The Wine, the Witch, and the Toilet Paper

A big block in my recovery from alcohol addiction (and addictions that followed) was deciphering the difference between seeing the situation for what it really was versus seeing the situation for how I hoped it was. Looking back I can see that I was more or less under the influence of Lisa, rather than the influence of alcohol. Alcohol, basically, exacerbated my thoughts. Even the anticipation exacerbated my thoughts. It helped me have the courage to say words that couldn’t otherwise find their way out of my mouth. It also gave me the nerve to say words that were better left unsaid. Unaltered Lisa was already hexed. I didn’t need alcohol to mess up my thinking. I craved alcohol in an attempt to gain some clarity. What an idiot. (I say that in the most loving of ways.)

But here is my point, it was easier to wrap it all up in a convenient, albeit tangled, lie than to actually put it out on the table and unravel it. It was easier to go into therapy and pretend I didn’t have a drinking problem, then to actually look at the fact that I had an incredibly, unbelievably, almost uncontrollable, desire, and craving for alcohol on a daily basis. It was easier to tell my therapist, I have a little wine at night but he leaves the tp roll empty, he knows I hate when he does that, why does he do that, he also, if he won’t stop I will blah, blah, blah.

Never mind that I was drinking a bottle of wine every night—alone. Never mind that I went to the grocery store for diapers and bread, but came home with bagels and booze. Let’s stay on topic here people … we came to therapy to talk about him changing. At least that was my hope.

And so it went.

The funny thing: I actually believe this shit. Really, truly, I did. I believed with every fiber of me that I was a portion of my problem, but clearly I was not my problem. I righteously hung my life, my happiness, upon another person’s actions or lack of. (Refer to toilet paper example in paragraph three.)

You know what happened?

He started to keep up on the toilet paper. What did I do? I went and found something else to be agitated about. Geez, can you not use so much water, have you seen the water bill lately? At this juncture I am alcohol free, but far from being a person I like. BUT, because I made the leap (btw it felt like a suicide jump) to get sober, he needs to be better (aka perfect) so I can be happy.

Again, therapy!

What, I got sober for me? What is this nonsense you speak of? I got sober to make our marriage better. Why do I have to do all the changing?


It’s my job to make me happy. I can hope, and wish, and pray all I want that [insert name] does this for me, but it may or may not happen. If I want it to be different I change me. Not change me first, just change me.

I had never learned this simplest of principles.

The world I see around me is a reflection of the world I see within me. I am frustrated with [insert name] because I am frustrated with me and I have not yet dealt with it. The problem is within my perception. The solution is within my perception.

My 2014 re-Solutions:

    1. Smile and bring my own roll of toilet paper. It doesn’t matter who left it empty.
    2. Remember that others make changes for themselves, not for me.
    3. Don’t drink today.

What a concept.


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18 Responses to “The Wine, the Witch, and the Toilet Paper

  • I turned blaming into an art form, Lisa. Even though I would admit, grudgingly, that *perhaps* I may sometimes overdo it just a *wee* bit (read: 30-40 oz vodka daily) and may have a tiny, tiny part to play in the theatre of my own misery – it was THEM who were the real problem. I remember once literally on the floor, beating the laminate with my fist, tears in my eyes, screaming to my wife and the world, why do * I * have to be the one who *always* changes!? Why me? Oh poor me! And I meant it. I felt that it was everyone else’s obligation to change to suit me. And while I had that tiny part, I was the victim.

    We know this role well, don’t we? ha ha

    And I too did the therapy thing for a dozen years, paying someone to listen to my lies, denying any sort of involvement about my drinking and trying to put order to something that was in disarray and that would always be in disarray until I was ready to come clean about it. And that took me time. Took me several bottoms to get there.

    What you say about having a Lisa problem and not an alcohol problem is brilliant. Because that’s really the deal – it’s not the liquid – that’s just an agent for me getting to more me. It’s the matter between my ears that was the real culprit. The lack of connection to the Creator. Running away inside.

    Wonderful start to the new year, my friend. I love your re-solutions,

    Thank you for this…awesome.


