Sobering gifts

A few weeks ago I was given a gift.

It came in the form of an email. My friend Heather warned me that she was writing a post for her blog about being an alcoholic. Turns out she thought I’d understand.

And my world turned upside down and inside out when I read that email.

Because she was right. She knew. And I responded, after hesitating over the send button, with tears and empathy. I fully understood.

The next day she published her post. I hung on to every word. I felt like she was in my head, and spilled what I was thinking out on her blog.

A few days later, hanging by a thread to the coat tails of Heather’s courage, I mustered up a bit of my own. After a few drinks, I looked at my glass of tequila with a splash of juice, and said out loud it’s not you, it’s me. And that’s the truth. There’s something in me that cannot stop once I start. It’s an addiction. It might not have happened every night, but once I picked up a drink, I could not stop. The first made me edgy for my fourth. And if I wasn’t drinking, I was thinking of drinking, and trying to figure out why I hadn’t stocked my wine racks with my companions Cabernet, Shiraz, or Merlot.

On January 26th, 2010, I quit drinking.

And I think I’ve been crying on and off ever since. It’s freeing, but terrifying. I feel broken, battered by the abusive relationship I’ve had with the bottle for years. And I do mean years. It was kept at by while I was bearing children, but after Paige was born it came back with a vengeance.

Three days into my sobriety Maggie came out with her truth. And again, I cried. Another gift. These stories are what help. Our truths, showing that we are here, not alone. No matter the story, there is that one common thread. Alcoholism.

I feel the same way about AA meetings. I’ve been to several, and can feel warmth the minute I enter the chilly church basement or side room. The first meeting I attended was indescribable. I physically shook for the first half, and cried the second. But there were arms that reached out to me. Tissues were handed over, as well as phone numbers and countless hugs. Strangers, tied together by this common thread, told me I was going to be ok. To keep coming.

So that’s what I’m doing. I keep going. And it’s gotten better. There are good days, and there are terribly rotten days. But I’m still standing, and I’m still sober. And I can do this.

I woke up this morning, and for the first time I wasn’t pinned down with self loathing or self-pity. Truthfully, the thing that’s really getting me through is knowing I never have to wake up hung over again. Never have to wear the shame of missed wine stained lips to a playdate. From here on out, my kids will never see me drunk. Those are powerful things. I have a beautiful life. Imagine what it will be like to live it fully aware and conscious. Sober.

So here it is. I’m Corinne, and I’m an alcoholic. And I’m going to learn to fly again.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

~The Beatles, Blackbird

**And Heather & Maggie – thank you for your courage. For your honesty, your compassion. I have so much love for you both!

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66 Comments

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66 responses to “Sobering gifts

  1. Oh, Corinne. Sweet friend. I applaud your courage. I know I join scores of your friends here when I say that I will be here ready to stand behind you on this journey, offering my ears, my heart, and my support.

    Sending you so much love.

    xoxo

  2. ann

    Sounds like you are in good company–on line, at meetings, and hopefully in friends and family.

    You are brave, and this is such a gift to you, your children, and scores of others who will read this and see themselves.

    You guys are helping change more lives than just your own.

  3. I love you, sweet lady. I love what you’ve said here and the way you said it.

    Thank you.

    Peace to you in this new surrender. I’m right with you, always.

  4. Wow – thank you so much for your honesty, your willingness to be brave and share your heart. I’m sure there are many others out “here” in blogland that needed your post like you needed Heather’s and Maggie’s!

    Praying for you. Every time I see your face pop up on twitter, I will be praying for you.

  5. Corinne, we’re here. We’re walking alongside. We’ll keep walking alongside, too.

  6. There are a whole bunch of us moving through life right along side you.

    Congratulations. What a great day this is.

  7. This was a very brave post. Your honesty and humility will undoubtedly help others. God bless you, and you’ll be in my prayers.

  8. Well now you’ve gone and gotten the internets on your side. You’re going to kick this thing! I am praying for you right now. And rooting for you always. 🙂

  9. Corinne, I join with Kristen, applauding your courage. This level of honesty and transparency must indeed be terrifying, but I hope that as we all live real, open lives both offline and online, we can find strength and support…like you, I have been moved by others sharing their pain, struggles, downfalls, sins, heartache, and inviting us into their dark and empty places. I am moved by you today, Corinne, as you write this poetic, stirring post. I am honored you trust us with your story and that you invite us on your journey.

