In college, Christine was the girl who could drink everyone under the table at a party. Yet, once she found herself in an abusive relationship, alcohol no longer felt like a party – It felt like a numbing agent.
As the years progressed, alcohol stole Christine’s passion for life to the point that she couldn’t even play a game with her kids without a glass of wine in hand.
46 days ago, Christine put down the wine glass and set out on a journey to heal. She has been leaning on books, podcasts, and community to help her through. As she reaches day 50, Christine is feeling a fresh and renewed hope for her future without alcohol!
Join The Sober Mom Life FB group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1542852942745657
We have merch!!!! Check it out here!
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hi, welcome to the Sober Mom Life podcast. I’m your host, Suzanne of my kind of suite and the sober mom life on Instagram. If you are a mama who has questioned your relationship with alcohol at times, if you’re wondering if maybe it’s making motherhood harder, this is for you. I will be having candid, honest, funny conversations with other moms who have also thought, Hmm, maybe motherhood is better without alcohol. Is it possible? We’ll chat and we’ll talk about all things sobriety and how we’ve found freedom in sobriety. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. You don’t have to either. Maybe life is brighter without alcohol. I hope you will join us on this journey, and I’m so excited to get started. Hello, e. Wanted to say hi. Say hi, Evie. Hi, Evie <laugh>.
All right. We have another real mom chat today. I talk with Christine and man, she is a survivor. She is just the ultimate badass, and I think her story is just so real and raw, and it’s really, um, the reason that I wanted to do this series is to bring you the stories like these, so I know that you’ll enjoy this. And just a reminder, make sure that you go and join the Sober Mom Life Group on Facebook. If you’re finding any of these conversations helpful. That’s where all these ladies are. They’re talking all throughout the day, every day, and all of the links are in the show notes. The link to my Instagram, go follow me on the sober mom life and on TikTok. Now, I don’t do crazy dances, but come and, uh, follow me there too at the sober Mom Life pod. So enjoy this conversation with Christine. Okay. Hi everyone. We are here with Christine today. I’m so excited to get started. Christine, why don’t you just dive right in. Tell us about yourself, and then let’s start with your drinking story before we talk about sobriety.
Speaker 2 (02:27):
Okay. I am almost 49 years old, couple weeks away from my birthday.
Speaker 1 (02:32):
Oh, happy early birthday.
Speaker 2 (02:34):
Thank you. Yeah. I live in rural part of Pennsylvania coal mining town.
Speaker 1 (02:41):
Speaker 2 (02:41):
And I have two kids. I’m a single mom of two kids, uh, a 14 and almost 12 year old. So, uh, my drinking story is I didn’t drink in high school. I really, I had a best friend who, her dad was an alcoholic, so she didn’t drink. So I really didn’t grow up around it. My parents didn’t drink. I moved 500 miles away to go to college, and it was a big party school. So I started drinking then to fit in, went to a lot of off campus parties. I didn’t know anyone there, so it was just, and it was the culture at the time. I graduated high school in 1991. So yeah, it was just, um, it was drink, drink, drink. Everyone had fake id and it was just more to fit in became, it was socially accepted that, um, that’s what everyone did. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it got married really young and met my husband, my, my first husband in college. And we moved to, um, a house in Rhode Island that we shared with another couple. And it was just two couples in their twenties that drank every night. Played car. Yeah,
Speaker 1 (03:57):
That sounds like a party. That sounds, I mean, that’s like ideal for the early twenties, you know?
Speaker 2 (04:03):
Yeah. It was an extension of college. Basically. It was Drake play cards. Uh, they were in a band, so it was just became the norm again. Yeah. And then I got divorced young, so I was divorced by 20, do nine, and I actually moved to Oregon, so that moved the whole way across country. And my mom also got divorced at the same time. And I got into a relationship almost immediately that quickly became abusive, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Uh, now I have the words that as a narcissist, and I was being gaslit, ugh. And love bombed and all the things. Yeah. So drinking went from a social accepted situation, although I was drinking a lot to, a way to numb and escape. Yes. Um, my relationship, I did end up having two children with him. We were together 18 years.
