Everything went as planned over the last few days and I am feeling good. Great, even. Clear-headed and healthy and proud of myself. Thank you, for each and every one of your kind words lately.

I am, however, feeling unsure about the things I’ve been sharing. I read some comments that made me feel small and red-faced and not at all like the say-it-out-loud-and-own-it the-truth-will-set-you-free person I’ve been trying to be and I don’t know, maybe I am being selfish when I spill my secrets to the world. Maybe it’s the wrong thing to do. At any rate, I’m not hitting the delete forever button but I am filing away some previously-public posts until I find my confidence again.

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Alexa
Alexa
8 years ago

I’m sorry that those commenters made you doubt yourself at all. They are jerks. I’ve really felt for you and your struggle, and I wish you all the best. I think you have a right to post whatever you want, but if you feel you need to share less to protect yourself from the jackals that makes sense too. I admire your strength and I hope things get easier for you soon.

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

Because of you, I started my blog a few years back, where I proceeded to share the intimate details of both my opiate addiction & recovery and my marital crisis & recovery. I made actual friends and got a ton of positive feedback and support. I thank you for making the decision to share all the time.

Stephanie
Stephanie
8 years ago

Linda, haters gonna hate, period. You are a rock star, whose sharing has given me new and much-needed insight into my own husband’s struggles. Congratulations on making it through the challenges of the weekend. One day at a time. One MOMENT at a time.

Jenny
Jenny
8 years ago

This is my first comment (other than a random one telling you how cute your kids are, maybe!) in a long, long time.

And I want to tell you that just from reading your posts, I have found you to be incredibly brave. Breathtakingly brave, in fact. You write in such an honest and great way, that frankly there is a book in all of this, if that is something you would ever do.

You owe no explanation for what you write, don’t write, post, delete, etc.

And just know that a stranger in Iowa is wishing your peace, success, forgiveness of yourself, and lots of love.

Autumn
Autumn
8 years ago

This literally made me cry for you. I cried for you when you relapsed because I could *feel* the pain and shame you were feeling and I hated that you hated yourself. I have been so happy to read your latest posts on recovery because you’re taking all the right steps and you’re gaining so much power and it’s been wonderful to see. My brother is a recovering alcoholic and I’ve seen how ugly addiction is and how difficult recovery is and I am really fucking proud of him and really fucking proud of you. I’m not going to tell you how much of this experience you should or shouldn’t make public because only you can decide that. I will say that I sincerely hope you don’t let those self-righteous assholes negatively impact your recovery. If it helps you to “put yourself out there” then that’s what you should do. If people rooting for you is your “higher power” then don’t let anyone block your access to it. If they can fill the internet with judgement and hate, you should not feel bad about having a little corner of it for your own to fill with hope, courage, strength, health and recovery. I’m rooting for you always.

Angella
8 years ago

Oh, NO THEY DIIN’T.

My Mama Bear has emerged. You’ve done nothing wrong, L. Haters gonna hate. xo

Christine
8 years ago

In The Ear. Like they said. Also maybe in the eye.

Those Stir commenters can be horrible. They are idiots. You are so much better than them.

You are a superstar. Your family knows that more than anyone else.

m @ random musings
8 years ago

I agree with @Christine – they’re idiots, without any empathy. Will some people disagree with your posts? of course – we all have our own opinions. But that doesn’t make your journey lesser in any way. It’s just yours. *hugs

A
A
8 years ago

Oh my hell. I went and read those comments–funny how the mean commenters admitted they had no personal experience with alcoholism or alcoholics! God, do they ever reek of condescension. Like I said in your first post about your relapse, I wish like hell my parents would be brave enough to seek treatment, like you. I knew they had a problem by age seven or eight. I could not have cared less if it were publicly broadcasted that my parents were getting help. Honestly, anyone without up close and personal experience with addiction/addicts needs to STFU and leave you alone. If they want to see what happens when you’re forced to stay silent about your demons, they’re welcome to come to my house and witness our Thanksgiving dinner.

