My teenagers in the aftermath of my actions...

Old 07-07-2016, 06:49 AM
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My teenagers in the aftermath of my actions...

Hi all, this is a really difficult topic for me address, but know there are other mom's out there dealing with similar issues.

I have 15 year old b/g twins. I have been a binge drinker for about 7. years which escalated to worse and worse things happening the last few years. My kids have seen things that they should not have had to see and they've had to sacrifice things/events/going places due to me not being able to get them there because I had been drinking.

I am a single mom of two very active teens. I do not have help from their father at all. (Long story but it's for the better). I was a room mother, their soccer coach for 6 years, very involved in their lives/school, sleepovers galore spent at our house, My kids are involved soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, track, church youth groups, 4-h, we've taken tons of family vacations, the whole 9 yards. My kids are very well rounded, are in accelerated college classes in high school. Both are very well liked and I am constantly getting told what good wholesome kids they are. Sounds like the picture perfect childhood right?? It could have been if their mom wasn't a drunk.

I am 30 days sober today. I actually thought I was done 126 days ago when I quit, but could not string along more than a few weeks of sober time without a bender in between for a day or so. I find myself extremely proud of being sober for 30 days and disgusted and hateful towards myself that that's even an accomplishment. I know that I cannot let the latter thinking seep into my thought process for long. It produces the thoughts of "you've already lost your chance at being a good mom - you can't do it." You'll just mess it up again - why try.

My son got home from camp last week, we had a busy 4th of July and he was at a sleepover so I really haven't had much chance to talk to him. Last night as we were getting ready for bed my son came in my room and I could see that he wanted to talk. Nothing pressing, just wanted some of "my time". This started at 11:30 and we finally went to bed at 2.

It was a MUCH needed conversation for both of us. I feel that we both needed to hear the things that we both said and we agreed to keep this an open door and an ongoing conversation. My kids and I have always been close, or so I thought. I've always tried to hide my drinking from them. As they got older it couldn't be hidden or "explained away".

Basically he has many memories.... Of mom drunk or passed out. From our conversation, he mainly talked about the negative things. I listened to everything he said. There were many tears on both sides. We've talked before about these topics. But I always had a bottle that was ready and waiting to numb the negative things that I heard. I always felt frustrated because I didn't drink every day and I felt like I was a damn good mom doing the best that I could. I felt like I was a stressed out mess working many hours at work, providing $250 Lebron James tennis shoes, a show horse for my daughter that was the price of a car, nice vacations, a beautiful home, etc, etc, etc. I've ran and ran my kids all over creation for practices, games, events, sleepovers. I could go on and on and on. I DO know that while those material things are "cool", they first and foremost needed a sober, present mom.

Basically last night I heard my son hurt, scared, not trusting sobriety. He said (and this is making me cry typing this)... I just want you to be my mom all of the time. Not part of the time...

My son and I talked about counseling for him. That is an option that I am looking into for him. My daughter wants NOTHING to do with counseling. The thing that I can see that they BOTH desperately need is a mom that they can count on to be sober. I have BEEN there for them physically the last several years. I need to learn how to be there for them emotionally IN THE MOMENT. Our 2.5 hour conversation last night would have typically not lasted long in the past because it would have been too heard to hear. It would have been too hard to hear because I was not living in sobriety. I am now. I want us all to heal together. I feel like this sobriety journey has been about me. That's great, but also selfish in that alcohol and my choices has hurt us all.

