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Memoir of an Alcoholic Parent

Courtesy of Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

In making my choice, everything had to change—most important, my expectations of myself. I had to acknowledge that sometimes life isn't great, and that there is no shame in driving a minivan (but I still love my badass flames on the sides). When life felt drab, alcohol didn't add any color, it just washed me out more. And when I feel tempted to drink, I remember that. Being honest didn't just change my behavior, it also changed my attitude. I am now fully present for my kids. When I read them a bedtime story, I'm not rushing through it so I can get started on my buzz. When they wake in the middle of the night, I don't have to push it off on my husband because I'm “too tired.” Most of all, I know that if I remain on this path, my children will never have to see me drunk, and the joy in that is so much sweeter than any amount of pinot grigio. And when it's not, there's always Ben & Jerry's Half Baked Fro Yo.

Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of times when I wanted badly to reach for a glass of wine. Once, I told a friend that I couldn't believe I still wanted to drink so much, and she said, “Of course you do. You're an alcoholic. But that's a short-term solution, and all it will do is set your addiction back in motion.”

One Maryland mom wrote me these lovely words of encouragement: “On the other side of the fence you will meet a group of moms that you want to go out with in the evening; moms who have a drink now and then but remember where they were after a night out; moms who can safely preach to their teens about drinking in moderation because they do; moms who don't feel the need to take a cooler of beer to a Brownie campout; moms who are fun to be around because of who they are and not because of the number of drinks they've had.” I look forward to being that mom.

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