Penne
8 years ago

Some people are so self-righteous and stupid. I once posted pictures of my kids jumping on a trampoline and got tsk-tsk comments that I am a terrible parent for letting them do something so horribly dangerous. If all they have to do is look for opportunities to be superior to someone who is very fucking bravely sharing their soul and laying their private battles out for the world, then something is terribly wrong in their world. I am so sorry that anyone made you feel small or ashamed. I apologize on behalf of every condescending prick. I admire the hell out of you and any real person who can admit they’re not perfect would also. You are an amazingly talented writer, a wonderful mom and a good person. You have demons. Who the hell doesn’t? Again, I’m sorry. Try to ignore the haters because there are so many of us supporting you. Draw strength from that. My mother in law just admitted she was an alcoholic 2 years ago at age 65. Her kids knew it all along, of course. It caused tension and awfulness their whole lives. She didn’t know her grandkids. She went to rehab and then lived with our family for 6 months until we all agreed she was strong enough to be alone…she lives a few blocks away now, healthy and happy and going to two AA meetings a day. Her admitting it and getting better made the whole family stronger. My husband and his siblings get along better now. She has a relationship with her grandkids. There’s no shame any more than if she’d recovered from cancer. We’re proud of her and love her. Sorry for rambling. Be strong, so many of us are pulling for you.

D
D
8 years ago

Thats really too bad, I was SO HAPPY when I saw your posts, as we have been struggling with my husbands drinking for years (he is a wonderful man, just a physically useless alcoholic come 6pm each day). He just entered Rehab, and I have to admit seeing you relapse and post about it made me realize the EVEN GOOD PEOPLE RELAPSE and it isn’t the end of the world if you do.

Thanks for that. and F the oversharing whiners

SJ
SJ
8 years ago

Linda, this is your story to tell, and most of us are here to listen and to support you in your journey – NOT tell your story for you. Or to tell you that you are doing it wrong, or not doing it how I would do it.

I believe you are doing a good thing, for yourself and for your family and for so many others that you’ve probably never talked to or met before. You are brave, and raw and honest – that’s why I know you will overcome.

Kaitlyn
8 years ago

I felt that I have to say something here.
Being a recovering alcoholic isn’t something that you have to hide. It’s a disease, and you are battling it. You relapsed, yes, but you’ve taken steps to get back on track and are actively taking part in your recovery through AA and therapy.
Do your children know that you’re an alcoholic? I don’t know, and honestly, it’s no one’s business how you broach that conversation with them – that’s between you and your husband. But the notion that you writing TRUTHFULLY about rising above your mistakes and making yourself better, making your life better is somehow selfish and cause for embarrassment, criticism or shame? I completely disagree with that notion.
Your children have nothing to be embarrassed of! Both they and JB and all of your other family members are proud of you. You are walking a difficult path right now, Linda and you are doing a fine job of it.
I can’t even fathom that this is something to hide. I’ve struggled with depression a lot over the years, and I really understand the feeling of being ashamed of yourself and your actions, but from the outside, Linda, please don’t be ashamed of yourself.
Feel your own strength and take energy from those who love you and support you. Travel inwards until you can see the light within yourself, because it is there and it is beautiful.
Good luck.

Amy
Amy
8 years ago

I am so, so, so sorry that you’ve had to endure idiots like this. What you are doing is amazing. The path to sobriety is extraordinarily difficult and the support of others is absolutely necessary. And there is no reason we shouldn’t support you or anyone who is working so hard to improve their life and the lives of those around them.

So yes, eff them all. My guess is that they are miserable people who have crappy lives and can only feel better by feeling superior. Shame on them all. You rock.

Hannah
Hannah
8 years ago

I’ve been thinking some more about this this morning in context of the Eleventh Tradition- in this day and age I wonder a lot about it (and there was some recent attempt to have it changed to include social media.) (Susan Cheever’s written a lot about it; she is on the anonymity is outdated camp- a lot of other alcoholics tend to use euphemisms instead of outright saying they are in AA.)

I have to admit in the past (and present) other people’s anonymity breaks have irked me. Yours didn’t as much- and I think it’s because you are being honest about where you are at. You’re not setting yourself up for head pats or making it out to be anything more than what it is-you’re quite clear about where you are- in the middle of a difficult process. I think that can only be good for you, whether it is public or private honesty.

But I do think anonymity breaks should come in a context of a greater understanding of the Eleventh and Twelfth traditions. I don’t know what the right answer for you is, but I hope you reach it after discussing the original reasons for anonymity as well as the current benefits and drawbacks to all the different approaches to anonymity us AA folk currently take. (I don’t think there’s one right way.) It’s a good one to run by your sponsor and your home group- this is one topic people are not short of opinions on. Find some people who seem to be doing well and see what their take is. In my experience, there’s no better way for me to find an answer- especially on something like this.

Hannah
Hannah
8 years ago

Also (and I’ll shut up after this!) I didn’t mean that as criticism in any way- it may have come off wrong. I just know in my experience I get the best advice about staying sober and how to do it from sober people- my non-sober friends are supportive but don’t really get certain things. (Like the time I thought I had six months because I only asked my sorority sisters, not the people in AA, if it was ok to still smoke pot.) I imagine the Internet is like that except you have idiots who don’t care giving feedback along with the well-meaning people who do care but don’t have the experience.

