and it does not relax or remove stress, the reality is it’s a major cause of stress. And who would reward themselves by pouring poison down their throat? You think of it as a reward because that’s what the media and society has taught you. Alcohol will numb you for a period of time so you might not care about a specific problem but it doesn’t take away stress or cure anything. The problem still exists when you sober up, and now you feel like crap too because of the alcohol. It’s a false belief. Before you started drinking how did you deal with stress or reward yourself?

                • Ricky Uys says:

                  Thanks Paul, you are 100% correct. And then when I feel crap, and anxious and guilt ridden, to drink again seems the only cure. Vicious circle ensues. What did I used to do to de-stress? That was before my kids, 10 years ago. I think I started self medicating as a result of un-diagnosed post natal depression. Before that I would just come home and cook, or watch TV or read or paint or go for walks. I could try those again. I was thinking of asking the neighbor if I can borrow her dog for a run tonite. LOL I hope she says yes. I have gotten rid of all the wine, I will only go to the grocery store after 18:00 when the wine sales are closed. I have changed my weekend plans to not include functions where I would drink. I am going to a meeting with a friend next week. I will read these blogs when I am feeling weak. Most of all I will talk myself down. I am going to save me. Feels good to say that.
                  Take care, chat again soon.

                • Paul says:

                  That’s awesome Ricky! The key is to know the outcome you want, and have a plan to get there. When you start to realize that most people need to make 3 to 7 conscious decisions, (get up off the couch, go to the refridgerator, grab the bottle, etc) from the first thought to finally pouring the poison down their throat, that if you plan to stay sober and stick by the plan, it’s not a hard task. The key is finding things like working out, walking the dog, writing, joining a club, cooking, etc. that will keep you happy and involved in the short term so you have a chance to change your ingrained beliefs. Have a great day!

              • M2 says:

                I’m not being controversial but asking asking you sincerely about your thoughts. I have used the past 5 months to go back to former positive habits I would utilize to deal with negative energy before I began going to the quick brain wash alcohol provided. The brain wash was a quick reprieve in the midst of something I knew would resolve itself given time. I work on projects so there is always an end and things never go 100% smoothly no matter how much planing takes place.

                When life is cruising along, I could take or leave alcohol. I could also identify when I would go for the all out binge. My husband could identify it. In the past few years, I was at a point where I didn’t feel like doing the hard work of abstaining and redirecting and opted for easy. I get that. I might be tempted to blame it on being a parent.

                So if I have identified triggers, have changed my belief in how to deal with them, and get that it is a conscious decision to do so that may require me to dig deep at times, what is your thought of going back to drinking the way I use to? Playing cards and having a beer or two. Having a glass of wine with dinner. I didn’t always drink when others did and it had sound good and taste good or I didn’t do it. Can the belief set keep drinking in check? If the binge is out because I’ve chosen a new path to deal with than the stupid stuff that made me wake feeling shame and blackouts wouldn’t happen.

                I am not looking for approval to drink. In fact, I’m not looking for any approval – LOL. I’m comfortable in my own skin and needed to reset myself to get back here.

                • Paul says:

                  That’s a great question m2! And feel free to disagree with me. For me the belief had to be that sobriety is always the answer. I believe there are never reasons to drink alcohol just like there are never reasons to drink clorox. Everything I was taught about alcohol before I quit drinking was a lie. For me I don’t believe in the idea of triggers. Either you want to drink poison or you don’t. Alcohol has never brought value to my life, and for me there are no reasons to drink it, only BS excuses that my subconscious would try to sell me. Once I realized this, i was able to recognize the urge, then I would change the thought to why sobriety brings me happiness. I hate to bring up the old saying but once YOU realize alcohol causes YOU problems it will continue until you become sober for good. My belief is anyone who drinks regularly is a habitual drinker and addicted on some level, otherwise they wouldn’t drink, because if you really look at it scientifically there are no benefits to drinking. It dehydrates you, which makes you drink more, it’s obviously addictive. it destroys your nervous system, your confidence, your liver, and your ability to relax, and it makes it so you can’t drive, and you act in ways that aren’t logical and it will cost you a fortune over your lifetime. Once I saw the truth about alcohol and the lies that the alcohol companies and the media and other drinkers were trying to sell me I decided drinking was idiotic to begin with. I still hang out with friends and go to parties and play cards and socialize, but why would I want to sip the poison that caused me problems and almost ruined my life? Does that make sense to you? Once you realize that the whole alcohol culture is a lie, and you have bought into the propaganda for years only to blow your money drinking poison that brings no value to your life, I would have to be a real sucker to pay another dime to those SOB’s. But maybe alcohol didn’t really cause you that many problems….

