Things that go bump in the night…

I remember when I was a kid I was scared that there was a monster under my bed. I was terrified that this monster was going to grab me and pull me under the bed into the land of terrors. I had no idea what a real monster could do. I had no way of understanding that there were monsters in my everyday life. I hadn’t been introduced to alcohol, I hadn’t been told to take this pill or that pill to feel better.

Not yet at least.

 

Fast forward to July 2016. I had just brought home my second beautiful daughter, and life was pretty good. I remember my husband asking me if I wanted a drink or anything. I was so focused on the baby and making sure our eldest felt loved in the midst of all the changes in her life. I told him I was fine. I didn’t need a drink. I was oozing out happiness and bliss from every pore. I made sure I gave myself a big ‘ol pat on the back for turning down alcohol. At the time, I said to myself, ” See! You don’t have a problem. You can say no.”

That lasted for approximately two hours. The sun was setting, the house started to quiet down, and bedtime was approaching. I told my husband to sleep on the couch so I wouldn’t wake him when I was up with the baby. Around two am I started to feel like there were bugs crawling up my legs. I couldn’t sit still. I became terrified to close my eyes. My heart started to race, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was dying. I woke my husband up and told him he needed to bring me to the ER immediately. The feeling just got worse and worse. I realized I couldn’t go to the ER, because I would have to take the baby too and she was too little to be surrounded with all of the germs that lurk in an ER.

Instead, I ran out into the backyard hysterically crying. My husband had to hold me super tight, I was scared shitless. Eventually, the feeling left.

Twenty minutes later, round two started. Same crazy feelings, same terror. This time I decided I had to do something about it. If it kept happening I would be exhausted from being up all night panicking or feeding the baby. I had to sleep. I had to turn off my mind to make the panic go away.

Drinking seemed like the obvious solution.

I pounded two glasses of wine. That’s all I needed. My brain started to slow down. Well, if two glasses managed to help, two more wouldn’t be a big deal. I was trying to develop a healthy breastfeeding relationship with my newborn, but I had some formula stashed away. It didn’t matter. I fed her formula as I felt my boobs just straight up fill up with milk that I couldn’t even feed her.

 

As time went on, this nighttime panic bullshit got worse. I started these weird rituals when I could feel the anxiety creeping in. If everyone else in the house was asleep, I wasn’t allowed to sleep. Someone had to be up. I would look at my windows and try to see if any of my neighbors were still up. If they were, then I could go to sleep. If that failed, I would watch infomercials until 3 am when the news came on. If the news came on, I could sleep.

Constant racing thoughts, scared of dying in my sleep, feeling inadequate as a mom, hating my curvy body, worrying that I might trip on the stairs and drop the baby, and so many other intrusive thoughts just ran a marathon in my brain.

 

All of this crap became an excuse. I’m depressed! I have anxiety! I have OCD! Drinking will help. Look- see, I had some wine and now I’m totally functioning! I’m smiling! Alcohol was the solution to all my postpartum issues.

 

Cracking open a bottle of wine at 2 am started to seem more and more like normal behavior. I thought it was helping me sleep. It wasn’t helping me sleep. I was BLACKING out every night. Over and over and over and over. Reality started to become blurry.

“Are there other moms that do this? There has to be. I can’t be the only one. But, just to be safe, I’m not going to mention this to anyone.”

 

Hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on my ” medicine”.

 

Happy moms drink! It makes us better moms! What a relief! I don’t have to feel anything at all, EVER. AMAZING!

 

It never occurred to me that those rituals that I made up in order to fall asleep weren’t exactly rituals at all. They were excuses that I created in order to feed my monster. The list got longer and longer. It got to the point that if someone even looked at me the wrong way, I would tell myself to go drink.

 

Sure, drinking would knock me out, but over time it made everything worse. My depression was all-consuming. My anxiety started to debilitate me. My OCD was getting worse and worse.

 

The harder it got, the more excuses I made. “It’s noon on a Tuesday and you have to fold laundry? Laundry is stressful! How about I Just start drinking…”

 

I would go in and out of different doctors, begging them to help me. I felt like my mental health was in bad shape. They’d prescribe this and that, never once asking me how much alcohol I drank. And if they did ask? I’d lie, obviously. Only a couple glasses a week!

(um try…four boxes a week…)

Then after a couple years of that shit, something happened. I woke up for a brief moment and looked at my family. I was turning this home into hell for everyone here. The guilt and shame over my selfish behavior pushed me into start thinking about getting sober.

It didn’t happen overnight. It happened after several months after more blackouts. I finally realized I had to kill the monster. This monster disguised it’s self as a friend.  I wasn’t sure how I could live without it.

