I quit drinking at forty-five; my son was twelve. One of the biggest regrets I hold onto today is the fact that I drank around him for so long. Every holiday, every birthday, every social situation revolved around drinking way too much.
My son, Spencer is going to be eighteen next month and leaving for College in the Fall. I'm vacillating between the gratitude that I have for my sobriety and the sadness I feel because of all of the time that I wasted in his younger years.
It is a bittersweet time.
I gave birth the day before Mother's Day in 2001. Up until this day, I had seven months of sobriety and thought long and hard about giving it up for good. After all, I had drunk since I was fourteen, that was a long time. Ha!
On Mother's Day in 2001, I came home, and the champagne started flowing. I deserved it after giving birth. I deserved to get drunk because I was now a mom. Makes sense, right?
No, it makes no sense, and I don't judge any other mom out there when it comes to drinking. We are all doing our best, but I know the time is now to speak up against the mommy wine culture and share what alcohol does to a family.
My family is my husband and my son. We are close and have a relationship that is full of lots of laughs and fun times; I'm so grateful.
When I was drinking, I was drinking two bottles of wine plus champagne about two or three times a week at home. After my son was born, we didn't go out much, so most of my drinking was at family events and on the couch in my living room.
In the two years leading up to the end of my numbing out phase of life, I would lash out at my husband, and my son witnessed it. Ouch, that hurt me to write. My sweet boy and my loving husband saw the dark side of my thirty-year love affair with wine.
The dark side that left me hungover and extremely anxious for days. I wasn't happy, not in my life, not in my body, and not in my mind. I was drinking around a highly impressionable kid, and I didn't think anything of it.
Again, no judgment.
The night that I decided to quit, I was home alone, my son and husband were camping. I had two bottles in the fridge with one bottle open, and I had a pull from above that said put down the wine, you've had enough. It wasn't just you've had enough for tonight it was you've had enough for life.
As I poured both bottles of Chardonnay down the sink, I cried knowing that I would never be able to quit, but I had to. I wanted to be clear and present in my life and my families, that meant so much to me, but I wasn't sure if it that reason was enough.
I feel for women who struggle with wanting to be a role model for their kids and needing the drink so bad that they think they can't live without it.
I told myself from age fourteen that getting drunk was going to ease my shyness and make it comfortable to be in social situations. What would I do now, at forty-five?
What I did was become a role model for my son and share with him my truth when it comes to drinking. I share all of it and answer any questions that he has. I want him to know that you don't have to drink just because everyone else is doing it and you will excel in life if you stay sober.
I want my son to be a teetotaler for life.
In a perfect world, he would not have the desire to drink even though addiction runs in his family. I pray for him to make the right choice and I know that all I can do is tell him my story in hopes that he will use it for good, and not rebel against it.
I ask you this because I don't want you to regret your decision to drink around your children like I do today. I'm so blessed to have had that pull from above on August 11, 2013, I think about it constantly. That night changed my life in a way that I had never pictured even in my wildest dreams.
My son, Spencer, is 17 today and going to College in the Fall. The past five 1/2 years with him as a sober mom has taught me so much about myself as a mom, and most of those teachings have come from him. I know that I wouldn't have been able to say those words if I was still drinking.
Also, I'm with YOU!
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