As Big as the Sun

(From January 2021)

Day 103: I’m “Mumma Doesn’t Drink” so naturally I’m finding that some of my truest joy comes from moments with my little boys. Moments that I’m present for. Moments that I can press the Pause button on and really savor.

I couldn’t wait to celebrate 100 days AF, but it ended up being a tough day. My 7-year-old saw me in my room after a difficult phone call. He came in, held my face and said, “Mumma…the love you give yourself is as big as a dime. But the love you give everyone else is as big as the Sun.” Then, he hugged me and ran off to find his little brother to play.

In that moment, my little man helped me remember that we need to take care of ourselves, too. When we heal for ourselves, we heal for those around us. Being sober these last 103 days has been a gift. A living, breathing gift. And the sweet heart of a 7-year-old reminded me of that when I needed it.

May the love you give yourself today be as big as the Sun, my friends.

Sober on,
Mumma

Playing catch-up

The best laid plans….

I really did intend to use this blog to log my thoughts and wonderous epiphanies <wink wink> on the daily. Mummadoesnstdrink was going to be my digital journal of all things gratitude and alcohol-free “one day at a time”.

Alas, this blog has been sitting in the background, while I go through the ups and downs of sober life. Good and bad. Remarkable and mundane. Sporadic entries after an initial five-day submission streak. My learned instinct is to call Mummadoesntdrink a failed afterthought and just another thing I didn’t do “right”.

But then I call Bull Shit. One thing I’ve learned for sure over these last ten months: Give yourself a fuckin’ break from time to time. In fact, go crazy and be gentle with yourself every day. That’s the only thing you should do “on the daily.”

What I have done over these last several months is hit up IG or Soberistas with random thoughts or observations. Quick, consumable moments suitable for social networks. I even wrote in to Jean McCarthy, the beautiful (inside and out) host of the podcast The Bubble Hour and UnPickled author right here on WordPress.

Perhaps these musings seemed less “planned”. Maybe that translates to less “intimidating”. This blank screen can sure seem daunting and I feel I should write my heart out to connect. That these words and entry posts should soothe someone else’s soul and be profound.

But again… Bull Shit. Mummadoesntdrink can serve as anything I need it to be in the moment. So, I’m going to take the next couple of days to copy/paste from other parts of my sober world and park them here. Mummadoesndrink can be mediocre. It can have one “follower”. It can suck! Who the hell cares. The real truth is that Mummadoesntdrink can evolve.

Oh….I think I get the lesson … 😉

Day 37: SCIENCE, PEOPLE!

Don’t worry. I’m not going on some “mask vs. no mask” rant or hashtag stay-the-fuck-home preach. I’m here to talk science of the body and its functioning. Physiology, baby.

So, on my Day 2 I learned how I inflamed my liver with excessive vodka shots. My liver levels were borderline in June 2020. By Sept 8, 2020, they were dangerously high. My liver was screaming at me. I was scared and ashamed. I thought, “What if I can’t be here for my boys?! What am I doing?!?! This stops now.”

Well, I got my liver levels rechecked yesterday. 37 days with no alcohol. Five weeks and two days. Liver regeneration is real people. Today, we need science more than ever. Well, here’s some scientific evidence that not drinking HEALS you!

Hello healed liver. I promise to treat you with respect for the rest of this life.

The wheels on the bus…

Day 25 🙏. I put my little boys on the bus to in-person school today. This is the first time my oldest goes back to school since March 16 2020. And today is my youngest’s first day in Kindergarten. He gets to ride the bus with his big brother! We’ve been waiting years for this day. The pandemic sure threw a wrench in that initial vision. But my boys are off in this “new next” of hybrid learning; and we will take what we can get. I sit here now and take pause to realize something. I was clear headed, not hungover, this morning. The rush felt positive and we made it to the bus in the nick of time. I felt a slight shift in the air around me when my boys climbed those bus stairs. It was bittersweet. Pride, joy, sadness, exhaustion, love so big my heart hurt. And I felt all of it. Because this mumma doesn’t drink. I will cherish today’s memory. And I will be here for EVERY milestone my boys hit. I will remember every single one. I won’t be buzzed or drunk or irritated. I will be present. I am here for them today, tomorrow and always. I love you boys. Day 25 is for you.

Nap Wine

I wish the “mommy wine” culture would go away. Just vanish. All the T-shirt puns. The memes. All the oversized wine glasses. And for the love god, every single piece of “Pump and Dump” merchandise. Believe me – I’m not claiming to be the first to point out this twisted marketing mess. Goddesses Glennon, Annie, Clare, Lauren…and so many more…have helped us see just how mommy wine is perversely revered. But after a year of relapses, I believe I’ve earned the right to say “mommy wine” is irritating. F’n irritating.

