Mandy

Mandy

Hello. My name is Mandy. I am 43 years old. I have two children, two cats, and two dogs. I have what I like to call a healthy obsession with houseplants. I am also 1018 days sober. My relationship with alcohol has always been unhealthy. My first drink was on my high school graduation night. I got absolutely hammered on Boones Farm. You would think this would have been a celebration. You would be mistaken! It was a terrible day for me. My family skipped the graduation ceremony. I had been kicked out of my house a few months prior to graduation and my relationship with my mother was/is tumultuous. She was/is a controlling, manipulative, and immature person. Getting drunk that night was my first taste of avoiding my feelings and drowning my sorrows with booze. For the next 18 years I was a champion weekend binge drinker. I occasionally pre-gamed at home before going out, but never really kept alcohol at home or had any desire to drink at home. It was very social drinking, but quite often I would black out. I never understood the concept of moderation, and honestly didn’t have any desire to just have a couple of drinks. I didn’t see the point of drinking if you weren’t going to get hammered. I would drink until I could drink no more, and I would often just pass out wherever I happened to be at that point. My drinking changed in 2016 when we had our second child and had to move into a bigger house. Often people would come over with booze and I would partake as well. This is when my drinking crept into the weekdays. I voiced my opinions about the more frequent drinking and the fact that our habits had changed drastically. I would defer to my husband for this, for some reason. My husband would often chalk our drinking up to the stress of having kids. I thought that if he thought it was okay, then it was okay. Shortly after our daughter was born my grandmother died. Six months later my Aunt Sandy died suddenly from brain cancer. She was more like a mother to me than my own mother. A year later my grandfather died, and later that same year my father-in-law died. This was a lot of grief to deal with in a short time. I started drinking more and more through the week. The next year my father’s health started declining. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong for the longest time. He lost a lot of weight and ended up getting a feeding tube because he couldn’t swallow. At the end of 2019 they found cancer in his throat. They had to do a radical neck dissection. His tongue and voice box were removed, and his neck had to be reconstructed. At this point I was drinking every day. I had transitioned from the social binge drinker to using wine to cope with my life. I was using it to deal with the stress of being my dad’s primary caretaker. That Christmas I woke up and realized that I had passed out and failed to wrap the Santa presents. It was one of my lowest points. My dad came home from the hospital in January 2020. I quit smoking cigarettes at this time. I distinctly remember thinking that if I just got drunk enough, I would forget about how much I wanted a cigarette. So, I drank a lot. Then, Covid happened. I remember hearing from someone that businesses were starting to close and I panic bought several CASES of alcohol. I was afraid that the liquor stores would shut down! I work at a food factory so we never shut down, but I did take six weeks off. I home schooled the kids everyday and then promptly started drinking. This is when I realized I no longer had control of the situation and tried a hundred different ways and rules to moderate. Of course, none of them worked. I spoke to my best friend and told her that I was struggling with drinking. She tried to make me feel better about it and convinced me that everything was fine. I was blacking out every night. I woke up (sometimes in my daughter’s bed having passed out there with last night’s wine still on her bedside table) every day hating myself. I would wake up with no idea what I fed my kids for dinner the night before, and had no recollection of conversations after 6 pm. I was drunkenly rage texting family and friends. At this point I knew that I was an alcoholic. My favorite was being alone with my wine. It was the best day when my husband would take the kids to an activity and I could get drunk by myself. It would always end badly though, usually fighting with my husband about when he was going to be home even though I was the one who sent them away. I sometimes wonder what was going through his mind during this time and I question how he didn’t say something about my drinking. He never brought it up to me that he was seeing any red flags or had any concerns. I would drunkenly take those “Are you an alcoholic?” quizzes. But I still didn’t really feel like I was at a critical level because I showed up to work on time, every day. I never called off work because of my drinking. I never drank in the morning. I wasn’t a homeless person with a bottle in a paper bag sleeping under a bridge. It’s funny what your brain tells you when you’re in denial. My rock bottom came in July 2020 when I seriously contemplated taking wine to work with me so that I could start drinking after lunch. Thankfulky, I recognized what a terrible idea that was, and never did it. It was at that point that I knew that alcohol was going to ruin my life. Every day I would wake up and promise myself that I would not drink that day. Inevitably, on the way home from work I couldn’t NOT stop at the liquor store that was on the rotation that day for my daily two bottles of pinot grigio. There were three stores that I would rotate so that none of the liquor store clerks would see me two days in a row. This struggle went on for months, still trying to moderate, thinking that I could undo the alcoholism and revert back to being a “normal” binge drinker. It obviously did not work. If anything, it was almost as if the harder I tried to moderate, the more I drank. I finally heard about this author Alan Carr. A comedian I follow on Instagram recommended his quit smoking book, and mentioned that he had wrote a book about quitting drinking as well. I ordered the book Quit Drinking Without Willpower. I started reading it in December of 2020 and it was like a light switch flipped. It absolutely changed my thinking about alcohol and I would say it almost brainwashed me. It took a few tries, but ultimately I took my last drink on January 11th, 2021. This was still during the pandemic, so my only resources for recovery were quit lit and sober Instagram. About 6 months into sobriety I started attending sober women meetings via zoom. I enjoyed the community aspect of this, but found it hard to connect completely due to the meetings not being in person. When I was 18 months sober I started attending in person AA meetings. I did enjoy going to the meetings and being around others who are familiar with and understood my struggles, but I didn’t really connect to the program because I am agnostic. I do not have a higher power, and have no desire for one. I have a hard time giving credit to something/someone for all of my hard work and sacrifice. I did all of that. That’s mine. I also have a big problem with being anonymous. I want to spread the word. Shout it from the rooftops. Giving up alcohol is the best decision I have ever made in my life. It has made everything in my life better. Choosing to be sober is not always easy, but it’s always worth it. I have had to develop healthier ways to cope with life, and sometimes it is really tempting to go back to the booze. This summer my dad died, I got divorced, and some other traumatic stuff occurred all within a three month period. It has been the lowest point in my life. It would have been really easy to just go get two bottles of wine and numb the sadness for a couple of hours. But I have learned that when I’m low, I need to move my body, talk to friends about it, and feel my way through it. Not avoid it. My hope is that someone will read this and it might help them. Recovery is possible.

 

 

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