I hope this all makes sense and I hope this is posted in the appropriate forum. I could go on about the crap the mess that my choice in alcohol has caused in our lives. That thread would go on for days. If that is needed, click on my name for a history. This is really, really hard for me to process and type out. Any thoughts or directions or words of wisdom? I appreciate your gentle honesty.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:05 AM
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good words and im glad to read you were able to have the conversation.
all them years of drinking I don't recall even thinking I might be hurting others.
then I got sober. repairing broken relationships didn't happen overnight and I didn't have one family member that trusted me for crap in the beginning. i couldn't blame them. the repair took time- all action on my part.
3 years ago my neice bought a house. she asked if i could refinish the floor before she moved in. after it was all done and moved in, we hadda little family party in her back yard. we were sittin around and for some reason stories of my drinkin started happening. the great thing was there wasn't gloom and doom about it- we were all laughin at my insanity.
then my neice said," uncle tom, how long have you been sober?"
"8 years now"
"im very glad you got sober. you wouldn't be here if you were still drinkin and your enjoyable to have around."

relationships can be mended, but it takes T.I.M.E. and action
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:10 AM
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Thanks for sharing Behappy, that's quite brave of you to put that all out there. I am not a single parent but I have 3 kids and they all were witness to and victims of my drinking for many years too. I also always had a good job and provided all the "material" things they and my wife needed, but like you I was only "physically" there for them a lot of the time. Emotionally I was all wrapped up in a can or bottle of beer much of the time.

I can understand why they may be averse to counseling....i have not gone that route with my kids, but I have been doing counseling for myself. And one of the things I specifically talk about with my counselor often is not only how to "be there" emotionally ( I had to re-learn how to do this ) but also how to deal with my regrets for not being there all those times. A lot of acceptance has to happen, just like we had to accept our addiction. And as cliche as it sounds, it simply takes time. Months, maybe years might need to pass before the "new" us becomes the "norm". Every day we live sober and make an effort to be a good mom/dad is one more day closer to that.

You may also want to try posting over in the Friends and Family section too, there's a wealth of knowledge and experience there in regards to this subject.

Kudos for actively seeking to make things better for your family.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:13 AM
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Wow - my post was super long. LOL. Sorry guys.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:19 AM
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It is a good honest post Behappy and I have no children and therefore no advice but am heartened by your story. It is good to hear that your son can talk to you this way and that you are listening and hearing with your heart and a sober mind. A parent who cares is a real gift as opposed to one who provides but is absent. I hope to see more sober posts.

And congrats on your 30 day milestone You really should feel good about that, keep on.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Behappy1 View Post
Wow - my post was super long. LOL. Sorry guys.
Nothing to be sorry for, that's exactly what this forum is about - sharing our concerns and finding solutions.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:42 AM
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Behappy, I have 4 kids. 2 are 26 and 28 and didn't have to go through what the younger 2 have. They are 20 and 18 and saw the worst. This past year, I was pretty much checked out the entire year. My 18 y/o was a senior and I showed up drunk at her Senior night for cheerleading. She was pretty angry with me. There are other stories like that. My older daughter (20) goes to counseling, the younger one doesn't want to right now. What has been helping us is I write them letters each week. Telling them how many days sober, what my plan is for the week, (counseling, AA, anything I do for sobriety) and I say something about them. Some memory or just a positive about their character. That has been helping us all mend tremendously.

You are now in my prayers. It will heal, but it does take time for the trust to come back. Living amends. They'll see it.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Behappy1 View Post
Any thoughts or directions or words of wisdom?
No words of wisdom from me. Your post was chalk full of wisdom of your own. The self-realized wisdom of someone in recovery, not just sobriety.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:55 PM
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What a wonderful honest post.

My oldest went through a lot. We can never be what we would have been without this, but we can maybe be something better.

But only if I don't ever drink.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:10 PM
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Hi BeHappy. I was very touched by your story and can relate in a lot of ways. Congratulations on 30 days sober. I urge you to do whatever it takes to maintain it. I know it's impossible to not consider your children as motivation, but make sure you do it primarily for yourself. You are the only person you have no choice but to live with for the rest of your life.

No two stories are exactly alike and I'm not going to hijack your thread with mine, but I could offer a cautionary tale. I have two daughters, 15 and 12. Just briefly... as a result of some very careless, dangerous behavior on my part because of my drinking, I am only allowed supervised visits. Unfortunately, before finally getting and staying sober - going on 15 months now - I had one last blowout and made things even worse. That's what we do. After that, by my childrens' (and ex-wife's) choice, I had no contact at all with my oldest daughter until this past December. I've seen my youngest once in over a year. That was in March. She doesn't want to see me again "for a while." My ex is remarried and has full custody now.

