Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

From silent suffering to peaceful serenity; a mother’s journey to sobriety

This is the first of a two-part essay. 

I am a mother, a sister, a friend, and a daughter. I have my own business and look successful from the outside. I seem to have it all together.  

But I have a problem. Well, HAD a problem. 

On July 11, 2020, I sat at my desk staring blankly at the computer screen, as I had many days before. I willed myself to move the mouse to finish working but I grabbed my drink instead. It was 6 p.m. I was five drinks in, and I didn’t feel drunk.  

The booze stopped working.   

I didn’t get to that point overnight. While I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when it became a daily habit, it was glaringly obvious to me that my drinking had progressively gotten worse. 

The worst part of it  – my kids were the ones who had a front row seat to my problem drinking. I was able to control how much of my drinking they saw before bedtime in the beginning. But they got older.  They stayed up later. They were aware. They knew mom had a problem. 

The author on Day 1 of sobriety.

Other people did not catch on. I had created enough distance between myself and friends and family that I could pretend there wasn’t a problem. They knew I enjoyed my drink but they didn’t realize how deeply I was into my addiction. I would have one or two around people and then go home to finish the night with a few more drinks. 

A nice, rounded nightcap. Alone. 

In truth, I would use any excuse to have a drink.  

I blamed the stress of being a single mom. I blamed the celebration of a new client. I blamed a really rough day. I blamed a really boring day. 

I blamed everything but me.  

 

Deep down, I knew I had a problem long before I admitted it.  

For YEARS I would wake up in the morning, shamed and hungover. I felt high levels of anxiety and would constantly Google “do I have a drinking problem?” I obsessively read articles from sober people about the benefits of quitting. 

I’d swear I wouldn’t drink today and this would be the end. This would be the day I would quit or cut back. 

But every night, I would find myself with another drink in my hand.  

The cycle repeated itself, over and over. It felt like a broken record or the nightmare version of Groundhog Day. I would drag myself out of bed, get dressed and try to look like I had it all together. The passing day seemed to weigh a million pounds. To take the edge off, I’d have a drink. Within an hour, I’d be three drinks in. I’d continue to drink until I passed out at the end of the night. 

It was horrible. 

I couldn’t stop myself. The few times I did go without drinking, I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I think, once, I made it three days before I was a daily drinker again.  

I told myself it wasn’t that bad. It was beer. I wasn’t homeless. I wasn’t doing hard drugs. I had my license. I had my kids. I had…. whatever I thought proved I didn’t have a problem. 

But I did… I just wasn’t ready to admit it, yet.  

This was my every day. The struggle to stop, hiding how much I drank, drinking more alone. The shame. The guilt. The anxiety.  

Then the pandemic hit. The world shut down and I was stuck at home.  

Essential businesses were the only ones allowed to open. To my relief, beer distributors and wine stores were a part of that essential group.  

During the early part of the pandemic, I would tell myself that other people were day drinking too. It was a stressful time and hey – we’re all doing it.  

Fairly quickly, I noticed that I was doing more drinking than ever. My 5 p.m. happy hour shifted to noon. The hours whizzed by and there were times I didn’t remember making dinner for my kids.  

My body felt like it was shutting down. I felt heavy and stuck all the time. I felt sad.  

More and more I could see the look in my kids’ eyes when I went for another drink. “Really mom? Another one?”  

Ouch. 

My work was suffering. My quality of life was suffering. My world seemed so dull. 

I knew something had to change. The path I was heading down was not one I desired. 

The saddest part of this truth was that no one knew how deeply I was hurting. No one knew the depths of sadness I felt on a daily basis. I thought I was a lost cause. This was how I was meant to live for the rest of my life. 

Oh how fast things can change… 

Clarity came in that moment sitting at my desk. All of the restless nights, the daily morning hangovers, the shame, guilt… it all came to a head at that moment.  

I had to do something different or something different was going to happen to me. I knew it deep down inside.  

I searched my phone for the name of anyone who could suggest something that could take the edge off, to give me more energy, to lift my mood. 

Instead, I sent an SOS to someone who I knew was in recovery.  

The text read: “Hey, I think I have a problem and I need help.”  

That text forever changed my life. 

Stay tuned for how my life changed in part 2. In the meantime, if you think you have a problem, reach out. You’re not alone. I write about my struggle with addiction because I know what it’s like to suffer in isolation. Perhaps sharing my story will help someone else who might be struggling. Hang on. There is hope.  

 

 

Beth Montgomery
Beth Montgomery is a single mom of teens and is a Jill of all trades who lives in the Harrisburg area. While she wasn't born anywhere near here (or even in this country), she calls Central PA home (for now) and writes about her journeys through adulting... with kids. Visit her online at www.singleparentproject.com or connect with her on the socials.

Business Events

Health Care Update Webinar

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Health Care Update Webinar

Highmark Webinar

Wednesday, June 08, 2022
Highmark Webinar

Women of Influence

Thursday, June 30, 2022
Women of Influence