Speaker 1 (05:01):
Speaker 2 (05:01):
Yeah. So we actually moved back to my hometown in rural Pennsylvania five years ago. And I would say that really became a time where I was miserable. Yeah. And just numb, numbing. So it was the typical, I hear this all the time from moms. I was drinking a bottle of wine and ice, and that’s when I just realized it was becoming not social anymore because I’m very isolated here. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it didn’t seem healthy to come and immediately open bottle of wine to try to my work. And yeah. With two kids, um, I’ve been, uh, gotten outta that relationship to years of that relationship. Okay. So now I’m 46 days alcohol, food.
Speaker 1 (05:48):
Wow. That’s where you stand today?
Speaker 2 (05:50):
That’s where I stand today.
Speaker 1 (05:52):
Well, congratulations on that. That is huge. Thank you. As I listen to your story, I just keep thinking like, survivor, survivor, like what you have survived and Yeah. When you look back, I mean, of course you had to find some relief somewhere. Right,
Speaker 2 (06:09):
Right. And there was a period of time where it was like a badge of honor to fit in. Like, I remember guys saying to me, oh, she could drink you under the table any day. Yeah. I was really into the craft beer scene in, in Portland, Oregon, and then into the wine we had. I mean, I had probably 12 wineries within 12, you know, 20 minutes from my house. So yeah, it was, I loved when people said like that, you know, oh, she could drink you under the table. It was, you know, attention. I always fit in better with the guys. I probably was looking for attention cause I was in a terrible relationship.
Speaker 1 (06:44):
<laugh>. Right. Yeah. That’s understandable.
Speaker 2 (06:47):
Yeah. So it did become part of my identity. And then when I came here, I thought, oh my God, I’m in the middle of nowhere. There’s gonna be no, um, good alcohol to drink. Like no craft beer. Yeah. No good drink. Which wasn’t the case. Um, I again, just came here and everyone was drinking again, and there were, it was readily available and I was like, great, this is who I am. This is what I do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I think it went from being like a way, a badge of honor or a way to fit in and then to just, I’m a writer, so I was writing about it all the time, and it was just numbing and escaping. Numbing and escaping.
Speaker 1 (07:27):
Speaker 2 (07:28):
And that’s what really led me to just finally say, I just can’t, can’t do this anymore. I I always felt tired right after I died.
Speaker 1 (07:39):
Speaker 2 (07:39):
And I didn’t have energy for my kids. And as a mom, I’m sure, you know, like I was not present for my kids. Um, my daughter would always say to me, well, you have to have your wine to play a game with us. Like, I would help her clean a room, organize her room, that’d be like, let me get my wine. And she’d be like, her eyes. We’d be at a restaurant and, you know, I couldn’t leave alcohol on the table, so I’d have to finish my drink and they’d be like, ready to go. And I’m like, well, I just have to finish my drink. And it became embarrassing as they got older and realized, you know, when they were younger, they were, you know, oblivious. It was just that. Yeah. Then when they had the words for it, it really put a magnifying grasp on it for
Speaker 1 (08:18):
Me. Wow. What happened 46 days ago that you decided, okay, maybe I’m gonna stop?
Speaker 2 (08:26):
So I had been trying for a long time to stop. I had done a couple dry January mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I had had a big fight with my ex, um, at one point, and I think I quit for two months.
Speaker 1 (08:39):
How did those go? Like how did your first or second dry January go? Like, how did you find that?
Speaker 2 (08:44):
They went pretty well? I just set it as a goal. Um, one of the dry Jans, I was going, um, on a trip to Florida in February with my kids though, and my sister and I knew, well, once I get there, we were, were going to Universal Studios, I wouldn’t be driving. So I was like, well, that’s like an excuse to drink the entire time. Right? Yeah. Um, so I wanted to be like, just clean and just ready for like a big vacation. So when I looked at the dry January and I saw an end date, it was a lot easier to stop. Yeah. You know, it was like a fresh start January 1st, and then you only have to get through to the end of
Speaker 1 (09:20):
The month. Right. So it’s kinda like white knuckling it through, counting down to alcohol as the reward.