 

Then this really crazy thing happened. Sobriety. 

The most sobriety I have, the more that extra crap fades away. Who would have thought that alcohol made all of my mental stuff worse? I thought it was helping. It wasn’t helping. It was killing me.

I’m not perfect. I can’t tell you what tomorrow will bring, but I know that I have faced my monster and I kicked its ass to the curb. It will try to creep back in over and over again, but I’m not weak anymore. I’m a fucking warrior and I will beat that asshole senseless before I let myself believe the lies it tries to tell me.

Nighttime isn’t scary anymore. If I can’t sleep I don’t freak out. The exhaustion that came with being a raging alcoholic is no longer there. If I don’t get those recommended 8 hours a night, I get a red bull and I deal. It’s ok to be tired sometimes. It won’t kill me, but drinking will.

I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m spiritual. I’m all the things that I wanted to be for so long, but could only achieve through sobriety.

The monster doesn’t fool me anymore.

Hi, my name is Kate and I’m a…um…uh…

‘Tis the season for new mom friends.

We all stand together at kindergarten drop off. We line up a few hours later for pickup. We schedule playdates, dance lessons, and moms night out. We laugh about how tired we are, how are kids are insane, and how much we totally deserve wine.

Lots of wine.

A new neighbor came up to me a few weeks ago while my youngest kids were losing their shit on the playground, and she asked me if I drink a lot of wine at the end of the day. I laughed.

Not anymore.

When I got sober a few months ago, I lost my circle of mom friends. I guess that’s kind of a normal thing, my sober friends have gone through it too. I can’t really figure out why. I’m still me, I’m just not chugging wine in your back yard at two pm on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m also a pretty good designated driver, you’d think someone would have taken advantage of that by now.

I was a crappy human being when I was drunk. I’m the friend who would get black out drunk and leave the bar without saying goodbye to anyone. I’m the friend who couldn’t hang out, because I was barfing all day with zero recollection of the night before. The only way for me to become a semi-decent human being was to put the wine down.

IMG_5105*Drunk Kate making excellent choices*

Is it threatening to mom culture if we stop drinking? Uh…yes.

 

Coffee! Wine! More Coffee! More Wine!

Does it force other moms to reflect on their own drinking habits?

 

I’m not saying that these moms are alcoholics, but it’s hard to face your vices. There’s such a stigma of being sober in a mommy circle. How do sober people have any fun? Do sober people sit awkwardly at your dining room table while everyone else is drinking? Sounds like sober moms are lame as hell.

I’ve gotten a lot of playdate texts from new friends asking if I wanted to hang out with our kids and drink vodka lemonades. I’m pretty open about my sobriety ( DUH.), but it’s still a little hard to tell a new person in your life that you used to be a raging alcoholic. It’s pretty simple to say, ” No thank you, I don’t drink,,” but getting those words out of my mouth can be a struggle at first.

*NEWS FLASH*

I’m really fucking fun. I’m loud, wild and incredibly inappropriate. I’m sure it’s embarrassing for my children, but a fellow mom might enjoy my boisterous disposition.

Hungry? I can cook for you! I love cooking, and I don’t care or mind if you have a glass of wine while enjoying my company. If I’m feeling extra nice I might even bake you something yummy.

Sober moms can shop, take road trips, go to the movies, take cooking classes, go to concerts, jump in pools, go to the zoo, go to one of those painting party things everyone talks about, bitch about our crazy toddlers, watch football (Ok, that’s probably a stretch for me.), rap to your favorite Nicki Minaj song, and do WHATEVER THE HELL WE WANT.

IMG_5107*Sober Kate*

People actually do live without alcohol. Can you imagine? How crazy! Such insanity! Never thought it would be possible!

We’re all moms. We go through a lot of shit together, that’s just how it is. Some of us get sober, some of us don’t. It doesn’t matter. You do you, I’ll do me.

 

Just be a friend.

 

I”m lucky to have some amazing sober friends. We lift each other up. We cry, laugh, dance and eat copious amounts of candy together.

 

I spent this past weekend with one of my very best friends. She’s not an alcoholic, but she’s very supportive of my sobriety. We hung out and had a blast this weekend. We had a good time even

Who’s to say that sober moms can’t have relationships like that with moms that drink? Normal people can drink whenever the hell they want. It doesn’t bother me or affect my sobriety. My life and choices have nothing to do with yours. Whether you drink or not, it’s none of my business. Drink up my friend, drink up. I’ll pound my red bull, you can pound your pina coolada.

 

It’s all good.

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