This Is Virginia Kerr

How I outed myself to find accountability, freedom and joy. A life without alcohol.

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Day 41. In my early days as a TV feature reporter in St Louis I would log onto a media gossip website to see if my name was mentioned.

It was. Only members of the media were supposed to be on there and they all had code names to mask their true identity.

I remember an entire thread about my weight and “black pants.” I weighed 35+ pounds more than I do now. Carried most of my weight in my hips and thighs. Still do.

This was in the throes of my food addiction. Even though I exercised everyday there was no way I could work off all the excess sugar I was consuming during my daily binges.

As a feature reporter, you can’t hide behind a news desk. You’re head to toe, in action. I would disguise my thick, pear shaped figure with black pants. Tried to anyway.

I had lots of black pants. Various styles and sizes since my weight fluctuated. I wore them every day. It was my uniform. Bright colored, solid top. Black pants.

Obviously people had caught onto my attempt to camouflage my weight gain. Comments went back and forth about the size of my butt.

As painful as it was to read, I logged on everyday..sometimes multiple times a day to see if anyone came to my defense or had something to add. I only remember the insults.

One day I asked a veteran news anchor at the station what she thought of this gossip site. She told me she “didn’t.”

I was confused. “What do you mean?” She explained that she didn’t care what was on it. “Had no use for it.”

My mom used to say something similar. “What other people say about you is none of your business. Only you know the truth and that’s what’s most important.”

Had a reminder of that today. This time from a friend who is on her own sobriety journey.

I told her I was considering shutting down the blog. That I was concerned with what people were saying about me. Mostly my close friends.

But added “this is the one thing that’s kept me from drinking.” When I come close I picture myself having to write about it. Confess. That is the final thought I have as I stare down the picture in my head of me drinking.

I often will re-read my posts. Remind myself where I’ve come from. Why I did what I did. Why I want and need this to work.

She responded “so you’re going to stop something that is helping you because of what other people think?”

I’ve read and been told that in the early days of getting sober, you must make it your number one priority.

Stay away from people, places and things that trigger you. Do whatever it takes to keep you from drinking.

I have. I’m a nighttime hermit in constant contact with my support system.

During my binge eating days I couldn’t resist reading those hurtful comments, collecting tabloid magazines to analyze the bodies of thin celebrities. Logging onto eating disorder sites…the ones where women cheer each other on during fasts and starvations.

The never-ending negative talk in my head was fed by those sites and magazines. They would trigger my binges.

This time.. Same song and dance. Different lyrics and choreography.

My focus shifted. My obsession. Morphed.

Instead of body image and weight it was to do lists and achievements. Perfectionism of a different kind.

Fueled by social media. The comparison game.

These triggers wouldn’t result in drinking binges immediately.

The busy-ness was enough to numb out for awhile.

Must keep going. Must keep doing. Must not stop. Must not feel.

I wouldn’t become aware of this pattern for years to come.

The drinking started out as a reward. “With all this running, I DESERVE a glass or two of wine at the end of the day.”

“With all this responsibility I’ve EARNED this drink to relax.”

This was my alone time. My recharging time. My self care.

The drinking culture doesn’t help.

Today it’s normal to be a drinking mom. No need to reveal how often. Just don’t get a DUI, don’t drink during the day..unless with friends of course. Act like a lady when you do it. And you’re fine.

You can even sport a tee-shirt, hat and coffee mug to brag about it. Because drinking is so “fun.”

It took 40 days and 40 nights of me denying myself of this daily ritual to see exactly what was happening and where it came from. Two glasses a night…turned into two bottles a night over 8 years.

The first 30 + days of sobriety were so emotional. So schizophrenic. I could only see flickers of clarity.

So on this 41st day I can see that what started 8 years ago was the beginning of a slow decent. So gradual I didn’t even notice I was falling.

Last night I went to bed before my husband for the first time in years. Couldn’t wait to read and have my new kind of “alone time.” Didn’t want a glass of wine. Not that night.

Just an hour before I was on the phone with a very dear friend who asked me “so without a doubt you believe you are an alcoholic?”

My response. “100 percent.”

11 thoughts on “40 Days and 40 Nights

  1. Kathy Bartolotta says:

    I so much admire you and your honesty! !! Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I so appreciate your encouragement! ❤️

      Like

  2. Sweetmama125 says:

    Please don’t stop writing. Your courage to be open and honest might be the only support some people have. Some of us can’t talk to “friends” because they don’t get it. “Well just stop,” or “just have one or two” is not helpful whatsoever and just proof they don’t get there’s so much more to it than that. There’s always going to be haters, please stick around for your supporters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh SweetMama125. Thank you for taking the time to say that. Means so much. If you only knew how much these comments help me and others struggling! #hope

      Like

  3. Barb Samples says:

    💕💕

    Like

  4. ChickenLady says:

    You got this!!!! I’m praying for you and thinking about you constantly!🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Karen Mercer says:

    Hello Virginia. Don’t stop telling your story because God is using it to help others who might have an addiction that has gripped their life and they are inspired, motivated to change by YOU! It is hard to admit our failings as we see them, to the world. When we finally admit those things in our life that are bad and yes a sin because we are using it and not God to help us, HE forgets them HE throws it into the debts of the ocean . HE is your anchor and not a bottle. Put HIS hand in yours and continue to let him guide you through your difficult times. what a great lesson for your son to see his mom admit she is not perfect but through Gods grace I will climb out of this pit! Continually praying for you.

    Like

  6. Heather says:

    You are very motivating. I think many can be helped by your honesty. I have several Mom friends going through this same addiction. Good luck to you, stay strong.

    Like

  7. I love this blog! You encouraged me to journal and I am!!

    Like

  8. sherryhon says:

    My favorite post! I started journaling privately!!

    Like

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