Speaker 2 (09:27):
Exactly. Exactly. Um, and then as soon as I went on vacation, or, you know, the second dry January I did, I just, you know, made it to the end of the month and then it was just right back in it. Yeah. So this time I had been just writing about it a lot. It was becoming just a lot more prevalent in my life. Like, I was day drinking on weekends. I got a hot tub, so I was like, well, can’t go on a hot tub without a drink. I mean, it was just everything was an excuse to drink. Right. Yeah. So I quit September 5th and I, in August, I had a couple weeks. I had said, I’m not gonna drink during the week, and I, I’ll just drink our weekend. But I found myself on Friday, like running the liquor store, you know, when I got outta work being like, I cannot wait to buy some wine and drink all weekend.
And I just thought, this isn’t working. So I had kinda set some dates and put them off. And then that happened to be Labor Day Weekend, and I had a friend come over and got it over for brunch and she said, I’ll bring Champagne for, and I had just made a decision that the next day on Monday of Labor Day weekend would, I’m gonna just try this and just not Yeah. And I knew I was making the right decision when she brought over a bottle of champagne. We had the, and I was wishing that she had three more bottles with her. You know, like one wasn’t enough to split or two of Yeah. So I thought, wow, this is really the right decision. So, um, I really immersed myself in sober podcast and books. I read The Naked Mind by It’s So Good. Quit Like a Woman Hollywood grad mm-hmm. <affirmative>
And a couple other memoirs. And those really helped because I felt like those women were writing about me mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, so I could really relate to their story. And then I just, I’m a real big podcast with her. So I would go out and walk my dogs in the morning and just listen to it. And it was just kind of like reinforcement. Reinforcement. I also actually, I think the first podcast I listened to talked a lot about the science of what alcohol does to your brain. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and your body. And that was an eyeopener for me. I mean, the host was saying, it’s ethanol, it’s actually ethanol. And I never thought of it that, that way. Yes.
Speaker 1 (11:53):
Speaker 2 (11:54):
So I really, I just kind of made that my identity. Like now I’m a woman that listens to podcasts about alcohol, <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative> and reads. And that really helped. Really helped.
Speaker 1 (12:06):
Yeah. That’s so interesting that you talk about identity, because that’s, so, did you read Atomic Habits?
Speaker 2 (12:12):
I did not, but that’s been recommended to me. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (12:15):
I’m reading it now. And he talks a lot about identity and what we call ourselves and what we consider ourselves. And it’s like you said, I’m a writer. Right. And you are a writer because you write consistently. Right. Right. And so rather than saying like, oh, I’m not drinking right now, or I’m taking a break from alcohol, it’s like, I’m actually a non-drinker. Like I’m, because I’m not drinking alcohol. And so then that kind of fulfills that in you thinking like, oh, right. I, I’m a non-drinker because I don’t drink. I think words are so powerful in what we tell ourselves.
Speaker 2 (12:54):
Exactly. I’ve taken some writing courses, just creative writing courses, and they all say the same thing. How do you become a writer? Well, you write <laugh>. Yes. Yeah. So how do you become a non-drinker? You, you don’t drink. Right. Yeah. You’re, you’re absolutely right about that.
Speaker 1 (13:10):
How have you found your creativity? Because I’m a writer too, and you know, there’s always this thing with writers and creatives and artists and all this thing. It’s like, alcohol makes us just more creative and better and edgy, and then we get in touch with our emotions. At least that’s what people think. I think until, like, I probably bought into that a little bit until then I stopped drinking and I was like, holy shit, my brain is like free.
