Mummy’s Helper / Mummy’s Juice

This is an ever increasing commonly used term and one that many Mums’ are falling victim of.  It is part of my story with my past relationship with alcohol, where alcohol seemed to creep up on me and catch me unawares when I was most vulnerable, and it was a very long, slow, and subtle slippery slope.

Moving to a new area, 300 miles from our home, with 3 young children, 1 of 19 months and 1 month old twins, my husband still working in London, night feeds, etc.  and undiagnosed postnatal depression, (I lied and faked how I felt to my new Health Visitor) life was tough.  But my relationship with alcohol remained healthy, and having always been a keen runner continued to exercise when I could.  (It was about another 12 months before I was diagnosed with chronic depression).    However, it wasn’t until the children started infant school and I went back to work fulltime that I became a member of the Mummy’s Helper Club.  Everything seemed fine for a while, I’d have a glass of wine at bath time; but in hindsight that was when wine became my way of self-medicating.  It appeared to worked for a short time, but the glass at bath time became 2 glasses.  Then it became a glass as I was preparing their dinner.  Very, very gradually over a couple of years Mummy’s Helper became Mummy’s Downfall and Prisoner.  My day, and the children’s after school activities slowly began to be planned around when I could start my evening drinking.   

It didn’t help that publicity validated, and still does, using alcohol in this way.  The pro-drinking mothering, the all-pervasive marketing presence, and products targeted at mothers to validate their ‘need’ to drink.   I thought everyone else seems to be drinking like this so it must be ok, convincing myself that I’d earnt it and deserved it.  Utter nonsense, I now know for a fact that the moment I became a member of this club was the moment I signed my life over to the alcohol sniper. My reward receptors fully alert and gradually leading me to feel that I needed a ‘little bit more’ to ‘relax’, then more and more. This was where my secret drinking pattern began, and where my tolerance to alcohol started to increase.   The secret drinking, wine stashed in cupboards around the house, hidden inside winter boots, drawers, drinking out of mugs and eventually, after stopping work, drinking alone earlier and earlier in the day.  I drank to escape life.  I’m ashamed about it, believe me, but I can’t change the past.

Well, I’m pleased to announce that this little mummy is approaching 5 years of no longer being a member of the wine o’clock club.   Life is full of pitfalls but I can deal with them rather than trying to escape them.  

I’m a survivor and proud of it!    You can be too XXXXX

Crap!

Having one of those days where I have woken up and feel crap. Everything seems too much, everyone either too demanding or controlling. A day when I want to be left alone, sit in a quiet sunny corner and mentally recharge. It’s a feeling that is, a times, completely overwhelming, a feeling that in itself is demanding, controlling, depleting with a blanket of exhaustion. However, I’ve dragged myself out of bed, made 3 pack lunches, fed 2 cats and 1 dog, put on a load of washing, done some ironing, bleached 2 toilets, made 3 beds, loaded the dishwasher, washed up last night’s dinner pots (who else would!), re-bandaged a child’s thumb, checked and printed another child’s school letter, driven 1 child to work experience placement, walked the dog and all before 9. I’m not trying to portray myself as a martyr or super mum, just wanting to share, offload and to celebrate that all this SOBER and hangover free (4 years 9 months, or since wsking this morning, depending on how you want to look at it).

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can be improved by the consumption of alcohol. There are no positives or benefits, regardless of how crap one feels or bad life gets.

Later I will force myself to the gym, one of my happy places, (although I swear and cuss the majority of the time I’m there), to boost my serotonin. A tough PT session works wonders.

50 Years Old (Inner child remains 15!!!)

My 50th birthday has been spent completely differently to my 40th; the complete opposite in fact. Sober, happy, anxiety free, memory and dignity intact. On top of that, and, something of utmost importance to me, surrounded by my happy and worry free family, no longer worrying about “what is mum going to do in a drunken state”. 

From what my memory recalls I spent much of my 40th in a sobbing drunken mess, hating my life and wishing I was dead in the belief that I was worthless and everyone would be better off without me. The joys of depression and anxiety fuelled by alcohol and the constant social and marketing reminders that it’s ‘mummys little helper’ – (Is it f*#k – excuse my French but it makes my blood boil). For those of us who are and do struggle with daily life it is NOT anyone’s “helper”. (Other than those making a financial profit).

I know I’ve said this before but the joy of being reliable, dependable, sober me never seems to fade. Joy de vivre!

Hidden

 

Hidden lives, hidden bottles, full and empty, hidden vessels of booze, mugs, anything to disguise the contents.  Cupboards, drawers, inside winter boots, under beds, the garden, everywhere imaginable.
Then morning dawns, panic, trying to remember where the previous nights binge had been stashed. Inevitably forgotten, leading to all consuming anxiety and frantic searching to ensure the secret remains hidden.

Does any of this ring true with anyone else?

It was never meant to be that way.  There was never any ambition to be an alcoholic. It was a gradual tightening of the rope around my throat, a slow suffocation; so subtle it was undetectable.

