I Am An Autism Mom and I Am An Alcoholic

by Cheairs Graves, Redefining Typical



So beautifully packaged.



Pouring you into a cup so that I can breathe.

Waiting for that five o’clock hour so that you can help me.

Shhhh….nobody can know.

It is our little secret.

I will only bring you forth from your bottle when nobody is looking.

When he is with the kids I will sneak to the kitchen and grab you.

I will pour.

Don’t worry I won’t leave you alone for long.

I need you.

You help me.

I deserve you.

My son has autism.

Six letters no mother should ever have to hear.

Six letters that leave me on the cold kitchen floor.


Holding my knees.

Clinching my fists.


My back hitting the wall.

And I am alone.

So very alone.

And my sweet boy rolls on the ground.

In a world that I do not know.

And my  precious girl. She needs me. Oh, how she needs me.

And I stand.

I walk to your most sacred place where you are kept.

I take hold of you.

My heart begins to slow because you…..my most beautiful wine…..you will help me.

And I pour you.

I take a sip.

Because you my friend -you help me to stand.

And the one glass of wine to take off the edge….. turns to two.

Two turns to three.

Three to four.

One bottle of wine turns to two bottles of wine.

And I yell at my children.

And when my husband  travels I drink more.

And when he is home I drink more.

Trips to the store to make sure I have enough of you.

Because I can’t do it.

I can’t do it without you.

My sweet, sweet friend.

My wine.

And then I pass out.

Leaving him.

Leaving them.

All alone.

I wake in the middle of the night.

Head pounding.

Face splotchy and red.

I can’t remember conversations with my husband.

My marriage-slipping away.

My daughter’s questions-“What are you drinking mommy?”

And more lies come from my lips as I laugh, “It is mommy juice.”

The planning.

The scheming.

To make sure I have enough of my new best friend.

My  beautiful-fun-wine.

But I am still there.

Curled up on the cold kitchen floor.

Hands around my knees.


And this best friend.

My wine.

This lovely liquid that I chose for my Oxygen Mask.

It is chocking me.

It is killing me.

And I will die.

But I can’t give up my best friend.

I am scared to give her up.

I don’t know how…..

What will I do without her?


It has been two years and ten months since I have had any alcohol.

It was on bended knee that I started seeing an amazing therapist whose grace, gift, and loving hands have helped guide me on this road of recovery.

It  was with great hope that I went to see my physician who started me on an antidepressant.

It was my husband who held me tight and whispered the words  “I love you. We will get through this.” when I told him that I did not know how to stop drinking.

It is with encouragement of family, friends, and you that I began to share my journey through my blog. To cry the tears in the written word and let others hold them and wipe them away.

I had to let go of that friend.

I had to say good-bye to my most precious wine.

Oh, she still calls my name.

But I won’t go back.

I can’t


I can feel the pain.

I can feel the sad.

They won’t crush me.

I am not alone.

I have my husband.

My children.

My writing.

My therapist.

My exercise.

My friends.

My church.

They lift me when I can’t stand.

They hold me when I cry.

They rock with me when the pain feels like too much.

Yes, they are my oxygen mask.

My glorious and wonderful oxygen mask.

And they-yes they- help me to breathe.

Coyright Cheairs Graves March 22, 2012

Photo Credit to Susan Lowe at http://www.sflphotography.com


Cheairs can be found at Redefining Typical. She writes about her most supportive and gentle spirited husband and their amazing, sweet, and fun-eight year old son Dawson who has autism and their ever moving, energetic, and peace loving six year old typically developing daughter Mae Mae.  She writes about their life: the joy, the sorrow, the triumphs, and everything in the middle. She is forever in the process of Redefining Typical.You can also find Cheairs at her Redefining Typical facebook page.


Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

53 responses to “I Am An Autism Mom and I Am An Alcoholic

  1. You are an amazing mother, wife, friend, writer. You selflessly share your life to give *us* the strength to stand, to breathe.

    Thank you, Cheairs.

  2. So beautifully written, and so honest. Thank you for sharing this. I believe you will help more people than you know.

  3. Steph

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing. I am also in recovery, sober 7 years on March 31st, and am raising my 9 year old son and 6 year old triplets who have autism. It’s the most important thing—to realize that you are not alone. And to hear someone else’s journey, the triumphs in life and how they keep it going. Please keep sharing, you inspire so many.
    Thank you.

    • Tammy

      Hi Steph! Just saw your post. Congratulations on your almost 7 year sober birthday! That is awesome! Just needed to tell you that I also have 6 year old triplets who have autism. Nice to know that there is someone else out there with triplets on the spectrum, too. My husband is the Stay at Home dad and he is also a recovering alcoholic going on 2 years next month. So cool to see your post. Thank you for sharing about yourself!