                • M2 says:

                  Paul – Pearl Harbor was the last night I was bombed. My binge detonator was triggered and the fallout was ugly. I’m certain I was a chemical warfare attack. I don’t think bleach was involved, however another clear liquid in the form of vodka may have been the culprit.

                  I don’t think of it as disagreeing as much as exchanging ideas. There are so many paths to getting and staying sober that flushing out thoughts and gaining insight is important. It’s such a personal journey and as time passes, I find my thoughts in regards to it evolve. We are all unique so a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. Just because I don’t subscribe to a certain group belief set, AA or otherwise, doesn’t mean I can’t take the wisdom from the group and apply it to myself. It would certainly be easier to fall in line, but it’s just not my nature.

                  Thanks for taking the time to respond.

                • Paul says:

                  Hi m2, thank you for the reply! I apologize if you felt that my reply might have been argumentative at all. That certainly wasn’t my intention, and I appreciate your view. Just from where alcohol took me to where I am now it’s hard for me to understand why I ever had a hard time quitting to begin with, and until I embraced it and planned it and decided to he as happy as possible with my decision, it was hard as hell trying to decide if I was going to try to cut back etc. But looking back I realize the choice itself kept me miserable. That’s when I decided I had to change my internal beliefs, so I developed my own personal system, and it is based on complete abstinence and learning to appreciate it and being happy about it. Thank you for the dialog, I truly enjoy it, and I apologize again for the misunderstanding. I was just trying to let you know how I see alcohol now and why it’s easy for me to abstain, because I personally don’t see drinking bringing any value to my life.

                • M2 says:

                  The problem with writing is tone is lost. I didn’t think you were being argumentative. You are obviously very passionate about your beliefs and that’s respectable. I appreciate your willingness to express openly and honestly your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Until next time…

    • UnPickled says:

      I hear what you are saying about the perception of alcoholics vs AA, but I can also tell you that right now there is a PSA for AA that perpetuates the stigma of the alcoholic as being “that type” (the violent male, the staggering hot mess female, etc).

      What has blown me away in recovery is the sheer number of educated, middle class soccer moms. I’d love to see a PSA that says, “Are you tired of trying to be perfect and feeling inadequate? Have you found that using wine to relax has turned into a burden you wish to be free of? Would you like to meet others who feel the same? You’ll find us at AA” Can you imagine the impact?

      I’ve talked a lot in my blog about the importance of face to face support, and on the podcast.The give and take of those relationships are a key component in recovery, and Dr. John Kelly talked about the science behind that in our Bubble Hour interview.

      This is hard, though, for those of us in smaller towns where there are not a lot of options for meetings. Folks in larger centres have the luxury of choosing from a variety of meetings, and of not knowing every other person in the room. I live in small town Canada, and finding others like myself hasn’t been easy. The online connections have been a huge blessing.

      I want to thank you for sharing your perspectives on AA, because many readers here are in the early, searching “pre-recovery” phase and are extremely curious to know what the AA experience is really like.

      • mishedup says:

        I live in the Los Angeles area, and there is a meeting every minute it seems, and they are all different. I know I am very lucky, I do.
        Thank god for you and other bloggers who are here to help people attempting to find their way out of the mess.
        I’m going to go look at AA PSA’s….I don’t think I’ve ever seen one, but I watch ALL my TV via DVR, in my vain attempt to never see another commercial.
        Oh yes, I love your PSA idea…how brilliant that would be!
        WE know that to be the truth, and all we can do here in blogs or BFB or crying out Now and The Bubble Hour, is help those people who do reach out and let them know that we are all alike, no matter how different we are.
        I’m glad you talked about face to face support though. However you get it I think it’s so important…just the fact of looking into someone else’s eyes and being able to say, or hear “I get it” and “me too”….nothing about that is bad. I drank alone for a LONG time, and I am so grateful I don’t have to recover alone.

