Monday, August 27, 2018

Out of the Bottle~

I've been sharing my sober story publicly quite often lately, so I decided to share a written version of it here with you for today's blog.

It has taken me some time to be ready to share this part of myself openly. But as my love and passion for sobriety grows, I realize more and more that it is my duty and part of my purpose to share with others.

It is my greatest hope that in sharing here, someone else might be moved off of this very destructive path.

So, here it goes...

Like so many of us, my story starts at a fairly young age.

I grew up surrounded by addicts and alcoholics.

My father was in & out of the rooms of AA and used to bring me to meetings with him. While I didn’t really understand it at the time, I am so thankful for that now. 

He was showing me a way of life outside of alcoholism and addiction even though he was still figuring it out himself.

When I was 21 my father lost his life to this disease, on a motorcycle with alcohol in his system. Now he is my guardian angel on this path.

While I experimented with plenty of other things/drugs growing up, they always ran their course and when I was done, I was done.

Alcohol was always the one thing that I came back to. It was always more available to me and more acceptable, at least in my own mind.

I was raised mostly by my mother who was and still is a drug addict. She was also a drug dealer, so there was random people and activity in & out of our house and our lives for a good portion of my childhood.

I remember yearning for my mother’s love, time and attention and feeling like I could never quite get my cup filled.

Over time, the amount of men who hung around increased, many of which would “babysit” me. One in particular became her “best” friend and also the one she would trust to leave me with the most.

That man began sexually abusing me on a continual basis when I was around 9-10 years old and that went on and escalated for about 7-8 years. (That's a whole story for another time.)

For the purpose of this post, he was also the one who gave me my first drink when I was 14 years old. When that feeling kicked in for the first time, I realized that alcohol was how I was going to get through it all until I could somehow get out.

And that is how I began to learn how to deal with things and life.

That’s how I coped with being violated for nearly 10 years.

When I was 18, my mom went to prison one more time and I became the one that was going to care for my 1 & 3 year old brother and sister.

Alcohol was the thing that would soothe the pain of losing my mom to drugs yet again.

In my 20’s it just seemed the normal thing to do. At this point I was married and having my own babies, but in between pregnancies and responsibilities, it was always about the party.

Alcohol was my friend when I was learning how to be a mom and a wife in my early 20’s.

Alcohol was there when I was having troubles in my marriage.

For years, I would spend every Friday and Saturday getting drunk and every Saturday and Sunday nursing the hangover.

Sure, we had some good times. Until it wasn't good anymore.

I would continually justify that lifestyle for myself because I would sometimes maintain and not drink during the week. Plus, we had a nice looking life in our 20’s - big house, nice cars, things looked really good on the outside!

All along though, there was this voice inside that told me I needed to watch myself. I was prone to addiction and alcoholism - the proof was all around me.

Into my 30’s my siblings grew up and moved out and eventually it became clear after 15 years I was in a marriage that wasn’t working anymore.

Even though I was the one that called for the separation, I was not prepared for how painful my divorce was going to be. 

There were days I wanted to die.

For 15+ years my identity was completely wrapped up in being a wife and a mom, and suddenly I had no idea where life was going or who I was.

I found myself in the deepest pit of darkness that I could have never seen coming.

Que my best friend, alcohol.

Only this time I had a little talk with myself and this made my drinking "okay” for a little longer.

I said to myself, "this hurts so bad that I'm just going to drink until it feels better. And then I’ll get control of things!”

I gave myself permission to drink through the grief. The problem was the “agreement” with myself didn't have an end date. This went on for 4 years and there was really no end in sight.

Until a little over a year ago.

I may have never gone to jail, hospitals, institutions, etc., but my material world was falling apart. I was so broken down, alone, full of shame and defeated inside.

At that point I had lost my job, was about to lose my apartment and was drowning in a financial mess, but I could find every other reason to blame aside from my drinking.

Until I ran out of reasons.

I woke up that last morning on my bathroom floor with my earbuds in and 17 missed calls from a friend I had been talking to the night before.

This time I knew that if I didn’t do something I was going to end up dead and everyone was going to be shocked.

I had become so good at hiding my problem and making people believe I was only a social drinker. Nobody knew I was drinking to oblivion, alone.

That little voice of reason within me got louder and louder, and something about that day said I was done.

I decided to take baby steps and posted in a Sober Facebook group to ask for help. It wasn’t long before I found myself going to AA meetings.

I never thought I’d find myself in those rooms for myself. Surely I wasn’t one of them! It obviously didn’t work for my dad and I was never going to end up like my mom, so surely I could fix myself... right?!

This time though, I was done trying to control this beast on my own. This time I was ready to try something new.

I kept listening to that voice inside telling me to watch myself. I kept feeling the presence of my father’s support, and I kept going to meetings. Eventually, I found a sponsor, worked the steps, and I continue to do the work today.

Something beautiful has changed and is changing inside of me.

Many of you know I have done a LOT of work on myself over the past 7 years to overcome the weight of my past. I am thankful for every bit of it, for it has ALL served it’s purpose and has brought me here.

But this path of recovery, where I have gotten to take a deep dive look at my relationship to alcohol, has been like nothing else. This has given me the freedom to begin to step up and create the life I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl.

I urge you, if you are struggling and have ever had even a tiny hint of questioning whether or not you have a problem, that is your answer right there.

You don’t have to do AA/NA/whatever-A. There are so many paths and resources out there. Find what calls you. Something. Go there. Dive in. Get help.

Find the beautiful life that is waiting on the other side for you. It doesn’t have to get worse before it gets better.

It will take work and it won’t be easy, but it will be worth every step. I promise.

If you want help finding a place to start, please feel free to message me. We’re in this together.

Always love,

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