That said, I get it. I was one of those mommies a while back. When my youngest was a baby, I’d put him down for a nap. Then I’d hope to hell that my husband would take our 2.5-year-old somewhere so I could sit and have a glass(es) of wine in quiet. I’d joke around with my newfound mommy friends who had children the same age as mine. I’d snap photos of my wine glass and group text them with pride: #NAPWINE! (I’m hilarious…<eye roll>). Once, I even made the comment: “I’m a better mom when I drink.” I wince at that memory (and throw up in my mouth a little at its recall).

I’m sitting here now…trying to think of where to take this blog entry. I’m cautiously optimistic about this go-around in sobriety. It feels different. Nothing at all against AA; I know it’s helped countless men and women. But in the times I’ve tried, I’ve picked up faster and faster. Something about being immersed in the stories. Always talking about drinking, drugging, addiction. Just made me want to say, “see I didn’t end up under a bridge. I’m fine.” But that’s not how it goes. We know that. So this time, I choose to take AA’s “one day at a time” and apply it minute by minute while I reach out to you all for support.

And in this minute, that little baby, whose 1PM snooze gifted me nap wine, just climbed up into my lap. He’s five now, and he just told me I’m the “Bestest Mumma.” This minute will propel me into the next minute…and into the next hour, and the next…until tomorrow, when I hit Day 17.

So, F’ You mommy wine culture. This Mumma doesn’t drink.

Oxygen masks

Family can be a strong motivator to stop drinking. But I’m learning that this change really needs to come from within one’s self. It’s like that oxygen mask rule on a plane. Put yours on first then assist others.

My husband and I had an argument this morning. I’m sad by how hurtful he is during confrontation. He is incapable of pausing and listening in the moment. It’s like he feels backed into some corner and lashes out.

It breaks me.

This is not new. But when I drank, I couldn’t stop myself from trying to fix everything in the moment during these arguments. I felt desperate to make up, but that would just made things worse. Or, if I knew to stop and try to disengage, he’d pull me back in with razor sharp sarcasm, like, “Ya…I thought so. You have nothing to say.” Or “You don’t even know what you’re talking about.” Or “That never happened. Get a grip.”

Gaslighting.

But sober…truly sober and feeling strong this morning…I saw him during our argument. Really saw him in the moment. And I was crushed. He’s an amazing Dad, husband and friend. All couples argue, and I certainly play my part. But he can’t argue in any sort of healthy way. And these moments make me feel small. Dumb.

Worthless.

And these are the moments I would drink; and for a second this morning, I wanted to. But that pink cloud and the strength that’s been building these last 11 days pushed their way back in.

I’m subdued today because I miss my best friend. I know we’ll get back to us, but not today. Today, I’m putting on my own oxygen mask before I deal with anyone else. Onwards to Day 12.

I gave my kids cavities

Bear with me. I took my 5-yr-old to the dentist last Thursday for his regular check-up. All was going well. He sat still, joked with the hygienist, and got a glowing report on his healthy gums. Nice!

Then came the X-rays. After a few minutes of review, the dentist came back to talk to me. She saw the start of two cavities. In my 5-year old’s mouth. Seriously?! My older son just went through a traumatizing process of capping three cavities with silver coverings. I tried to call them his “Iron Man” teeth to make light of the situation, but he’s not stupid. He hated every second of the procedure and can’t wait for his “big” teeth to come in so the silver caps pop off into oblivion. Now, his little brother could be facing the same invasive fate. And it’s my fault.

This dentist visit was on my official Day 4. My liver wasn’t screaming anymore, and the brain fog was thinning. I was feeling hopeful for the first time in days. Then I got this news and a shame wave surged. It’s not that he has cavities on the horizon. It’s why he does.

There’s a cute Mini-Mart five minutes up the road from our house. We call it the “Treat Store.” It has candy, gum, and snacks. It was a safe haven at the beginning of the pandemic when everyone was on lockdown. When the kids’ schools shut down. When I needed to drink again…

See, the “Treat Store” is attached to a liquor store. A liquor store that sells little bottles of vodka. So, it was Mumma’s treat store, too. They know the boys and me there. We built quite the routine over the last several months. My sons would choose their candy and toss it up on the counter. Then, I’d send them over to look in the ice cream counter (i.e., divert their attention) and quietly say to the cashier, “Three in a bag, please.” Mumma’s treat for later that evening.

I took them to the Treat Store every time they asked to go. Every.Single.Time. And on Day 4, with the news of my youngest son’s impending cavities, I realized my selfishness. A better mom would’ve said, “You can’t have candy every day, babies. We’ll go another time.” But I needed my f’n treat. Every.Single.Time. And now my kids’ teeth are paying the price.

Today is Day 10. It’s about a week past that dentist visit. As I think more about it, perhaps we in recovery should give ourselves a break here or there. Maybe it was selfish of me. But there’s always time to turn it around, right? So, like drinking, it’s time to take Flossing by the horns…one day at a time.