All I can say is please don't let your drinking continue until you face similar, or worse, consequences. It's good you are talking to them. It's also good that they're no longer fooled by the secrecy. I wish you the very best.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:32 PM
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I have no kids behappy - but I don't think it's ever too late to become the person you really are

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Old 07-07-2016, 04:31 PM
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Hi behappy, as a single mom to teenagers, I can relate to your story. I admire you for being open to your son's pain; it's not an easy thing to hear. My teens are 19 and though I was never a 24/7 drinker, I drank enough in the evening sometimes that I was short-tempered and impatient. I went to rehab in October and have been sober since. My kids are really happy I stopped drinking because, like your son, they want their mom all of the time. You can heal together. As long as you remain open and receptive to their feelings, you're on the right path.
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:56 PM
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When I was little and the teacher aksed what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answers were the same as every other kid, a doctor, a fireman, a policeman. I never planned to be an alcoholic, it wasn't a choice, it was an illness which I seem to have been born with. When I had my first uncontrolled access to alcohol at age nine or ten, I changed.

I was binge drinker too with no control once I started. I deteriorated very quickly, and by 21 was in an asylum.

I could stop for a period of time on my own power, not more than a few weeks, then the obsession would come back and I would think I would be OK to drink, and away I went again.

Paralell with this was the enormous frustrationthat I could never seem to do the right thing. I did not understand my own behaviour. I set out to do the things I wanted to do but ended up doing the things I hate. For though the will to do good was in me, the performance was not.

My spells of dry time, and the binges, in reality, were things neither to be proud or ashamed of. When I was dry I was living as I should, and when I was drunk I was suffering from an illness that I lacked the power to control. I did not have the power to stop and change my life. Some people have that power, I did not.

I found a solution in AA, a Power greater than myself which has solved my problem. I have been sober living the life I was supposed to lead for many years. I am not proud of that because it was not my accomplishment, but I am extremely grateful and I practice that gratitude by trying to help others.

Through AAs program I have dealt with the past and no longer suffer those awful negative feelings about my drinking, shame, remorse, guilt etc. Those experiences have been turned into assetts which I regularly use to help others.

Sobriety, freedom from alcohol, did not just drop in my lap. I had to go to quite exptreme lengths to get there. But today I wouldn't trade my worst day sober for my best day drinking.
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Old 07-08-2016, 06:13 AM
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Thank you all. It seems time and perseverance in sobriety are the answer to try to repair things. My days/moods/cravings still swing like a pendulum, but I am glad that I have a clear head to deal with and deflect them. 31 days (now) seems like both an eternity and the blink of an eye.
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:50 PM
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Hey mama bear. My 3 were spared most of the worst of my absentee deterioration, but witnessed quite a bit too They consider it educational. While disturbing to them to have seen me reduced to a bad teenager, having to fetch me from the drunk tank, carry me off properties, lost and found jobs, shootouts and raids, passouts, revolutions in the orchards, campfires and road trips and drama, we have occasionally drank together, and they have begged me not to, unable to understand where their once cool mom went, why she kept repeating herself and wandering off, getting more belligerent, antisocial and violent. Motherhood was a challenge for me, couldn't figure out why they let us even make babies without a license, gave it my best long as i could, but now they were seeing actual derangement. Long before i did. They have also been watching me come around through the acceptance of AA guidance, and on a whole different basis. They find it educational and understand that life among alcoholics is generally not a straight line, even when we were sober. Not their performance, but their compassion for others is what puts me to shame today.

Now when they are at bars and parties they are starting AAs 'controlled drinking' experiments with their friends, and some of their young buddies who do show signs of loss of control, they start reading at them from the 'big book', some even call 'can i talk to your mom', considering sobering up while they still can. Bartenders sure love em They credit their understanding of this with being able to have deeper more meaningful friendships, and they are the FIRST to care about the next guy. Who could ask for more.