  4. Wow…amazing post. Hugs to you.

  5. WonderfullyFi

    Wow. I’m crying here. You are so brave….I haven’t been that brave yet. Depression is debilitating and I can’t tell you how many times I have reached for the bottle because I can’t cope.
    I’m still in control of it, it’s early days but you’ve helpd me in so many ways by writing this. I can see that I need to find other ways to escape before I lose that control.
    Thank you

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your brutal honest. It’s like a punch in the gut and so beautifully written. I know this post will help so many women.

  7. Sobbing huge tears. You are so brave, so truthful. So necessary to do many of us who don’t even know you. Thank you for this beautiful, fragile gift of your truth.

  8. therocchronicles

    Thank you so much for being so brave and so honest. This post will help so many people.

  9. Pingback: » I am an autism mom and I am an alcohalic. Redefining Typical

  10. Thank you for sharing such a raw, brave and honest post. Like others have said, it will help many others. 2yrs and 10 mos is a huge, hard-won accomplishment. I’m so glad you found the support you need to conquer and breathe again.

  11. So beautiful. I’m an ADHD/ODD mom, not an autism mom, but I can understand the desire to just forget for a while. There’s a reason why I rarely drink — if it worked, it would be too tempting to keep going back. Your honesty and courage have moved me.

    Laura at The ODD Mom — Loving, living and laughing with an ADHD/ODD child

  12. Holly

    Cheairs, this is an amazing entry. You are one of the strongest mommies I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Thank you for sharing your journey and beautiful writing with me!

  13. *hugs* You are never alone. We are all in that boat with you… And we all know what this feels like whether its alcohol or food or other diversions used to forget for just a while. .. *hugs* and congrats on almost 3 yrs of sobriety.

  14. rhemashope

    your best writing yet, beautiful and brave, friend.

  15. Beautifully written, Chaeirs. *hugs* You are quite an amazing woman.

  16. You can feel the emotion in every word of this post. Like others have said, you have helped many more people than you possibly know.


  17. Diana

    I celebrated 5 years of sobriety on March 14th. I have my “isms” of my life – autism and alcoholism. They are so intertwined that I often refer to the steps I take towards sanity in one to help with the other. You are not alone….in either ism…….

    Thank you for you post!

  18. You. Are. Inspiration. Period. Your spirit, your grace, your honesty…I am honored to call you my friend. xoxo

  19. So beautiful and brave. You missed out one thing though- you have us. We can all breathe together.

  20. jess

    oh, cheairs, this is so brave.
    love, my friend.

  21. Gail

    Your story is amazing and VERY familiar! I am 2 years and 8 months sober. My son has special needs and I too, once lived for 5:00 o’clock. Your whole story is the exact same as mine (except my best friend was vodka)! I had chills all over my body reading your story! Thank you for your honesty!!! I don’t know you, but I feel like you are my friend.

    • Gail,
      Wiping away tears from reading your comment. Congratulations on two years and eight months sobriety. So proud of you!!! I walked home tonight with my daughter from her spring festival. We looked at the stars together and she talked about the clouds in the dark sky. I held her hand and breathed in every moment with her……a moment that I never would have had if I had not stopped drinking…..and another moment of recovery.
      Thank you for helping me know I am not alone.

  22. Ann Davies

    So honest, Cheairs! So wonderfully written! You are strong, so strong! I am so proud of you for doing what was best for you and your family no matter how difficult it was. You are an inspiration to me and many others!

  23. It took guts to write this! I really enjoy reading your blog in general, but after reading this and catching a glimpse of where you’re coming from, all your posts seem that much more beautiful.

  24. fran

    very heartbreaking story but easily understood. thanks for writing this. if you need anything let us know. we are always here for you love fran and joe

  25. HeatherEO

    This is beautiful and you’re so brave. Thank you for your honesty and grace.


  26. Tammy

    Thank you for sharing! I truly hope that the obsession has been lifted from you by your higher power. Thank you for being a gift to all of us on this overwhelming journey in the world of autism.

  27. Wow, keep doing what you are doing. Your blog touched me. You are awesome and amazing. I am glad that we connected and proud to have met you. You are an inspiration!!!! You have my support always!!!!

  28. Stopping by via Just Write. am so glad I did. What a hard story to tell. and what a brave heart to do just that. I can’t decide what hurts most…the fact you have to face this or the fact that so many others can relate. I pray they hear your story of redemption. and that it touches them as much as it touched me.
    thank you.
    All for Him,

  29. As the child of an alcoholic mother, I say thank you. Now that I am a mother myself, I often wish my mother were still alive today so that I could tell her I understand…that I want to support her and help her beat her disease. People like you that share your very personal struggle help people like me rewrite the pain of our childhoods. I am able to see my mother in a different way.

  30. Pingback: » Trying to say Thank You Redefining Typical

  31. Pingback: » Camp and Autism Redefining Typical

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