        xo

        • M2 says:

          I live up in Reno and have yet to see a PSA for AA. Maybe it’s just those Canucks that are perceived as hot messes and wife beaters? I grew up with a mother going to AA meetings in Laguna Beach back in the late 70s and 80s. She was “cutting edge” back then and the only alcoholic parent in the neighborhood until a few other moms hit their mid-40s. I watched the explosion of AA meetings in So Cal over the last 30 + years and it’s pretty amazing. They are so group specific and even have meetings specifically for agnostics! I have looked into a couple do the women only meetings locally and will probably go visit one in the next few weeks. I’m certainly not ashamed that I got sober so showing my face isn’t my hesitation. It’s the “oh I’m not sure I fit here” uncomfortable feeling I’m not in the mood for. I know I need the face to face connection so I just need to get myself motivated to go. I wish they has one like comedy driving school that was entertaining and fun – just no humor at the expense of others.
          BTW it’s ok for me to call my “30 year sober and now drinking again mother” an alcoholic, but I have an alcohol problem! Semantics.

          • mishedup says:

            Hahahhhaa,,

            comedy AA, that is hysterical! And “cutting edge mom…I love that!
            Yet, true…I swear I have never laughed so hard as i do at times in AA meetings…that identification really helped me to give up the drama. I have t say though, my first couple of meetings i was completely mystified about why everyone was laughing!
            I hope you have a good experience. I only did women only at the beginning, it just seemed safer, and I really needed to identify more, but now I go to all kinds….
            They definitely have agnostic and atheist meetings here, and also something that I do and love….11th step yoga, which is yoga and meditation and then a meeting after. How much more L.A can you get, right?

  65. Mo says:

    Hi Jean. When surfing the net for help at the end of November last year, yours was the first blog I found and read end to end. It resonated so deeply within me and I knew that I HAD to try to stop drinking otherwise my life would continue in the same depressive cycle. From drinking a bottle of wine a night (more at weekends) I am now mostly AF. (I have drunk alcohol on 8 occasions over the last 5 months which frankly I’m overjoyed with considering the level I was at.)
    Without your blog I would never have had the switch of an AF life flicked in my head. I’m happy, clear-headed, Im running, keeping fit and life is easier. I even managed my mother’s death sober and I’m so thankful for that. My final memories of my mother are sharp in my mind and will remain with love in my heart, rather than with the guilt and pain of drinking my way through it.
    If anyone is still sitting on the fence, trying to decide if an AF life is for them all I can say is if I can manage it then anyone can. I’m still a work in progress. I’d like to stop for good but I’m happy with what I have achieved so far. I have my life back, so Jean, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. X

    • UnPickled says:

      Thank for this, Mo. I love this: “My final memories of my mother are sharp in my mind and will remain with love in my heart, rather than with the guilt and pain of drinking my way through it.” What an absolute treasure, this gift of recovery.

  66. KT says:

    Oh yes, all of those red flags were waving at me too. I’m going quietly, since I’d said I was quitting, then I was “moderating” (guess how that worked out! Yep, wardrobe wine!), but I guess my husband has noticed, because it was my birthday yesterday and there was quietly no wine among the card, flowers and chocolates. I’m happier sober. I’m nicer, calmer, sleep better, laugh more honestly. I hope I can remember this truth when the goblin starts nagging in my ear, as he surely will soon enough.

  67. Anne says:

    Thank you again for another wonderful blog post.
    You inspire me and it’s obvious you inspire others.
    Thank you!

  68. Katharine says:

    In a reply above, you said, “I think AA needs a social media makeover, because how people perceive the program (myself included) is a lot different than the experience people seem to have there. I realize the mantra is attraction over promotion, but the world could use some better education about recovery. I love the word you used: dignity. There’s nothing more empowered and dignified than recovering!”

    I can’t agree with you more! A social media makeover is EXACTLY what is needed.

    Thank you for this blog. It’s wonderful. It inspired me to start my own recovery blog.

