‘I’ll give you a 6-pack if you meet with me and drive around.’ I said, ‘Ok, I’ll be back later tonight.’ My heart was racing thinking about getting into a car with a man I don’t know. But I was desperate.’

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“I am a mom of two beautiful daughters and a wife. Growing up, I lived in New York City and was sexually, mentally and verbally abused since I was 4 years old by a few different men. I didn’t realize for a very long time how much that abuse hurt me or what it made me feel about myself.

I have always been an alcoholic. Whether I was drinking at that time or I was dry. It’s only been the past year and a half that I can really say I am recovering. It’s not easy every day. Some days are so hard, I am not sure I can stay sober. But, I am doing it and I will continue to.

I had my first drink at age 9 and loved how easy it was to numb the pain with a few drinks. So, that continued for most of my life. I felt like drinks were my armor, and I was safe from feeling anything when I was drunk. It was the only thing that made me feel good for a long time.

I would flirt with strangers to get drinks. Play drinking games at friend’s houses. Get so drunk at my friends’ grandparents houses that I would pass out and never be invited over again. I flirted with store owners so they would give me free alcohol or extra alcohol. Even though my dad bought me anything I wanted to drink, I didn’t want him to know just how much I really was drinking.

Courtesy of Laurie Somma

One time a store owner said, ‘I’ll give you a few 6-packs as long as you meet with me and drive around.’ I said, ‘ok, I’ll be back later tonight.’ My heart was racing just thinking about getting into a car with a man I don’t know, but I was desperate for those drinks. As he drove to upstate New York in the dark of the night, I drank those beers as quickly as I could.

I opened the window at one point and I can still feel the chilly air on my face. The world was spinning from being so tipsy and all I really wanted to do was go home. ‘Why did I get myself into this?,’ I thought. We stopped at hotels. He tried to force me to have sex with him in return for the beer, but I was able to push him off and say ‘no’ enough times. He was nice enough to stop. To this day, I am fearful of being alone with a man I don’t know, but I know I got lucky that night.

Courtesy of Laurie Somma

When my oldest daughter was around 7, I started drinking every day. We see it all the time. Moms having a glass of wine to unwind. But mine was not a glass. I was an alcoholic. Mine was a bottle of wine. At first, I would sneak around. I’d buy the bottle of wine and hide it from my husband. He had no clue. I would hurry my kids to sleep. My husband would go to bed and I would finish off that bottle of wine and sleep like a baby.

I’m sure my husband smelled the wine on my breath all the time but didn’t confront me. He did, however, ask about the bottles on the counter. I would buy new bottles every day and make him believe I wasn’t drinking them at all by throwing them out during the day when he wasn’t home. I don’t really know if I was good at this game or if he chose to not say anything.

Courtesy of Laurie Somma

After a while, I slowly stopped hiding the bottles of wine. I downplayed how much I was drinking to my husband. The reason why I stopped hiding it from him is because the desire to drink was getting so bad, I needed to be able to have a drink during the day or before I put the kids to bed. So, I snuck a glass or two of wine before the kids went to bed.

I was a horrible mom at this point. My kids would complain that they hated the way my breath smelled and I would yell at them. I was putting them in bed as fast as I could so I could finish off that bottle and yelled at them if they needed anything while I was drinking. I am so ashamed for how I was with them.

My kids knew exactly what kinds of drinks were my favorite, and that still hurts my heart so bad. At 11 and 9 years old, my kids would point out the drinks they knew I liked in the store so I could get it. I guess they saw that drinking made me more calm, and they just wanted to make me happy. I cannot believe I ever made them feel like that.

I take my kids to Florida every year by myself and have always used that as time to drink since my husband and no one is around to judge me. Usually, I would get a few bottles of wine and a 6-pack and bring it back to the hotel. I would drink while the kids watched tv or swam in the pool. Sometimes I was so drunk, I couldn’t let them go in the pool because I was afraid of something happening to them. I felt like the worst mom in the world. Which made me drink more.

Courtesy of Laurie Somma

One time, while on vacation with my kids at my mom’s house in Florida, her husband noticed how much I was drinking. I had finished off two bottles of wine, hoping no one was taking notice. At dinner, my stepfather took out a bottle of wine and asked if anyone wanted a glass, then looked at me and said, ‘I know Laurie does.’ I wanted to disappear. That made me so embarrassed and mad at the same time.

A year and a half ago, while on vacation for my birthday with my husband and kids, I went into a store and got a bottle of wine. When we got back to the hotel, I drank half the bottle and my kids wanted to go out. I was too tipsy to drive them anywhere. They were so unhappy about having to just stay in the hotel room. ‘We hate you. We’re having the worst time,’ they told me.

That was the last time I had a drink. I felt so bad my drinking was taking away so much happiness and fun my kids should have been having. I internalized all of that and it made me even more sad and in pain. Truthfully, it made me want to drink even more, but when would it end? I knew if I didn’t end it right there and then, it would never end.

Courtesy of Laurie Somma

That first year was so tough. I wanted to drink at least a couple times a day. It took a whole year for my kids to stop pointing out my favorite drinks. It was also a year of my kids not telling me my breath smelled bad. My husband, my kids and I are finally getting to spend fun time together, sober fun. My kids finally have the mom they deserve. It’s not easy and every day is a struggle, but it is so worth it.

Courtesy of Laurie Somma

Even now, 1 and ½ years into my recovery, it’s still hard. My neighbor is moving and came to my house yesterday. I could see her standing there with glasses in her hands. All I could think was, ‘Oh no, how do I tell her I am sober?’ How do I say, ‘thank you, but no thanks?’ How do I find that strength? My hands were sweaty. My heart raced. I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. Thankfully, she was gifting me the empty glasses ahead of her move. I let out a huge sigh of relief.

I get invited out to events all the time and always have to cancel if they are at a club or bar because I don’t want to put myself in that situation of loving how the air smells. That alcohol in the air smell that I used to love and adore so much. I can’t put myself in that situation anymore, at least right now. Sometimes, that makes me feel so lonely, but I know being sober is so much better than being drunk like I used to be, and I am worth it. So are my kids and husband.”

Courtesy of Laurie Somma
Courtesy of Laurie Somma

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laurie Somma of Pennsylvania. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and her blog. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more empowering stories of people overcoming their addictions:

‘I went to see my OBGYN, cried over an evil man being the baby’s father, and screamed about my sobriety. She calmly sat next to my hospital bed, and handed me the ultrasound pictures.’

‘I was ABANDONED on my grandma’s front porch with a note that said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ My own mother said those five words about me when I was only 8 months old.’

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