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.

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

  1. Dear Kirsten, Thank you for sharing your story. I wrote to Hillary last year offering to share my story which is so similar to yours. I have been sober for seven years and could not be happier. I think your story will hit home with so many women. Alcoholism and addiction are still taboo.

    The day I realized I was powerless over alcohol the urge was lifted. That stopped the obsession for me. I was able to focus on my boys and getting healthy. Your husband did not get a bum deal, he got the best gift ever. A women that is present, aware, in the moment and not numb to what is going on. Stay strong and believe in yourself!

    Thanking you on the behalf of all the women that need to hear your story because you will make a difference in their lives!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m an adult therapist with a long history of trauma. My coping has been/is smoking pot. I realised today, listening to your story that my use is being driven by fear of feeling engulfed by emotions and that I don’t have other coping. That the reason I haven’t been able to stop is I don’t replace the negative coping with something else. Feeling more hopeful than I have in a long time. Thank you.

  3. I have listened to every episode of LST, and many episodes have challenged or encouraged me in some way. This episode did both. Thanks to you, Kirsten, for sharing a piece of your story with us all!

    I have never labeled myself an alcoholic. However, I am definitely a problem drinker. Although I am “highly functional” (Ha!), I have hidden alcohol and used it to cope with stress and to dull pain. I even lost my first pregnancy due to my drinking since I did not realize I was pregnant until my sweet potential person had been harmed. After that experience you would think it would be fairly straightforward to desire change. And I did have the desire, yet the guilt only served to make the struggle harder.

    Thankfully I also have wonderfully supportive people in my life. My husband helped me in my first stretch of harm-reduction followed by sobriety. And our precious son was born during that year. And yet, I could totally relate to the middle of the night glass of wine once the last breastfeeding of the day was done. Lasting change can be hard even when one has strong motivators and supports. Hell, I even worked for years as a mental health and addiction recovery counselor. And yet… I can definitely relate to the difficulty in translating positive strategies into one’s own daily life candence.

    I have just recently started up another spell of reducing the amount of wine in my life with the hope of cutting it out altogether again at least for a few months to see how that goes (notice a bit of residual ambivalence?).

    During a tough time I found this story to be thought-provoking, especially since I can so relate to the desire to be truly present for my husband and son.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  4. I’m 33 and I quit drinking 5 years ago. (I’m also expecting my first child in 4 months!)

    For me, it was a journey of self discovery. I’d say the first year I was full of shame and didn’t want anyone to know I quit, especially co-workers. I had a whole list of excuses as to why I wasn’t drinking at a work function or party.

    I’d say the hardest part was the first 6 months and it changes so much as time goes on. I quit on my own, no AA, so I read a lot about the topic (see below). I found a great therapist who helped me tremendously. I honestly feel like a new person now. I feel like my life just started since I’ve quit. So, please, stick with it, it’s totally achievable (and rewarding).

    • I read so many books and articles those first few years. One of my favorite books was “Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety” by Sacha Zimmerman Scoblic.

    • Also, there is a cool app called “Quit That” which tells you exactly how long it’s been and how much money you’ve saved, I’ve saved $18,862!

    Anyway, take care. You got this!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story and I passed on the info about the app to a pal today, who is considering quitting drinking! Great timing! I also really enjoyed Unwasted. Isn’t it wild how sobriety journeys can be the same and different at the same time? So far, I’d say that things have gotten most challenging around the 6 month mark. It’s as if the first few months of sobriety I was high on sobriety itself and now I’m coming down and really becoming acquainted with both my alcoholism and myself.
      Keep on keeping on!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story and opening yourself up in such a way that others can relate to what you are going through. I did not grow up in a home with alcohol however, as someone who came to motherhood later in life, trying to manage a career and take care of two children has become overly stressful. I find myself depending on alcohol to get me through the stressful evenings and I carry a large guilt for using alcohol in the first place since it was never a part of my parents’ lives. I really appreciate your honesty.

    1. Karen! Thank you so much for listening and for your kind and thoughtful words. I think it is amazing that you are being reflective about your coping strategies. Brilliant! That’s the work, tuning our ears towards our own internal voice. Good luck and thanks so much for commenting!

  6. Kirsten, you said your alcoholism didn’t look like your father’s. It never occurred to me that it could look like anything other than an actual falling down drunk. It’s made me reconsider many things. Thank you for pointing out that the same problem can have different forms.

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