Updated: Feb 6
Today marks 3.5 years of sobriety for me
Facebook Memories showed me all these posts of people excited for my 6 month mark. I remember 6 months. I was convinced when I passed 6 months I was going to be cured. But I wasn't cured. In fact my healing had just begun. Today I am sharing part of my story to remind my self of what life was like and hopefully help someone else.
Shame is a bitch! The only thing I know to do to get out from under shame is to share it. Bring it into the light and hopefully hear the words "me too". That being said. There is stuff in this post that I had a really hard time talking about for way too long. Sharing this stuff is not easy.
Ever since I can remember I was on the hunt for the book of life. I could see other people, other families, other classmates seem just naturally happy, confident and smart. I felt like I had to work 3x harder to seem “normal”. I had to hide how things were at home. I had to pretend I understood things when I didn’t. I had to find ways to escape myself, my thoughts and my home anyway I could.
The moment I met alcohol the little jerk living in my head, that told me I wasn’t good enough, finally died. I could be myself. I thought this is how life is supposed to feel. I felt free! There was no anxiety, no judgment, no care, I just got to “be”. Naturally I wanted that feeling as often as possible. I would take absolutely every opportunity to escape reality.
Real life was no longer my reality. I wanted to live in the fantasy that alcohol gave me. It promised me confidence, attention, friends and fun. It gave me the ability to speak my mind, make all those jokes I had been holding in and flirt with the boys I thought would never like me. I didn’t feel dumb or white trash or think I was a terrible person while I was drinking. I just got to feel completely uninhibited. That was what I imagined true freedom felt like.
I thought I had cracked the code. All I needed to do was to say drunk and I could be happy. And it worked .. for a hole year almost. I started getting black out drunk almost immediately after my drinking career began. I was not able to moderate, nor did I want to. I thought people who drank moderately were weird. “Why wouldn’t you just drink pop if you don’t want to get drunk?” I would think. The thought of moderating made 0 sense to me. I literally thought alcohol was invented for oblivion. And with that mindset, things got dark quickly.
The "freedom" I felt from alcohol soon turned on me. All the most shitty, dumb, hurtful things I could think were soon making their way into my reality. It was like I was manifesting all of my worst nightmares. The guilt and shame of my actions left me in spiral and I was positive only alcohol could cure it.
Soon alcohol wasn’t enough and I turned to drugs. Then drugs weren’t enough and I just thought "what is the point to living". Men couldn’t fix my broken heart, no substance was taking away the pain. I didn’t consider my self an addict at the time but I knew I was out of control.
This all happened with in 2 years of picking up my first drink. 2 years and I had become someone I hated. Then I got pregnant and I thought my problem would be over. It worked for a while but it wasn’t long after my son was born that I was back into my old habits.
Things kept getting worse. I the situations I ended up in were getting scarier and scarier and closer and closer to skid row. I was assaulted by a friend and her boyfriend and spent 2 years with a panic and anxiety disorder that made it impossible for my to leave my house. I couldn’t get on a train or a bus or speak to a human with out having a panic attack.
I turned to alcohol to medicate. When I drank I was free from anxiety… at first. As long as I wasn‘t do drugs I thought I was managing it. But soon alcohol turned on me again and I turned to drugs again and again I was screwing up everything.
Trying to find men to fix me, I ended up in a few abusive relationships. I was desperately afraid of being alone and that made me stay with men way longer than I should have. I also loved the drama. I was probably more addicted to the drama then the drugs and alcohol at one point. I really thought that getting a man to love me meant that I meant something. Isn't that strange? I could not find any value in myself with out someone else telling me I mattered.
Men, drugs, booze ruled every decision I made. It was literally all I would think about. "If I could only have a man that loved me then I could be happy." Well I did find a good man. I found him and I forced him into a relationship with me and it didn't work.
I went back to school. That didn’t fix me. I got a good job. That didn’t fix me. I opened a thrift shop. Still not fixed. I bought a new car. Still felt like shit. I got pregnant again. Nope still miserable. I got involved with men out side my relationship. Not the answer. I ate my feelings, I puked up my feelings, I drank my feelings, I used through feelings, I stuffed, I hid, I suffered, I worked, I shopped, I tried counselling, exercising, dieting, yoga, joining the PTA, moms groups, self help books, seminars… Somethings worked for short periods of time but not for long. Soon I would be right back to my miserable self searching for the next thing that would finally fix that "hole" everyone talks about.
When I finally exhausted all of my best ideas I had no choice but to surrender. Surrendering, at the time, looked like me getting ready to die, but instead of dying I finally got honest. I started telling on myself. I started saying out loud all the gross secrets that had been eating me alive. I through my shame into the light and I was told “If you get sober, I think you can be forgiven”. I didn’t fully believe it but I had the gift of desperation so I would do absolutely anything to not feel how I was feeling.
That was where I was 3 years and 6 months ago. Completely lost, living my life chasing something I didn’t even understand. A walking cliche of a girl with “daddy issues”. Feeling like a complete and utter disappointment.
It might sound like a hopeless case to some of you, but I can assure you there is hope. There is actually something beyond hope. There is a peace that surpasses all understanding. It is possible to fundamentally change who you are, if that is what you want. Your greatest expectations of yourself can be met. The only think you have to do is want it and LET GO!
This is just a tiny snapshot of what my life was like in addiction. I could write a whole series on specifics, but the point is I sucked at running my life. I had to get out of my way and let my Higher Power, I call Him God, take over. I still have to make that conscious decision every single day. When I am in charge life is not easy. I am anxious and selfish and living in survival mode. When I allow God to be in the driver seat I get to lay back and enjoy the beautiful life He is setting down before me.
Today I am a present mother, I have an incredible, honest marriage to a man who adores me, I live with no secrets, and there is nothing I am not willing to make amends for. I get to appreciate every gift I have been given and see lessons in the hard times. God has taken every mistake I have made and somehow used it for good. Today I can honestly say I am a free woman. All the things alcohol used to promise me, recovery has given me. I have a long way to go and lots to learn but I am so happy to be exactly where I am at today.
Please reach out to me if this resinates with you in anyway. I would love to hear from you.