It's tough for me to share this story with you, but if it helps just one person who is suffering from the shame of mental illness like me, I want you to know you are not alone.
When I was six years sober, I had been struggling for months to get out of bed most days.
I was exhausted and felt like I was walking around in cement army boots while sinking in quicksand. Even simple tasks seemed impossible. I felt alone and disconnected with the world.
The days grew darker and darker, and it became difficult to pretend I was okay. I only got out of bed because I was a single mom and needed to go to work to support my three small children.
I had no idea what was wrong with me.
I had many supportive people who loved me, but I didn't discuss this with anyone. My life on the outside was wonderful, and I felt like I had no reason to complain.
I went to doctors, therapists, and psychiatrist looking for help. Some looked at me and offered suggestions like, “eat more carrots and take...
Guilt: The gift that keeps on giving.
Guilt is the constant companion of the alcoholic or addict, maybe even more so for a mom. Every mother feels guilt about her parenting from time to time. That’s doubly true for women who have created drama and caused distress for their children by drinking or using—possibly inflicting psychological damage. Here’s one story from my past that still makes me cringe.
Due to my drinking, I was separated from my husband but was still living in my beautiful Northern California home with my three children, ages two, five, and eight. I was the top salesperson in my company and still getting promoted. I had the perfect job for a drunk, taking clients to lunch and dinner, with lots of drinks on the company dime. Things looked good on the outside but they were rotten within.
I promised myself I was only going out for two drinks. I told the eleven-year-old babysitter I’d be home in a couple of hours—no later...
LOVE ADDICTION – A MOTHER REVEALS HER SHOCKING STORY
My fear of abandonment is exceeded only by my terror of intimacy.
Ethlie Ann Vare
When I got sober in 1999 – I put down the alcohol and picked up another addiction – Men!
I was a serial dater. I don’t know how many men I dated nor do I remember many of their names. I would spot a man, beeline to him, flirt up a storm, and if he gave me even the slightest bit of attention I was hooked. The shelf lives of these relationships were one to three months. One day I’d be saying, “I love you,” and the next day, out of the blue, I was saying goodbye. I was going from man to man with an empty, bottomless cup, begging for love and attention. It was never enough because I didn’t feel enough.
What makes me cringe the most is how my serial dating affected my children. They witnessed the revolving door. I’d spend hours on the phone with the man of the moment. My five-year-old...
An excerpt from my book “A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery” (Hazelden Publishing, 2015)
"When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death—ourselves."— EDA LESHAN
Loneliness is one of the most difficult human emotions. It can feel like a hole in the bottom of your gut, or a deep, aching longing in the heart, or both. The addict runs from loneliness in many ways: through drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, bingeing, purging, overeating, gambling, busyness, and overworking. These quick fixes do the trick at first, but as with all addictive behaviors, the high or distraction quickly wears off, and we’re back to feeling lonely and isolated. We pick it up “just one more time”—the drug, the alcohol, the lover, the credit card, the carton of ice cream— and then we’re left with that deeper hole of self-loathing and demoralization.
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