Laurie
8 years ago

Congratulations on facing your fears. It takes a lot of bravery to do that, and speaking to others about it helps them follow in your footsteps and find their own courage. Thanks for being a role model without realizing it.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian

I wont even try to be tactful about this one. Haters can go fuck themselves.

Clearly their comments telling you to pipe down have more to do with them, than they do you.

Again, please tell them from me to fuck the eff off.

yaya
yaya
8 years ago

I’ve been reading your blog for years and years and years and I have always loved your honesty. I respect it & it makes me feel brave in many aspects of my own life. I live my life out loud as well, with friends, strangers and online. I have made so many friends over the years by speaking the truth ‘Hi, oh yeah I had post partum depression and went down the rabbit hole, parenthood is awesome but damn hard huh?” For me, living out loud has not hindered one aspect of my life or my family’s. In my mind there is the truth and then everything else is just glossed up for facebook or the public eye. In my mind, I prefer truth and love and support in every aspect. THANK YOU..

wanda
wanda
8 years ago

Linda,

I’m sorry you are not feeling confident right now. I admire you for the strength you really do have to share everything you do. It is easy for people to leave ugly comments, since they can hide behind the internet. I hope you feel better soon.

Mariya
Mariya
8 years ago

Secrets are poisonous. Honesty and openness save lives. For every negative, ignorant troll, there are one hundred of us admiring your bravery and knowing that your sons will be better off because of it.

Heather
Heather
8 years ago

I don’t know that I’ve ever posted on your site but I’ve been reading since before Dylan was born. I’m so sorry that there have been such hateful things written when you are working so hard to better yourself and your children’s lives.

Know that your supports are legion and you are doing the right thing.

Debi
Debi
8 years ago

Ok; I’ve been following you for years and have never commented (swear I’m not creepy, much), but this got my hackles up. I think you are incredibly brave and open and candid and exactly what SO many people need to hear. I say to hell with the morons and you post whatever you want and need to. I admire you tons!

Marie
Marie
8 years ago

Some people are addicted to alcohol. Some people are addicted to drugs. Some people are addicted to sitting at their computer and being a judgmental asshole. Pick your poison.

I wish you all the best. Good for you for being honest and brave.

Larissa
Larissa
8 years ago

Do what you need to do for yourself and family. I, however, think you were brave and admirable.

angela
8 years ago

i’m so sorry that people made you feel that way. anyone who is willing to admit they have a problem and seek help is brave, courageous, and to be admired. your story helps give the rest of us confidence to face our trials.

gingerest
gingerest
8 years ago

As a kid, my life would have been a lot easier if I hadn’t had to keep the secret that my mother was an alcoholic. And I would absolutely no doubt about it have a healthier head and a better relationship to alcohol if people hadn’t insisted that having an alcoholic in the family was something to be ashamed of.
Those CafeStir commenters can go fuck a tree. Not “Tara” – I think she’s right, that we sometimes overpraise people for being decent, but there’s a difference between overpraising and destigmatizing. You are telling people you have alcoholism and you’re dealing with it. Putting a face to this and reminding people that alcoholism is a problem for intelligent, middle-class, otherwise reasonable married moms is important.
You’re a good egg, Linda, and you are an alcoholic (and a mother, and a writer, and a thousand other things). Don’t listen to sanctimonious assholes, and don’t listen to people who overpraise you, and you’ll be fine. Thanks for writing about this. You’re helping me.

Courtney
Courtney
8 years ago

I agree; secrets are poisonous. Keep your chin up and move forward Linda. Thank you for letting us be part of your cheering squad.

sara
sara
8 years ago

As an avid reader of the stir (yes, i admitted it) i can whole heartedly say that 95% of the commenters are only looking to pick a fight. Most are angry and not too bright (i was going to reference the holiday song post but someone beat me to it!). So take it with a grain of salt. I would be shocked if any of your kids friends are reading either the stir or your blog… They would probably be bored to death by both. :) Keep up the good work.. I may sound like a cornball but we’re all rooting for ya!

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

Those commenters who think it’s awful that you talk about your struggles with substance use on the internet “because of the children” remind me strongly of people who used to say that people of different races/ethnicities shouldn’t marry and have kids “because then the children will be ridiculed.” Their opinion has to do with what THEY are afraid of, not some “objective” point of view. Now, if you were posting about, say, your kid accidentally pooping in his pants at school, or something, I would definitely think that was off base, but my god, you’re not even writing about your kids, you’re writing about YOURSELF!