    • Shea says:

      It seems to me that the biggest problem AA has is Hollywood writers. In movies the people in AA have to fight to remain sober everyday. AA seems to think alcoholism is like an allergy but that wasn’t good enough for Hollywood, they had to turn it into a disease.
      I am one of the 24% who kicked spontaneously and I never got into the AA thing. I did date a girl in AA once. She was Catholic and could quote very little from the Bible but knew the Big Book from cover to cover. That was a little weird but other than that she was fine.

  69. Unpickled,
    Yours was the first blog I stumbled upon Nov. 7, 2013, my sober birthday. Your words touched me and sounded the bell I desperately needed to climb out of the personal hell I created. As I near my five month sobriety date, I can finally read the words on your blog and many others without crying!! The beautiful part is that every tear was a bit of the old me whittling away to the new and improved me. I have found sobriety to be the best gift my HP could have awarded me. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I could make it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, a rock concert, a week long all-inclusive vacation to Puerto Rico, the death of one of my best friends, a gut-wrenchingly truthful letter from my beautiful daughter and a countless number of other “firsts” as a sober woman. How did I do it? Reading blogs, sober books, BFB on Yahoo Groups, listening to the Bubble hour, writing my own blog, AA,getting and respecting my sponsor, prayer, therapy 2-3 times a week, journalling, exercising, yoga, meditation, going to an all women’s AA weekend retreat,you name it. Every part of my journey has been with a purpose even if I didn’t know what it was at the time. I am grateful to my core for the help the cyber world has provided to me. Being able to speak without fear of being judged was/is fantastic!
    For any seekers out there, tell yourself you ARE worth sobriety. You are not alone; you are not unique in the sense that you are an alcoholic. I am a 44 yo mom of four, teacher, wife, sister, aunt, friend with a masters degree. I grew up in a home where Al Anon, Alateen and AA were commonplace, yet I am not exempt from the disease. I knew better but I had to walk the walk and come to terms with who I am on my own, not from a book, a meeting, or a friend telling me to take it easy or to “keep it in check”.
    The freedom I have today is nothing short of miraculous. I am free to be me. If you really want a better life and you are tired of the shame, listen to the inner voice you have. It’s your true self rearing its head pleading with you to let her bust out! Walk bravely and with your hands out –someone will take you by the hands and lead you.
    Hugs,
    Linda

    • UnPickled says:

      Linda, your words are beautiful, inspiring and encouraging. Your recovery speaks for itself, as does the joy you radiate here. xo

    • Linda, I love reading comments like yours-alcoholism shouldn’t be a dirty word. Like you, I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a college-eduated, thoughtful person–who happens to have this BIG problem. I am grateful every day for my sobriety (November 3, 2013!). I wanted to be sober for years, but never thought I could. You are right, the freedom is nothing short of miraculous. I have this feeling on a regular basis-if I can do THIS-stay sober-then I can do just about anything. What an empowering feeling.

      • Amen, sista!! My sober date is Nov. 7, 2013. We’re sober sisters! I have two songs that I love to listen to today. One is “Let it Go” from Frozen and the other is “Brave” by Sara Bareilles; they help get my head on straight and know that I can stretch myself every day to be better.

  70. Annabelle says:

    This blog was one of my first stops in my beginning. I can remember reading it while sitting in the bleachers at my son’s basketball practice and feeling completely enamored by your sobriety. It is true that the support I have received from my online buddies has been unmatched, and has remained that way since my sober day #1 on November 6th, 2013. Thanks for writing and paving the way for all of us walking closely behind you!

  71. You said “” the neurological changes can’t be reversed”. I would like to learn more about this. Is it because we developed tolerance? I am sorry if you have already discussed this subject in your blog, I haven’t finished reading it yet!

    • UnPickled says:

      Yes, there is a tolerance and also there are permanent changes to the pleasure/reward circuitry – you can learn more about this at http://www.recoveryanswers.org and listen to the conversation with Dr. John Kelly of the Recovery Research Insitute on http://www.thebubblehour.com – we just taped the show and it was fascinating to learn about brain changes and what can be healed and repaired vs. what is permanent. He describes recovery as a life long chronic illness that is managed by abstinence and helps us understand exactly why we can’t go back and moderate once those brain changes take place. Check it out and let me know what your impressions are.

