Since my health scare, I haven’t spent any time with my sponsor so I have been quite solo in my sobriety and understanding my triggers for alcoholism. I know I have written about this in the past, but motherhood really is a very lonely job, especially when you have very young children.
I am sure that when I reflect that I was suffering from Post-Natal Depression (PND) and in fact when we realised my alcohol consumption was a huge problem, my husband encouraged me to go to my GP. My GP stepped me through a mental health questionnaire and even though I didn’t feel ‘depressed’, my results clearly indicated that I was depressed.
I remember after the birth of my eldest, I had gone from being a busy and successful career woman, working for a large corporation, pulling in big hours, earning big bonus’ and flying around the country. Then, all of a sudden it just stopped, I gave birth to this little baby and my job moved on, but I didn’t move on. Sure, I looked down at this little babies adorable face, but I didn’t feel connected with her, I wanted to be at work. I wanted to be doing something that I felt was ‘meaningful’.
I devalued myself and my role as a mother, all my life I had imagined one day being a mother to a daughter and how amazing it would be, I would have my own little best friend for life, I would never feel lonely again. Yet, here I was, finally the mother of a daughter, and I felt everything but what I had imagined.
I remember before I went on Maternity leave thinking how amazing it would be, I would get to take my little best friend all around Melbourne exploring with me. We would try out all the cool cafe’s, shop in boutiques and meet friends for life. But the reality was the total opposite, you see no-one tells you that when you first start maternity leave, you are the only person (generally) that you know who isn’t working.
All of a sudden I was off work and everyone I knew was at work. I kept begging the council to set me up with a mothers group but it didn’t come straight away. And even when I did have a mothers’ group, it takes time to connect and develop relationships with people.
Whilst my triggers for drinking were already well underway, alcohol became my only friend. I would find an excuse to take the baby to a cafe for lunch and I figured I could order a wine or a cocktail with my lunch, the weather was good, and it was 5 pm in the world somewhere. My husband’s hours all of a sudden seemed so much longer than what they were, and i started to realise that my desire for us to incorporate exercise into our lives meant that my husband would be home 1.5 hours later than normal if he was going to go running after work.
Every night by the time he got home, I was well and truly drunk, I had started early, eaten my dinner and then when he got home, I passed him the baby and pretty much retreated to my room. Too embarrassed to confront him in my drunken state, too embarrassed to own up to my problems, too embarrassed to admit that I was a failure.