I do have some sympathy for the commenter whose family members were killed by a drunk driver: although we could wish for her to have more sympathy for the driver’s child (e.g., putting the driver in jail for a longer time wouldn’t likely have much more of a deterrent effect, and would most likely have a worse effect on the child’s development), a lot of humans do tend to get stuck in “revenge” mode when they or those they love have been hurt.

BTW, I’m a psychologist, and I was really touched by your posting about starting therapy. It made me proud to be in my profession. So, thanks for the warm fuzzies. :-)

kim
kim
8 years ago

I only read a few of the stir comments – I don’t know why it is, but most of the people who post comments there are complete asshats. I’m so glad they don’t follow you over here. Frankly I don’t know how you manage to deal with their wackadoodleness – curious: do you have to read the comments? Is that part of the deal?

There is nothing over-sharing-y about anything you’ve posted. Yours is one of the most honest blogs I’ve ever read – and I love that.

Katherine
Katherine
8 years ago

Everyone is in recovery from something. Here’s something I read today as part of my recovery, that made me think of you. It’s from Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection.”

“According to Dr. [Linda] Hartling, in order to deal with shame, some of us move away by withdrawing, hiding, silencing ourselves, and keeping secrets. Some of us move toward by seeking to appease and please. And some of us move against by trying to gain power over others, by being aggressive, and by using shame to fight shame….”

“…Yet all of these strategies move us away from our story. Shame is about fear, blame, and disconnection. Story is about worthiness and embracing the imperfections that bring us courage, compassion, and connection. If we want to live fully, without the constant fear of not being enough, we have to own our story. We also have to respond to shame in a way that doesn’t exacerbate our shame.”

When I read your column on the Stir, I was a little confused about the “TMI” bit in the headline. It just didn’t connect for me that anything in your posts there or here was TMI. I think your shame was rearing its head in that title, and it gleefully opened the door and invited others in to the Shame Linda party. And came they did, with presents of shame.

Fuck shame in the ear, Linda. Own your story–your lovely, complicated, unbelievably human story. And keep sharing it with the rest of us who feel you belong and feel connected with you. You’re worthy of that.

anon
anon
8 years ago

Hmm, I go back and forth on this, what is best. I really feel that writing on the internet in a non exploitative way regarding kids is an art that requires talent and discipline. I think you do it well.

You have a wonderful mix of life stories on this site. If you feel uncomfortable sharing certain things at this time in your life, good for you for taking a break.

Congrats on your 1 month recovery!

AlisonC
AlisonC
8 years ago

I haven’t read all the comments above so I might be repeating what has already been said.

People who leave nasty comments are like old fashioned bullies – they have something lacking in their own life and it makes them feel big to pick on someone who they think is weaker than they are.

The big problem here is that we can all see how strong you are being by admitting that you have your own issues and are facing up to them.

Keep strong xx

Sarah
Sarah
8 years ago

I have been reading you for years and rarely comment, but I hate that the sanctimonious asshats over at the Stir are causing you to feel like this. Their comments are only reflective of their own lives. I feel for their kids; it’s gotta suck to live with parents who are so unforgiving and judgmental.

You are a brilliant writer. The clear, almost cutting way you use words is a gift, and the lens through which you view your addiction has been incredibly helpful to me and lots of others, judging by the comments here. I’ve always thought youve had one of the best comment sections on the Internet, and that’s due to your thoughtfulness and grace.

Seriously: fuck the haters. You’re awesome. And your willingness to face your flaws is what makes you that way.

annon
annon
8 years ago

Point your bravery in the most vital direction and the rest will come together as it will.

I hope every day for your continued energy to do hard work.

melanie
melanie
8 years ago

If by “selfish” you mean “incredibly brave” and “very helpful for others who are suffering from the same bullshit”, then yes, absolutely. If you actually MEAN selfish, then no, not at all true. Because there is nothing remotely selfish about saying “hey, this is what’s up, this is how I’m dealing with it, let’s have a conversation about it”. That’s just balls-out awesomeness on your part. Whoever said eff those dudes in the comments above is 100% correct. Those people who are giving you crap for being real are the ones who are being selfish and crap. Every time I read one of your posts I am pretty much floored by how honest and real and open you are. I wish I could do that with my own b.s. You are doing it for me, so I can hide behind people like you who are braver than I’ll ever be.

Amber
Amber
8 years ago

I just wanted to add my voice in to support you. Those people over at The Stir sound small-minded and awful. You are doing your kids a tremendous service by being open and honest about your struggles and showing them the value of reaching out for help when you need it.

