A while back, I started answering questions from my readers publicly on my blog (scroll down to read them). It quickly grew to be my most favorite type of blog post and, apparently, yours too. So I made it A Thing.
You can *technically* ask me about anything. Common questions are about: marriage and divorce, making a big job leap, motherhood, addiction and sobriety, sober dating, and if my daughter's eyes are really that blue (yes). But anything is game.
Although I cannot respond to every letter, I do read every single one. I will always let you know if I plan to respond publicly.
To your grief: the losses are real. To tell you they’re not would be disingenuous and untrue. Addiction steals our time and our essence and our ability to receive love, among other things. Feel all the way into the pain of what you know you lost, and also the unknowable things. But. But. Hear this: you didn’t chase weed and people and cigarettes and shiny things because you’re just “that fucked up.” You did it because you’ve been looking for love, like Johnny Lee did, in all the wrong places.
Your goodness doesn’t cancel out your darkness nor the other way around. As Thomas Lloyd Qualls says, “Believing you are good is like believing in the half moon.” The unlit side of the moon is always there, whether we see a sliver or full, creamy sphere.
What was delivered to me drop by painful drop in that time, was the notion of staying. Of not hoping for a different moment than the one I was in—not because I found the moment acceptable, but because fighting it became futile. Fighting it made me suffer. Immensely.
I have been wondering if I have a problem. Drinking for me took the form of 1-2 glasses of wine every day with dinner. I recently, without much thought, decided to give up drinking for Lent. The first week was somewhat difficult. I was a bit anxious and had cravings for my dinner time glasses of wine but as the second week began, I started feeling a surge of positivity and felt more open to everything, also more motivated to do things. I am now a month into it and wondered if I could be an alcoholic if I could quit so easily.
Eventually, my perspective totally changed. I didn't see the Mad Men like environment of advertising the way I used to: wild, rich , and exciting. I instead saw it as flat, shallow, and a hustle I didn't want to do anymore.
Something I know to be true only 100% of the time is this: once you know a truth, you will never not know it. You’re going to end up at that truth no matter how long or complicated a detour you take.
I have a beautiful wife and three young children. Here's the thing, I feel like I'm dying. It's been three months and I can't find a job in my industry. Everyone is willing to help, but I don't know how they can. It's like, yeah, ah, get me a job. After you stop drinking life doesn't go away.
Do you ever/did you ever look at friends' Facebook posts, or hear good news about their lives, and be filled with a combination of jealousy and rage? Sometimes I feel that way and I am so ashamed that I can't just be happy for other people without feeling like my life in no way measures up. I have good things in my life...but not the marriage, house, and kids that everyone posts a million pictures of. And my instinctual reaction to watching other people be happy is, "Why can't I be like that?" Sometimes I just have to stop looking because otherwise, it makes me so sad.
What if my lobster is addicted What if she's in trouble and her life has become unmanageable? Glennon talks about her family loving her very much, just not having a plan. I am stuck in this cognitive mess of "don't judge,” "just love,” but "don't enable,” "don't turn your head/sweep it under the rug/act like it's not happening" but I don't know what that is all supposed to look like from day to day.
How did you manage the first week and first month? I am trying to take things day by day, but I feel overwhelmed by the obstacles in my path including a fear of losing livelihood. Things set me off in a big way. How long do mood swings, insomnia, and this constant dull headache last? What were the tools you used to get through everyday without drinking and still be productive in your work life even when you felt like you couldn't?
My question is about being public in your writing about your struggles with addiction and getting/being sober. Do you worry about your daughter being affected socially by your being “out” as a sober alcoholic?
I am loving hearing about people's 'progression' as time passed. Did you feel better overall at 6 months than you did at 2 months? Have things gotten better and better?
Here it goes: since I was probably 15 I've struggled with drinking. Over the years I've done many things that could have completely destroyed the parts of my life I value the most. And if I'm being honest I have caused myself and others some significant pain. Being married and have kids now it seems like the stakes are much higher so my relationship with drinking has started to weigh heavily on my mind. After one incident I stopped drinking for a year but slowly I put new rules in place about when and how much I drink and I've managed to keep everything kind of under control for now.
I've been sober 107 days after years on the relapse roller coaster. I believe one of the keys to my success this time has been putting my sobriety first and letting everything else go. It's been hard for me to do this because I feel like a slacker. My question is, how long can let this go on? At what point do I need to crawl out of bed and start being responsible again?
I struggle with other "non-substance" addictions. I'm constantly worrying about who likes or doesn't like me, if I am attractive or thin enough, if I am a good mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend. It's consuming and I liken it very much to an addiction to alcohol, pills whatever. You're blogs have made me cry because they resonate. I'm trying to realize it's "ok" to fail or be imperfect, but it's been almost 37 years of thinking it's not ok to be these things.
My question is: Do you wish more people shared their concern with you about your drinking? I have worried about an extended family member's drinking for many years. This family member is functional but drinks far more than is healthy. This person is also very defensive (in general), and I do not think they would be open to hearing concern from me or anyone else.
I am almost five months sober and I am incredibly grateful for my path at this moment. I recently have started socializing more and entertaining in my home. I have gone to several events outside my home where there is alcohol and I am comfortable with that and accept that it will always be there. I struggle with what I do in my own home. Do I buy booze for others? Do I keep some in the house for someone when they stop by? Tell them my house is BYOB? Or can I have nothing at all in my home?
I’ve had low-mid grade level depression since my 20’s. I started anti-depressants eight years ago. It finally occurred to me that I went on the anti-depressant when I was drinking quite a bit and upped my dose when I was drinking a lot. So I talked with my doctor and she agreed it was a good time to try to wean off. Under her care, I’m slowly tapering off. Two more weeks and I’m off completely. I believe many people definitely need and benefit from anti-depressants, but I needed to see how I could do without them. Have you/do you struggle with depression? If so, how do you cope?
How has your running helped you in your sobriety and just generally in your life? I’ve been running since I was 14 years old. I could probably write a book on how much running has given me. These are a few things: positive body image, friends, a tribe, endorphins, competition, knowing I can push myself to the outer limits and make it, redemption and joy. How about you?
I was wondering did you stop drinking, then start again, then stop again? I drank over the weekend. After 4 nights of not drinking. The weekends are the absolute worst for me since my divorce. I hate being alone. I feel awful today that I drank. Anyway, I was just wondering if you stopped once and that was all it took.
One important question to me is, did you lie to your doctor about drinking? Is feels so wrong to ask someone this question, and it's not about hope, but I welcome the opportunity to ask.