What I Treasure

I had my first drink on December 26, 1992, on my 13th birthday. I was wearing a black velvet dress with a satin bow at the waist. We were in San Antonio for a wedding, and someone handed me a mimosa.

On February 26, 2017, I had my last drink. I didn’t know it was my last drink. It makes me sad that I didn’t make an occasion out of it, honestly. It was just what was left of a bottle of red, poured into a high ball glass with a unicorn on it. If I’d known it would be my last drink, I may have savored it more. Or, maybe I would have gone to the store for a bottle of vodka and really thrown down. It’s hard to say.

Nine days later, I went to my first 12-step meeting. I did not want to go. I’ve felt feelings of shame and dread before, but nothing like this. I am ashamed that I’m an alcoholic. I am ashamed that I’m an alcoholic who has not had that bad of a life. I’m ashamed that I am an alcoholic who has not had that bad of a life, who also has a beautiful family to come home to every day.

I dread the process of getting better, because I know it’s going to be hard.

I dread the pain of shifting relationships.

And I’ll just come right out and say it: I dread the discomfort of growing as a person. I dread the arduous process of self-evaluation and feeling all the feelings I’ve stuffed down for so long. I dread fully knowing what I have done to my body and soul for the past 15 years.


How did I get here and what changed? That’s a story I’m not ready to tell. The important thing is, I do not look or act like an alcoholic. I’m well put-together. I have a home. I have a family. I put makeup on every day. I’m a good parent and friend. I have a successful writing career and a happy marriage.

There is no way to know what people are struggling with in the quiet.

I’ve always been the kind of person who is picky about her friendships, preferring quality over quantity, and announcing via social media that I’m in a 12-step program has weeded out a LOT of undesirable people. I can practically hear the whispers from here: Harmony’s an ALCOHOLIC. Did you see that?! I neeeeeeeever would have imagined she was … you know … an alkie.

THAT’S RIGHT, BITCHES. I can hear you talking, so I’m going to answer you. I am a full-fledged, raging alcoholic. Alcohol dulls my pain like nothing else, but it also damn near ruined my life. I’m approaching my recovery by taking full ownership of all of it. The ugly, the funny, the sad, the embarrassing and the foolish.

What kind of mother allows herself to become an alcoholic?

Me. I did.

This afternoon, I was going through my son’s school papers when I came across this essay he wrote. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting my favorite parts.


I really needed this today.

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6 thoughts on “What I Treasure

  1. I could LOVE this a thousand times over. I’m really actually, ironically, looking forward to this journey for you (and for me, less publicly, but me too) because I feel like it will give a WHOLE NEW outlook to frustrated and stressed-the-f-out parents. Go you. You go, girl. For real!


  2. I find it interesting that you feel you don’t look or act like an alcoholic. What does an alcoholic look or act like? Is it someone who’s on skid row or falling down, a mess? I think you may find, as you journey through your recovery, that more alcoholics look like you then you think. Your recovery will be hard but so worth it. Keep writing…I find your honesty beautiful and hard and painful. I’m pulling for you!


  3. There is so much here that I can relate to. It’s almost like my very own story, but this line is 100% me: “I am ashamed that I’m an alcoholic who has not had that bad of a life.”
    I have the full onslaught of “Yets” that they discuss in AA meetings: never arrested for an alcohol related matter, no DUIs, no rehab centers, no homelessness, no relationships tarnished by alcohol, etc., etc. I just knew…deep down, I just knew I wasn’t drinking like a normal person should drink. I was using it as a crutch to deal with my depression, anxiety, stress, self-hatred and all the other negative stuff I didn’t like.
    But, thankfully I’m on a different path….one that seems to be shared with people like us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you should be very proud of yourself for recognizing that you have a problem and doing what you have to do to fix it. As someone with real, scary, all-encompassing life problems, I appreciate you sharing yours so that I feel less alone in mine.


  5. I hope you receive more support than you could have imagined, and I’m sorry that your revelation wasn’t met with openness and support. Your decision to join AA could not have been made lightly, nor could your decision to share that information. I wish you nothing but successes on this journey.


  6. I’ve been reading your blog and “liking” but not commenting maybe because it hits so close to home for me. My father was an alcoholic and I fear that my 34 year old daughter is as well. I have often wondered if I am or if my husband is. We grow grapes and have a vineyard and drink wine every day. It’s a passion and a hobby and a way of life for us. I think you are so brave! I just want to say that I am pulling for you. I am saving your blogs to share with my daughter in the hopes that she may see herself and take some positive action. Sending hugs and positive thoughts. 💕


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