My youngest, a globetrotting charmer, had to carry me off the last property and delicately offered to tell me what all happened if i wanted to know. I was too ashamed. She was in tears, says she saw stark raving madness. They worry it's genetic.

I have loads of corrections to make and love to work as i see where i can, but feel such a whole new life possible after a lifetime of tunnel vision. AAs way has opened my eyes and heart to such meaning and purpose to all this suffering, a sense of wholeness and vigor and promise, the desperate urge to drink has disappeared, and pay i will, happily so, even correcting other people's failures!! for the rest of my life!

I thought I had unfulfilled demands of life and self, i set out to fill them, get my share, i was drinking went out of hand and alcoholic i become. I didn't notice!

Wound up drunk trying AA, meetings, couple of guys got hold of me, wouldn't let go. They would have 'meetings' for me, they'd get to the word "Rarely" that they read, the tears would start. Didn't know what was wrong. Didn't know. Everything. Nothing. Don't remember what else they said but i remembered they were sober and happy and used to be wrecked like me and that they fed me the word forgiveness to keep goin on. I called the one a 'hundred year old ahole'. He didn't mind. I did.

At the outset of my last run, another AA lady befriended me (careful, those sneakies are everywhere!), the stories whew. Hollering love and life in koi ponds, giving our own daughters black eyes, ramming the car in 60 into the landlord's house...assaulting cops, sexcapades, lunacy, cell blocks, tears, brokenness. A schoolteacher, once a month, locked in her basement drinking herself into the hospital, every month. Thousands of stories. All getting well.

There are too many of us just like you for you to be alone, all going through puberty and mid life crises facing retirement all at the same time, tears and fears and sorting out bitter resentments and finding peace with tragedies and letdowns, swearing at our imagined enemies till peace comes and we see ourselves, honesty and laughter in the old games of truth or dare, fixing up jobs and moving and even moving bodies, boots on the ground deciding all by ourselves whether the next poor lost kid should be let to try rearing her babies or not, helping repair estranged families, ready to go to bat at court if warranted, screwups and fixups, helping the next gen and ours and the former find strength and self respect and straighten out and fly right. Life, we are finding, crediting those dear alcoholics gone before, is neither something to be endured nor mastered - we need to live it. They said we have to stop this deadly business of living alone with our conflicts. So we are. With ourselves since at first all those folks who have kept it together don't tolerate us well.

This is but a hair corner sliver snapshot in the mighty collage of the AA fellowship. Happily they let us fallen wimmen in lol! They probly regret that i dunno...

Life whispers and calls to us, we ignore it at our peril.

So hello. There are other drinkers like you in your own town. Seek them out! You will understand each other!

Alcoholism is a lonely and deadly business, and though we fight it, it returns. You may try everything to stop, only to learn that you cannot. We have lost the power to choose whether we will drink or not. It needn't be so. Some guys in the 1930s found a crazy way out and wrote it down.

And exactly ditto what Dee said.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Behappy1 View Post
31 days (now) seems like both an eternity and the blink of an eye.
Yes. The first thirty years seemed to pass faster than the first 30 days.
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:19 AM
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Love this brutally honest post. Good for you! It has given me some inspiration as well, I have younger kids, but one 13 year old.. she's very impressionable right now. I need to keep on keeping on.. Thank you so much, and just realize it's never to late to start your amends... Just focus on you, you, you... your kids will benefit on you making sure you're sober. When you need that little bit of extra help, come to SR or hit up a meeting!
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:11 AM
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I didn't drink every day either. And, I rationalized my drinking by saying I was present much of the time. That's not how my family saw it at all. Facing those feelings was terribly difficult for me, and I hear the pain in your post as you are going through this. The upside is that this is recovery - feeling this pain and working through it, accepting that your children's opinions will take time to change. You are on the right path.
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