  72. Pingback: Seekers Welcome | momma bee

  73. DB says:

    This was my first site! I found this welcome mat when I was one tired, haggard, worn out limp rag. I have investigated other blogs and investigated other sources, i.e. suggested reading material and also the Bubble Hour! I am one appreciative soul.

  74. Lisa says:

    So glad the Today show aired this episode Jean and I hope with the help of people like you, men and women will be proud of their sobriety instead of hiding a secret. I want to scream out loud, “Stand up with pride sober people, this shit is hard and you are making a difference!” xoxo Jean-you are an inspiration!

  75. momma bee says:

    Just awesome Jean~ thank you!!!

  76. byebyebeer says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the Today show, will definitely look for that video online. While reading this, I found myself nodding to everything. At the acceptance that not drinking is a permanent thing, and the relief I now feel about that. At the introspection and continued work in recovery, and how necessary and rewarding that winds up being. And finally, and most importantly, at the support and community I’ve found here. Thank you for this post.

  77. Ricky Uys says:

    I feel I am going quite insane. I am reading this with a fuzzy head. There is a bottle of wine in my briefcase for tonite. Later will involve drinking out of a plastic cup out of a cupboard because “I don’t drink anymore” according to my family. It’s just 4 glasses after all. Not. If there was another bottle I would have that too. I am drowning, glugging, drowning. My anti anxiety meds doesn’t stand a chance against the amount I drink. You would not say it looking at me now, lip glossed and typing away. What a faker. I have no problem admitting that I have a serious problem, my problem lies in the fact that I have to quit. When though? After the briefcase bottle?

    I drink because I like the feeling of floaty detachment of being drunk. But I have nothing that I should have to feel detached from. I have an amazing life, awesome husband, stunning kids, financial security, I could go on.

    It is a form of rebellion. No one is gonna tell me what to do. I will have this wine because I can, so there. Ego. But it’s going to cross over. I would never try commit suicide, so why on earth am I entertaining this? I am killing myself slowly. Shame. Guilt. Wine. Float. Shame. Guilt. Repeat until you wake up in hospital missing limbs and realise you killed someone else driving drunk.Shame. Guilt.

    I am going to die of this disease if I do not address it. What logic is there in taking vitamins and praying to God that you don’t get cancer or die in a car accident for your children’s sake, and yet you are busy killing yourself one drink at a time anyway.

    • wren1450 says:

      Read the sober blogs. Keep reading. Hopefully, like me, they will change your feelings and give you hope as you realize that we all shared your feelings. It is just recently, after reading the blogs, that I have slowly started to turn away from shame. Good luck, and KEEP READING!

    • UnPickled says:

      I can hear and feel your pain, despite the way it hides beneath the lip gloss and perfect exterior. You articulate it well – clearly you are intelligent and introspective. You are in the “awareness” phase of recovery. Yes! You are ALREADY in recovery when you start becoming aware of the toll alcohol is taking. Please continue to move forward in your healing. It gets so much better than where you are at now.

      • michelle69 says:

        I appreciate this blog so much. I have read many entries (not all – still working my way through) and have listened to almost every podcast on the bubble hour. This has raised my level of awareness but I have not yet entered long-term recovery. The best I have been able to manage is 10 days. I will spend awhile reflecting on your comment that my brain has been changed and it is no longer safe for me to drink. How do I move forward out of awareness and really start healing in a way I can sustain? I have not hit “rock bottom”…I am a quiet, hider, isolator and moderately effective at going undetected…so far…

        Incidentally, I tried to join the BFB and somehow an email got sent to my work e-mail address – yikes! I immediately deleted it and swore I would not try that again!

        • Anne says:

          There is a quote that the bottom is where you quit digging.
          I like that. It’s a good reminder that you can always go lower. But why?

