Harmony Hobbs is a mom of three from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who runs the blog "Modern Mommy Madness," where she has chronicled her journey to sobriety. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.
I didn’t grow up around alcohol except for when I’d hear the adults in my family whisper about people who were problem drinkers.
I discovered it on my own, almost by accident, and what I found was a magical elixir, an antidote to stress, anxiety, sadness, guilt, grief and fear. The shadows of discomfort about my body and the ever-present concern that I am not enough faded away, allowing rays of what I believed to be happiness to filter in.
Alcohol allowed me to ignore what I wanted to ignore and avoid what I wanted to avoid, and that was the first lie alcohol told me: that drinking made me happy.
With wine, vodka or whatever I happened to have in my hand, parenting children on the autism spectrum seemed less stressful — manageable, even. When I was drinking, my fears about my children and my ability to parent them lessened. Life’s burdens lifted. I felt at ease in social situations.
That was the second lie alcohol told me: that I needed it in order to make it through the day.
I started a blog, which led me to start writing for parenting websites. Eventually, this work brought in speaking engagements, publishing opportunities and a way to make money. Women in my age bracket who were struggling with motherhood, marriage and/or other aspects of life in general responded to my content because I was relatable. I mean, who doesn’t need a glass of something in order to make it through dinner, baths and bedtime? RIGHT?
The more I talked about drinking, the more acceptable it seemed. If no one was judging me, then I wouldn’t judge myself. I was home alone with three kids and multiple animals six days out of the week. I deserved to drink.
The third lie alcohol told me was that I wasn’t hurting anyone with my drinking.
Plenty of people are capable of drinking in moderation. I’m just not one of them; I like the effect too much to stop once I’ve begun.
I heard a saying recently: “One is too many and a thousand is never enough.” That is what it’s like to struggle with addiction.
“Mommy wine culture” didn’t cause my alcoholism, it just made it easier to hide. I created content that absolutely contributed to the belief that motherhood and drinking should go hand in hand, and therefore I felt that the best way for me to get — and stay — sober was to be completely open and honest about it.
The fourth lie alcohol told me was that I am worthless without it.
In recovery, I’ve gained the perspective to see that my addiction to alcohol prevented me from experiencing a life brimming over with genuine happiness and contentment. Alcohol did not make me a better parent. It made me careless, reckless, a danger on the road, a thrower of remote controls and shoes — among other things —and a screaming lunatic. By the end of it all, I was very, very depressed.
The interesting thing about sobriety is that the issues I was trying to escape through drinking seemed to disappear or resolve themselves once I began making the effort to heal. The problem was me!
The healthier I became, the happier and more relaxed my children were. In fact, I just look at my kids on days when I really don’t feel like putting in the work that it takes for me to stay sober. They’re a living, breathing reminder of why the work is worth it. At the end of the day, I’m beginning to find that I am worth it as well.