Both my mother and father were alcoholics. My mother’s father, who died in the 1940s, was also one. She told me he died in the gutter. Mom was a binge drinker and nasty when drunk. She was a screaming, angry, belligerent, messy, drinker. She would go on benders that would last days, maybe longer. Then she would go to bed, ill, and dry out. The house would be drink free for a while. She would drink beer out of teacups in the bathroom.
I was always afraid to bring home friends after school. Shame was a big part of my childhood.
My father was a different drinker. He was happy, mostly, when he drank. When my mother turned on him in a rage, he would leave, going to ‘the shop’, where he worked, or to the cottage. Quite often he drank and drove. Dad would hide bottles. In his boot, in the mailbox, in a pocket of his coat, in the hedge.
When I was 12 I began to sneak off with my nephew, who was 2 years older than I. We would steal beers at the cottage and go for long walks on the dark country roads.
I drank my way through high school, and college. I drank a tiny bit through my first pregnancy, because that was when they still ‘allowed’ a drink per day.
Around the time my parents died I think I was drinking more. We had moved from one end of the country to the other. My father died, then my mother. We moved again, into our first home. My children will remember me as the mother who always had a glass of wine in hand any time after 4pm. Never drunk, mind you. Not messy. Not angry. I was just me. I could hold so much wine that a bottle a day did not leave me hung over or slurring my words.
High-functioning alcoholic. I’ve known for years, but it was easy to cover up.
Two years ago I stopped drinking for 3 months. The first 3 weeks were the hardest as I learned what people drank, who didn’t drink. I eventually discovered chilled herbal tea. It works for me because it is not sweet. This time around, I have stopped my bottle/day habit with less anxiety. I think I knew better what to expect, and I had planned the day in advance. Husband stopped as well, and although he might go back to a beer on the weekend or with friends, I am quite happy right now about not drinking again.
When I stopped smoking [for the 2nd time] in 1998, I was of a certain mind-set. And now, I have that same mind-set. I am beyond ready to change my future. These two weeks have been fantastic. I feel free. We drive home and pass the LCBO, when before we would stop every night. I am drinking water and herbal tea and soda mixed with juice. I use my favourite wine glasses. Socially, it has not been an issue yet. Family functions will be weird, but not horrific. There are enough recovering alcoholics in my immediate family that one more ‘outed’ will not cause too many ripples.
Gathering with friends will be harder. Of recent years we have not been as social, so this will not be as difficult now as it might have been 5 or more years ago. I will not miss that social hangover, since I always drank more than I should playing Euchre.
I think that I am finally passed the peer pressure thing. When you give up smoking, you are ‘in the right’ you are proving how strong you are. When you give up drinking, you are saying you are not in control, and you have a weakness. So now, I don’t care. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life accommodating others.
I don’t drink.