Wendy is a sweet soul that I've only met through social media, but her kindness and warmth surpass the boundaries of technology and reach right into me with the familiarity of a long-time friend. I was just 16 days into my sobriety when Wendy offered me her phone number as a way to connect after I expressed some worry on Twitter about craving a drink on a day of travel. I was both surprised and touched by this "stranger" offering up such open encouragement. She is supportive to so many in recovery and I know that I am not the only one grateful to have connected with her. While many may choose to stay anonymous in their sharing, Wendy has graciously shared the link to her blog with us below. May you enjoy connecting with her just as much as I have. -Tracie
So many people struggle with trying to stop drinking.
I was one of them.
It took me several years to first come to the acceptance I had to stop, and then trying to stop.
This was not easy.
Below is my story. It might be similar to your story.
I am sharing it in hopes it might help someone today.
I have been sober since September 4, 2014.
I never thought I would grow up and develop a drinking problem.
I was an average Midwest girl who loved riding her bike, hanging out with friends, and reading.
I didn’t start to drink early in life. In fact, I didn’t drink until I was 20.
But when I did drink, it was a lot. I was a binge drinker from the very start.
There were alcoholics in the family, but I didn’t know that at the time.
My mother’s sisters, my father, and my grandfather, all had drinking problems.
I didn’t have an easy life health wise.
I suspect that some of my problems with drinking were a result of not knowing or learning how to cope with these issues.
I developed depression and anxiety.
I graduated with a teaching degree, married, moved, and found a teaching job in Minnesota.
I did not take life easily, and life didn’t make things easy either.
I was very sensitive.
I have a hearing loss and my speech is different because of the loss.
I also have almost no vision in one of my eyes, and it turns inwards.
Children made fun of me, and so did adults, asking, “Where did you come from?”
I wasn't able to have children.
I had no idea how to cope with the painful realities of life.
My drinking increased ever so slowly; with me having no idea it was happening.
I loved a good time, but felt ever so much better and funnier when I drank.
I would always be out for happy hours.
I loved talking to friends over a beer, and later wine.
It wasn’t until I was in my early 50’s that my drinking increased by bottles of wine.
It seemed it happened overnight.
I was staying out later and later at bars.
I did my lesson plans while drinking wine in bars.
I often drove drunk.
I would drink too much at parties and throw up on the way home.
My husband and I were fighting over how much I was drinking.
I would run away to hotels after these fights.
Still drunk, I would buy more wine there.
Things were deteriorating quickly.
Teaching was getting harder, and I didn’t know how to cope with the demands.
I took life seriously, and when I couldn’t get every child reading on grade level I would get angry with myself.
I really did not like myself much. In fact, I hated my eye, my hearing loss, and my weight.
Drinking was the only way out for me.
I desperately wanted to escape.
School was out for the summer, and I started drinking at noon with friends and drank all day. I passed out at a friend’s house while in the bathroom.
She had to call the paramedics, who showed up with the police.
They knew me, because I worked in that city.
I was humiliated.
My husband had to take me to the hospital because he was unable to control me.
I decided to go into treatment for 30 days.
I went into an outpatient treatment center for four hours a day.
I tried AA.
By the next summer, I was drinking again.
It would take about 4 more years and more humiliation for me to face the fact that this was not working. When I drank I would wake up sweating, with horrible thirst. I would binge eat. I had bowel problems and sometimes couldn't make it to the toilet in time.
I was blacking out and hiding bottles.
I retired from teaching as soon as I could, but felt lost.
Now I could drink all day.
The bartenders were my friends.
The liquor store clerks were my friends.
One afternoon I was going to meet a friend for lunch, and later a massage scheduled at my yoga studio. I had an extra hour, so I went to a bar to drink. At lunch, I had more wine. Then I went shopping, and by now I was slurry, and stopped at my favorite bar for more.
The next thing I remembered is when I showed up at my yoga studio and I had no idea how I had gotten there. I was crying about being drunk and my yoga teachers tried to help me. They called my husband to drive me home.
Later I learned, after looking at my checkbook, that I had stopped at another bar. I have no memories about this.
I had to stop.
But I knew I needed more help if I was going to be able to so this.
I also know trying to quit by myself would not work for me.
It was too easy to lie to myself.
I reached out to as many people as I could.
I started Belle's 100 Day Sober Challenge.
A yoga teacher connected me to a wonderful AA sponsor.
I went to meetings.
I went to Women For Sobriety meetings.
I started a blog.
I got a life coach and a therapist.
I told all of my family and friends that I was trying to get sober.
I had to keep myself in the light, because I knew there was darkness in my soul that would try to destroy me.
In everything I do, and with everyone I meet, I am open to learning.
I am learning about self-compassion.
I am learning how to take care of myself, and love the parts of me I deem unlovable.
I am learning that yes, life and people can be cruel, but they are also a source of beauty.
I am learning just how strong I am.
I am learning to be ever so thankful for all that I have.
I am learning how to help other people get sober.
My story is a story of love.
It is a story of being human.
Without the love of all the people around me, who never give up, who encourage me, who support me, I wouldn’t be writing this.
With Much Love,
You can find me at tipsynomore.blogspot.com