And it was just ugly for those commenters to bring your kids into it AT ALL. There was no reason to do that. It’s the same as people who want to ban books or control free speech because they’re “worried about the kids.” Who are they to say what will be damaging to your kids down the road? Who are they to say that you can’t handle up on things and take care of your family in a way that is best for them?

My mother went for a stint in rehab for alcohol addiction when I was 12. And if anyone had ever tried to use that against me, I would have only known how brave and honest my mom was. And how utterly grateful I was that she was getting the help she needed. And nothing else would have mattered.

Obviously you need to do what is best for you and yours, but don’t make decisions based on what some idiots over at The Stir had to say. Gah, it just hurts me that they made you question your openness. On a post about how much your openness is helping you HEAL.

Right in the ear, seriously.

Jo
Jo
8 years ago

Nothing is as important as learning that you need to take care of you. For you. For your kids. For those you love and who love you. The rest is all beside the point. You are an inspiration. You. Are. Inspiration. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget that. Please.

Sande
Sande
8 years ago

Horse cock fuck ’em in the nostrils! Bunch of Assholes is what they are!
YOU ROCK as a person, as a mom, as a wife….PERIOD!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Just wanted to say that you inspire me as a woman, a mother & a wife!

Sarah B
Sarah B
8 years ago

My father’s slow, awful death from alcoholism is still a taboo topic in our family. I would give anything in the world to have a sober dad who was still alive; to not feel relieved that he died. I read his journals after he died and they were heartbreaking. He loathed himself and thought he was the worst kind of failure. He wasn’t. He was my dad and I loved him and I tried to save him but I couldn’t. No child should have to feel that they failed at saving their parent (through therapy I now realize it wasn’t my responsibility). Because you are seeking help and working hard to build an enduring sobriety, your children won’t feel what I, and so many other children of alcoholics, felt. Your openness and honesty, both with your family and the world, is the greatest gift you could possibly give to them.

Leslie
8 years ago

I appreciate what you’ve been sharing, Linda. There’s value in it – for you and for us.

Christen
Christen
8 years ago

People are the worst sometimes. Obviously this is your story to tell/not tell, but nothing about sharing your own experience seems selfish to me. People who judge you for speaking freely about something that’s still so taboo – addiction – clearly have their own issues if they can’t even READ about someone else’s story without casting judgement. Keep doing what feels right for you and your family, of course, but please don’t edit yourself to appease some assholes.

tonya
tonya
8 years ago

Delurking…you are very brave. I do not believe you are outting yourself for attention or praise. I think you’re doing your best to keep it real, and be your honest, authentic self. It might not matter coming from someone you don’t know (and very rarely leaves a comment), but I was so proud of that one month coin – you’d have thought I earned it!

Be yourself. Live your life for yourself and your family. Be proud of the person you are. For you are worth it.

Mary Clare
Mary Clare
8 years ago

Dang. I missed your posts that were removed.

It’s a fine line, I suppose, telling our stories online. What to share and what not to share. I think you’ve found your balance about what it appropriate for you and your family. You are sharing as part of your healing and recovery process and others benefit from hearing your story.

I love the space that blogs create for new perspectives. I relate to your struggles and learn from them. Wish you the best in your journey.

sal
sal
8 years ago

Echoing so so many folks above…those commenters are thoughtless jerks. What’s the deal with the Stir?? It’s like a breeding ground for grade-A shitbags. I’m so sorry it’s made you question your decision to share your struggles with alcohol. I’ve never once, in the many years I’ve been reading your blog, thought you’d crossed any sort of oversharing line.

Fuck those confidence squelchers. Thank you for being open, honest, and awesome.

Emily
8 years ago

I haven’t read all the comments above, so perhaps I’m reiterating something that someone else already said. I just wanted to say that I find it interesting that the Stir assholes would call you out for sharing your struggles online. You’ve said before, I think, that this is your community. This is your tribe. Do they really not share their problems with their tribe? Do they really bottle it all up? No, of course not. So you do it online, so what? What’s it to them? If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. If they disagree with it, they can go elsewhere. This is YOUR space and you can do with it what you want. They? They can shove a stick up their puritanical asses and go elsewhere.

Em
Em
8 years ago

I agree with what many others are saying – it is brave of you to write of your struggles on your blog, and if it helps YOU, that is what matters. Wishing you all the best!

Becky
Becky
8 years ago

All I know is that those posts are helping people, and I do not think you wrote anything that Was too much. I read some comments and I think they were so off base and, well, concern-trolling. I hope you do what feels right to you. You rock, and don’t let naysayers get you down.