        • UnPickled says:

          Oh no! That email mix up could be the result of your computer auto filling the form or if you already have a yahoo account with that email as the contact. As an “isolater”, you will be surprised by the energy and power you feel if and when you do connect with other people in recovery so I highly recommend giving any support group a try. Email me at picklednomore@gmail.com and I’ll give you some recommendations. PS – I just hung up from taping a Bubble Hour episode with Dr. John Kelly about the neurology of addiction and recovery. He talked about how monkey brains show a reduction in dopamine receptors when they are isolated, and they begin to increase when the monkeys are reintroduced to social groups. This research is being used to explore the effects of support groups on recovery. He also talked about how addiction changes the pleasure/reward circuitry of the brain in a way that can’t be repaired, but managed successfully with abstinence. It is an amazing conversation and one I highly recommend! http://www.thebubblehour.com

    • Leigh says:

      Dear Ricky,
      I could have written your 4/3/14 entry ten days ago. I have been sober for one week, been to three AA meetings, found a wonderful young woman 20 years younger than me to be my temporary sponsor, and went to a cocktail party and had Diet Coke. I have a vague idea about God, Higher Power, and all that. But I don’t try to figure that out anymore. Yesterday I fell on my knees in my kitchen and prayed to have the craving for alcohol go away. And it did–a little. Quitting drinking is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Harder than childbirth–and I had twins vaginally. Because with childbirth, you have to go along with the ride. With sobriety you are at the wheel. It matters a lot who is in the car with you. It helps if it is other recovering alcoholics and sober bloggers. Be strong. Dump out any wine left in the bottle. I dumped two partial bottles ten days ago. I walked through the wine department at two grocery stores this week and didn’t pause. Move forward and claim your wonderful life.

    • Anne says:

      Your story is my story.

      I drank to numb because I felt unhappy and unfulfilled. Even though I had everything. I drank to be self destructive, to silence the voice of self loathing and shame.

      I quit drinking December 1. Minot sure how. I just did. The anxiety did become worse. I was paranoid and shaky and sad, but I stayed sober. The day I quit I went to a therapist for help. And started an antidepressant.

      At 4 months sober I love life. I wake up every morning happy and content. I can deal with problems calmly. I am much less emotionally unstable and much kinder.

      Quit for yourself and find the real you trying to break free. Don’t listen to the booze any longer.

      You can do it!

  78. primrosep says:

    another commenter here saying “yours was the first sober blog I read and my life is completely turned around!” Love the Bubble Hour. You made a comment on a broadcast a couple of days ago I found really helpful, when you said that you used to tell yourself that you used alcohol to manage stress, not anxiety, because you were a strong person and anxiety was for weak people. That really struck a chord with me, thank you!

    btw I’m 5 months sober tomorrow :) :) :) so thank you from the bottom of my heart for holding that door open and showing me what could lie behind it. seriously. there aren’t enough words.

    • UnPickled says:

      I’m glad that Bubble Hour episode resonated because I had a really hard time sharing all of that! I am so glad to know my efforts have helped your journey and you have helped me right back by sharing and shaping my perspective. It’s entirely reciprocal. Congrats on 5 months!

  79. Lilly says:

    “You can’t go on a diet unless you have become morbidly obese.” Screw rock bottom – I just quit, very quietly and very much on my own…

    Oh god I love this! It sums up exactly what’s wrong with that whole concept, which I think can actually be very damaging to people, like myself, who didn’t have any “major” consequences (well, not externally anyway) because it can just keep you second guessing. You hit the nail on the head. Wonderful post as always.

    Lilly x

  80. Susan Maki says:

    I am so sad that I have made it 56 days and then relapsed when my dog passed from bone cancer. My husband wanted to do something “happy,” so we went wine tasting. He said to me that he is so glad I enjoy that, because “How hard would it be if you didn’t like this?” I love him. He is an amazing dad and provider. This is so hard. I frankly don’t feel worthy to be his wife, so I want to please him, and be his best possible partner. He can moderate alcohol. I can’t.

    • My dog died two weeks ago after a long battle with lymphoma.
      The pain is horrible, but I chose not to drink — but to stay present instead.
      Stay sober, stay clear-headed, hold on those precious memories. The pain is just from how much you loved her — to deny the pain is to deny the love. So sorry for your loss. <3 Christy

    • UnPickled says:

      Ooooh my gosh, you are on to something huge here: “frankly, I don’t feel worthy”. I’m no therapist but I feel like there’s a lot of insight in that statement. Recovery starts from there, and you have the brilliant understanding that you can’t moderate. That is a big piece to comprehend, yet you have it. Now you need to put all this to work.