Speaker 2 (13:37):
Same if I look back at my writing at, at the really the heights of my drinking, there were many periods where it was a lot more than others. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it’s all the same. It’s just a miserable, all I can, all I write about is how I wanna stop drinking. Yeah. I feel like crap. And this, I feel like, um, it’s Groundhog Day and I just get up and feel like shit. And yeah. Although I felt like I was getting it all out and being creative and I was, I’m, I was drinking while I was writing. It really wasn’t, it was the same old story over and over again. Me wanting my life to be different, but not doing anything differently.
Speaker 1 (14:18):
<laugh>. Yeah. That’s so interesting. I, I always think about the power of journaling in that way. And it’s like, don’t wait to start journaling or start writing when you are, you know, in the new year or when you think you have your shit together, or when you stop drinking alcohol, it’s like, journal now. So then you can look back at your journal as you’re growing and learning and, and yet you see those patterns of like, oh wow. I was really focused on how shitty I felt and I felt horrible. And yeah, you could see those things. So rather than journaling when we have our shit together, I think it’s so important to journal when we don’t.
Speaker 2 (14:56):
Exactly. And it really helped me through just knowing I could have a space to just vent. Being in that abusive relationship. It also was a place when I would think, oh, it’s not that bad. And then I’d go back and what I had written, I was like, wow. It was, it’s really bad actually. <laugh>
Speaker 1 (15:14):
Speaker 2 (15:15):
Really bad. And you, cause you forget being in a relationship with an narcissist. You get love bombed a lot, a gast, and you think you’re crazy. And then you go back and write of what it was like during that fight, how you felt and what really happened. And you’re like, wow, that really happened. It was very eye opening. And so I am very glad that I wrote all through that period.
Speaker 1 (15:38):
Yeah, definitely. You know, so much stuff comes up when we stop drinking that we don’t even know that we were quieting. We don’t even realize that we were drinking to quiet some of those thoughts and emotions. So, has a lot come up since you’ve stopped or is it
Speaker 2 (15:57):
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. So I’ll be quite honest, I was also a heavy pot mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So at the beginning of my alcohol sobriety, I just increased mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I’m like, wait a minute, I’m just using another substance. Yeah. And a lot of people say, we’ll just get whatever gets you through. Obviously that’s a lot. Well, not obviously, but people said it’s a lot less harmful than alcohol.
Speaker 1 (16:22):
Speaker 2 (16:23):
But for me it wasn’t because it was just another escape. So yes, definitely. I knew, I know a lot of people now talk about emotional sobriety, and that is kind of what I’m in now, is learning to feel all these emotions, sadness, anger, and not being able to open a bottle of wine or run to the bathroom, smoke my pen. I mean, it’s, yeah, it’s very different. And I did hire a sober coach mm-hmm. <affirmative> at the beginning. I still have her. Um, which was helpful. And I, I’ve been in therapy for a while, but definitely in the past two years since, um, since my ex and I have split up. So that’s super helpful to just have someone validate your emotions and not judge you. So yeah, I definitely feel, I wrote a lot about an early sobriety, how I just felt so raw and so like just stripped down, stripped down to the fair bones of like, wow. And I cannot open a bottle wine to make this feeling go away. You just have to power through.
Speaker 1 (17:34):
Yeah. It’s like you have to learn who you are without all of that stuff that you use to cover up whatever you were feeling. And it’s, it is like just shedding that stuff and being like, all right, who am I and what do I want? And what do I, I need in my life.
Speaker 2 (17:50):
Exactly. And I, I realized that, you know, for so many years I was just lying to myself. I was lying, you know, I thought, but I love the taste of alcohol. I love the good cocktail. I mean, I would seek out restaurants that had unique cocktails and good wine. You know, I was never just, you know, pounding Miller likes that always had to be like a good drink. Right. And so I justified it for so long thinking that that was just, that’s what I love. Not realizing that it was just a move to an end. It was, it wasn’t. I mean, it might as well have been, you know, a cheap beer or a cheap bottle of wine. It was doing it. I just wanted to.
