The moment that made me decide to stop drinking: a mother’s story

I decided to stop drinking and have my last drink on 28th December 2018. Although I was not an everyday drinker, I was what some may call a ‘problem drinker’ – I would binge drink.


I am a 55-year-old single mum of an 18 year-old. When I broke up with my partner in March 2003, I decided that I would make sure my daughter was brought up in a loving and secure home; I was present for her ALWAYS!
Growing up I didn’t realise until I had my own child, how neglected I was from the love of my mother who is an alcoholic and now has been diagnosed with dementia. I didn’t want this for my daughter; I wanted to be a strong role model for her.


I didn’t drink all the time but in recent years I would have a couple of wines three or four times a week, and this became more and more over time. I would isolate myself at home, prefer to drink alone and watch Netflix rather than go out and socialise. If I did socialise I would leave early so I could go home and have a drink. I was always worried about how I would get home or who would be there to look out for me if I had too much to drink, so I would prefer to be behind closed doors; that way I felt safe.


One terrible incident that came into my mind was getting home from a work’s Christmas party a few years ago. I cannot remember getting home and I was so sick for 3–4 days afterwards, I never wanted to touch a drink again. But I did!
I was beginning not to enjoy my drinking as much as I used to; I would feel ashamed, self-loathing and just hate myself for sitting at home drinking alone. I would wake up and go to work feeling heady, foggy and so tired and grumpy. I would be so disappointed in myself for even having the two glasses of wine the previous night! I would torment myself each day, saying ‘I won’t drink after work, blah blah’, but would always end up having a couple of glasses, sometimes the whole bottle. This cycle went on for months.


The light-bulb moment when I realised that I needed to make a change with my drinking, was the day after Boxing Day 2018. I was sitting at home with my bottle of wine, relaxing after a busy Christmas. I hadn’t really had much to drink over the Chrissy period as I was mainly the designated driver, so that night I remember drinking the whole bottle of wine. My daughter was out with her friends. They were at a club and I knew she would probably have a few drinks herself, so before I went to bed, I put a bottle of water, some Panadol and her eye mask by her bed.


The next day when she got up, she said ‘I love you so much Mum, you are so cute leaving the water etc. by my bed’ – I couldn’t remember doing it. I felt so ashamed and disgusted with myself because I couldn’t remember putting the water etc. by her bed. This was the moment I knew I had to stop drinking; it wasn’t making me happy; it wasn’t making my life better; it was holding me back and making me feel isolated. I didn’t want to sit at home anymore; I didn’t want the alcohol to rule my life; I didn’t want to end up like my mother. I was sick of the torment in my head about my drinking; I was sick of wasting so much of my time on alcohol.


I felt desperate; I didn’t want to live like that anymore, drinking to get confidence before I went out, drinking alone and at times having blackouts. I remember a few years ago I stopped drinking for a few months with the help of ‘Hello Sunday Morning’, so I got straight back onto the site and saw an app called ‘DayBreak’. This is what has helped me get through the past three months. The community is so supportive, very positive and doesn’t have a negative thing to say even if you have a down day; they pick you up and understand where you are coming from. There are so many people out there that want to stop drinking, and this app is amazing.


I’m still not drinking and what I have noticed is that I am more alert, focussed, happy and, believe it or not, much more confident. I am happy to be out and about; I have put my heart and soul into my health and fitness, and I feel amazing. I still take each day as it comes but have worked out that alcohol is not for me right now.


I don’t know if I will ever drink again, but at this stage I really need to keep on HSM and the Daybreak app to help me keep going. I know I am a better person within myself, without alcohol.

Lee

Hello Lee- I am inspired by your story. I am in a very similar situation – although have a wonderful husband. I do hope I can stop drinking – will get back to daybreak app as well. Thank you

Thankyou for this blog. I could relate to it especially the light bulb moment after being dissatisfied with my drinking habits. I am longing for another one to kick start me into another long, maybe permanent, AF period. I love how you described it. Congratulations on your new life. You sound so happy.

It is certainly a heartfelt story Lee. And a light bulb moment for you at the time. Well done for loving yourself enough to make the changes. Xxx

Wow- this sounds so much like my story. I just became sick and tired of myself and the power alcohol had over my life. I started planning everything around it. I just celebrated 3 years of no alcohol. It’s gotten easier with time but I don’t want to go back to the way I was. Life has too many beautiful things to miss out on – alcohol took a hold of me and controlled me. I’m so happy for you

Thank you. Perfect timing for me as feeling down at the moment and need to quit drinking. Well done and sending strength for your AF life.

Mother stories seem to be around this week. Mothering is such a sacred role. I am not drinking this year – My daughter is in Year 12, I wanted to be present to her struggles and to be around when and if she needs me. I also wanted to make sure that she understood how powerful alcohol is as a drug as she enters her own experimentation with drugs period. I drank when my son was in Yr 12 – I was unable to think through the effects. He is now older and drinks alot. I had said to him he needed to be careful because both his parents, had drug problems in our youth. But saying and doing it are too different things. Thankyou for your story and for your courage and persistence in changing it up, being the best you can be and for sharing. Today I am 124 days alcohol free and very clear about how much of a habit it had become for me.

Daybreak has been a saviour. I’m 110 days AF today. The journey has been an interesting one. Like many others, I beat myself up for years and years for it being able to moderate my drinking, let alone give it up entirely. Moderation is a tricky thing and for so many of us indeed a very slippery slope. I have tried moderation over the last decade but it hasn’t worked. I would have one good week followed by one heavy week of drinking. The heavy week was my reward for being good the previous week. Very much a catch 22 situation. Now after 110 days free from the clutches of alcohol, I have learned a huge amount about myself. For instance I am aware I gave a strongly codependent relationship with my mother, who is a very anxious person and always has been. I have learned about my various triggers for drinking and why and how to deal

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and support. You don’t realise until you step out of the “alcohol” situation how much it can control your life.

I haven’t opened a Hello Sunday Morning email in a while and I did today. Your story hit me at the perfect time – very similar story but married for 28 years and just most stressed with life happenings right now. Not an excuse. I work out, eat well, then bam… 5pm making dinner and I hit the bourbon or wine or whatever I feel like. For the past week I’m very unhappy with myself… I’m going to join Daybreak again now.

I know this girl. She’s a beauty and am so proud of her for taking this bold step. And just like myself you do feel so much better and almost jumping out of your skin so this makes it so easy to not want to go back to that unhealthy sloppy way. Alcohol is a hoax folks and no good can come from it. Miss Lee is closing in on 6 months. Stunning!!

How appropriate to read this on Mother’s Day! Your story is very inspiring and thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing and demonstrating your courage and desire to change your life. Bravo!!

Thanks everyone for shsring your personal journey. My struggle with alcohol is decades long. I am in my 60s now and starting to notice hand tremors. I do have wins. Last night I surfed the urge as they say. So today no reason to beat myself up. Just taking it a day at a time.

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