No, not my regular birthday…it’s my SOBRIETY BIRTHDAY!
My oh my, guys! I don’t usually celebrate my birthday and if I do, I don’t ask for much. Nor do I brag on myself often, but it seems today is one of those rare occasions where I just might…My sobriety birthday seems to be becoming even more important to me than my regular one. I AM 2 YEARS SOBER! Isn’t that freaking awesome? Even as I type that, part of me has a hard time believing it. To many, this may not seem like a huge deal. But to me, it means more than you could ever know!
2 years ago today, I had a massive awakening where I decided that the only way I was ever going to start being mentally healthy again was if I stopped drinking alcohol. What better day to tell my story than today? I thought that telling a shortened version of my story with alcohol might help others read the signs or help loved ones/friends in the same situation, so here we go!
My journey with alcohol is not a light-hearted one. It is filled with some of the worst days of my life and the darkest moments within my own psyche. I am not sure where the problem started; as I began drinking quite young; but I do know that it became noticeable while I was in my early years of college. One drink would lead to another and eventually, I found myself drinking an entire bottle of red wine or a 12 pack of beer in a night. I would tell myself that it was helping me wind down from the stress of school and work, that I was only doing it to pair my drinks with the food I would cook, or it was fun–so why not? When the excuses began, is when my family began to take notice of how much I was drinking. One Thanksgiving I drank so much with them, that while everyone else was enjoying conversation on the porch, I was found scarfing down leftover mac-n-cheese and barely holding myself up by the kitchen counter. I would say I’d only have a couple of drinks and end up drinking far more than anyone should. I would go out to the bar with friends and have my 1 or two drinks at the table while I snuck shots at the bar when they weren’t looking. One time in London, I pre-gamed so hard that I was too drunk to even be let into the club.
I kept putting these incidents off as normal. That all early 20-year-old’s did stuff like this. I knew I wasn’t the only one making bad choices by drinking so much, but I know that my drinking was different from most of my friends. I was using my drinking as a toxic coping mechanism for the trauma from my abusive relationship years prior and for all the depression I was shoving down and refusing to deal with. Many of my friends who I used to drink with can say I could be quite fun while drunk; the life of the party. I would dance all night, chat, and make friends with pretty much anybody. But there was a darker side only a few saw first hand. I would become overly depressive and suicidal, I would cry so hard that the next day I could hardly get out of bed because I would be so physically ill. Sometimes drinking would trigger severe panic attacks or flashbacks that would only create more harmful thoughts. I was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There was no in-between; just these two fiercely different people on alcohol. I never truly knew which would come out.
I had so much self-hate during this period of time. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I knew I wasn’t dealing with my problems but I couldn’t muster up the courage to get the help I desperately needed. By the time I finally knew I needed to quit, I had just had a massive alcoholic/depressive breakdown the night before and awoke to my then-boyfriend telling me I scared him so much with the things I was saying while drunk,(How much I hated living, hated myself and wanted to die, etc…) that he had called my parents to pick me up and have me stay with them for a while because he couldn’t handle it. Although I don’t remember that night, I know it must’ve been scary. This moment sucked. That’s the best way I can describe it. But it sparked my change. It finally came to my full attention that if I did not stop, my drinking would ultimately kill me. My depression and suicidal ideation were becoming so vicious, and my drinking so heavy, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened.
So what did I do?
I went to Intensive Outpatient at a Psychiatric ward.
I began delving into my spiritual side more than I ever had in my life.
I started to see a therapist every week.
I began healing/accepting what happened to me in my abusive relationship.
I began forgiving myself.
I began letting go of the shame that held precendence over my life.
I began taking better care of my body.
I began learning how to love myself again.
And I started becoming the version of me I needed to be.
Yes, I lost friends and relationships along the way. During this period of my life, I know I tended to be toxic or dangerous to be around. I know I have hurt many because I refused to accept that I had a serious problem. Unfortunately, this is just part of the process for a lot of people going through similar situations with alcohol abuse. I am thankful for the family and friends who stuck around through the messy bits and didn’t lose hope in me. I am thankful that I did realize what needed to be done when I did.
So today I am celebrating another year of life and another year of sobriety! I am the healthiest and happiest I have been in years because I gave up drinking. I hope I was able to give you a little insight on my personal experience with alcoholism
Light and love to you all!