I was always a drinker. I had never been good at it though. I started drinking at a young age. I hung out with that crowd and that is what we did. As I got older, drinking became the main source of my social life. Having dinner and drinks with my girlfriends. Having wine nights. Going on dates and meeting for drinks. It was completely acceptable to drink. I always had been able to manage my life. Always. Drinking was just a part of who I was. Somehow over the years, the weekend drinking turned into needing a glass of wine at night to shake the stress of the day. That glass a night, turned into two glasses, which led to a bottle. Sometimes two. This wasn’t every day but also not occasional.
My rare nights out, I would promise myself, “I will only have one drink and go home.” I was lying to myself. Never, ever, in my life, had I been able to have just “one drink.” I started having blackouts. Wake up and not remember anything from the night before. I would spend the day after drinking recovering. Throwing up. Sick. Telling myself I need to learn my limit. I had even been so hungover I was unable to play with my son. All of that made me feel like such a loser but the idea of not drinking gave me anxiety.
I had gotten drunk more often than I would like to admit. I embarrassed myself more times than I can count because of my alcohol use. I can go on and on about all the things I have done while under the influence. But it didn’t phase me. I would feel sorry for myself for a short time. I would feel ashamed of my behaviors, but I still drank. If I had a good day, I wanted to drink to celebrate. If I had a bad day, I needed a drink to deal with it. If I was sad, a drink would help distract me. If I was happy a drink made it that much better. I was the person that found the need to involve alcohol as much as I could. I treated myself with alcohol and used it as a coping skill, which, I never saw it to be a problem.
I think it is fair to say, I had been on a search for personal development for many years. More so, since I had my son. I was on this mission to become whole, happy, and healthy. I had periods in my life where I felt I had found my key to happiness. Those were all short lived. I was looking for answers in myself to create my own healing. The thing I did not acknowledge was the fact I was broken spiritually. So, no matter how many therapy sessions I went to, no matter how many self-help books I read, no matter how much meditation I did, I was still sad and broken.
My soul searching was disastrous; I was a mess. An absolute mess. My life looked so good on the outside though. I had a career, a beautiful son, my home was kept up, I drove a nice car, I was even paying all my bills on time. I made it to the gym. I went to family dinners and talked to my mother every day. But still, my life was a mess. Most mornings, I woke up with a pounding headache, remnants from the wine I had the night before. Trying to piece together how I made it to bed. Waking up with the “booze blues,” also became normal for me. I was so depressed; I just didn’t want to admit it. I often started my mornings crying in the shower. I had become incredible at hiding what was really going on. Living lie after lie. Secret after secret. I was feeling dark. Struggling most days to have the energy to wash my face and brush my teeth.
I woke up one morning and as soon as I opened my eyes, tears started rolling down my face. Thoughts were racing through my mind, some of those thoughts scared me. How did I get here? How did I lose control? How did I lose myself? Who am I? What have I done to my life?” I laid there sobbing. I had to force myself to get up, giving myself no time to process the meltdown I just had. I made coffee and started my workday like nothing happened. Within an hour, my thoughts started racing and I couldn’t focus on anything other than questioning myself and wondering. “Am I an alcoholic.” What in the actual fuck was I thinking? Alcoholic. No way. I didn’t drink every day. I didn’t need to drink in the morning. I had no legal issues. I didn’t lose my house. I worked with addicts and alcoholics. I spent years in school to help them, I wasn’t one of them. Was I? I tried to rationalize it, but nothing made sense. It was like all at once, all my drunken mistakes showed up and were looking right at me.
God spoke to me that morning. Shook me. Put a feeling of urgency to do something right then and there. I got on my computer and looked up Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I found one within 5 miles of my house. It started in an hour. I got myself together and went to a meeting. Jesus took the wheel that day. I was crying so hard the entire way there I don’t remember the drive. I’m not going to lie, the people there probably thought I was insane. I walked in crying, sat at a table, and continued to cry. It was the kind of cry where you cry so hard you shake. Yes, I was that girl. Let me remind you, I had never met any of the people at that meeting before. The meeting began and I sat and listened, not looking anyone in the face. The men and women around me started sharing their stories and I heard myself in what was said. As the meeting ended, a woman who sat next to me, grabbed my hand and told me everything was going to be okay. I looked at her and trusted she believed in those words. For the first time in a long time, I believed that too.
November 21, 2019 was the day I made the choice to stop drinking. I reflected on all my regrets and every one of them involved alcohol. Every bad choice I have made, alcohol was my sidekick. I realized my relationship with alcohol was toxic. I got myself into situations I could not dream of being in sober. I became someone I did not know or like when I drank. I had so much hurt I never dealt with and was drowning the feelings in alcohol. I didn’t want to know if things could get worse because to me, this was enough. I had never felt so low. I was done. I felt mentally destroyed and knew this was not a life I could live anymore.
I have found a support system. I have found I am not unique. I tried so hard to rationalize my behavior and did not want to put a label on myself. Since I admitted I had become powerless over my use of alcohol, so much has changed. I had this stigma of what someone looked like who was an alcoholic. I was so wrong. I have met doctors and lawyers who have stories like mine. I have met moms who had been overcome with the “mommy wine culture”. Dads who started off as sometimes drinkers, who became men who couldn’t start their day without that drink.
If you recognize yourself in my story, if it makes you feel like you may have a problem, let me just say, you probably do. At first, I was scared to death to share my story and situation. I have prayed hard about it and God continued to put it in my heart to share my story. I was scared to be judged. To be shamed. I had to accept I had already broken myself; no one could hurt me more than I have already done. Maybe, just maybe, someone reading can relate to this and get help. Ask questions. Find a support group. I have found my relationship with God to be what saved me. I put my life in His hands and surrendered. I struggled with not being in control but when I really looked at where I had got myself, my control created mess after mess. I used to joke, saying I was dead inside; it could not have been a truer statement.
I am going to be open and honest through my journey. It will not only hold me accountable, but maybe, just maybe, it will hit the heart of someone who reads about my situation. Maybe it sparks a desire to make change. I hold no power or magic. I have no solid answers. I just found myself done with the life I was living. If you want more or think alcohol holds you back or turns you into someone you don’t like, sobriety is possible. There is life after you stop drinking. All you have to have is a desire to stop. If you have questions, need support or resources, email me! Reach out. If I don’t have an answer, I will try and find one for you. I am not going to say this easy because it is not…. I will say, it is doable, one day at a time.
Thanks for reading the start of my Life as a Sober Gal ❤
If you want to reach out.. Email me… firstname.lastname@example.org