    • Anne says:

      Brene brown has a great book called the gifts of imperfection.
      It’s worth a read.
      In it she says we can’t truly love others, and they can’t love us, until we love ourselves.
      Loving yourself is a very powerful thing.
      Much more powerful than wine.

  81. naimavanswol says:

    Your blog is amazing! You’re amazing.

  82. justanewme says:

    Thank you for your posts and thank you for The Bubble Hour. The Bubble Hour has become a part of my morning commute.

    • UnPickled says:

      The Bubble Hour played a major role in my recovery and I’m so glad to be giving back now by being involved. I’m so glad other people enjoy it and find it helpful. Those ladies are really special and every guest teaches me so much. Thank you for listening! Send me any topics or ideas you have for future shows.

  83. Awesome post! I am gonna share it all over! You are a true inspiration and thank you for offering these words of encouragement and hope, there is HOPE. We are not alone. Thank you again. Hugs.

  84. Your blog was my first too and I’m at 250 days. Thanks again.
    Sharon

  85. Jean says:

    Jean I love your blog and also the bubble hour which are both part of my recovery along with journaling, reading, reading and replying to blogs, exercising and meditating. I really appreciate what you said about not having to hit rock bottom and the analogy about not having to be morbidly obese before you go on a diet. I agree wholeheartedly. I am 5 months sober now and feel great. I still have not figured out the root cause of why I drank more wine then was healthy and why so many times even though I promised to only have 1 or 2, instead I had 3 or 4 and awoke with a huge headache. I can’t say that I don’t ever desire a drink, but the benefits that I am getting far outweigh the benefits that I got from drinking. I just watched the interview with Stephanie Wilder-Taylor and I also feel less stressed out now from not drinking than when I drank. My life is just easier.
    Thanks again for helping me get Unpickled.
    Jean

    • UnPickled says:

      What a great comment – thank you so much. Isn’t that the best description – it’s just easier. A commenter here wished me a “slow and enlightened” recovery – I sense that is your journey as well. Things will reveal themselves in time, and it’s good to keep working at recovery even when it’s coming easy because you don’t want to make your way back to where you were or engage in replacement behaviours. Reflecting on resentments, which of course is part of a 12 step program, really got the ball rolling for me (and I’m a pretty agreeable person). Keep me posted! Xo

  86. Jean, I love your blog! It was one of the first blogs that I read in the first days of sobriety. I had a ton of anxiety in the first few weeks (common, it turns out)…. Tomorrow marks 5 months in recovery! I feel grateful. I feel like a better version of myself: More honest, more confident, more clarity. Honest because when I drank, I lied to myself about my alcoholism; Confident because I have nothing to hide, and am proud of who I am; Clarity-well, this is a no-brainer! My head isn’t all fuzzy every morning :-)

  87. afteralcohol says:

    I hope more seekers will find you, Jean. A lot of us refer to your blog as the first one we found, or the first one that resonates, and I think a lot of that is because – well, you’re just so very admirable! You achieved what I felt like AA et al were saying couldn’t be achieved; sobriety, with dignity. You offer hope, and hope is the thing that drinkers have lost.

    • UnPickled says:

      I think AA needs a social media makeover, because how people perceive the program (myself included) is a lot different than the experience people seem to have there. I realize the mantra is attraction over promotion, but the world could use some better education about recovery. I love the word you used: dignity. There’s nothing more empowered and dignified than recovering!

      • afteralcohol says:

        Yes I agree. In my case, AA simply isn’t an option because there’s not much of a presence here at all, but I’d have wanted to avoid it anyway, I don’t do groups or mantras or slogans. But I believe it works, so I hope it endures.

  88. Erin O'Brien Brooks says:

    Thank you for your post.. I am 4 months sober today! I am a member of AA, I find that the relationships and accountability are important for me. As a stay at home mom, I tend to isolate, which is part is the reason I was able to drink like I did. I agree, choose a path and try it. Just know you are NOT alone. My drinking days were filled with lie after lie and I thought I was the only one struggling. So many women are hiding and lying out if shame. The honesty is extremely scary. But, if you can push through the fear, it’s worth it.