    • “Blaming into an art form.” How is it you make it sound so eloquent? 🙂 Looking towards another good day and hopefully another good year of sober blogging with you.
      Blessings back, Lisa

  • I like the phrase, “under the influence of Lisa”. 🙂

    • I was surprised when I typed it, but it’s true, isn’t it!
      Happy New Year Ronnie. I am incredibly behind on blog reading, but you are on my mind nonetheless. Lots of love, Lisa

  • I’m glad I brought my own toilet paper—today at least–for a change

  • So great to hear this…especially from you. Man, I’ve been learning, painfully, that not only do I blame (and think about, and judge) other people, I don’t even realize I do it most of the time! The hardest thing, I see now, about me getting sober has been admitting that I am not always right, that I am not the one I say I am, I am not the whole picture–I’m a blurry portion of it, and I’m obviously (now) seeing it way out of perspective! It’s a journey… xx

    • DDD, I love reading this … especially from you. I feel I have journeyed with you over the past year. You were one of those people whose blog post I always looked for. You have that incredible gift of expressing rich thought. I was not capable of blogging in early sobriety. I wrote a lot, but only in my journal. I have always admired your fortitude in both sobriety and (especially) your writing. Even this comment touches the core of me. I see you growing and it is so beautiful. You have been a nice part of my online recovery. Thank you for sharing your heart with us all. Me xx

  • I keep blaming my family (for looking after what I eat or not eat) for my obsession with food. I am sooo good at doing that. It is always easier to point fingers than to look inside oneself. I look forward every Sunday to read you. I love learning. I need to keep unlearning.
    Love to ya.
    Happy new year, dearest Lis.

    • Beautiful Erika,
      I did my fair share of blaming over the holidays. The good news … I can say I am sorry and start over. Thank you for your love and friendship. And let’s get on the schedule for next week or so. Me xx

  • Blaming others and blaming life was what kept me drinking. That was the fuel to my fire. I was great at avoiding myself. I drank because my husband was a sex addict, I was the “good” one (if by good we mean not physically cheating, but that’s about it) and because he was hurting me I deserved a drink. I drank because my life had been horrible in the short amount of years I’d been here, and I thought that entitled me to drink. Like you I drank “under the influence of Laurie” and it magnified everything about me. I drank in part because then I could say the things that were really happening inside my head instead of keeping up the pretense that they weren’t going on. I really related to what you said about drinking to find clarity – HA! It’s sad but true. I remembered a lot of my “drunks” and would go back over them and see the truth inside what I said, to gain clarity on my own pain. Or what I thought was clarity. It was really just my crazy mind at its finest. And that’s the mess I’ve been unraveling since getting sober – changing my perception and taking responsibility.
    Thank you so much for posting this. Loved it and related so much.

    • As you relate to me, so do I to you. It warms my heart to read what you wrote. It seems the longer we remain alcohol free AND work on the inside of of self, the clearer we get on life. It never amazes me (or maybe always amazes) me how much there is to still learn. I have so much to open up to. At the same time, I have learned to be here, in today, being my best me. Thanks for sharing. I love hearing your journey. It helps me. much love, me

  • I should always come late to this party, because the comments are as enlightening as the post itself! Happy New Year, Lisa! Your toilet paper is my dishes in the sink… I believe I am the only person in my house who knows that we have a machine that will wash dishes for us (although, come to think of it, to the rest of my household I am the dishwasher!).

    In any event, here is my take-away: “I am frustrated with (insert name, and I believe you could insert the name yourself, because I have complained to you so many times) because I am frustrated with me and have not dealt with it yet.” The good news, or progress, is that even when I am deep into the frustration, I know the above statement to be true. Now I just need, once and for all, to actually solve the problem. Maybe you could provide that solution for me in next week’s post 🙂

    It’s already a great 2014, because I have my first dose of Wisdom from Lisa!

    • You answered something important in your first paragraph. Yes, they have a dishwasher—you! Stop being the dishwasher. Let them pile up. You have as much to gain as they do. You don’t want to look at the dishes anymore then they want to wash them or put them in the washer. There is always something for both ‘parties’ to gain. The issue is getting caught up in your gain, not getting caught up in the other person’s gain.

      So, I have my topic for Sunday. I love you. Thank you for supporting the blog (and me) this past year. You are a great part of my life. I am grateful for your friendship.

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