Speaker 1 (18:35):
Speaker 2 (18:35):
And you’re right. You know, now it’s, my career story is a whole nother story. So one of my, one of my reasons for quitting drinking is also I’m just, I’m gonna be 49 years old, and I, I really need a, a purpose, a career that is unique, not unique to me, but that I love, like yeah. Finding, finding my path. And I just realized like, I’m never going to find that without being sober. So I still haven’t found it, but that’s the journey I’m on now. Yeah. Figuring that out.
Speaker 1 (19:08):
And you will, I mean, I, the strength that you have, I mean, it’s astounding and it’s so inspiring and motivating. I you’re a survivor through and through and even, you know, we tend to talk about quitting alcohol, but the fact that you quit pot too, it’s, and you realize that you needed to and why you needed to do it for yourself. I, I think that’s so powerful.
Speaker 2 (19:31):
Well, thank you so much. It does. I also knew that I was letting myself down. I was letting other people down. I wasn’t one of the super moms that was like volunteering and
Speaker 1 (19:43):
No, I’m still not that <laugh>. I
Speaker 2 (19:45):
Was, I was the one getting out of volunteering <laugh> thinking the excuses of why I couldn’t do something. Yeah. So I was constantly letting everyone down, letting my kids, letting my kids down, letting people, just other people in my life, my friends. I think when you’re addicted to alcohol and anything, really, you can’t be a good friend because you’re so focused on yourself. And now I’m focused on myself in a different way, in a healthier way. Yeah. And I realize that I, I’m a better friend now. I mean, I’m in very early sobriety, but I just see that I have a different empathy for people. And part of it, I, I think, is that I’m finally keeping promises I’m making to myself. Right. Yes. I never, I always broke promises to myself. I mean, even like, I mean, how many times did I say, I’m not gonna drink tomorrow, I’m not gonna drink this weekend.
And then Yeah. Over and over again, you just feel like you’re a bad, bad person. Like, or, and you’re weak. It made me feel so weak. It always felt like the decision was made for me. Every day when I came home, there was no question. Immediately I was gonna open a bottle of wine and I was probably gonna smoke. And I always wrote about like, the decisions made for me. I’m not making a decision. And the decision to say no was so hard. I just, and there were so many other hard things in my life I was going through Yeah. That I was like, I can’t do this other hard thing.
Speaker 1 (21:20):
Yeah. It just feels like one more thing. Like, how could I ever do this? Right.
Speaker 2 (21:24):
Yeah. Right. And you, you just don’t realize that, and this is, I guess kinda one of the, the analogies that I ended up making, um, that ultimately made me kind of mad enough to quit was that when I learned about being gaslit and, you know, having, and people, you know, making, saying things and realizing that’s not really how the situation is. I kinda realized that both pot and alcohol were gaslighting me. They Right.
Speaker 1 (21:52):
So true. Yes. They
Speaker 2 (21:53):
Were making all these promises, like, you’re gonna feel better. You’re, you’re gonna forget all your problems, everything’s gonna be easier. And that wasn’t true at all. I was not right. Forgetting my, my problems were not going away. They were getting worse. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it did not make me feel better. It made me feel guilty and crappy physically, mentally. So I was being gast by alcohol and thought, especially when I read Annie Grace’s book, the Naked Mind, it was about what the alcohol industry does and how they lie to you and manipulate you. I kind of thought, well, I, I already went through this and I will never go through that again. I will never be gas lit by someone or something again. So it kind of just made me mad, like, yeah, I’m not gonna allow this substance to do this to me.
Speaker 1 (22:40):
Yes. I love that because you, you mentioned feeling weak and I totally know that how it chips away at you, at you not being able to show up for yourself and to keep your promises to yourself. And what that does. And what struck me is when you said that you felt weak, it’s like, oh my God, you are the opposite of weak. And that just jumps out at me. I mean, and so it, that was the alcohol that is very clearly the alcohol that is not you. And so now you get a chance to see that.
Speaker 2 (23:13):
Thank you so much. I do, I do feel very strong. I was telling my sober coach the other day, I feel kind of directionless, but you’re healing it, it takes a long time to feel your It does. It really does. And just to kind of give yourself some grace and just healing is work. Even though you think, well, I’m just sitting around all day journaling. Cause I’m actually taking a sabb, a sabbatical from my job right now.