Fortunately, I had a rude awakening and was given a chance of freedom and escape from delusional affects of alcohol.  I have no doubt that ultimately, my so-called best buddy would have led to my death.  Either through the damaging effects of alcohol, or my increasing desire to end my life because of the all-consuming belief that everyone would be better off without me, worthlessness and guilt. All beliefs fed and fuelled by the warped sense of loyalty alcohol deceivingly promised me. The process of self medicating my severe depression failing every step of the way.

And now?   An overwhelming sense of gratitude for my sobriety and to be free of the binding, asphyxiating chains.I’m one of the lucky ones.  A fact I remind myself of every night when my head hits my pillow and every morning.

If I can you can……..

Amazing Grace

Regrets are pointless.  My son was chatting to me this week about the injuries I caused to myself while drunk.  I said to him that I wish I could change the past, but I can’t.  He replied “no, but you have changed our future”.  Words cannot express how much this comment from him means to me.  The hurt and anguish they have gone through and yet he, and my other children, still believe in me.  I am truly blessed –  ‘Amazing Grace….. I was once lost, but now am found’…..

My heart and soul are full of gratitude to be living in sobriety; to everyone who helped me turn from a life of destruction to fight against the ills I was suffering.  The continued battle with depression and anxiety.  However, I tell myself DAILY that there is nothing that life can throw at me that will be helped by alcohol.  The same can be said to every single person living with addiction – it will take you to oblivion but whatever you, we, are hiding from will remain regardless.

Many people will experience times when with a heavy heart they feel the helplessness and frustration of being the parent of a child who is struggling emotionally.  You can only feel as happy as your unhappiest child.  But remember, as a reliable, dependable, supportive, but most importantly SOBER parent you are THERE for your child.

I live in hope that I continue to avoid jumping, again, onto that out of control express train of doom and destruction.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

 

A letter from a husband to a wife

Rehab 2014 –

We are thinking of you all the time and really hope to get back the old you by never drinking again!
It’s quite difficult to put down into words how hard it has been to live with you over the last few years, but I will try. I think back about 5/6 years begging you to stop and it’s got progressively worse since.
Do you know that your character changes completely when you are drinking? The other week I showed you a video of you which illustrated what we have to live through on an almost daily basis. And that was you on a good day. I get a feeling of dread of what I will find when I go home, whether it’s on the way home from work, or from taking the kids to activities or when I’m on a bike ride and sometimes I feel that you are quite determined to prove me right – whenever.
For most of the last few years we see you in the morning for a few minutes, with most of our contact during drunken times. It is particularly difficult spending so little time with the ‘nice’ you and so much of our time together with the drunken one. Yet on an almost daily basis we get up, forgive your drunkenness and lies and hope for a better day.
I’ve really notice a change in our wonderful kids, and since I’ve been explaining your illness to them I’ve gained some insights into how they have been affected.
I really believe your drinking is causing them to be less happy. They are sceptical about you being able to get better having witnessed so many broken promises and all the lies given to them on a daily basis. There is now a massive trust issue in our family. They all believe that you are going to be drinking as soon as you get home.
Socially I have noticed less and less invites. Not really surprising as you have become a liability at parties. You were always the drunkest person there, with opinions that are embarrassing for me, and your friends. Often we have had to return home early or sometimes you disappear (which might be ok if you were in a state of being able to find your way home). The one friend who knows about your illness tells me that all your friends know about it, not because anyone is gossiping but because it is there for all to see, whether it’s on nights out or visits to our house during the day.
I dread our meals out together as they have been with the drunk you (almost without exception) for years. Not someone I want to spend a night chatting with. This leads me to think of your accusations of lack of affection from me. But the reason for this is that I feel I’m always with the drunk you, not the sober one that I want to show affection to.
Trips to school have become an increasing issue when you are mainly not sober, I don’t feel I get embarrassed easily, but I find some of these nights really uncomfortable…as well as what the parents might think, what do the teachers think, do they hear the slagging’s and will social services be alerted to our situation? Trips to A&E are become more frequent, and this too is embarrassing, not really because of your (drink related) injuries, but the way you speak to the staff who are trying to help you, whilst all the time claiming not to have been drinking.
You have to realise that there is a massive job to do in re-building trust in your family. BUT we are so pleased and proud that you are there attacking this issue and showing massive determination to get better. We all love you and miss you (the sober one) and we all are looking forward to getting the rest of our lives back on track!
All our love,

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE

(Gosh I haven’t written a blog since September last year, I hadn’t realised that it has been so long, have been busy living my life!).

“You only live once” is an often repeated phrase. However, I disagree! You only DIE once, but LIVE every day of your life. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder why people on a regular basis willingly consume a toxic, and addictive, substance? Don’t panic I’m not on a crusade to get everyone to live in sobriety, (although the world may be less troublesome), but just to question and think about why they drink and the effect it has, or is having, on their everyday lives. Wasted weekends, lost memories, examples being set to their children, increased sense of anxiety and panic, ill health, loss of working hours…….
A legal poison, cleverly marketed to ‘hook’ the consumer into indulging in its mind altering ability over and over again. Available in ever increasing varieties, taste and flavours to appeal to all palates, disguising its naturally foul taste.
Would ‘normal’ drinkers, (I’m no longer sure if there is such a thing), consume alcoholic beverages if it wasn’t available in a palatable form preferable to them?
How many people enjoy having a hangover, or suffering the after effects of alcohol?