  10. I just saw that @KristiStephens on Twitter wrote “beautiful and brave.”

    Yes.

  11. Oh, what a brave step you have taken! And thank God that you don’t have to take this journey alone, although at times, it will certainly feel like it. My prayers are certainly with you Corinne! And I know that mine are not the only ones… You have a community here to hold you up.

    Last summer, one of my best friends went to rehab for his 3rd stay. When he could finally get mail, I sent him this little lyric from James Taylor:

    “You just call out my name/And you know wherever I am/I’ll come runnin’/To see you again/Winter, spring, summer, or fall/All you’ve got to do is call/And I’ll be there/Yeah, yeah, yeah/You’ve got a friend…”

  12. Corrine, what a brave and courageous thing you are doing. You and your family will definitely be in my prayers.

  13. Freedom calls with open arms.. “I’m here.. I love you”.

    Freedom has the face of Christ and the face of those He sent to walk beside you.

    You’ve opened the door and stepped into freedom’s embrace. Well done!

  14. txmomof3

    Absolutely stunning in it’s honesty. I am humbled by your courage in writing this. I don’t know you but I am pulling for you in this battle. We all have battles we are fighting; I am so proud of you for taking yours on.

  15. Thank you for sharing your journey, your life. This is an amazingly brave thing to do and I wish you all the best.

  16. You are doing such a brave thing. Not everyone knows what goes into facing the truth head on and the sickening realization that you can’t turn away from it. I do. We are all in this together whether we drink or not. It takes a village right? I loved what you said about your children never having to see you drunk again. That? Is the bottom line. Our children are so worth it. Your kids are so worth it.

    Thank you for saying it outloud because when so many of us come forth, it allows the rest who are scared to follow suit!

  17. Typing through my tears … and applauding in my heart! Heroes are the people who stand up when it’s hard … who fight when others have no clue … and who share the ugly so that God receives glory in the beauty. You, my sweet, dear friend, are a true hero. Much love, many prayers, and a massive ((hug))!!

  18. Oh, Corinne, we are all broken and bruised, we are all one body in Him. I pray that the real flesh and blood hands and feet of that body will hold tight to you on the hard road you are walking and keep you company along the way!

    – Lisa-Jo

  19. Oh, sweetie, I didn’t know. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m glad you found a place to get support and caring. You can do this. You really can. You have the remarkable power of your choices. And you’re already being powerful–your words, your life. Your kids will remember their mom’s incredible strength and love for them. They will. Even when it’s not easy for you or them, they’ll remember. (((hugs)))

  20. You know, I’m contemplating getting in the car right now. I might be able to make it before 10pm to give you a hug and tell you in real life that you are beautiful, amazing and brave.

  21. Booling

    Until today I looked up to you for cloth diapering, excellent baking, a talent for writing, open mindedness, and your ability to find joy in everything.
    Today I add to that being strong and honest and being the best Mom I know.
    Anything, any time.

  22. Not About Wings – Downhere

    Wake dove, stretch your feathers,
    Worry not love, how far you could fall.
    Fly now, darling find how;
    A broken wing can feel the best to soar on.

    It’s not the perch you’ve climbed to reach,
    But the broken wing that’s made you meek;
    that’s when He lifts you high.

    Ch.
    Believing is not about seeing,
    Faith is not about reaching,
    and on this journey I keep learning,
    Flying is not about wings.

    Sparrow trapped by a window,
    every resource spent for just one goal.

    It’s not by work you find your escape,
    but in your defeat when you seek his face;
    that’s when He lifts you high.

  23. My sweet friend, I just love you.
    I’m so proud of you for taking on this addiction.
    I’m praying for strength, continued courage and peace.
    Please know I’m here for you to offer any support or encouragement or anything at all.

  24. beautiful friend… i think you are very brave. very. i am in shock, and a little teary. and i am in awe of you. i am praying for you. for your strength and your family’s. keep on… one foot in front of the other. sending love…

  25. How wonderfully courageous and strong you are Corinne. I am thinking of you and proud of you. We’re here to support you through this, on those good days and also on the bad ones.

    Much love.

  26. Oh, Corinne! I’m not even going to pretend to understand what you’re going through, but I absolutely admire you for posting about this so publicly. You are one strong, brave woman, and I’m so proud of you for facing this head-on. You are in my thoughts and prayers! If you need to talk, don’t hesitate to email me (or call me, I’ll give you the # via email). You can do this, my friend!!

