From the August 2014 magazine.

The Double Life of Paola

She was excited to be in the U.S., but her drinking took off, and she had to keep it a secret

I was excited when my husband got a job offer in the U.S. I thought maybe I could start a new life with our 6-month-old baby. Maybe things were going to change about my obsession to drink. Maybe everything finally would make some sense. I was a stay-at-home mom living a good life, taking care of my boy and having “fun.” But I was drinking alone and hiding it from everyone. I started to feel sicker and sicker, and I kept that secret too. I had a double life. How could I tell anyone? I didn’t know what was wrong with me.

Growing up in my country, I do not remember knowing drunken women. Alcohol was for men. A woman had to be a lady and drink like a lady. I never told anyone, not even my closest friends, how much I drank. I felt so alone. Me, an alcoholic? To me, there was no such a thing as an alcoholic woman.

-- Paola M.

Atlanta, Georgia

This is a preview. To view the full article, use the link below to begin a free 7-day trial!