I Think I Can, I Think I Can

We moved into a new place and everything was perfectly fine...on the surface, anyway. I got better again; I got worse again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I didn’t really start drinking until well after the legal age. I would on rare occasions drink a little too much, but it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I started drinking too much too often.

I’ve had trouble sleeping since my teenage years and alcohol allowed me to get to sleep easier. And like things tend to do, my alcohol use grew out of control. I constantly needed more; I even started drinking faster because I thought it would help me get to sleep faster. I began to realize that I liked the buzz, so I’d drink entirely too much and end up on the bathroom floor.

At that point, I knew my drinking had become a problem.

The Impact

Things really started to get tense with my other half. At the lowest point of my “low,” we rented half a duplex – the other half was rented by a friend of mine…who also happened to be a raging alcoholic.

If I wasn’t at work, my life was pretty much a non-stop party. The way the duplex was set up, we had a shared entryway in front and shared basement access in the back of the house. We’d often leave both front doors and both back doors open so we could roam freely about the entire house as we saw fit. There was loud music and a constant flow of booze – everything a “party girl” could want.

I’ve always despised drunk driving. I figured that, since I was already home, I could get as wasted as I wanted and still be safe.

I’ve always despised drunk driving. I figured that, since I was already home, I could get as wasted as I wanted and still be safe. I could just stumble 10 feet into my own house and pass out. No harm, no foul, right? Meanwhile my other half was sitting in the house with our infant daughter (who was usually asleep by this point), silently wishing I would just come home and stay sober.

It got to the point where he began to seek out other women. And although he never engaged in a physical relationship with any of them, he DID engage in emotional relationships…which almost hurts worse. Of course, I didn’t have the mindset to realize that it was all happening because of my drinking.

I got better; I got worse. We moved into a new place and everything was perfectly fine…on the surface, anyway. I got better again; I got worse again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The Breaking Point

Fast-forward to the summer of 2015. The infant daughter my other half had so lovingly raised while I partied was finally starting kindergarten. I was still drinking myself to sleep. I thought I had it managed. I thought I knew just how much I could drink to help me sleep, but not make me feel terrible in the morning.

I was working nights at the time. I would take my daughter to school each morning, drink myself to sleep, then wake up in time to pick her up from school. One afternoon, I woke up to my phone ringing. I looked at the clock on my dresser and panic hit me. It was 4 o’clock and I was supposed to be at the school by 2:30.

I hurriedly got in the car to go pick her up. Of course, the school was furious. I still don’t know why they waited an hour and a half to call me, but this was all MY fault. What was I going to tell the school? What lie was I going to make up?

“Sorry I forgot my kid, but I passed out drunk” was not the excuse I wanted to give. At that point, I decided it was time to stop. The alcohol was no longer just affecting me; it was affecting my family as well. And, to me, nothing in this world is more important than family. Nothing.

August 1st, 2015 was day 1 for me. It was – and still is – one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Lessons Learned

I have fallen and gotten back up numerous times since that day. I have let the stress of life get to me and hit that trigger. I hope and pray I don’t slip again, but I can’t say for sure whether or not that will happen. What I can say is that I’ve received amazing support from my loved ones and it DOES make a difference.

One thing I wish I had done sooner is tell my mother. I grew up in a very conservative Mormon family and was dreading the shame that would come from telling my mother that I was an alcoholic. After a few weeks of recovery, I decided to tell her. I figured that if I could go to her when I was 16 to tell her I was pregnant then I could tell her in my mid 30’s that I had an alcohol problem. And of course, she supported me 110% like I KNEW she would.

I wish I had told the people who loved me sooner. I knew my other half would be supportive, but there’s something about acknowledging a terrible addiction that makes you feel very vulnerable and ashamed.

My Life Today

Make no mistake; I’m not perfect. I’m still struggling and will most likely continue to do so for some time to come – maybe forever. I still slip and fall on occasion, but not as much as I did in the beginning. I still have triggers that really test me, but I also know I can beat this.

I still slip and fall on occasion, but not as much as I did in the beginning. I still have triggers that really test me, but I also know I can beat this.

I recently changed jobs and moved into a career I’m much happier in; it feels great to be secure in my employment. My other half and I are still together with two gorgeous little girls (5 and 3) even after all of the drama.

I know I’ll always have to be mindful of the triggers that can set me off and, honestly, I don’t yet know what half those triggers are. Some really huge things I can get through; some very minor issues I really struggle with and end up slipping. It doesn’t make sense, but then again, few things in life do.

Words of Wisdom

If I could give one piece of advice to anyone it is this: You WILL most likely relapse…and that’s okay!!!

I have relapsed many times, but I always decide to start over. And I’ve realized that every single time it happens, I feel stronger. Not only did I make the decision to stop drinking, I also made the decision to start over. Even when I was feeling defeated and ashamed, I still made the decision to not let it get the best of me and to try again. And I made that choice again, and again, and again.

The feeling of defeat is a powerful thing. It encourages us to give up. DON’T!!! I’ve also learned to stop with the guilt and the shame. It’s hard; I know it is. But STOP!!! If you get right back on track after a slip up, you have zero reason to feel anything but pride. Keep trying; keep pushing on.

You may have to try many times like I have. I know how hard it is to get back on the horse after it bucked you off. But the satisfaction you feel when you get back on and start to see progress is an irreplaceable feeling. When you start seeing how you’ve progressed, you know you can’t stop where you are.

You can’t give up and you can’t feel ashamed. All you can do is try again. One day you WILL succeed!

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