  27. You DID it! You did it! I’m so proud of you for writing this!

    One day at a time, my friend. One voice at a time. Yours rings true and fierce today, girl. Today, some people out there are feeling less alone, just like you and I felt when we read Heather’s words, just as Heather felt when she read Stef’s words, and so on (and hopefully on and on and on.)

    Welcome, and much, much love.

  28. what an amazing post…..mostly because i have been there…..even to a meeting or two myself…..am just not sure i’m quite brave enough to blog about it yet.

  29. Amazing and inspiring. Hoping you continue to find the courage to keep fighting it. Sobering gifts is right, what a gift!

  30. Natika

    I think waking up and not feeling the shame is so wonderful. Waking up drenched in sweat because you had a relapse dream, not so great. I guess it is my mind reminding me of the shame I could feel again if those dreams become reality!
    Good luck to all you mommy’s that have quit!
    12/20/2009
    I hope it gets easier!

  31. Pingback: Playground Confidential » Bad-Ass Mothers: Shame and Alcoholism and Us

  32. You can you can, Little Engine. Because you dare. Love you, courageous thing.

  33. I’m so proud of you. Off to send you an email instead of going on here. PROUD OF YOU.

    (And you realize that you are helping someone else the way Heather helped you, don’t you?)

  34. Congratulations on 10 days. Every day is a journey, every journey begins with a step. Soon, you’ll fly again. I’m proud of you.

  35. Best of luck on your newly sober journey! You are inspiring in your honesty and that is why you will make it through this.

    p.s. That Beatles song is one of my all-time favorites… perfect.

  36. Dad

    Good Luck sweetie, you know that we are here for you. Love ya,

  37. Karen Martell

    You are so brave! and such a great mom and wonderful person. Stay strong and we are all behind you.

  38. You are amazing. A-MA-ZING. This is stunning.

    The song At the Foot of the Cross (chorus: trade these ashes in for beauty) comes to mind – not because drinking was beautiful, but because it’s the act of bringing yourself to a point where you’re going to be rebuilt. The ashes of the past are traded in for beauty – for hope and completeness.

    How awesome that you don’t need to do this alone. And you will do it. You are doing it.

    Again. Amazing.

  39. There’s a piece on my fridge that says “life is a journey taken one step at a time.”

    I’m so proud of you.

  40. Oh, Corinne, I’m in tears here. You’re in my thoughts, my prayers. I’m left in awe of your honesty & your bravery. You’re giving yourself, your children, your family an amazing gift by recognizing and admiting this, and for finding within yourself the determination to make a change, to beat this!

    There’s so many people who care, who are rooting for you, praying for you, thinking of you.

    Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
    ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  41. Oh Corinne…

    There is a poem God gave to me when I was in college, collapsing all over the place with no diagnosis, dealing with the voices of “friends” and doctors who didn’t know me like He did. He brought it to mind for you as I scrolled down here to comment with tears pricking my eyes.

    O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose,
    My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill,
    Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still.

    Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes,
    Confusions multiplied;
    From crowding things of sense I flee
    And in Thee hide.
    Until this tyranny be overpast,
    Thy hand will hold me fast.

    What though the tumult of the storm increase,
    Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord,
    And bless with peace.

    ~Amy Carmichael

    You’ve offered me so much encouragement in recent weeks. I feel so inadequate to offer the same to you. I would still love to meet you, look into your eyes, give you a long, hard hug, chat about kids and diapers and awesome husbands, learn to know your heart.

    In the last few weeks, I have realized that God is using my own struggle to deepen my compassion for those around me. I have more to give. I know the same is true for you. You’re not less because of this. I know that. You’re beautiful. You’re His.

    I know, because my gift from Him is seeing hearts. And your heart is amazing.

    Don’t be afraid. He is such a refuge…

  42. Your rawness is inspiring and beautiful. Congrats on quitting… here’s is to the rest of your sober life. I know you can do it.

    Nell

  43. Bri

    Oh, friend. I’m sitting in my car weeping and bursting with pride. I’m so proud of you – alll three of you. Praying for you today.

    Bri

  44. I applaud your courage for becoming honest. I encourage you to get a sponsor and jump into the steps soon. The trudging has only just begun, but it truly is a road that is worth traveling. And it’s a wilder ride than any alcohol ever gave you.