    • UnPickled says:

      Erin, can you comment a bit more about the positive relationships and support you’ve encountered in the program? This is something seekers need to know!

  89. Love this. I’ll see if I can find a video since I missed her segment. If any readers see this and have a link, would you mind sharing?

    (Side note: how refreshing to have the tables turned on the Today show. Hoda and Kathie Lee drinking at 10 AM and glamorizing it has gotten quite old to me.)

    • byebyebeer says:

      Oh my god, is that a regular thing? I caught part of an episode around christmas and those big glasses of wine really stood out, though of course I’m sensitive to 10am wine drinking.

      • Yep, sure is, K. Wine glasses and shot trays of vodka. I mean it’s cute and all, but I hate the message it sends moms and kids. I could go on a whole Hoda and Kathie tirade. Maybe I will one day.

  90. Hear hear. Regardless of the path you take, walk it with love, acceptance and honesty. Regardless of the journey, take it with the knowledge that you are never alone. Regardless of the method of recovery, take it with gusto, fearlessness and a shot of faith. You get what you put into it. And for a bottom alkie like me, putting even half the amount of time in my recovery as I did my drinking, success is bound to come. I had to put 100%. The option was failure…and to drink again.

    I think what you said about uncovering the reasons why we drank is vital. Just stopping and going on sheer will power will only go so far. When we do the work (in whatever path you take) in finding out why it is we felt the need to pick up the bottle, and taking measures to eliminate the causes (and not the symptoms), then we start to not only find relief, but utter freedom! I don’t drink today not because I hide from certain people or situations, or because I avoid anything that reminds me of booze, or because I distract myself from everything…it’s because I have found a way to deal with life that precludes alcohol! What a way to live – on life’s terms and in an authentic way. Some find that through either 12-step, therapy, support groups, journaling, meeting up with others, etc. and those who work through the WHY’s of their wanting to pick up find themselves much happier and not tempted by the bottle.

    What joy and freedom in that!

    Live is for living, and I am so glad that not only have I found recovery, but also found this wonderful blogging community. I am blessed to be a part of it, and am always excited when I meet new people out here.

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • UnPickled says:

      Perfectly proving my point that the heart of this blog is the comments section. Thank you so much for this powerful share.

    • wren1450 says:

      Paul: You wrote a reply to a blog not too long ago that I cannot locate in my in-box now, but it meant a lot to me. It was about drinking poison, etc……how bad physically alcohol is to us. Does that ring a bell? Could you possibly re-send it to me? wren1450@gmail.com
      Thanks.

      • Paul says:

        Hi Wren! Happy Easter. I will find it copy and forward it once I get to my office tonight.I’m glad you liked it! If I can help with anything else let me know! Have a great evening !

        Paul

      • I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to find it. It seems that my WP “Comments I made” section is time contrained. It doesn’t have an archive, so it only goes by the day…hence I can’t find it!! :(

        I do remember mentioning the poison part, but in all honesty can’t remember it…sorry :(

        If I find a way to dig deeper (not sure how – even Googled it), I will send it to ya.

        Hopefully you can dig around on your site and find it.

        Paul

  91. lucy2610 says:

    Amazing as ever Jean. Yours was the first sober blog I read from beginning to end & now I’m almost 200 days! Thank you for showing me the possibility xx

  92. M2 says:

    What a wonderfully written, warm and heartfelt post. I’m certain your words will, as always, resonate with new and returning seekers.

    • M2 says:

      I swear you’d think my blonde was natural or, if you’re a deeper thinker, that I’ve suffered a neuroplastic change in my brain that has yet to recover from any alcohol induced disconnects. I’ve been posting with the wrong blog attached to my M2 moniker. In an effort to find some humor in sobriety, the fact that I would accidentally link to someone “channelling” the other world is pretty funny, albeit creepy if you linked to it. I wonder if the writer of that blog is thinking someone from the “other world” is requesting the password reset for her blog?

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