Speaker 1 (23:41):
Oh, good for you. Yeah. So
Speaker 2 (23:43):
I’m sitting around, I’m journaling, I’m walking with my dogs, I’m doing all these things, and I kind of feel like, uh, well, I don’t have a purpose. I’m kinda walking around aimless, but I’m healing, you know? And that is hard.
Speaker 1 (23:57):
Yeah. And oh my gosh, the hardest. And you’re just nourishing yourself and it’s kind of, yeah. It’s a healing from what you’ve been through. Like look at everything that you’ve been through, and now is a time for a quieting down and Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s really special. And yeah. So much is happening in there.
Speaker 2 (24:17):
Yeah. Yeah. And I know, I, I kind of would always write about like I’m, oh, I’m never gonna find my purpose. I’m never gonna find a career that I’m really happy with that I, you know, that I feel really good about. But now there is hope. I mean, I think without alcohol and substances to numb, there actually is hope that things get better. Cause my life has already gotten better, more present with my kids. I’m not as angry, I’m not as tired. Like when I wake up at 6:00 AM to get everyone ready to go to school, I’m not hungover. I’m, you know, I’m actually awake.
Speaker 1 (24:51):
Speaker 2 (24:52):
It, my body feels better. So it makes me think that there’s hope for all the things that I, I wanna accomplish.
Speaker 1 (25:00):
Oh my gosh, so much hope. I think Annie Grace said it. It’s like, you know, alcohol makes every situation the same. Like, we, we know how it’s gonna end.
Speaker 2 (25:10):
Speaker 1 (25:11):
And that’s kind of what I thought when I gave up alcohol. I was like, okay, I gave you 20 years. You know, I tried it and I know, even if, it took me a lot of times to realize, oh, oh, oh, oh, this is a trick and you’re always gonna let me down. Oh, okay. Got it. Always. And now it’s so exciting to think about a future that you don’t know
Speaker 2 (25:32):
Exactly. And every time I think about drinking or smoking, and I don’t know if it was her or h Whitaker that wrote, play the tape forward. Right. I know where this story ends. I know, yeah. I know that they’re gonna end up in the same place, be tired and unmotivated and full of regret and guilt, and I don’t want that story anymore.
Speaker 1 (25:57):
Yes. Oh, Christine, I love this chat so much. I’m so proud of you. You are just, you’re the embodiment of strength. You’re a survivor and you’re a single mom, which I’m sorry, but single moms are badass <laugh>, so you are a badass. Thank you for sharing the story. I love it so much. Oh,
Speaker 2 (26:15):
Thank you so much. And thank you so much for your podcast. It’s really helped me a lot. I listen to a lot of different podcasts, but I love yours too, because it’s specifically towards moms. And so thank you for what you’re doing. I really appreciate it.
Speaker 1 (26:27):
Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you so much. Bye bye. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Sober Mom Life. If you, you loved it, please rate and review it wherever you listen. Five stars is amazing. Also, follow me on Instagram at the sober mom life. Okay. I’ll see you next week. I’m gonna go reheat my coffee. Bye.
Speaker 3 (27:03):
Why are we doing an ad again?
Speaker 1 (27:05):
So that we can tell people about brand new information, a pop culture and political podcast.
Speaker 3 (27:11):
Say it in a way that doesn’t sound like game show host.
Speaker 1 (27:14):
Okay. Do you wanna be in a room of overeducated, douche bags and feel comfortable? Brand new information is for you.
Speaker 3 (27:20):
What’s it gonna take to put you in this podcast today? We have brand new information on sale for free, free wherever you get your podcasts.
Speaker 1 (27:29):
Yeah. We might not break the political and pop culture news of the
Speaker 3 (27:32):
Week, but we put it right back together for you.
Speaker 1 (27:34):
That’s right. Listen, wherever you find your favorite podcasts.