  45. Joy

    Thank you so much for taking the risk and posting this. I have been sliding downhill towards alcoholism, and you just threw me a rope to climb out and away.

  46. Andrea

    Oh Corrine,

    You had me on the brink of tears. I can’t say that I know how you feel or what you’re going through, but I can say that I feel the strength you’re emitting and know you can do it. Day by day. Just take it day by day. If there is every anything you need, even to just vent, you know where to find me e-friend 🙂

  47. Wow! Huge hugs to you. You are amazingly brave…and strong. I will keep you in my prayers!

    Wow, again…good for you!

  48. Congratulations on this huge step!!! I was at the very same point you are, several months ago. It was Stephanie’s (don’t get drunk Fridays) move towards sobriety that told me *I* could do it, and needed to. If you ever need anything, Please call on me. JOB WELL DONE!!!

  49. Corinne! Courageous, girl! When something hidden is dragged out (kicking and screamin’) into the light. Chains of bondage begin to loose. Just in case you didn’t know, I’m not perfect either. I know, I know, you so thought I was. But we’re all cracked pots in HIS hands. Maybe I can be a little crackier at times. 🙂 So brave of you to share. You make me proud. Is that crazy or what!?! Stick with your support group and keep up the good work. I’ll be cheering for ya!

  50. Corinne,

    Amazing Grace.
    Sing it , pray it , feel it, know it , live it.

    You are loved .

    you couldn’t have known it would be like this, you wouldn’t have chose it.
    But you can chose to let God use you , you have.

    love you,
    deb

  51. oh wow, thank you. no, thank you. seriously.

  52. corinne…i am so proud of you. this is what we as sisters, as a body, need more of. honest, raw, real-life. how are we supposed to glorify Him if we never admit any faults, temptations or addictions?
    so proud of you. not only for quitting, but also for reaching out for help and for sharing your story. i’m certain it has helped someone out here.

  53. Bravo. We never know the fights of those around us, and their courage, until we read their truths. One day at a time.

  54. Nicki

    Oh Corinne! You are brave beyond words. Know that you are in my prayers and thoughts!

  55. I am proud of you. Your honesty and humility is inspiring. Your struggle is at once personal and universal. I applaud you for your transparency and for trusting yourself (and us) enough to write this. And live this. Stay tuned for an email from me…

    xo

  56. Kathy

    Corinne,

    I hope that all of these encouraging words help carry you, for we’re all on your side.

    You are strong for posting this part of your life, for baring it all.

    I’m sending you hugs and love.

  57. Pingback: Soft landings « Trains, Tutus and Twizzlers

  58. Oh Corinne, I am so proud of you. It is such a brave and couragous thing you are doing. My thoughts and prayers are with you. You are going to be just fine!

  59. Congratulations! Its a hard road – sobriety – but it beats the hell out of drinking hard… every minute without a drink is better. Wishing many thousands of happy minutes to you.

  60. Mary Lou

    My dear daughter, know that I have been in constant prayer for you, and am so proud of you. I never had a clue, so your recognizing the danger and taking action is so much to be thankful for. I see how much pain you have been in and it breaks my heart, but I know how strong you are too, and know that you will be just fine. Never stop praying. God provides all the strength that we can ever need, and more than we can ever imagine. You know I’m here for you in any way that you may need. Well done, Corinne

  61. what a wonderful wonderful wildfire spreading. all this honesty and standing up and ownership and admission.
    i’m so honored to be a witness. to watch you stand up for yourself to be the best you.
    it’s amazing.
    bravo.

  62. It is no wonder I have had such a compelling need to pray for you these last few days even when I was not able to read blogs. No wonder I was compelled to choose to get caught up reading yours first. I wish I could be there physically to walk beside you. Know that you are never far from my thoughts and in my prayers many times a day. Keep going. You can do this. You have my email. Use it if you want to get ahold of me. Hugs, dear friend. Hugs. All the way from NE.

  63. Corinne,

    I add my voice to the chorus of witnesses who are rooting from the sidelines. God bless you, sister.

  64. I know…I am the last person to read this. This makes me cry and love you. You are so strong and so brave and am in awe of you right now! I am here if you need ANYTHING!

  65. Al_Pal

    I saw Maggie’s tweet of this.
    Congratulations and Best Wishes.
    I have a few friends who are sober.
    You can do this!

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