EPISODE #113

The Fun & the Chaos, 2

EPISODE #113

The Fun & the Chaos, 2

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We continue our story this week with Kirsten, one of my very best friends in the world. If you missed our last episode about her and her dad, check that one out first!

Now, as we learned last week, Kirsten got a lot of her magic and her empathy from her dad, Norm. But there’s another thing she inherited from Norm that is less fun. Spoiler alert: if you want to be surprised by that thing, stop reading this post now and come back after listening.

Kirsten has an 11-year-old son named Jack. Back when he was born, he was a preemie—you may remember the story we told in episode 21 about how Kirsten obsessed over getting Jack’s weight up with her breast milk so that he could leave the hospital. Even after he came home and plumped up, Kirsten weighed him on this antique scale in her kitchen at least 20 times a day.

Kirsten was sleep-deprived and on edge. There only seemed to be one thing that would calm her down, and that was wine. Kirsten drank more and more, especially as her dad deteriorated, until she reached one to two bottles a day. And even though Kirsten’s dad died from alcoholism, Kirsten didn’t see herself as an alcoholic; her drinking looked so different from his.

For example, she could play tennis drunk. Here she is at what she calls “happy hour tennis.”

Then, six months ago, Kristen quit cold turkey. Tune in to hear the story of how this lethal trait of Norm’s snuck up on Kirsten … and how she decided to take a different path than he did.

Kirsten’s Recommended Resources for Recovery
There are tons of great resources for people working on sobriety, so add yours in the comments. Here are Kirsten’s personal faves, along with her commentary in italics.

Favorite blog: Hip Sobriety

Favorite motivational book: The Little Book of Big Change by Dr. Amy Johnson (helps you examine, understand and control cravings!)

Favorite memoirs: (Memoir was great in the early, early days because I wanted to feel less crazy, weird, fucked up, alone and it was so helpful seeing myself in others’ stories. However, I got a little turned upside down because I started comparing myself to the writers and feeling “less alcoholic” because of thoughts like “my rock bottom wasn’t that bad” or “I didn’t get arrested.” There’s a sneaky little trap there!)
Lit by Mary Karr
Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery by Dana Bowman
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepbola

Favorite mindfulness and spiritual reading:
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (really anything by Pema—she teaches you how to feel worthy, calm, whole, how to act from a place of love not fear)
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (he writes about the assumptions we live by and with and how they undermine our joy and peace)

Favorite new coping skills: Do yoga, drink tea, bitters in seltzer, take lots of baths, write in a journal, and drink kombucha. In the beginning fill the time when you would most often drink with another routine. I do yoga during happy hour and take a bath with candles and bubbles every damn day!

There’s Kirsten in her favorite yoga tank, plus a kombucha flight, which she says is “kinda like drinking alcohol, but not at all like it!” She says the fermentation in kombucha doesn’t trigger cravings for her, though she knows it does for some people.

Talk to Kirsten
Kirsten’s Instagram account is pretty much all about her sobriety. (Lots of tub selfies.) She graciously invites LST listeners to connect with her through that account to discuss alcoholism and recovery. Her account is private, but if you request access she will likely accept your request!

What has addiction looked like for you or YOUR family?
How about sobriety? Think of this as a place to share and connect with others.

Our sponsors for this episode are Madison Reed (offer code: LONGSHORT), Aeroflow Breastpumps, Third Love, Yogi Teas, and Wunder Capital. Use the promo codes at checkout for a special discount.

18 thoughts on “EPISODE #113: The Fun & the Chaos, 2

  1. this was amazing; a friend sent it to me this morning & once knowing the topic, i had to listen. as a holistic nutritionist/fitness junkie & lifecoach i always felt i was living a sort of double life — it was not until 2016 that i had to really evaluate my relationship with alcohol. as i sit here and sip on a lotus pollen & chaga elixir… i feel i have so many things to share. addiction — it runs in my family BIG TIME. but, i never exhibited “those traits”… that was, i guess, until i did. 2016 i developed a nasty allergy to alcohol — little did i know that ‘the allergy of the body’ is in part the definition of alcoholism. it was xmas of this year that shit really hit the fan for me & on jan 1 i found myself ‘in the rooms’ of a meeting — i was scared & for the 1st 2 weeks i could barley comprehend the whole journey — it felt like an out of body experience each time i showed up…. & cried. omg did i cry. i am 7 weeks into this journey now& all i can say is that i so appreciate hearing a story like this for the manifestations of this disease are vast & tricky. i, like kristen, have lived this in a sort of public way as to a) keep me accountable & b) remind others they are not alone. thanks for this story.

  2. Kirsten and Hillary,

    I remember you both from college (I spent too much time at the Crafts House). I love listening to this show and have recommended it to so many friends. Thanks, Hillary! I look forward to “hearing from you” each week.

    Kirsten, listening to these episodes made me remember why I always enjoyed your company. You are one amazingly strong and positive person! Thanks for your honesty and sharing such a personal story. I’m glad to hear you and Jamie are still a team.

    To the both of you: Keep on inspiring people with your work, your sharing, and by being the awesome ladies you are!

  3. I identified a lot with this. I was heading towards one bottle of wine a day. I’ve never gone as far as calling myself an alcoholic (denial?) but I did stop drinking completely just over 2 years ago. I stopped because my children were becoming teenagers and I didn’t think it was good that they were seeing me drink wine every evening.

    At first I was doing ‘dry January’ and I found it quite difficult. By the end of January I realised how much happier I was and that I wasn’t actually missing it any more and so I decided not to drink again.

    Every day I think it would be nice to have a glass of wine and then I think, “Nah, that doesn’t work for me” and then the craving goes.

  4. When I first listened to LST I was a brand new mom looking for others in the trenches with me. I no longer felt lonely or misunderstood. So many of the podcast topics touched me but this episode spoke directly to me. I have been sober 13 months longer then I have been a mother (4 years March 10th). For me sobriety and motherhood go hand in hand. I have been apprehensive to join mom groups because of my sobriety. The talk of “needing a glass of wine” at the end of the day always seems to come up. Thank you ladies for bringing light to recovery. If either of you have suggestions of how to meet sober moms in my area (besides AA) please let me know. Keep on keeping on sisters!! You have brought nothing but love and light to my life with all you do.

  5. Thank you for this wonderul episode and for the great recommendations listed above. I was wondering whether you could recommend some literature to learn about helpful coping mechanisms for children, such as the one you mentioned about the “body checks”. Thanks so much in advance!

    And to the LST team: Thanks for all your brilliant work from this devoted listener all the way from Vienna/Austria!

  6. Kirsten,
    While I was around your dad only a handful of times, I remember him as kind and loving.
    As for your alcoholism, I think you are very brave for sharing it so publicly. I think your ability to admit so openly bodes well for you – you have the means to overcome this in the long term. You got this. It will not get you.

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