My name is Christina, and I took my last drink on September 6, 2015.
I am also a devoted listener of the podcast. Congratulations on the really thoughtful, meaningful and safe place you have created for talking about alcoholism and addiction. I have found a lot of solace in it, and have especially enjoyed the perspective of other fellow creatives.
I am a 45-year-old professional musician, wife, and mother. I have always joked that no one will ever ask me to do a lead, as my story is not fraught with intrigue, prison, detox, etc. I was the stereotypical "mommy drinker". Opening a bottle of wine as soon as I walked in the door at 4:30 from picking up the kids from school. A "chef's glass" as I prepared the family dinner. I managed to hide my drinking this way, as how could anyone question the drinking of a woman who was preparing such nutritious, healthy meals? As long as I was productive, who would question the glass of wine that never got empty? Would it occur to anyone in my family that the reason I always had burns on my hands wasn't that I was a clumsy cook, but that I was drunk? No, it was a family joke. "Your mother's not happy unless she has a burn on her wrist”.
And my job? My incredible dream job? I am (an orchestra musician). I play music for a living. They pay me to make something beautiful. And back when I was drinking, I resented it. I could find no joy in it. Because every rehearsal, every concert, was delaying my drinking. While I never went in to work drunk, work was often something I resented—it kept me from my true passion, alcohol. I have called in sick so that I could stay home and drink.
And my husband never knew the extent of my problem. He drank Coors Light. I drank white wine. He never kept inventory of how much wine was coming and going, as it didn't factor into his drinking. He's a normie. And because I could drink a bottle of wine every night and still function, he never picked up on my problem.
Why am I writing you?
Because I go to meetings and I listen to podcasts and I hear so many stories. Stories that involve DUI's, detox, rehab, prison. And I know there are people out there, women, who don't see themselves in those stories. But they worship at the altar of the bottle every day. In their own homes. In secret. Or not in secret. At book club, at playdates. Smuggling wine into the community pool. There's a culture of drinking among women, particularly moms that has taken flight in recent years. And these women are living half-lives, as I was. Every day is like that movie Groundhog Day. And every night at 4 am they wake up sweaty and guilty, wondering if they are in early menopause, swearing they won't drink tomorrow. And every afternoon at 4 pm they declare themselves overreacting and fit for drinking. Lather, rinse, repeat.
No, I never got a DUI. I never threw up or passed out in front of my kids. But I've made my husband drive an extra two hours on a family trip with 4 kids because the county we stopped in for the night on a drive from Cincinnati to Maine was dry. We stopped at a restaurant and my husband asked me to go in and see if they had any tables. I went in alright, asked if they served alcohol and then went out to the car and lied. And on we drove. So no, my drinking never led me to jail, but I daresay I lived in a prison all the same. It drove every decision I made.
I remember my first meeting. The day after my 45th birthday last year. I was the only woman there. And I was scared shitless. They asked who was at their very first AA meeting, and I raised my hand. A huge scary looking man shared something that night that I will never forget. He said, "you may be wondering if maybe you have overreacted. If maybe you aren't really like all the rest of us. But you must remember, you brought yourself here tonight. (dramatic pause) Virgins don't take pregnancy tests." Bam. And that was that. I knew. And I've known for a long time. And there are so many others out there like me who know but aren't yet convinced they are bad enough to quit yet.
So my appeal to you is to keep having all kinds of guests on the podcast. The wild crazy, seen it all, done it all folks, but also the ones like me who fooled everyone, but knew the whole time that there were shackles around their ankles. Thank you.