Pregnancy Helped Save Me From Alcohol

Healthy Living 38

For many years of my adult life, I abused alcohol. I don't talk about this very often, but I've been pretty up front about it—at least, as much as I can bear to be. As a result, people sometimes ask me how I managed to stop drinking. I wish I had an easy answer for them, or maybe even something uplifting about doing a personal inventory and finding inner strength and accepting help from others ... but really, the answer is this: I got pregnant.

Pregnancy did something no amount of counseling, Antabuse, or tearful ultimatums could do: it unequivocally took away the question of whether or not to drink. From the moment the second pink line on that stick appeared, I no longer had a choice in the matter.

When I was still drinking, when I knew I had a problem, I used to feel an angry sort of jealousy over people who could sip their drinks. Leave an inch in the bottom of the glass when they get up from the dinner table. Say, "No thanks, I'm good" when someone asks can I get anyone another beer. Because that was never, ever me. I monitored the level of liquid in my glass with obsessive precision: if I make it last until the appetizer is done, I can get a second glass for dinner. Four bottles sitting in a six-pack holder in our fridge would make me anxious, because oh god that's only two beers each. With each swallow I was looking toward the next, an endless blind groping toward numbness.

I don't know how I ever thought I was enjoying myself.

Then, just a few short months after a shameful set of consequences that happened as a direct result of my drinking, I was expecting a baby, and everything changed. I don't pretend it is a silver bullet. Abracadabra, you're cured!—no, that's not how it works. But what that pregnancy gave me was time. Time off from that endless struggle of deciding whether or not to drink. Months of distance that is so healing in an abusive relationship.

The kind of distance (I'm not going to see him anymore) that can be so hard to achieve when you keep going back (he says he's sorry, it will be different this time), distance that helps you remember that you can get by, you don't need it, and things are actually better this way.

Here is what I learned: I am happier in a thousand ways, in a million ways, than when I was drinking. I don't want to numb this life any longer, I want to remember every moment.

Eventually the glass or bottle that used to hold so much power over me, that used to become the brightest glowing object in the room, with Alice's DRINK ME scrawled all up and down its sides, is just ... an object. It's there, or it's not, but either way, I don't have to worry about it anymore. My own sweating glass of lemonade is calm, benign, I don't feel the need to quickly suck up all its contents until there's only watery ice left, and oh, what a relief. What a blessing. How heavy those chains were that wrapped around my neck, and how good it feels now, how light and how hopeful.

It isn't a course of action I'd recommend ("Looking to quit? Just get knocked up!"). It's nothing I'm proud of. It's just part of my story, one more way parenthood has changed me.

alcohol, drinking, emotional health


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Anast... Anastazia975

Wow. I think that takes a whole lot of guts to speak so truthfully about your journey. That takes an honesty many people do not have. I wish you well on your journey to staying sober. I know it really does take a day by day approach. I'm the adopted child of an addict that could not get sober, and that was a tough thing as it is in life. You actually have the courage to look the dragon in the eyes and decide to be well. That is such a grand gift to give you and your little ones. Many blessings to you!

shann... shannipoo714

In many ways, your story was much more powerful than a personal inventory or amazing insight. You chose the most unselfish reason to stop one of the most selfish acts. I have worked in rehabs and with addicts and not all pregnant women can/will/want to stop. Thank you for sharing your story.

aaf237 aaf237

Congratulations on your sobriety and the courage to share it with the world! 


Jasmine Rivera


I was thinking this very thing this morning. 

Having my son is the reason I am where I am today.  At just 20 years old, I was living the life of a functioning alcoholic and I wasn't even the legal drinking age. I was struggling to start my sophomore year of college, when I found out I was pregnant as a result of clouded judgment. I knew from the moment I found out that my life had to change, which meant giving up the booze and the guy.  Yep, jumping straight into single-motherhood before my child was even born was the most difficult decision but I knew it was the best. Just five years later at the young age of just 25, I have graduated from college and now working on my graduate degree.  I own my home, car, etc.  And I have the most wonderful boy, which unknowingly gave me my life back....

dirti... dirtiekittie

beautiful linda, thank you for sharing. it is not easy to walk away from that glass or bottle, to turn your back on an addiction like that. been there, and much like you, my daughter saved me. i was partying and drinking and living just recklessly until i found out i was pregnant, and then i knew things had to change.

for some folks, they need the personal inventory. some people need the inner will power to stand up and say 'no more'. and some people just need a light to guide them the right way - weren't we lucky our "lights" were such wonderful additions to our lives? :)

reiki... reikiharmony

This is so well written and powerful. Your writing brings to mind the author Janet Fitch, but with it's own unique voice. Thank you so much for sharing.

Keya25 Keya25

This isn't the way i wanted to introduce myself but I feel I have to. You made a post similar to this a couple months back and for someone who doesnt really drink at all YOU PULLED ME IN. I've been visiting this site for a while and I've always loved your posts, your humor makes me feel like we could be great friends (im sure you hear that ALL the time but hey...honest). From reading that original post it made me want to find out more about you and I found your blog. Without sounding too loopy I have to say that I went back & i read all of your blog posts, you made me LMAO in my office on more than 1 occasion and It was like i got to be there. To see your transition. I was there when you & your husband were newlyweds with Cat and Dog and even when you wrote about the events that led up to Riley's conception and birth, including "the battle". I was supposed to be working but ummmm, lets say you are WAY more entertaining than answering the phone :)!! Linda, you are strong. Very strong and I admire you and I think you rock sooo many socks! Every accomplishment you gain and all the good things that come your way are more than deserved. I am so happy for you. You are stronger than that % in a bottle.

nonmember avatar Kelly

Thanks for writing this. I definitely identify with you! I never classified myself as having a problem, but I do feel so "free" around alcohol now that I'm pregnant. It's amazing, and I never thought I would feel this way. It's definitely making me think.

Gypsy... GypsyMa76

Congrats! & Same here. Much love to you.. stay strong Mama <3

1-10 of 38 comments 1234 Last